Monday, 31 December 2007

Thoughts addressed to my thirteen year old self.


I have been called upon to address myself to you, to guide you, like some ships pilot, through the choppy waters through which life is steering you towards the safe seas of adult hood, to pass to you, like the oracle of Delphi, some words of reassurance, of knowledge, of truth, that may send you onwards into the light and out of the troubling darkness that is adolescence.

Hard luck chummy you are on your own.

In the words of Jacques Prévert's poem "Je suis comme je suis, Je suis faite comme ça" and you my dear are you however uncomfortable that may be to yourself and others. For, dear heart, should I change you, alert you,to the false steps you might take upon life"s stairs, what would become of me? The plot of the play through which you will grow and become me will change too, then I would no longer be me for, by my over solicitous whispering, like some great farce or ancient greek tragedy, I will have altered you and in doing so find myself altered and I would not wish myself changed.

Talking of stairs it might, perhaps at this juncture,be prudent just to say without giving away too many of lifes lsmall secrets,it might be kind if I suggest to you that you may be wise to pack a tube of Arnica gel in your luggage and to be careful should you ever find yourself, one late evening in August 1984 crossing the channel on a rolling sea, when climbing down a ships ladder in most inappropriate foot wear whilst holding a large bowl of salt,it might be more than a trifel wise to be careful, should you wish to avoid some very interesting bruising on parts of you you might prefer not to display to the ships doctor.To say more would ruin it.

We are, surely each of us, the sum of all that is past, not only in our own lives but in the generations that have come before and made their genes our own. It was their choices that made us what we will become, that and how we choose to use those gifts they gave us. For, as sure as cheese is cheese, and mice love it, had not your grandmother run off to live in secret with a captain of the guards, been found out by her father and dragged home, as a result of which she married an american first world war pilot in a fit of pique you and I would not be here now.


I think one can either concentrate on the good or the bad, the sunlight or the darkness in ones childhood. Sweeping aside those who are seriously malfunctioning on all cyclnders and those who plot themselves a course to self destruction, one must, I think, do the best one can under the circumstances and within our own limitations embrace what life throws at us.

I think all I can advise is to try your best with all you do and hope that along the way you remember to concentrate on the joy and not the anguish that washes about the shores of your existence, I am afraid I do not agree with John Donne, Everyman is an Island, we are born alone and we die alone and we live in between in a world which we make ourselves largley in our heads. We can furnish that Island with regrets and feel sorrow for ourselves for all that life has failed to shower us with or we can be thankful for all that is good in it. It is our choice since both extremes are inevitable in childhood and life and if we look hard enough we can find them. That in itself is a good thing for without the one how can one appreciate the other?

So run along with you, carry on with your life and remember you are what you are and what you make of yourself. No matter what life brings you there will, as your mother used to say there will always be those far better off and also those far worse off than you so enjoy what you have and live life to the full.

Life is life deal, with it and most of all enjoy.

Bon chance my dear!

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Incidentally the photogrpah is not of me at thirteen but of Anne Franks taken when she was about that age. Look at that smile, the joy in those eyes. Proof in itself I think that sometimes it is better not to know what life holds ahead for you but to embrace each day as it comes with your whole heart.

21 comments:

Frances said...

Bon soir,

What you have written encourages buoyancy, along with contemplation in good proportion. Exploration, and even wisdom.

Your children are fortunate to have a mother that is you!

xo

Wooly Works said...

The most wisdom in one small place that I have read in a long time. The part about climbing down the ship's ladder warrants a story all its own. Perhaps one day you'll write about that, too.

I just love to read your blog and your comments. Even though we've never met face to face, I can tell that you are one in a million.

Pondside said...

Well put, UPL. We wouldn't want to miss a single bit of who you are now!......but would love to know more about that moment on the ladder '84!

ChrisH said...

C'est vrai! Yes, it would be too easy to wipe out all the mistakes and heartache which make us the people we are now. Well said, dear heart, as ever.

toady said...

Brilliant

Elizabethd said...

Oh well done UPL. How very sensible to concentrate on the positive in our lives. Super writing.

LittleBrownDog said...

Brilliant, UPL - or as I believe the French are sometimes wont to say, "chapeau!". An absolutely fantastic piece of writing.

That photograph of Anne Frank at a similar age speaks volumes. And I would love to hear more about your grandmother - she sounds quite a character.

lampworkbeader said...

I am glad you cleared up the mystery of the photograph, as I was about to say, 'How like the young Anne Frank our dear Un Peu... looks'
Loved the advice.

snailbeachshepherdess said...

I just knew that you would come out with a gem on this one ...no peace for the wicked though...now you will be tormented for the story of the ships ladder and your grandmother......

bodran... said...

Couldnt agree with you more , lovely and very very true XX

Grouse said...

When this tread first started I immediately began to think: What would I say? Nothing to rob a 13yr old of their future experienes that's for sure! You have said it all for me.
But-damn you- so much more eloquently!

Blossomcottage said...

How very true dear ULP Life is Life and it is totally in our hands as to how we deal with it.
Brilliant, and thank you so much for your kind and helpful words on my blog.
Kindest thoughts.
Blossom

Faith said...

I thought it was Anne Frank - well written UPL.

Grouse said...

This is the first blog I have ever come back to. It stayed with me after the first reading and I have sent it to my children and my sisters. Not just because of the depth of thought, but because it was so beaautifully written. Head and shoulders above anything I have read on the site so far.

sally's chateau said...

And I think someone should tell you to persue your writing more seriously too, beautifully written.

Milla said...

Gorgeous Un Peu - I wish you would do more of YOU!! I was going to do similar things but, as Grouse said, not as well.

Zinnia Cyclamen said...

Your letter made me smile. I'm right with you on your conclusion, too.

annakarenin said...

Writing talent aside, how did you get to be so wise??

Also like Milla though few and far I do love these Otherside blogs.

IrishEyes said...

Glorious! now about '84, come on spill the beans..........

Cait O'Connor said...

I am very late here.
Original as ever and so well written, you are so talented.

Exmoorjane said...

Deeply wise and very wonderful. I looked at the photo and thought, by heck she looks familiar (duh).
LOVE your 'other side' blog SO much....