Ok, time for a moment of self-indulgence. By some off-kilter astro-clock I’m told I have collected 60 New Years on this fast moving lump of rock. As the heading suggests I’d rather think of that as Geoffrey 6.0, the Reboot while I hurtle into another decade of caking making and taking, dancing and prancing and adding to my collection of ‘every day is Saturday’ time-fillers.
And on momentous occasions such as this, now that my eye-tests are free and as a Londoner my freedom pass is but a click away, I intend to take a moment to expound on a life philosophy.
I’m not someone taken much by grand schemes, anything organised or supernatural or indeed much that is not susceptible to ridicule so in writing this I expect to be teased, laughed at and generally the subject of incessant and, hopefully, complete mockery.
But I did ask myself the other day what characteristics do I think have helped me reach this point on the Grand Bannister of Life without too many splinters perforating my arse. So here we go:
- optimism: not everyone’s cup of tea and I understand that there’s a middle ground haunted by the dullards who count themselves as realists before reaching the mind-grinders who are pessimists but honestly, it’s one life, it might end any second in a death both tragic and comic so, smile and squeeze out all the juices now; Half full? Half empty? Pah! Tosh!! It’s overflowing
- resilience: you don’t walk through as many doors as I have without the odd one swinging back and smacking you on the nose. I learnt early that you still need to walk through the door. And if you can avoid kicking the sodding thing on the way past, so much the better because..
- do not, under any circumstances, beat your head against a brick wall (or kick a swinging door): because, dear reader the wall doesn’t give a hoot and it never hurts the wall. Walk away and find something soft and spongy to argue with, or debate over, because at least there’s some chance the soft and spongy might give a little
- be generous: my old man had an aphorism for every occasion: here the apposite one would be ‘always leave a man with his trousers’ – never just take, give at least a little and preferably a lot. You’ll be amazed how good it feels and how often there is a surprising return, but…
- do not give and expect a return: because, if you condition your generosity you are liable to be disappointed
- respect, like trust, is earned: and like wisdom is not a dictate of age, authority, position in life or any other criteria. And the more senior, educated, affluent, or powerful you are the greater the requirement on you to make it easier for others who might be less fortunate or in a less exalted position. I would modify the old adage ‘with power, comes responsibility’ by saying that ‘ with every ounce of power comes a tonne of responsibility’. The scales should not be tipped in favour of those who already have.
- and what would be my motto? I was once asked what I’d learnt from my father than had stood me in good stead in life and after a little, but some relatively deep thinking, I replied:
speak when you are spoken to and confess your farts
In many ways that sums us both up.