So... here it is - SEVENTYSeventy years. It feels neither feasible, nor possible. I'm still in my 20s, surely? Where the hell has that time gone?
I'm not a great one for celebrating birthdays, but I feel that this three-score-and-ten is worthy of at least a backward over-the-shoulder glance - in gratitude, if nothing else.
I am grateful for all the people in my life - those that have come, those that have gone, those that have passed, those that have stayed, those that I'm just now getting to know, those that are as yet un-met, and unknown, and in more recent times, all the people I have spent time with on social media. Many people scoff at social media, but I think I can honestly say that the many friends I have made on-line have all been true and honest friends. These are all people that have taken part in my life, whether the meeting was just brushing shoulders in passing, or deep friendship, or even deeper love. You are all the people from whom I have learned; the ones who have given me experience, and have given my life meaning. I'm grateful to those who have loved me, supported me, and encouraged me - without your help, I would have been nothing. I hope I have given enough in return.
I have no natural progeny, but the children that have come into my life are exactly the kids I would have wished for, all grown to be beautiful people, and having their own beautiful kids. I love them all.
Without all these people, and the characters that they are in their own right, I feel my life would be quite shallow and meaningless. Thank you all!
I'm grateful too for all the things I have done in my life. I think it has not been an "ordinary" life. I have always had a thirst for knowledge - literally for as long as I can remember - but not in the way that, say, a scientist delves into a particular subject - deeper and deeper, but more in the way that a polymath desires to know everything, though I don't rate myself as such; there is just far too much to learn!
As a teen, I found it very difficult to settle to my chosen schooling, and then to any particular career, so in the first half of my working life, I had many and varied jobs ranging from the menial to the technical to the social - milkman to telephone engineer, smallholder to social worker, just a few examples. There were many more. It wasn't that I was work-shy - I had a good work ethic - I just didn't like to get bogged down with any one thing. Then I found basketmaking, or rather, it found me - more a philosophy than a job, but something I could do that fitted into my lifestyle, and manage to make a meagre living to boot. That has taken up the last 27 years of my life, although my fingers have finally had enough of the repetitive strains.
I have spent all of my adult life in "self-sufficiency" mode - renovating, building, making, and repairing almost everything - houses, cars, domestic machinery - anything - though the latest technology is way beyond me. I did manage to assemble the PC I am at present typing on out of various components though, which pleased me no end.
While all this has been going on, I have taught myself to play several musical instruments - not well, but adequately, and the learning continues to this day. There is also in more recent years, photography, at which, it appears, I have a certain flair. There are still many things I would like to try, many things I would like to experience, but just as important to me is taking the time to watch the grass grow. I have learned to love a hammock, when the weather is fair. There is just so much to learn, if we would only stand still for a few minutes to observe - or lay back even, and watch the clouds. It is so good for the soul - so good!
So yes - not a bad life. I have managed to get this far without damaging myself too much - no broken bones - though there were a couple of times I came very close to the edge of self-extinction, but I survived. I am still fit and able, for which I am daily grateful, but I can't deny that I'm on the downhill run now. I shall just have to keep my foot on the brake to make the journey last :)
Seventy is nothing to be feared! I feel fulfilled, and very content.
Onward! (albeit at a much slower pace :D )
© Rob King - on my 70th birthday :)