Some of you may have noticed a reply left by Marg (aka MargfromTassie) to my post yesterday. In part, this is what Marg wrote:
By the way Paul, you’re 71 now. If you reverse it, and were 17 again – what is the major thing, if any, that you would do differently with your life – knowing what you know now? ( or is this just too difficult?)
In turn, I replied:
What would I do differently? What a fascinating question. Rather than dump the first thing that comes to mind, let me reflect on the question for a while. Who knows? Maybe make it tomorrow’s post?
At first it was very clear what I would have done differently. Namely, had I had the awareness at a much earlier age of the psychological and emotional impact of my father’s death back in December 1956, just six weeks after I had had my twelfth birthday, I would have been a much more emotionally settled person and, in time, a better father to my son and daughter.
Then almost immediately I recognised the conundrum in what I was thinking.
For that subconscious fear of rejection that I carried all the way through my life until 2007, when a local Devon psychotherapist exposed that fear (thank you, J), had both strong positive and negative consequences. The positive consequences far outweighed the negative ones, that were mainly to do with uncertainty over relationships with women.
Because if my previous wife hadn’t announced in December 2006, fifty years to the day after my father died, that she had been unfaithful, I wouldn’t have sought J’s help, wouldn’t have gained the self-awareness that is so vital for all of us, and wouldn’t have met Jean in December 2007. And that has been a positive consequence of unimaginably beautiful measure.
So dear Marg, thank you for your fascinating question but, in the end, if I had the chance I would repeat my life exactly the same way again.
With apologies to any readers who have regarded the above as excessive navel-gazing! But my justification for writing this is to underline the supreme importance of knowing oneself!