When he was a young man, Michael Heseltine is reputed to have written on a scrap paper that he wanted to be Prime Minister by a certain age. Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe are said to have had tennis racquets in their hands before they were five years of age and Mozart wrote his first piece of music in 1761, when he was five. I, on the other hand, didn’t publish my first two books until I was 71, having started writing properly when I was 64. At an age when, according the The Beatles, I should have been “Doing the gardening, digging the weeds. Who could ask for more?” Well, I certainly can, although I don’t think about asking, it’s about doing. “Do not go gentle into that goodnight” is, I think, a good way of describing the situation. In fact, it describes my attitude quite well. After all, it’s probably too late when they actually nail the coffin lid down. So, where am I going with this?
Well, I’ve never had great ambition or set myself goals in the way that Mr Heseltine did. However, I do keep going and keep challenging myself and, as my regular readers will know, have spent some years in therapy trying to sort my life out. It has, if nothing else, been a fascinating detective story. It has, however, been so much more and, as a result of working out what that childhood did to me, I have been able to change my behaviour and my life. It has been a very rewarding and satisfying experience and it is no coincidence that I am now doing things I’ve long dreamt of but felt that weren’t for the likes of me. I still have a long way to go but I now know that the hardest glass ceilings to break through are those you impose upon yourself. Interestingly, I used to worry that this process would take the edge off me. That bolshie little bugger who wouldn’t give up. Well, it hasn’t. More contented I may be but that hasn’t come at the expense of the perseverance and some determination.
So, the next time that you think that your life could be more than it is, forget for a while the injustices out there and try to work out what stops you, on the inside. Then take just one little step in the direction you think you’d like to go. It may be scary and you may have commitments that hold you back. However, no one else can do it for you. Lastly, remember that, if you don’t do anything, then nothing is likely to change. And remember that coffin lid!