Friday, 29 January 2010


I wish I hadn’t wasted quite so much of my life.

If that sounds like a self-indulgent, self-pitying, angry moan to you, you may be right.

Dissatisfaction as deep as that is a most corrosive attitude to have, I don’t recommend that anyone else adopt it. It kills spontaneity, the ability to enjoy what you have, it is a paralyzing, depressing, suffocating  blanket, very hard to shake off.

webweavers free clipart

I’ll tell you why I’ve admitted to the feeling expressed in the first sentence.

Every so often I read a book, or watch a TV programme on the wonders of this world. I am allowed to look into ancient civilizations, historical events, the wonders of natural history, the miracles mankind has wrought in the course of its existence. Sometimes, at parties, I meet a truly interesting and knowledgeable person, somebody who knows his/her subject, who is well-travelled, who speaks well.

Of course, too many of these TV programme are shallow, more a vehicle for a breathless presenter, who is shown endlessly rushing from one object to the other, in all corners of the world. We see the presenter rather than the subject. Or the book is boring, too full of dry facts, statistics. The clever, learned man may be the sort who monopolizes the dinner table conversation until I want to scream at him to shut up.

Still, the book, the programme, the conversation remind me of everything I have missed, the subjects I could have studied, the worlds I could have explored. Sometimes, I am totally captivated; I am a child again, looking at a Christmas tree for the first time or marveling over some miracle of nature, eyes wide, mouth (almost) open. If only I could be part of this world of knowledge, if only I could be  living in the rarefied air of pure academia, breathing in its dust. 

Instead there's the real, humdrum, boring me. Don't get me wrong. I can't, and never could,
become a brain surgeon, or win the Nobel prize for physics. I am not about to get on a camel and discover forgotten desert kingdoms, nor will I write the great 21st century novel, not to mention painting another Sistine Chapel.

But I could have done more than I have.

Long periods of my life were a struggle, at times a struggle to survive.

My education was, at best, patchy. Apparently full of promise, I disappointed my parents to the extent that they stopped their support overnight, and I was left with no choice but to interrupt my studies and earn my living. There's nothing wrong with that, you may say, that's life.

Unfortunately, being rather pig-headed, I got myself into some dodgy situations, the 'I'll Show You' attitude. By the time I had extricated myself, years later, getting back to full time education was out of the question; I had children, a household to run and a living to earn single-handedly. Again, so many of us had to, nothing unusual in that. I did manage to catch up on my education somewhat; I was good at my job and somehow the kids survived too.

But all the time, during the difficult years, the dog-tired years, at times even 'back-to-the-wall' years, there was this hunger for knowledge, the longing to experience the colourful, exciting world of learning, learning for its own sake.

Now that life is calm and really rather pleasant, the regrets are less powerful, but they are still there, sometimes.

Do I start now? 

Or, could I perhaps ask for another life, to do better than the first time round?


  1. Do you think that you re the excemption to this "rule"?
    You and zillion of others like you, me, feel like this.
    But we came here in this world to struggle and fight and learn...
    Learn our capacities through mistaken acts.
    I, myself, am in the middle of the most turbulent and struggling years and I do say that your post gave me courage that sometime in the future my life would end up like yours now...
    "calm and rather pleasant".

    Im giving you a piece of "The Aliens" of C.Bukowski with all my love.

    "You may not believe it, but there are people who go through life with little friction or distress.
    They dress well,eat well, sleep well.
    They re contented with their family life.
    They have moments of grief but all in all they are undisturbed and often fell very good.
    And when they die it is an easy deaath, usually in their sleep.
    Im not one of them.
    Oh, no, Im not one of them, Iam not even near to being one of them.
    The are THERE and Im HERE"

    PS.From someone stranger somewhere in Greece

  2. Interesting Friko. I have a degree but there are huge areas of knowledge that are black holes to me. I am often aware of the vastness of what I don't know and think how wonderful it would be to have many lifetimes. But I don't regret what I have done with this one nor where I am now. I hope that doesn't sound complacent. It is just the way it is. I don't think you should regret either. You are an interesting, wide ranging, curious person. What you have done with your life has made you the person you are. Just think, you could have become a world authority on chinese art and bored the pants of us as a result of working on such a narrow canvas.
    And if there is something you really want to do, do it. You're not dead yet!
    Hope you can tell that this comes with affection and admiration, not so easy to convey tone this way!

  3. I share many of these same feelings with you Friko. I wonder if it is a function of being born with brains that have a lust and capacity to learn so much, but inhabit a body with such a limited amount of time. Our mind knows what it might, could, would do, had it the time and opportunities .... and actively mourns the fact that so many of our individual dreams of learning and mastery will never come to fruition.

    We blame ourselves, as if had we only got our act together sooner......and some of that is true. But if you look closely at some of the learned folks you admire and envy - they have had to ignore many areas of knowledge to specialize in the one they chose.

    A strange world we live in with so many treasures and mysteries to explore and this puny, little lifetime in which to try. Another part of the cosmic joke that some force up there is playing on us!

    I enjoyed this little pity-party with you. Sometimes we just need to get it out!

    P.S. What would be involved in joining you in the Miscellany Posts?

    P.P.S. My word verification was "BERIT" - which made me laugh as it sounds like 'bear it' - deal with it Bonnie!!!

  4. I think if you want to do it all or even much you must give up relationships with people...those you love and that is a big sacrifice. It was like the promise of women's liberation. You CANNOT have it all unless you view the world through rose colored glasses. But in answer to your last queston...yes, start now.

  5. Hi Friko,

    Lovely thought provoking post, thanks for sharing.

    Please come by my blog and pick up your award.

  6. Friko

    Yes, you start now! Trust me, as an Open University graduate who left school at 15 with no qualifications. I thought I was a mature student until I attended the residential summer schools. That was a real eye-opener. One of my fellow students was in her second year of study at 76 years old. A former medical secretary, she had spent many years building a home and raising a family. Feel free to contact me anytime.

  7. Friko, there's nothing stopping you from pursuing more except for you yourself, and if you really want to continue your education, you will find a way. If you don't really want to do everything that that involves (and there's nothing wrong with that at all!) then go easy on yourself and stop wondering what might have been. Having said that, learning does not always have to take on a formal aspect, although this tends to be what our society values. I think you're learning all the time, Friko. You just don't have the letters after your name.

    There are people (I think I'm one of them) who know a little about a lot of things, and who just might make more interesting conversationalists than the theoretical physicists with their deep knowledge of one subject.

    I was one and half semesters into a university education when I fell in love with a Frenchman, moved to France, had kids, worked etc and never went back to university. I did eventually complete a piano diploma that I had interrupted at age 15, but the lack of a degree bothered me for a long time. Far less so now, but one day I might pick it up again. For now I'm happy with what I'm learning on my own.
    Perhaps the difference between your perspective and mine is that my interruption of education was entirely my own doing, whereas yours was forced on you.

  8. This is a thought provoking post Friko and it makes your readers think about their own circumstances. Sometimes it is hard to do what one wants because of family constraints so I can see how one could have regrets but it is better to look at the present and the future – to celebrate the experiences gained. Luckily from childhood I knew my dream was to travel and discover different people and cultures and I stuck to it. Of course I don’t have a beautiful home and my car is old but my house is full of books and my mind has all the images from my trips. My friend’s mother was widowed at 78. She loved opera but never had been able to attend one. She started to travel just to towns where a good opera was playing in the USA, Canada or even to Australia, Italy or Hungary and in between learned more about opera. She is now 90 and has been to many opera houses. I think it is important to find something you can be passionate about – anytime in your life, and work on that, it is never too late.

  9. You have started it here and you're doing it beautifully... keep up the good work!

  10. Hi Friko
    I wonder what the purpose of life is? I think it is happiness. For me the secret to happiness is: 'accepting what is',and then from this calm place ask myself what wants to happen next? It keeps me honest with myself. OK this is my ideal way of being not always happening though.
    I wonder if you could have, would you have given up parts of your past to learn more?? What parts would they be?

  11. Friko, you are indeed a kindred spirit. Why do we constantly beat ourselves up. I sometimes wonder if the times I'm spending on regrets and should haves could be better spent but they well up and consume us. It's good to let it out and share it. Thank you for sharing yours. I so wish I could be there to hug you and we could have a good cry and then a laugh together.

  12. Hi Friko, me again. Just read the comments here and I think some of your newer readers are coming away from your post with a false impression about just how knowledgable and accomplished you are. I know you have many accomplishments to your credit and simply yearn to have done more and I am amused at people consoling you for your lack of education. Harrrrumphhh!

  13. I do love reading all your blog posts, Friko. This one in particular - like a new expression I've learnt on Facebook - 'Friko's written on your wall'. I can identify with so many of your life's experiences, as by reading the comments of so many other people - they have as well. I am inspired by your 'Miscellany' and am firing a few ideas up for one on my own blogsite. Have you ever read Erma Bombeck,'If I had my Life to Live Over,' if you click her name on Google search it will come up. Love Molly xx

  14. That's the trouble with being sentient beings, Friko. We think.

    And thinking leads us down all sorts of difficult roads: regret, self-recrimination, feelings of worthlessness. Regret is one of the most common emotions we humans have, but when it gets too oppressive, try asking someone who loves you what you've contributed to them, to other people, and the world in general, and see what lovely things you get!

  15. Yes, you can go back to school now. I did. I'm in my 50s and working on a degree in French. Along with the French courses I'm taking some Psychology, some History, some Anthropology and more. It's just marvelous. I'm learning so much about the world we live in and I love it!

    I'm pasting in a bit of a poem that I found a couple of years ago. It speaks of transience, of not having enough time, of living in the moment. The whole poem can be found by doing a search for "On the Flood Plain" by Al Purdy (Canadian poet). But these are the lines I love best...especially the first three. Perhaps they will encourage you, too.

    Whatever I have not discovered and enjoyed
    is still waiting for me
    and there will be time
    but now these floating stars on the freezing lake
    and music fills the darkness
    holds me there listening
    --it's a matter of separating these instants from others
    that have no significance
    so that they keep reflecting each other
    a way to live and contain eternity
    in which the moment is altered and expanded
    my consciousness hung like a great silver metronome
    suspended between stars
    on the dark lake
    and time pours itself into my cupped hands shimmering

  16. Although I can certainly relate,
    I believe that the person I know at this blog
    is more than a survivor;
    You have made yourself a great person, Friko!
    You touch me from half a globe away, Friend.

    Aloha, Friend!

    Comfort Spiral

  17. I think the overall sentiment in your post is not so much regret as reminiscence. You sound like you do accept things as they are and it is healthy for you to walk down memory lane once in awhile. While on that walk you can ask yourself if there is something you put off in the past that would be gratifying or enlightening to try now. You brought some things all of us like to think about sometimes.

  18. Hi stranger in Greece -
    Galli Sperra. Me and you and the zillion of others who are struggling and learning have a hard row to hoe. I am not really complaining about the struggle, I am complaining about the struggle taking up so much time and effort, so that there is little time left for the beautiful things in life, which, for me are, letting the mind wander where it will.
    I hope you too will come to the calm and pleasant place. If you have any sense you won't waste time then complaining about the mistakes of the past, like me.

    elizabethm - I am really quite proud of what I have done in the teeth of many obstacles. There is no regret for having had the strength of mind to struggle through to the light. It is the black holes that leave me dissatisfied. I don't even want to study for a job, a degree, any kind of distinction in the market-place, my sorrow is for myself and the brain I once had.

    Thank you for the lovely things you have said about me, in a most affectionate way.

    Hope to see you soon.

    Bonnie - trust you to get it in one. All the things we HAVE to do in a lifetime, leaving so little time for what is important. Of course, my children, my job, my own survival, they were all important and I wouldn't NOT have done any of that. But where were my soul, my spirit, the music inside me while I was doing it all. Feminism has a lot to answer for, in my mother's lifetime I might have considered myself lucky to achieve what I did.

    A puny little lifetime, is there really no more? That cosmic joke is wearing a little thin for me.

    Thank you for watching my back in the comment a bit further down. Have I really come across as accomplished? I consider myself to be lacking in accomplishments; my parents complained and complained, I could never get it right, or right enough for them, perhaps that's where these impossible demands come from, that I seem to be making on myself.

    I'll be posting on the miscellany in a bit.

  19. Tabor - yes, I do want to do it all, but life constantly gets in the way.
    As do weak and feeble bodies, which, on top of everything else and after years of struggle, give up on you, let you down.

    I want to do it all AND have the loved ones safe and happy. That takes several lifetimes.

    Herrad - thanks Herrad, I will be over and thank you for another award. You do realize that awards are currently in another drawer?

    MartinH - that is very kind of you; I have a few years headstart then over your fellow student.(Or do I mean 'catchup'?) I think at 76 I will probably be in my dotage, but who knows. It is so encouraging when I hear about people who study at any time in their lives.
    Concentration isn't as good as it was, besides there's this dratted blogging taking up so much of my time now.

    Deborah - what a seriously together person you are! I am quite sure you continue to learn throughout your life as do I. There's just too much to learn about everything that interests me and I want to cram in as much as I can, having lost the chance to do it quietly, peacefully, easily, as a younger person. I don't want to give up what I have now, it is simply that occasionally I realize the endless worlds of knowledge there are out there and I am not part of them. The problem is the impossibility of "doing it all" . I haven't come to an acceptance of the given yet. How much better off I'd be if I had.

  20. Vagabonde - You are infinitely fortunate to have known from childhood what you wanted, grabbed it and stuck with it. I had an idea that I was going to be a very accomplished woman intellectually and academically; it just didn't work out. The example of your elderly friend is a very good one, discovering a great love late in life and, again, sticking with it, is the best medicine.

    "To be passionate about something", how very true that is, I have known it all my life, but as so often happens, we forget the most meaningful things and get bogged down in pettiness.

    Mark Kreider - thank you so much for returning my visit, I am honoured! And thank you for your lovely comment.l

    maggie - it depends on what brings you happiness. I don't actually think of happiness as the be-all and end-all of life. happiness is elusive and cannot be achieved as a kind of present to yourself, and it is certainly nothing tangible or lasting. My happy moments come at the most unexpected times, for reasons which are hardly noticeable, are fleeting and all the sweeter for that.

    Yes, I would certainly have given up moments of my life to have had the chance to learn more; all the years of unhappy struggle spring to mind quite easily.

  21. Karin - you are sweet to want to share my misery. but my misery is more an anger at my own stupid mishandling of so much of my life. I can shrug my shoulders and say 'too bad' now, but no doubt I'll continue to beat myself up for years to come yet. On the other hand, I might actually get off my behind and do something. Or, I might even forgive myself. Now that's an idea which has only just come to me.

    See what blogging and sympathetic readers can do.

    mollygolver - you do say the nicest things! no, I haven't read Erma Bombeck, I'll look out for her. 'Friko's written on your wall"? Do explain.
    molly, I'd like you to join the miscellaneous bunch, if you like, I'll be posting on it in a bit.

    rachel - Is that what it is? Ow, me brain hurts!

    asking our loved ones, yes, that is lovely, a very good thought, which never occurred to me. In common with so many others, I take much for granted. Being loved is important, loving in return is very important too; loving oneself is the start, I think. Loving oneself enough to indulge oneself, is the hard bit; that's where real life gets in the way.

    Lorrie - That sounds like exactly the sort of thing I'd be interested in. I have done European medieval history for fun and still love it. My French is enormously rusty, that could do with a polish. Anthropology, yes, indeed, re-visit my old friend Levy-Strauss. You've done it, friend!
    How are you for concentration in your vastly advanced years? Do you have to learn everything twice?

  22. This could be a poem in the making..Maybe many feel this way- sure, but truth be told, I think there are others who don't have a hard life and aren't struggling- only the best example is how the rough elements create such a beautiful effect; without this I doubt there would be much sympathy for one? Sometimes reflection is good like this..besides, we could go off pursuing more education and our bod's end up breaking down?
    Seriously..I think I can identify with you..

  23. It has always been clear that you revere and revel in learnedness. A made up word, I'm pretty sure,but it has more of a "whole life approach" meaning than plain old academia.
    Change, or considering change can be good. Your life is far from over. I must send you a pinch of American Fairy Dust. It allows us to reinvent ourselves at any time, without considering age.
    To start with put the pillows at the other end of the bed tonight. It will give you instant new perspectives and probably be worth the look on your husband's face:)

  24. I have your link up..hope your thrilled (lol)..and while I'm at it, I love your sweet dog as well as the quote-
    Have a great weekend Friko-

  25. Gosh Friko another profound post that seems to same she knows me as well as I know myself. The thrust for knowledge is never satisfied in some folks. I study and learn everyday. When I was in counseling one time, the counselor said to me. "You have a hard time being average, don't you?" We obviously had things in our young lives that caused knowledge to give us self-worth. I know that, I recognize that and just keeping on learning. I will stop when I apply for entrance to the University of Heaven. Blessings

  26. That your parents were hard on you does not mean that you cannot be a little less hard on yourself. Yes, yearn, reach, be excited about what is still out there, but you would not be yourself without the years of struggle. Perhaps there was never the chance to do it "quietly, peacefully, easily, as a younger person". The younger person would not have been quiet, peaceful or found it easy. I speak as someone who knows I wasted so much time when I studied because I was too young to concentrate and who now sees a family member struggling so hard with other things in her life that her degree is utterly peripheral. It is a chimera, that corrosive idea of what could have been. There is only now. x

  27. I've read this and, as with many of your posts, I've come back to it. So many wise and interesting words above - I don't have much to add, at least not much of anything sage or pithy or even very intelligent.
    I think it would be a pretty boring woman who'd arrive at our age and not have regrets; who wouldn't yearn for more or other or varied; who didn't know what she'd missed. I also think it would be a dull woman who'd arrive at our age and be smug about her accomplishments.
    If you stop yearning, regretting, mourning or striving you might just as well stop celebrating, rejoicing and all those other good things.
    This post has struck a chord with me and I'm glad to have had the time to think about what you've written. I come from a family of achievers in art and politics. I've done neither but usually look back on what I've done with some pleasure and sense of accomplishment. When I look back and feel any disappointment or darkness I sit with it for a while and try to remember that the feelings mean I'm still alive. I don't fool myself that I'm going to do great things but I won't turn down an opportunity.
    Does this make sense - probably not much. I may have to come back again.............

  28. Good evening Friko. We have something in common. Events in my life, along with my own stubbornness, kept me out of an academic life. I try to learn as much on my own as I can though. And non-supportive parents - we'd best not go there...

    But as for our brains, it's like Vonnegut said, it's all the fault of our big brains that we cast about wishing this or that. Our memories are full to overflowing and we know we're going to die. We see ourselves dying every day even while something as insignificant as a cheap plastic toy will outlive us. Strange, isn't it? And now you know why I make up so many poems and stories. I'm just trying to decorate my path with colorful pebbles so as not to feel that all is dust.

    Forgive me for speaking so much of myself, but I hope you can feel me and know you're not alone.

  29. Interesting and challenging food for the night.

    Please have a nice start into the weekend.

  30. Oh Friko, I fear I came across as a know-it-all. Didn't mean to at all. And when I read all these comments and especially your replies to them, an even clearer picture emerges of the desires you had and how they were subsumed by events in your life.
    Somewhere you said to someone (damn, I can't find it now!) that you had always wanted to be accomplished. To that, I can only say; you are, you are! If the vision you once had of your potential accomplishments does not exactly match the evidence of what you have done, that is not to say it is lacking in any way. And even this doesn't get across what I really wanted to say...I'm not together at all, obviously...which is to to acknowledge that you had a dream, and it did not come to life. You have every right to regret that, and I apologize for being such a cheerleader.

  31. A very thought provoking post - I know those feelings so well.

    I hope there's time yet to explore all sorts of things. Regret is never constructive.

  32. But you have lived Friko and how you have lived! I hadn't realsied we had to ask for another life after this one I presumed one got one anyway and kept on going until you go tit right ! One must concentrate on what one has achieved against all odds not one has failed to do .

  33. I wanted to read all the comments before I commented, but I need to get into the shower and out the door, so I didn't take the time.
    I believe that no matter what somebody accomplishes in a life, there is always that "road not taken" issue. I certainly suffer from the same issue, particularly when my neighbors, the elementary school teachers are having their whole summer off and I'm driving off to my year-round job.
    At any given moment, I've made the best decisions I could given my options, and I guess I have to be satisfied with that.

  34. Hello Friko.

    Every time I give myself the gift of visiting your site, I am enriched. Reading this post and that which immediately preceded it (and all the thoughtful comments) has got my mind abuzz.

    All this buzzing is happening as I have my second cup of breakfast coffee on a below-freezing Saturday. There are so many interests I would like to pursue today, after finding the strength to switch off the computer.

    What I will do, however, is bundle myself up and take the subway to work all day at the shop, keeping that ship going, trying to keep the staff motivated, trying to keep the customers happy, trying to keep the sales figures on goal.
    Trying not to dwell on what I would really prefer to be doing. This job provides my financial support.

    When I lock the shop door tonight, it will be dark and the air will be even colder. It will be wonderful to get home and prepare a meal.

    Sometimes, it is the repetition of this routine that sends me down the regret road. However, I know that I have taken detours every so often in my life, giving myself the time to paint. Knowing that this could again be possible sorts keeps me going. In the meantime, I do try to keep my eye open to unexpected delights that do occur during these days of repetitive routine.

    A major decision taken long ago enabled me to move to New York right after university. I still marvel that such a leap could have been made by my 21 year old self. I have turned down marriage proposals, turned down acceptance into law schools, and made other decisions that I still don't really regret. Being able to feed my creative playfulness, and to continue to encounter new experiences (like meeting folks as interesting as you) propels me along, day after day.

    Thank you again for helping me to start my engine this morning! xo

  35. I don't mean to come across as over-optimistic and member the positive vibe brigade but you have lived a truly amazing life as far as I can see. And knowledge is infinite. That's it, that's my contribution.

    As for The Clash, I had to laugh. I take it that you won't be buying any CDs of The Buzzcocks or The Ramones, two seminal punk bands from the same era as The Clash. :-)

    Thanks for your comment on my blog.

    Greetings from London.

  36. A little thought: Since the way your parents treated you about your choices was so hurtful...why not consider making it a point to never ever treat yourself in the same manner? Whose voice is that in your head still chiding you so?

    You've probably got more unsolicited advice here than you ever imagined. Sorry for my part in it all ....

  37. You're so right in many ways. The more you taste of what the world has to offer in terms of learning, the more you want, and realise you don't have time to get. It wasn't until I went to uni in my early 40s, having left school at 16, that I realised how much there was to find out. Aaarrrgh ... I should have started earlier!

  38. I've so late here that everybody's snaffled up all the good quotes :-) I would heartily reccommend Open University, though - my degree is from there and.... you are NOT alone, not by a long chalk. I'm still toying with the idea of going back to study.

  39. Cloudia - 'A great person' - no less! Now that is overdoing the flattery just a bit. Like everybody,all i can do is my best and sometimes I jus don't come up to scratch (acc. to my own standards, which are the only important ones for each of us.)
    Thank you and Aloha!

    Technobabe - okay, let's meet half-way and stick with wandering down memory lane and regretting some of my decisions. Of course, I accept what is, doing otherwise would be foolish. If you get to know me better you'll realize that I am eminently sensible. Hence the boring!

    Kilauea Poetry - Go ahead, make a poem out of it!
    I agree that anything worth having, anything of beauty has to undergo a strenuous process of creation, which is often hard. I have no problem with 'hard', perhaps my problem is 'going soft', not achieving one's full potential.

    What does it mean, you 'have my link up?' I'm glad you like my dog, he is very special to me and an excellent dog, well behaved and likeable.
    (Just like me :)

    QMM - Keep at it, old girl. The University of heaven can wait for a while yet.

  40. elizabethm - thanks for coming back.
    You are quite right, that younger person was not peaceful and quiet, she was rebellious, stroppy and horribly superior to boot, quite unlikeable. That's not the whole reason for my parents' actions, but it helped them towards making up their minds. 'What might have been' is not so much the problem now, the problem is 'what to do now to catch up on myself.

    Pondside - dear Pondside, trust you to be sensible and calm; just the sort of person your job demands. Everything you say is eminently wise in a non-all-is-for-the-best-in-this-best-of-all-possible-worlds. I am glad that you too have regrets as well as pride in your accomplishments; it gives me hope that perhaps I am not as great an idiot as I think I am.

    English Rider - really ??? Golly, how did you work that one out? perhaps we give away more than we think when we blog, from the heart, that is.

    I'd love a dose of Fairy Dust, re-invention, however, is probably beyond me; I'd only take the real, cantankerous, stroppy, irritable, moany old cow with me into any new existence, and then there'd be more than one of me.

    Have you considered men's feet at all carefully?

    Mark Kerstetter - Yes, I can feel you, thank you for your fellow-feeling. You have described pretty accurately the current state of my existence. Perhaps blogging is a suitable tool to indulge one's creativity, whether it's read by others or not.

    These regrets would maybe have stayed a vague dissatisfaction and disquiet, once they're out in the open, laid bare for others to discover, they become tangible; one might even do something about them.

    I hope you will continue to write prose and poetry, for your sake as well as mine and many others.

    robert - thank you, robert; hope you are feeling better.

  41. deborah - not a bit of it; I never saw it as such. Yes, the dream remained a dream, it does for so many of us. So let's try and make a little bit of it reality even at this late stage. Cheerleader? I don't think so, (do they have brains?), perhaps I could even do with a bit of common sense cheering.

    mountainear - regrets are so useless. perhaps by blogging we can encourage each other to look on the bright side. (ugh, horrible expression, like 'counting one's blessings).

    her at home - really? can I join your religion?
    Sensible advice, do you always manage it?

    June - another bright and sensible view of life. I think I need to join club too.

    Frances - I can almost physically see you going through your day in your very civilized and contented manner; how fortunate you are that you can live the life you want, even if the routine becomes a little irksome at times. Pursuing your interests is the best way to keep regrets at bay.

    A Cuban in London - I hate the 'positive vibe brigade'; I am very glad that you are not of their number. Truly amazing? Another unexpected reading of what I project onto my blog.

    Please Sir, may I be excused the Clash and the others you mention?

    Bonnie - Of course, I am still doing cartwheels for Mummy and Daddy.
    Can we ever stop? I am trying to be kind to me, honest!
    Your advice is never gratuitous and always most welcome. Blogging about my problems is the best way I know of getting free advice from a professional!

    Fran Hill - the world would have missed out if you hadn't discovered a love of study. Your pupils might be happier, of course.
    I am glad that you are another one of those with a hunger for grabbing as much learning as will fit in, (besides the olives).

    Argent - Heavens, there are a lot of brainy people about! Never mind about snaffling up answers, giving me an example of what can be done in one's dotage is plenty good enough comment.

  42. What the heck..the University of heaven can wait?? I guess I need better instructions on how to answer posts?

  43. Kilauea Poetry - Noooooo, that wasn't my reply to you, that was for QMM Queenmothermamaw!
    Cheers, at least I now know that you take the time to look at the replies. Thanks for that.

  44. I can only speak personally here and say "It's never too late". I challenged myself when I started up my sewing business from home. I was having a really difficult time and was only just climbing out of a very deep dark hole in my life but it has been the best thing I have ever done. I have grown in confidence and my life will never be the same again. I am buzzing and I love it.
    What every is your challenge go for it. You never know how successful you could be so give it a go...and good luck.
    A x

  45. Friko . . take note of Martin H's comment. Like him, I did an OU degree. More or less for "something to do" after retirement. (I had a University degree already) Truly, if you get in the right tutorial groups, both locally and at the Summer Schools, the O.U is wonderful fun. What you mustn't do is spend time complaining that you're not doing anything about it! All journeys begin with the first (hardest?) step.

    Good luck!

  46. Oh gosh..I couldn't sleep (3:AM)..guess where I went!! I'm glad you didn't write me off that fast! Ha- Thanks

  47. Hello Friko

    I have really enjoyed reading your post and the many thoughtful and honest responses to it.

    For many years when I was overwhelmed with duties and responsibilities a little voice would say..."It's OK, next time round you can do what you it your way."

    and then one day it hit me that this time round may be the only time round I perhaps I should rethink my approach!!!

    Years ago I read:

    The brighter the light
    the greater the shadow

    and that aphorism has calmed me many times when I look with awe at the knowledgeable and highly educated people about and the great vastness of things I will never ever know.

    Now at nearly 60, I am resigned to the little I know whilst still enjoying learning I don't put the pressure on myself to voraciously devour knowledge like I used to. It has come to me that there are more important things to dwell on.

    I have also stopped seeing the path of my life as needing to change course...and I have given up wondering if it ever was on course... because of course it was...the path I am on, for a myriad reasons is the path I took and the path for me.

    The only option I have now is in this minute - the only opportunity I have is now, when I can change the path I am presently walking.

    I used to see my life as having two streams, a rushing stream of family obligations, duties, necessary tasks and work and the other tiny tinkling stream running parallel, in the little time that was left over - of self fulfillment, but of course they are one and the same...

    In the big picture my education, my achievements, my knowledge, my degrees, mean nothing... I am not here on this earth to cram my brain with facts and figures. I am here to be kind and generous and understanding, perhaps through using my mind and knowledge as a vehicle, but not necessarily. I am here to use my heart.

    I am sure Friko that your heart has been greatly exercised. Remember Ma'at the Egyptian Goddess who weighs the hearts at death against her feather to decide who qualifies for paradise. She is not weighing brains!!

    Happy days


Comments are good, I like to know what you think of my posts. I know you'll keep it civil.