As a new year begins, many people ask themselves a lot of questions. They might review the year before, make certain predictions for the year ahead, make plans for change in their lives. Hence a number of epiphanies might present themselves, or answers to their questions…
Before Christmas I turned 59. I was not at all worried about it. I was even proud to get through another year unscathed, and to spend my birthday with those I love. But as the new year begins, I confess to being a little nagged by the following question:
am I unemployable?
I accept that nowadays there are some things I can no longer do or dreams I can no longer dream. I can no longer bomb down the wing, skip past three players, do a Cruyff turn, cut inside and curl a delightful shot into the top-left corner. I can no longer dream of my band playing Glastonbury, thousands of adoring fans singing my words back at me as I hold the mic out towards them. No, I can no longer achieve those things.
But at this old age I CAN still do a number of things. I can still wash and shave of a morning and make myself reasonably presentable. I can still when luck is in, stand to attention without the aid of rhomboid medicaments. I can still drive a car (though admittedly I sometimes make a balls of parking). I can still walk for miles and miles along the beach without losing puff. I can still look in the mirror and see quite a fit man looking back at me. A man who drives to the gym three times a week. A man who sometimes even goes in!
Yes, I can do all of those things. But above all (though some may scoff) I can still write. Unlike kicking a football, writing is something that can be done for ever, and unlike footballers, writers can get better with age, not worse. Writers of an age can still produce the skills and techniques they trained for, and which delivered successes. Writers can still burst with ideas from years and years of life experience home and worldwide, good and bad, joyous and heartbreaking. In short, they can still excel in their field.
I believe that. That is the truth, that is my epiphany, that is the job I was born to do. Why, therefore, am I shaving in the mirror and asking myself if I am unemployable?
I know why.