I’m following up my last blog by using what I’ve discovered (I’m now back to 1810) about my ancestors to reflect on their lives and how crucial a role luck plays in life. Looking through the records I find that the women were, without fail, housewives and domestics while the men were manual workers; coopers, butchers, dockworkers, labourers, a tin worker and a slaughtermen. What, I thought, might their lives have been like had they been born a generation later? Something that is entirely down to luck; in the case of those of those who preceded me, the bad luck that was the Second World War! Interestingly, a feeling pervades those childhood years. One of making the best of it and somewhat of an acceptance of the life that you’d been given, with these two almost seen as one. The former is still ingrained in me, the latter considerably less so.
Now, perhaps, that was inevitable for someone who lived through the 1960’s which, to quote Joan Bakewell, were a golden age the likes of which we may never see again. Our parents had come through that war with a determination that things would be different from now on. Moreover, they went on to make sure that they were and, although we didn’t know it at the time, we, their children, were the lucky recipients. We were carried on their shoulders and the view of the world from there was very different. Deference, conformity, and a monotone world were replaced by experiment, freedom, a rainbow of colour and music that carried all before it. A glad, glorious morning it was to be alive and, for those of us still here, the diminution of those dreams has been particularly hard to witness.
So, is there a point to all this? Well, yes, there is. Life will throw crap at you and you will have bad luck. The secret, if there is one, is to keep going despite these and to watch out, (note to a generation of smart phone users, this is a useful trait anyway when you’re walking). In that way, you may actually notice the gems among the rubbish as well as the luck that does come your way. Then grab hold of and make use of these. After all, most of us won’t override the tide of history; that, however, doesn’t mean that we can’t have some effect. After all, if you want something to happen, you need to do something first, however small. That way, you will create your own luck and, in doing so, shows others what is possible. Believe me, I’ve done it.