2015 Grateful 1

Hard to believe that another year is drawing to a close. So much has happened. So much has changed. And it all went so quickly. Perhaps it’s a symptom of getting older. Of aging. Time flies. It seems like yesterday that I started this year’s Grateful 52 and now the countdown has ended.

Many of my friends had significant birthdays this year; many more see the half-century next year, myself included. And yet in my head I’m still 32 and will always be. I was asked over drinks this Christmas if I had a choice, which one would I pick:

a) €4 million
b) To  go back to being 20 knowing what I know now

Apparently it’s a polarising question with most women opting for the dosh and the men opting for a do-over. I can’t speak to that. But I’d have taken the €4 million without hesitation. There’s no way I’d want to go back and do over.

I’m grateful that I have few regrets and those I have are negligible in the grand scheme of things. I’m grateful, too, that people read this blog and comment and interact and let me know that I’m not just writing for my own amusement (although I think I still would even if no one read anything I wrote – it’s therapeutic). Thank you, though, for engaging.

And a present for you – in case you haven’t heard it already:

carolsChristmas carols are my favourite part of the season – I like the oldies, the classics – and I like, the new ones, too. This one – The Flight – was commissioned by King’s College, Cambridge as part of the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols. It was sung for the first time this Christmas and is written by Hungarian-born George Szirtes.

The child on the dirtpath
finds the highway blocked
The dogs at the entrance
snarl that doors are locked
The great god of kindness
has his kindness mocked
 May those who travel light
 Find shelter on the flight
 May Bethlehem
 Give rest to them.

The sea is a graveyard
the beach is dry bones
the child at the station
is pelted with stones
the cop stands impassive
the ambulance drones

We sleep then awaken
we rest on the way
our sleep might be troubled
but hope is our day
we move on for ever
like children astray

We move on for ever
our feet leave no mark
you won’t hear our voices
once we’re in the dark
but here is our fire
this child is our spark

Words: George Szirtes
Music: Richard Causton


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6 Responses

  1. Grateful 1…. I’m grateful for you, Mary, and your blogs of all kinds. Thank you! In case you’re wondering, I’d take the money, and my 33-year old son would take the do-over… I might take the do-over at 40 though.

  2. As I was able to watch the King’s College Festival of Nine Lessons on TV just for once, your reference to György Szirtes’s poem made me look up the real printed order of service (available as pdf) as it was not included in the considerably different TV broadcast. The experience has left me regretting that the powers of TV could not leave this rather traditional event in (something much closer to) its original form. Tampering does not always result in progress.

  3. “And yet in my head I’m still 32 and will always be. ”

    Careful there. You are starting to channel your inner Jack Benny…..

    “I was asked over drinks this Christmas if I had a choice, which one would I pick:

    a) €4 million
    b) To go back to being 20 knowing what I know now

    Apparently it’s a polarising question with most women opting for the dosh and the men opting for a do-over.”

    Which goes to reinforce my overall opinion, that in practical things, Women are often smarter than Men.

    It is like another question game – if you are sent back 1000 years, what would you do? Before cannons and firearms were invented, the person who knew how to build those would concur the planet. But do you know how to make a firearm? A cannon? Gunpowder? Or even how to make fire to light off the gunpowder without a match? It gets complicated very fast. In other words, having generic “knowledge” about things is not the same as being able to capitalize on that knowledge. One may know a lot, but still be unable to do anything with that knowledge. But having knowledge and the resources to utilize that knowledge (e.g. €4 million) is a effective combination indeed.

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