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Monday 26 November 2018

Melancholy Mondays: Now We Are Forty

So, the day came and I turned forty years of age.

The heavens did not proclaim anything, no unanticipated solar eclipses happened, I did not turn to stone, crowds did not gather, indeed, despite being an unexpectedly sunny and clear day the ninth of September 2018 was just another day.

I had some old friends around me, who know me well enough to not make a big deal of it all. There was no heightened expectations like we always used to have for every single Hogmanay party, which never ended in anything other than an abject disappointment.

It would have been better, however, if the woman I love was feeling better, but at that time she was suffering with terrible morning sickness. Something that has slowly faded now she is in the second trimester. Still, there are other things to look foward to, and if anything, this was an excellent lesson in "you aren't the important thing anymore."

The important thing is to come. The important thing is my son. The important thing is the life we make for him together. The important things are what we can teach him.

I don't suppose I'll end my Melancholy Mondays, or my various concerns about things in the world, it's just that I've something else now. He might not have arrived, so to speak, but his presence is already here. It is changing how I see the world, see my place within it and my future role as a parent.

I had always looked to being a parent with both hope and dread, as I suppose many have, but now it is imminent I have no fear. Not to say that I am without concern (that will never happen) but that the overwhelming fear of it all has faded away and a certainty has replaced it, now there is only a longing to begin.

Not that I expect things to be easy. For most of my life I've being waiting for this one thing to be sorted and then everything will be alright. Except, that has never happened and it's taken me a long time (too long really) to realise that this really is what John Lennon meant when he said, "life is what happens when you are busy making other plans." Well, it's high time to focus on the life and leave the plans to others.

My worklife isn't were I want it to be, nor will it ever be unless I can make certain changes or sacrifices, or more likely, to simply accept the way things are going. Libraries might never leave society, but they will certainly change and actually they always have. The basic message that we liberal-minded folk hold, the 'free access to all information for all' might be our current mantra (and one worthy of fighting to hold onto) but it is not the librarian's Hippocratic oath. There is none in the profession, beyond preserving knowledge, and I suppose that's something after all.

Tied to this is the fact that I only every wanted to be an artist, like my own dad did, and like him through cowardice and other handicaps neither of us have achieved this. Although until my own death, I still have this as potential in some form. Do I need to be a writer to consider myself worthy? I once did. I once thought that only in being an academic, would I have achieved something. It's not that I've given up (entirely) on the 'Art Life' it's just that I don't need you to tell me I'm worthy. Not anymore.

We all do what we can with what we have. There is no point delaying being a good person, the time to be good is now. I learned this lesson from Thomas. This isn't to say that I always make the right choice, the kind choice, the noble choice. Often times I act like an immature brat and am capable of being cruel and stupid in equal measure.

I've lost a lot of people in my forty years, some through carelessness, some through misfortune, some due to my own foolishness, some just because it was time. We are all just drifting, hoping to find some pure reason behind it all. Some delude themselves into thinking it is such-and-such a cause or ideology. I'm not going to proclaim that I know the answer, I don't, I just mean to do my best with what I have. To be the best father that I can. What else is there?

Salvador Dali, 'Geopoliticus child watching the birth of the new man' (1943)