John Holt’s meanderings – they make me want to laugh and cry at the same time. Welcome again, John, for my final author spot before I hike off to sunny Africa until the spring!
Once again my great friend Jane has done me the great honour of featuring me on her web page. The last time she actually gave me a topic to write about, “Challenges”. That made things a little easier. This time, however, she just took me to the deep end and threw me in. No life jacket, no life belt, and me a non-swimmer. “Write what you like,” she says. “Just get on with it.”
So what to write about? My views on world affairs perhaps, that should be good for seventeen words or thereabouts. “Looking at what is happening in the world I would say that we are in big trouble.”
So much for world affairs, so what’s next on the agenda, global warming maybe? No, it’s already been done. Okay, what about life itself? Now there’s a topic and a half. Surely I can manage 1000 words on such a vast subject, shouldn’t be too difficult.
Well firstly let me say that certainly life ain’t no bed of roses, that’s for sure. It’s no fairy tale is it? You know the kind of thing I mean. Once upon a time there was a beautiful princess. One day she met a frog. She picked it up and kissed it. It suddenly became a handsome prince. They were married and lived happily ever after. Or what about the story of Cinders, who does go to the ball wearing glass slippers. Incidentally have you ever tried dancing wearing a pair of glass slippers? I haven’t, but I can imagine it would be quite uncomfortable. A decent pair of trainers might have been more suitable. They might not have gone with the silver sequined ball gown I know, but they would have been much easier on her feet. But I digress. Let’s get back to Cinders at the ball. She’s having a great time, boogying on down, when the clock strikes twelve. All hell lets loose, pandemonium. In her panic to get out of the palace she carelessly loses a shoe, or perhaps because of the discomfort, it was deliberate, who knows. Whatever, she eventually ends up with a prince. Once again they get married and live happily ever after. Nice work if you can get it, I say, but just as well because the Department of Works and Pensions was just about to stop her benefit payments.
So much for fairy tales, but life isn’t like that is it? No, I’m not just talking about the frog turning into a prince either. We don’t all have a fairy godmother watching over us. And there aren’t that many princes hanging around, looking for glass slippers. No, what I mean is that life isn’t just a straight line linking someone’s birth and their death. It’s not that simple. Along the way there are many twists and turns that may (okay, substitute will) cause complications. Our road through life won’t be a nice smooth path. More like the M25 I would say, or Interstate 5 in California (I know, I’ve driven on both of them). Full of twists and turns, pot holes here and there, road works, detours, and obstructions. There will be many problems to face. Money worries, health problems, family troubles – you name it, you’ll get it in spades.
There will be decisions to make, no end of decisions. Is this the right thing to do? What will happen if I do this rather than that? Will my decision affect others? Bound to I would say. No man (or woman) is an island. We all have a direct, or indirect, effect on everyone else.
There will be many crossroads along the way. Do I turn left, or right, or should I go straight on. Then, of course, there are all of those side routes that beckon us only for us to end up in a dead end. A road going nowhere and just a side track from where you wanted to be. The problem then, of course, is can you get back to where you were before you arrived at where you are, so that you can carry on to where you want to be. Sounds complicated I know – well it is. No one said that it would be easy. There’s never a Fairy Godmother around when you need one is there.
Of course that’s another interesting aspect to consider. Where are you going? I mean do you know for certain where you want to be, who you want to be, what you want to be? When I was eleven and just starting grammar school I wanted to be a doctor. A noble profession you might say, a worthy ambition, possibly. The only thing is I can’t stand the sight of blood, (especially mine), and I faint easily. Just right for a doctor, I don’t think. Needless to say, I changed my mind and eventually when I left school aged eighteen I became a Surveyor, thereby saving many a patient from additional suffering, and a fate worse than death.
We all make decisions which we later regret, or at least wish we had taken another route. How many times have you changed direction, changed your job, or moved house only to find that the grass wasn’t greener on the other side, and the lawn had as many bumps in it as before. Or perhaps we do in fact eventually take the right route but only after many false starts. Maybe the error was of our own making, or maybe we were influenced, for good or bad, by someone else. Maybe it wasn’t a person that was the influence. Perhaps it was a place, or an event, or a circumstance.
Of course life isn’t just about one thing anyway. Life is made up of numerous strands, events, people, places, and experiences, all playing a part. Maybe some of those places, people, events, were shown not to be that important in the grand scheme of things, but they happened anyway, and you can’t change that. Maybe you learned something from it, so maybe it wasn’t entirely wasted.
We don’t know what life has in store for us, what cards we will be dealt. What life is going to throw at us. None of us are immune, and we will all have different ways in which to deal with things.
I guess all that I’m saying is that life isn’t like a fairy tale, although I hope all of you princesses out there eventually meet the prince of your dreams. And that all of you frogs turn into princes. And Cinders I hope you get to the ball and meet your prince. Oh, and don’t forget to invite me to the wedding.
Okay so that’s that done and dusted. It wasn’t so bad I guess. Just hope that you enjoyed it. And how about taking a look at his books as well: