Last week I met some old friends, John Coop and Jan Lloyd, as I knew her, who I see about twice a year. However, this time a third person, Jo Ryan, joined us. I hadn’t seen Jo for over 30 years when we all worked on the city farm in Leeds. As usual, we reminisced about a project that changed our lives and the lives of many who worked on it. What is interesting about this is that, in the main, we have the same memories of what happened while we were there. This common remembrance of shared events both affirmation and a pleasure. We really had created something special and I wasn’t the only one who thought so.
What, though, was really heart warming was to hear Jo, at the time just 19 and on her first job, say, that the farm really was “a magical place”. How many people can say that of their first job; or any place of employment, for that matter? Jo has used the experience she gained to make a career, first in horticulture and, now, in arboriculture. Along the way, she seems to have retained that youthful enthusiasm that I remembered and value so much.
Well, we now live in more trying and uncertain times. Ones in which, through no fault of their own, young people, as Jo was then, have to work even harder to make their dreams come true. Not in the reality TV world so beloved of the tabloids, but in the real world that the rest of us inhabit. Well, I offer no panacea except that, if you have dreams, however, small, don’t give them up. Do what others have done and keep trying. By that means, you do a number of things. First you might actually reach your goal. Secondly, you will show others that striving is worthwhile in its own right. Also, if you’re as lucky as I’ve been, the journey itself will take you to other magical places that you never knew existed. Finally, and most importantly, you might help create other magical places. So much so that they stop being just “places” and become society as a whole. A real big society, in fact, and wouldn’t that be something?