Life is arranged all wrong. You can blame God, if you’re so inclined [I’m not]. The first nine or ten years or so are alright. You get born. You are looked after [hopefully] while you are helpless. You might even be doted on. You may be fortunate enough to learn some useful stuff that will prepare you for adulthood, like walking, talking-even reading. Then it goes pear-shaped. Just when you are thirsting for knowledge, eager, full of enthusiasm, you lose it; snuffed out like a candle. Because as adolescence, teens and hormonal tempests begin to boil up, an interest in medieval history, Pythagoras theorem, netball practise, past participles and piano lessons flies totally out of the patio doors to be replaced by a fascination for one thing only.
Unfortunately this is the time when you begin to be tested on your skills, ability and knowledge in order to prepare you for independence, the severance of the umbilical, the supporting of yourself. Striving to achieve academic goals becomes torture. Many of us [I include myself] acquire a disappointing, average, just-about-satisfactory set of results that equips us for some kind of career or job. Many of us don’t. A few manage to transcend their base instincts and shine-a source of pride for their parents [see previous post-‘It’s not that we’re not interested, but…’].
You then embark upon whatever source of living your qualifications have led you to, because by now, in adulthood, you are on your own. Perhaps you will fall madly in love with your chosen occupation, perhaps not. Maybe you will find success beyond your wildest dreams; maybe you will rub along, earning enough of a crust.
Other bits of life crowd in, like partners, children, housing, transport, holidays. These demands mean that swapping what you do for any other occupation becomes impossible.
Then before you know it, the years you’ve spent earning enough to live have somehow vanished in a vaporous puff and you are free! Hooray! You are without obligations, dependents and if you are a little bit lucky, without too much financial pressure. You find you are interested in everything. You want to be a student of history, to learn about exotic places, find out how the universe was made. You want to run marathons, become a piano maestro or Australia’s next top model, win the Nobel prize, ‘The Apprentice’ and ‘Masterchef’ and get knighted.
But wait; just as these lofty aspirations buzz into your excited, eager, animated little bonse the bell is called for ‘time’. The doors begin to close. Those violin, mandarin or judo lessons, that symphony you were going to compose, the Michelin-starred restaurant you always meant to open-they should all have been started years ago…when you were young, when your mind was…elsewhere.
But hang on-not all options are finished. What about becoming pope? There is clearly no age barrier there. There may be some slight opposition in terms of gender, of course [for me], but… nothing ventured…Oh, old Argy Frank has beaten me to it. There’s always next time. Perhaps there is a God, after all?