Don’t Let Your Life be Defined by “If Only”


On Friday evening I held the, belated, launch of my latest book, “Lessons from a Chequered Life” and then, at Saturday lunchtime, was interviewed on Camden Community Radio. During the latter of these, I talked about the bouts of depression that I mentioned in last week’s blog. Now, although these have knocked me off kilter when I’ve experienced them, I’m somewhat of a stubborn bugger so I carried on my life as best I could. The success of this strategy can be gauged from the fact that, well past retirement age, I’m still batting away with my books and my speaking engagements in my sixth career.

The problem for me is that I can’t help but think about how much more I might have done in other circumstances. Still, as both a practical person as well as a dreamer, I realise that life is what it is. Unfortunately, those “if only” feelings are always in my subconscious mind from whence they occasionally make the unmapped journey into my conscious one. At which point I become even more determined just to carry on to make sure that “if only” doesn’t become the defining characteristic of my life.

So this morning, I will start the process of finishing my fourth book, “Why Don’t You Just Support Arsenal; the Memories of a Spurs’ Supporter”. This is about 75% completed and I need to get it into print. The title came courtesy of my wife, Gaynor, who, as she will be the first to admit, isn’t a great football supporter. You see, for years, I talked about how good a manager Arsene Wenger was and how his impact on the game in this country had been a beneficial one. Yes, I know that’s heresy for most Spurs’ supporters but I like to give credit where it’s due.

Now, some years ago, when I returned from our local after watching a match, Gaynor asked, as usual, whether Spurs had won. When I told her that they hadn’t and, cognisant of my conversations about the Arsenal manager, she asked me the question that became the title of the book. Now, however, and despite Saturday’s blip, Spurs are in the ascendancy and Arsene, again despite Arsenal’s result on Saturday, looks as though his star is on the wane. Hence, the front cover design might well be a picture of this season’s final league table.

It seems that Spurs now have a manager who doesn’t let, “If only” (in this case not managing one of the world’s most wealthy clubs) determine his life and neither should anyone else. If you act on that basis, you might not get where you wanted to but you will get further than you ever dreamt that you could. Maybe that’s why friends have called me “The Accidental Role Model”.

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