Attitude of Gratitude

The Christmas festival is the biggest we have here. Just two days, eight if you happen to have time off work between then and New Year. A lot of the people I meet nowadays don’t look forward to it – they don’t particularly feel lonely, but it represents disruption from the norm, there is not much to do except for staying home, and not much to do when they do stay home. It represents unnecessary cost. Our supermarkets have had Christmas goods on sale since October, so they can tell you all about how much they try to part people from their cash!

Christmas here is our biggest festival, just like Thanksgiving is in the US. I can only assume that some people will feel the same way about it.

If you’re one of these people, you can at least give thanks that next week there will be some respite, although I’m sure things go every bit as crazy once we reach Christmas.

If you’re somebody who will be celebrating Thanksgiving, I hope you have a good time of it. Eat as much turkey as you see fit – there are plenty things worse for you, although I know a couple of bloggers will be licking her lips at my image – at all those sprouts!

Play it again, Sam

It is Wednesday, and time once again for Fandango’s Provocative Question. I’m going to paraphrase, but this week he asks, would you go back? If you had your time over again, would you start over?

Actually, I’m gonna take a step back (did you see what I did there 🙂). His exact wording is:

Would you be willing to give up everything you have if you could go back and start your life all over again? Why or why not?

Give up everything? Well, everything is an awful lot, but let’s just split it into a few different parts.

First and foremost, there is my health. Sure, I’d love to go back to before the stroke, but strokes are generally a slow burn, some kind of cumulative thing. Usually, a stroke isn’t caused by a one-off trauma. Certainly mine wasn’t, as best I can say. So, who’s to say that the same thing wouldn’t happen over again, aged 48? How much would I have to change to make the stroke not happen? Whatever I changed, whenever I changed it, could I make the stroke not happen? None of this is clear.

On the same subject, when I think back to the stroke, it was totally painless. Things just stopped working, but it didn’t hurt. We all have to go somehow so if I ended up having another…well, it could be worse.

Next, there is the material wealth that I accumulated. In that respect, I didn’t do badly. I might have done better, but by and large I loved my work. Still do. In fact, I know for a fact that I turned down better money to stay in an environment that I liked. So, what price happiness? If things had been different, would they necessarily have been better? Would I be happier?

Next, there is my knowledge, my intellect. I’m quite happy with how that turned out. Maybe we all think our values are the right ones? I juess so, I certainly do. I’m glad that I try to help other people with the charity work I do, I’m sad that more of us don’t. And I look in the mirror, I see a life that’s beeen lived, that has gotten wiser as I’ve gotten older. Experience, life skills, are everything – they’re what make us who we are. Some of the best life skills are developed by the knocks we take. I can see the benefit now, but I’d rather not go through those knocks again.

Then, there are relationships. I’m happily married, I wouldn’t want to change that. My daughter and I are chalk and cheese, so my child-rearing experience could have gone better, but I always wanted children so I’d have probably ended up going through something similar again.

You can probably tell, by now, where this is going. No, in general I wouldn’t want to change things. But that’s not quite it. There are specifics I’d change. Of course, I’d like to be sitting here able-bodied. I’d love not to have had the stroke. But because of the stroke I have met people I never would have met, not just met them but mixed with them. I’ve seen how the Health system, the Benefits system, don’t work very well. A lot of people of my age are yet to find this out – people think there is something concrete behind all the taxes they pay, I’ll bet they’ll be disappointed when they find out..

There are more relationship things, from before my wife. Maybe if I had or hadn’t said such-and-such, the relationship wouldn’t have ended? Ha ha, yeah, right! Looking back, I got off lightly! Failed relationships are a rite of passage. And, I can’t complain with how it has turned out. And, of course the issue of sex – it has to come up. Maybe if I had or hadn’t said that thing, I’d have laid that woman I always fancied? But I do know that sex is a lot less important at fifty-something than it was at twenty-something! Maybe these are all just the little learnng processes we have to go through in order to become better people? And it’s not just the stroke, or my diabetes, talking. My wife says exactly the same. Maybe all that parenting just knocked it out of us?

Those are basically my thoughts, but I’m aware that when I first read Fandango’s post, I commented about the UK film About Time. When I made the comment, I thought I might bring it into my response, although as it turns out, I haven’t. Furthermore, I’ve since seen Fandango’s response that he hasn’t yet seen the film, so there will be no spoilers from me. I shall say no more on the subject other than to highly commend it it to you, it is well worth the watch, and it does offer another answer to Fandango’s question.