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!
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.