And there I thought I had had a full life! In post-
A while back I wrote an article here entitled, “Big Events and Little Events” and in that I noted that there were things going on in the world in my earlier years (and probably still now, today) that WE – yes that is you and me – had no idea about, like the work of a certain Tim Berners-
I find these sort of thoughts real ‘levelers’ because however great the person is (unless you are talking about the Queen and even she is not all-
I recently heard someone talking along similar lines to this and she talked about how she used to swim regularly in the local swimming pool and every week swam a certain number of lengths in a certain period of time. Then she entered a mud race, one of these crazy cross country races that involve lots of water and lots of mud, and she realised she had never swum in a lake before. So she found a local lake and dived in and swam out to the middle and then panicked. Where did she go, how long would she swim, what…..? With no boundaries she was suddenly lost. For the proud and arrogant, a realization of the massive world we’ve missed out on, is a healthily humbling experience.
But it’s always important to get balance, isn’t it? So does it mean that my life has been worthless because of my limitations? Although I can look at a wide range of experiences that comprise my life, I’ve only got to listen to my kids telling of their holiday experiences around the world, to get my life in perspective. Of course the truth is that when my kids eventually reach my age, it is probable they will numerically have more different experiences to look back on, but they will still have missed my experiences. When they talk to their kids (no doubt grown up by then) they too will be forced to re-
Wisdom is perhaps realizing reality, realizing how small we are, but also realizing how good parts of our lives have been – and being thankful. Yes, I lived through the fifties with the coming of rock ‘n roll and changing moods escaping the war years, yes I lived through the swinging sixties (in London) moving from an unsure teenager into an uncertain twenty-
And then I start thinking, how much did some of the ‘big names’ really affect major change in the world? John Lennon was a big name back in my youth but my kids don’t rate him and the fact that he is prematurely dead makes him even less of an icon of change. His music goes on and like many others I enjoy much of it, but the images of him letting his life pass by in bed with Yoko Ono before he was assassinated, do nothing to impact or change my life. In fact, make a list of a hundred ‘stars’ (film, music or acting generally) and ponder on the impact such people have on your life today. People we followed, people we enjoyed, people we were moved by, but just small, vulnerable people in a very big goldfish bowl.
Sir Tim Berners-
We probably need a mix of contentment and lack of contentment to push the world on, and no doubt the older you get the more you value contentment. So, Andrew Marr, thank you for your book and thank you for the reminder of how much I have missed out on, but I have a feeling that I have a greater sense of well-
What makes most people comfortable is some sort of sense of nostalgia. I grew up in a small town, and I could count my friends on one hand, and I still live that way. I think I'll die in a small town. When I can't move my bones around a stage any more, you'll find me living in a place that's spread out and rural and spacious.
It is one of the paradoxes of American literature that our writers are forever looking back with love and nostalgia at lives they couldn't wait to leave.
Nostalgia Is Not What It Used To Be
The Past, The Present and The Future walked into a bar. It was tense.
“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.”
“We are products of our past, but we don't have to be prisoners of it.”