and after it a new dawn, but as any wise person will tell you, not before the last light of the sun casts long shadows across the landscape.
I often wonder at the sequence of events, coincidences, accidents, opportunities and more that led to the formation of the person that is now my wife. The character she was born with, the influences of nature and her parents (whose own coupling was itself an eventful miracle,) the good and bad she faced in her early life. I wonder at how all those things could not only combine to make her so attractive to me, but also literally place her on my doorstep, many years ago, a year or two before we entered our teens.
What conspiracy of events and motivation led to her parents (again, a significant influence towards ‘who’ she was) moving into the street where I lived? We were the best of friends for a year, maybe even two. We walked to school, a couple of miles, hand in hand for a fair while, until we ‘discovered’ what cool was and dusk settled in. We ‘dated’ for perhaps a week in our teens and it didn’t go well. The same chaos of the minor and the major, the significant and otherwise coalesced and prevented the balance necessary for a happy ending just then, another dark night was upon us. My future wife (along with her parents) moved once again when we were 16 or so.
I was an introvert and strongly empathetic. I lacked confidence, thought deeply and was horrified by the ‘true’ world slowly unfolding before my eyes; from the brutal UK miners strike through Solidarity* in Poland to starvation in Africa and war over an insignificant island. All a far cry from the light of the books of Hugh Lofting such as The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle. As you might imagine, this didn’t lead to a happy ending as I went through the darkness of my later teen years.
And so, it was almost another twenty years until those pieces of chaos and chance aligned once again. How amazing then, that when we next made contact, I was divorced and had at least progressed from insanely angry to poisonously bitter. For her part, she had two young children and had split from her long-time partner, whom she’d never married, despite him asking on a number of occasions. The very things that had led to my troubled youth were now an asset. I had no issue ‘taking on’ and, in no time at all, loving her children. No issues moving from the busy and messy place I lived to where they all were (which was, in reality, busier and messier). Spooky, that she was herself a ‘step child’, mostly raised by a step father, as I was to become to her own children
There’s little worth saying from this point, things were good, things were hard, things were easy, things were bad. Round and round it has gone, up and down, this way and that. I’d say it’s taken the best part of ten years for it to work, for us both to truly come together and enjoy the day and the sun, its warmth and light. We’re in our forties now and it’s been a long, long journey. I hope the day we’re living in right now lasts a long, long time and I’m pretty sure it will. I genuinely hope the next true night is the last, but we’ll see. You just never know.
So it is and so it goes. We should (and will) take sides and we will take risks and we may be wrong no matter how right it feels. We have little control, we have no real idea of what the future may bring and we’re not great at consistency. But, when we’re strong, when we’re honest with ourselves and take away the façades we build, sometimes things just work. When integrity and courage meet, serendipity is born and we should all, all, be true to ourselves and clear about those we follow and what they mean to us. Don’t flog a dead horse because its what you said you would do, admit your mistakes, understand your weaknesses, celebrate your strengths.
Don’t expect things to be neat and tidy; they will be messy. You may ‘change sides’, perhaps give up what is precious right now. It’s a new world and really, it’s up to you to shape it and decide what’s important, and what’s not.
Happy birthday Packet Pushers and welcome to the long night that networking has ahead of it in the next few years.
*Terrorist by today’s standards I’m sure.