"All we really want is to get to the point where the past can explain nothing about us and we can get on with life."
- Richard Ford; The Sportswriter - Bloomsbury, 1986, p.21
I was drawn to this book by the blurb on the cover which told me it was about a bloke who was entering his own midlife journey and I have found much to like about the way it is written and some parallels with my own.
The sentence I quote above struck a particular chord with me because since I stumbled unknowingly onto this path I have spent a great deal of time pondering the long distant past. There are many events that lead us to where we are now and in the natural evaluation that comes with a midlife episode we spend a lot of time pondering the wotifs.
For me there are many that are a direct consequence of childhood - wotif my Dad didn't drink to excess, wotif he had not had an affair, wotif Uncle Arthur didn't die as a comparatively young man, wotif Dad had not had to work two jobs or if agoraphobia had not set in? Wotif I hadn't joined the police force, or if I didn't leave the police force when I did? Wotif the business I bought into had not failed? I could go on forever and of course the answers are moot anyway because all of these things did happen and all of them have made me what I am today.
I am not an angel. I am doing my best to put regrets behind me and not to dwell too much on things I can no longer change. Easier said than done.
I was told a couple of years ago that I appeared to be depressed and that I should see someone about it - I did and the diagnosis was that I wasn't, which I already knew anyway. What I did find, however, was that there was much about my life with which I was dissatisfied and in being unhappy I was withdrawing and making those around me unhappy as well. I regret that but again I cannot change it.
It is very hard to forgive yourself for so many things when you spend so much time dwelling on the past, so like Frank Bascombe, the sportswriter, I look forward to the time when the past will reveal no more.
Post Script 05/01/2011
This has been dusted off as part of Blog Gems over at The King and Eye.