Saturday, January 15, 2005

letter to a boy 1

‘Tis strange, this notion of time. We are given - as the saying goes - "three score and ten" years (give or take a few). The "three score " has passed with disturbing rapidity, and have no real idea of what to do with the next ten (give or take a few).
You, on the other hand, are now entering the next phase (my arbitrary choice) - of your life.

Can I give advice? No, not really. 25 years ago circumstances took you far away from me. There was no further communication. That was my choice, as I wanted you to grow and develop in your "new" family without the "complication" of me. Hoping, of course, that you would become "curious" about me later, as you matured. Then, two years ago, unpredictably, circumstances gave me a brief meeting. Did we communicate then, no, not really.
(but I know you far better than you know me)

What I can do now, though, is record some of my thoughts, perhaps experiences, perhaps failures, perhaps fantasies - on this medium. What you make of them is up to you.

I was there at the beginning, (watched your head appear, several wet strands - and then, there you were - a tiny, complete, bundle of potential) and for a few years after that. Then, well, you grew and developed beyond my control. (or rather.. under the control of others.) I wonder if you will ever know what all that is like. I hope not, though the notion of "control" is a curious one. How much control do we really think we have… or need… over anything. In some aspects control is allied with discipline, and "discipline" is an uncomfortable word to a young man. (It’s not much fun for an old(?) man either, but a line has to drawn somewhere(grins). Will have a think about the concept of "anarchy", later)

Life, I’ve found, is mostly a series of decisions. Some are as simple as deciding what and when to eat. Some have ramifications far into the future. (um, after a thought - even deciding "what" to eat has ramifications into the future, but don’t want to go into that - just yet.)

When I was young(er), I too gave scant thought to the future - or even the past, if it comes to that. (though, increasingly, "the past’’ sneaks up and boots me in the bum when I least expect it) It was for "today" that I lived, and followed my nose. That nose led me through rose gardens, forests of eucalypt, seashells and seashores, sand dunes and desert skies, up hill and down dale… and also into places that stank.

You will, of course, follow your "own" path. Nobody really knows where that will lead. Life IS unpredictable. Some lives are "programmed" by parents and past history into predictability. Some people make conscious "plans" - the diary is full… day by day, week by week, year by year. School, college, university, career. Doctor, lawyer, cabinet or candlestick maker. Some make up their lives as they go along.

I would suggest, however, it is a rare person who can anticipate EVERY eventuality.
[and yer, know I said no advice. Drat, oh well, will wriggle out of it by saying that "suggestions" are different from "advice". Eek, just looked it up. SUGGESTION .. ‘hint’, ‘information without oath’. From the Latin: suggerere gestum .. sub(under) gerere(carry). ADVICE .. ‘counsel’, intelligence’, etc. From the Latin: ad visum .. ‘according to what seems, or is seen, to be best’. mm, I learn a new thing every day. Will have to keep all that in mind.]

OK, Advice. Umm, If you choose to follow an "unpredictable" path, (as you have) then I think that the "best" thing to do for the next ten years or so is collect as many skills for success, as well as "survival" techniques, that you can muster. Some of them will fail you. From 30 onwards the going gets tougher. You are no longer a "boy", and there is some serious competition out there. I know not whether "lack of compassion" is part of your "survival" technique but you are showing very little of it so far. Perhaps compassion, and care for the feelings of others only comes after you have children of your own (if ever).

You might not understand this, as yet, but am pleased that you tried to respond to our recent "battle of the emails". You showed me that you could write a reasoned, coherent (but somewhat brutal in tone) statement.

A "Declaration of Independence."

And I respect that. However, am not dead yet but, since you made it quite clear - am now unable to communicate directly, have (one more time) taken to the sidelines. Perhaps you will read this one day, perhaps not. It did, however, raise some more questions - and if I wanted to be "picky", some minor points of spelling and grammar, and some of your reasoning is debatable. And Yes, I do have a tendency to be obtuse, to obfuscate - as well as use elliptical arguments and uncommon words - so there were some points that you apparently missed, or failed to understand. Perhaps, in 30 years time, with more experience, you will remember.

Hopefully, in time, we will comprehend.

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