I got to thinking about this recently after I initiated a facebook chat with someone from school. A boy (now a man – obviously) whom I haven’t heard about for over 25 years.
He had an impact on my life at a specific time, unbeknownst to him! From the crucial age of 13 until pretty much the day I left sixth form, he dominated lots of my thinking. And that is because he was the first person I was ever, ‘in love with’ and thus the object of many daydreams, wistful thinkings, and doodlings on notebooks; “me and blah blah…forever” etc. etc. Now, he won’t know this, and doesn’t even need to know it, it’s of no concern. However, he remains relevant to me as he is part of my story. He is one of those people that figured in my journey through life.
I started to think right back to various people who have figured – in primary school; teachers and other kids, through secondary school, random people who were in my early life, some for a short time perhaps or at a particularly key time – but whom I can remember really clearly. I thought about individuals I really wish hadn’t figured and how I cannot erase them – because they are also there in my story with a role to play.
There are so many people who have a small or fleeting part to play in making us who we are – I am thinking here about our youthful selves – perhaps before the age of 18. They leave their traces on our psyches; hauntings of an earlier us grappling with our exciting, overwhelming, scary, bemusing life adventures.
If you contacted any one of them maybe with a little card to say, “just wanted to thank you for all the contributions you made to life”! – how could you do that without sounding weird, desperate, or like you must have just hit the big time in a therapy session or worse? If you heard from someone out of the blue that you hadn’t thought about in years – what’s the first thing you would think?
I used to find the idea of contacting people from my past very cringe worthy and totally uncool – but maybe it’s my age and spending too much time with a small child on my own – but I think I am well up for making contact with people I have know and hearing all about how life has been for them. I am pretty sure that by a certain age (and that must be round about 40) one realises that life is life (la la la la la!) and for everyone no matter how great their particular dreams may have been, no matter how high the ladders they were going to climb – they have probably come to rest at a place that is not that dissimilar from the next good persons. Life is much of a muchness in the end and we get older. We have that in common. Our dreams and aspirations are not that different and the knocks that life has sent us will no doubt ring true for others we have known.
What do we think about getting in touch with say, 5 key people from your life before the age of 20. Would you do it – would you thank them for their contributions to your life – or would ‘thank you’ be the last thing on your mind?
Are you in part just an amalgamation of all the people you have ever known and things you have ever done? In which case the least you could do is say ‘thanks’?
This is going to be my next big art project – I am going to do this. Anyone want to join me? I am going to write down everything I can remember about 5 different people – and I am going to say ‘thank you’! Something tells me I might be alone in thinking this is a good idea for a project?