This is my first day of the rest of my life.
I thought I may as well have it before it’s too late. I can remember fifteen years ago and being in the preliminary stages of realisation of the years that I was collecting. My footballing skills had most definitely waned and I started to see more and more grey hairs appearing on my sideboards. I had lost a bit of umph and had started to worry about the chronic back pain that I was suffering from regularly. That was the time that I was just wallowing, doing reasonably well at work but nothing so remarkable that I was flying. Perhaps at that time I still believed in what I was doing. I was a dedicated teacher whose opinions others sought. I was also a huge bit boring, especially in company when I would gravitate towards subjects such as the Holocaust, the Spanish Inquisition, or the state of education. That was still pioneer time for education with a plethora of research fuelling the then inevitable improvements that would come in the form of better outcomes socially and academically. I needed a cause to fill my days and teaching, making a better society, was my metier.
Change is good. I have always enjoyed its new challenges and opportunities. Many would say that I enjoy change too much. “He never stays in one place for very long.” “What is he doing now?” “He can’t hold a job down!” All of these are probably true. No, definitely true.
I am a transient who enjoys the experience of experiences. Perhaps this is why I have lived such a full and varied life. Why I have done this, that and the other before coming back to this and that before moving on to the other again. A short while ago, I felt that my life was moving in a circle; the wheel of fortune with me as the hero, villain and eventual corpse. I am not so sure of this now. My life has very little structure. There is often some rhyme but not much reason. The only structure has been put in by the demands of my work, my wife and my children. Wherever my wheel of fortune is taking me, I am sure that there is nothing logical or predetermined about it.
Structure is perceived through retrospection.
Fifteen years ago a couple of youngish male teachers died, one suddenly the other not so suddenly. Those are the type of moments that shake the foundations of certainty. They are the times you look at your own brief tenure and wonder how long is left. It’s like renting a house and never knowing when your lease is up. When these two guys died, I looked at my then young family and worked out how old they would be if I died around the same time. I have reached my calculated ages and have had to add another into the calculation; my youngest arrived without warning or preplanning.
The breaking news is that I am not yet dead. As far as I can tell, I am still living, breathing and cogitating. There are a number of other things that life has deemed to be unnecessary for me to participate in such as football, being an object of desire and generally being successful. I am one of those old dads who is occasionally mistaken for a granddad whilst out shopping in areas where parenting starts around sixteen. But I have got here. I am in the future and am still vital (ish). I suppose this is the moment when something happens to knock me off this mortal coil, just to make life seem full of irony and me full of shit. My wife hates me writing this type of thing. She thinks that it is naval-gazing nonsense which only the criminally boring would ever deign to read. Deep down, I probably agree with her but I CAN’T GIVE UP.