It seems that David Bowie and I did have something in common after all. You see, like he did, I relish personal change; not just the result but also the process itself. Interestingly, the latter can often be the most difficult part in effecting such change involving, as it may, dealing with your own inhibitions. What I call my demons.
The problem with dealing with these is that you may well have lived with them for years and, thus, be used to them. They have, in fact, become part of you and, in dealing with them, you will likely have to address the reasons why they’re there in the first place. That’s the challenge I enjoy. For me the destination itself almost becomes incidental. Then again I did have a very good maths teacher who told me always to ensure that I got the procedure right even when I got the result wrong. His reasoning, correctly, was that other than that was guesswork and not maths.
In my case, the continuing process has taken me down routes and led me to destinations I hadn’t previously envisaged. Yes, I know that feeling of butterflies in the stomach when you start the process, although butterflies could hardly cause such anxiety. I also know the enormous sense of satisfaction over the results that are often different and much greater than expected. Indeed, if anyone had told me how my life would change with that final marital separation 40 years ago this month, I simply wouldn’t have believed them. Me, on Midweek, on Radio 4!
The personal discoveries alone have been well worth the effort and occasional discomfort. The opening up of areas of my life that were previously closed has been a revelation. Of enormous importance is the satisfaction in no longer allowing my past to determine my future and the opening up of those avenues at an age where most of my peers have opted for cardigan and slippers. Perhaps that’s why Robert Frost’s poem, “The Road Not Taken” resonates so much.
Now I’m not pretending that you can take every one of those roads; there are simply too many of them and too little time. On the other hand, you can keep on the path that life pushes you down while looking, with some thoughts of what might be, along the others that you pass. You can also, however, be the change that you dream about. After all Mr Bowie spent his whole life doing it with some considerable success. Each and every one of us is capable of such change; you just have to take that first small step. Once you do, you will likely never look back. And you might be living the life that you prefer.