Thursday, 19 May 2011

So Long, Farewell

Last weekend an email went out from my school alumni association telling us all that my ex-headmaster had passed away. I'm not actually sure how old he was because through teenage eyes he already seemed quite old - and that was quite some time ago. Still, it came as a bit of a shock as you sometimes feel that certain people that exist in a bubble were just meant to live forever. At school he taught me A-Level History. I was fortunate enough to be awarded the course prize in both senior years and, ultimately, I went onto university to read History. So it's fair to say he had a bit of a bearing on my path into adulthood.

The thing is I don't actually think of him in the context of the course at all. In fact, he really wasn't that good a teacher. A bit rambly if I remember. But as a person he was just such a charismatic, warm, energetic and genuine kind of guy. Even when I bumped into him in the street many years after both he and I had departed the school, he still had so much to offer in terms of kind words, friendliness, advice and humour. And this whole episode got me thinking about a life coaching technique I know involving leaving a legacy. To set the scene, imagine you've just passed away (not a winning thought but roll with it). A friend stands up at a gathering to read a eulogy on you to all your other friends and family. What would you want your eulogy to say about the life you have led (winning character traits, achievements, people who have loved you, people you've loved)? Then think: What would it actually say if it were to be done truthfully now? A tad morbid, perhaps, but it does get you thinking about what kind of gift you're already giving to the world and the huge amount of other stuff and human potential that you could throw into the mix.

Nobody's perfect and I'm sure the headmaster had as many frailties as the next person. But I will remember him fondly based on what impression he left on me. So, thanks, for everything, Mr Thomson.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Remember The Time

Another Monday, another annoying day. Well, I say annoying - it was just another frustrating day of being me. Can't do this, not good enough at that, don't know how to think creatively - Monday morning thinking for me. Sometimes I get caught up with all the negative noises that are part and parcel of being human. But on the way home from work I had my own mini epiphany:

"Of course I'm very capable and smart and insightful and interesting - I just need to read my blog."

And that's what I've been doing - reading my very own posts from the past. The clever bits, the silly bits, the funny bits, the inspired bits, the emotional bits. It's a simple thing, perhaps, but it's little things like this that can prove to me that I have got what it takes and I'm more than enough. I've shown it in the past and no doubt can prove it to myself again in the future.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Redemption Song

As much as Tinseltown gets a bad rap for the amount of regurgitated, formulaic dross that gets served up on occasion at the cinema, there have been many movie moments that will continue to stand the test of time. One of my favourite films is the Shawshank Redemption, a wonderful movie about the human spirit. Having not seen it for a number of years I caught it again a few weeks ago. It's still great. One quote, though, from the Tim Robbins character still sticks out for me and in a way sums up life in general and not just life in a correctional facility:

"I guess it comes down to a simple choice, really - get busy living or get busy dying"

Too true.