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Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Just a waypoint on the bumpy path of life

1982: A starry-eyed 20-y-o sets out to take on the world.
My dear mother breathing a sigh of relief no doubt.
I try and resist the temptation to get all gooey and nostalgic at this time of year, but a little enforced relaxation brings home a few truths. Travelling the world as we do offers some perspective – or jolly-well should – and gives us pause to be grateful for what we have as we grapple with our daunting First World problems like crappy 4G coverage, petrol price cycles and ever-looming deadlines. Oh, poor us.

Thanks to the inescapable pervasiveness of Facebook, Twitter and Blogger, those nearest and dearest to us are always in our thoughts, whether we want them or not. Visiting my dear octogenarian mother (who's never touched a computer keyboard) at my childhood home in Stonyfell, is a refreshing dose of conventional one-on-one communion. Rummaging through old photos and trinkets invariably revives memories from the failing crevices of my mind. In my case, it reminds me of the precarious sliver of a family line that I am maintaining.

Yet for all the intrusive, privacy-shattering effects of social media, it has enabled me to keep in touch and reacquaint with faces from the past. Many of them disturbingly unruffled by the passage of time. Wish I could say the same about myself. (Insert recurring New Year resolution).

In all seriousness, I have a list (in no particular order) of 'reasons to be cheerful'. I won't mention names, but if you've read this far, chances are you're on at least one of these lists.
  • Friends who, despite my innately annoying and forgetful nature, remain friends and shame me with their thoughtfulness and kindness.
  • Editors who continue to commission and pay me so that I can fulfil my obligations to bank, landlord and needy offspring.
  • Old friends, who take the trouble to look me up and share some obscure moment in time that has left a mark (or a dent) on their own life's timeline.
  • My tiny family's love that sustains me during dark periods and the long, lonely passages of travel that is part-and-parcel of my chosen path.
  • Everyone, no matter how seemingly innocuous, who has strengthened my character and helped me get this far. I hope I have reciprocated in some small way at least.
I'm not a particularly religious person, but I do believe that you get back (often with interest) on what you give out. Yes, this works both ways, so don't go feeling too sorry for me.

Happy New Year to all and may 2014 be a rewarding forward sector on your journey to wherever.