I recall asking my wonderful mother when I was a small child, how long would I live? Her answer has always stayed with me. She told me no-one can ever tell how long we will live, and then, although she was not a regular church-goer or reader of the Bible, she quoted from Psalm 90, verse 10, which starts: 'The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years'.
Today is my 70th birthday - so I've successfully reached the first target. Hopefully I have the strength to continue to the second, and maybe further still....?
So, is this a time for reflection, or for looking forward? Perhaps a bit of both.
Seventy years is a long stretch to look back on. Inevitably, within my life, there have been some sensationally good times as well as a few times that were woefully bad. Without doubt - the good outnumber the bad, but with the benefit of age and experience, I do recall some events in my life that I should have managed better. I don't doubt that every reader of this blog could say the same about their own lives. However, overall, I don't feel I have made too bad-a job of the gift of life I was given. I would like to think that I have lived-up to the expectations my father had of me when I was born, and I would like to hope that he would be proud of me now.
A teeny regret could be that I haven't really made any mark on the world. I am not an especially ambitious person. Maybe I could have done more. However, there will be a few dusty Art GCSE and A-level certificates in the back of files around the country, where the owner might recall 'Mr Dorrell helped me to get that', and I know that my work over the years with numerous special needs pupils and their parents was appreciated at the time - but from my work life, I have left no legacy.
I gain pleasure from taking photographs and from writing. Currently I have some 11,000 photographs published on the Geographical/Historical website, Geograph, and I continue to add more quite frequently - find me here
Also - I have written down my life story, which I have published as a website. It was a most cathartic exercise to write, and finding and electronically saving so many old family photographs was extraordinarily satisfying. Just occasionally as the years pass, I plan to add a paragraph or two by way of updates, though on the whole, this blog tells the tale of my life since we have lived on Skye. My life story website is here.
As to the future? Who can say? Who would ever have guessed, almost exactly one year ago, that a world-wide pandemic was about to affect us all so dramatically? All we can do for our future is care for our planet and for the people around us, look after our own health and well-being, and do our best to make the most of the ever-shortening time we have.
I promise I'll write another birthday post, and refer back to this one, when I reach fourscore years!
|With my Wonderful Mum, June 1951|