Sometimes, in ordinary conversation, a friend might ask me if, given a choice, I would live my life over again.
I think back across the millions of miles of it, the lush richness, the deserts, the rainbows of success and the stumble-grounds; the learning and the laughter, the birthing and the dying, the joy,grief and inner growth. Particularly the inner growth.
It is not a logical question, or answerable using logic, so you can guess that there are no men present, although maybe that’s just the men I know who, bless them, would say it can’t be true unless it’s been proven. I know what ‘proven’ means to me. It’s that point in the process of bread making, when the dough has risen as high as it can without pushing open the skylight. The point when it requires further bashing and twisting and pummelling into shape before being popped into an extremely hot oven for a permanent shape-arrestment and a nice brown crust.
Anyway, answer the question you daft island wife….
Well would I? Live it all again?
My first feeling is one of huge tiredness. It is not easy to imagine, let alone believe in, the energy required, not just to go through it all again, but to know what I’m going through as I go through it and worse, to know what comes next!
My head is reeling at the very thought. So, park it for now.
My next thought/feeling/response is that, had I not been gifted the life I lived, there would be no story, dynamic and whacky enough to have led me to write it down; to have been guided to an experienced agent and through her, to have found a well established ‘we-don’t-take-on-books-unless-they-are-top-quality’ publisher. And if there had been no madcap story, just a regular law-abiding disaster-free life, kept under militant control, I probably couldn’t imagine wanting to go through it all again. The very idea would just have made me wriggle my ageing butt deeper into the sofa cushions and pull out my knitting, thankful that all those requirements to jump about and be adaptable are just blurred memories.
Instead , look at me learning to Tweet and Blog and answer messages on Facebook (for goodness sake) and feeling rather like I hoped I might feel, but didn’t, at the age of 17.
Is this, I ask myself, because you are being stretched when others are shrinking? Or is it just that I am still living this life, instead of peering back across it all from the soft plumpy feathers of my wide-mouthed armchair?
So ask me now. Would I live my young life over again?
But….. I wouldn’t change one bit of it, except, perhaps, that one time I drove right over a roundabout near Greenock because I didn’t know it was there. Men were digging up the road and the leading lights had failed. It was a splendid performance and I came to rest in a field with my headlights illuminating the bottom of a large white bull.
You can’t park here! Said the roadman after chapping on my window. Yellow rain streamed down his face and a furious gale played skittles with the traffic cones.
No mention of the roundabout.