Who or What?

What's it all about? The question becomes more urgent the older I get. Nor is it just mine. Do any of us know why we are here? Or what it has all been about? So many threads, such tangled knots. Oh, for a coherent story. To be able to say what has been my purpose or yours, because just sometimes a friend lets me see behind the curtain – their confusion.

I know many bumble along, a hurdle at a time. Some have mid-life crises – what about end of life crises? When we know this is it, this is what we have achieved – and there won't be any more opportunities. What does Hillary feel now she's hit the wall?

What we need is a reverse mission statement. Not what I am going to do or make, but an executive summary of my life that makes sense, not only of what I have achieved, but who I am. Being primarily a mother, I don't have a career path, more a series of boulders I have climbed: first publication, first major speech, with fallow patches in between, filled with kids' activities and elderly parents. Imagine it's the same for most women. However we try to steer a steady course, we are also treading water with kid's activities or avoiding a whirlpool of domestic detritus.

Then, the kids move away, in our case overseas, our parents die and we are retired. My father, a neurologist, said to me that his career meant nothing to him in retirement. He hardly ever thought of it, nor did his friends: they all looked forward – to the grandchildren.

So we finally meet ourselves – who are we? And that's the answer, the core person who loved and cared, put our hearts and guts into each stage.


About UntraveledRoads

Fascinated by life, looking for answers to chronic pain and finding unexpected gifts. Interested in people, ideas, healing and humour. I am very happily married with three children and a kitten. As English born immigrants to Canada, we have family spread overseas, a daughter in South Africa and one in England. We also run a charity in South Africa to educate black, rural South African Women. Our first girl from a rural township has just graduated as an accountant from Johannesburg University and got a good job in a bank.
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One Response to Who or What?

  1. Mike Cole-Hamilton says:

    To those of you who follow this Blog, I occasionally appear. I’m “Bill”, and I’d like to comment. I’ve known Jane for almost 56 years, we’ve been married for 53 of them so I feel I know her as well as anyone.

    I wouldn’t presume to suggest her reverse mission statement wording, it would be so broad. Born two months premature, in an Air Raid, in the 1940 Blitz with the threat of invasion imminent isn’t the ideal beginning for anyone. But she has been, most successfully, all of the people she mentions.

    What she doesn’t say is, how she did it in the face of adversity – a hostile mother-in-law and life as a Navy wife in the 1960s. I was a carrier pilot and Jane lived with the daily fear when I was flying at sea. She followed ship with a baby under her arm so I came ashore to a warm temporary home in Malta and Gibraltar and to joyful brief reunions in Hamburg, Naples and Athens, to name a few.

    Redundancy, emigration, more than twelve house-moves overall, although we lived in one place for 24 years. And now, as the Blog title shows, she is dealing with chronic pain.

    But, a significant but, she has determinedly sought something greater all the way. Not Nirvana, nor an obsessive religious quest, but a search for the goodness in humanity and for the God that is in all things. It has led her to understand, reach out and touch people in a way that never fails to amaze me – though she doesn’t notice. Many people seem to warm their hands at her.

    There are a few soaring human rockets whose trails of stars will remain – Albert Schweitzer, Sir Winston Churchill, Dietrich Bonhoeffer (sp?) etc. But the real foundations of humanity are built and continually strengthened by countless individuals whose names may never be widely known.

    Remember how “Random Acts of Senseless Kindness” swept the USA, then came “Pay it forward”? Today, can we name who started them? Probably not, but the effects linger, just take a look at Facebook. Every day a human story of love, understanding or compassion.

    There are some horrors out there too, witness the unspeakable responses people post on Facebook or Twitter. But, some people are good, I’m just amazed at my luck in being married to one. Mission continues, but already well accomplished.

I really value your comments and particularly where something resonates with your experience.

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