Landmarks

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A North East landmark

This post was written for the #weeklyblogclub, a collection of writers and blogs that publish work on a range of different topics each week. Each week there is a suggested topic which I always manage to ignore but for the 50th week I promised to stick to the script and write about “Landmarks”.

What can you say about landmarks? By the time you reach adulthood you don’t really know you’re approaching one until it hits you and then it’s too late.

Like Franz Kafka’s character Gregor Samsa in the seminal novella Metamorphosis, I recently underwent the same sort of hideous transformation.

Just like Samsa, who awakes to find he has been changed into an enormous and revolting dung beetle, I looked back at my own reflection to realise I’d become the similar sum of my inner most fears.

The face and features were familiar but there, before my very eyes was a garment that should not be seen outside a 1930s period drama, let alone wrapped around my neck.

That’s right reader, the figure I saw staring back at me from the mirror was enrobed in nothing less than a full tweed scarf. I was actually wearing tweed.

I know, I know but in what alcoholics call a ’moment of clarity’ I recognised the landmark moment for what it was – what had I become?

As a child (and as a parent of two young children) you see landmarks all the time with things like the first tooth, first steps, first words or starting school. At that age they all seem to come thick and fast. They’re also universally positive, who could forget the delight of a first Christmas, the joy of that debut holiday or the pride or a first birthday party. (First words and questions lead to much hilarity – see here)

As you get older these landmarks tend to be a bit more reflective and I’ve reached a good few of those in the past 12 months from that ‘significant’ birthday ( I blogged about that here) to the loss of a parent.

Rarely can anything in life feel more like a landmark than having that vital and constant umbilical connection cut so suddenly and indelibly.

On the flip side professional life can provide some defining moments and although it’s hardly the Oscars, I’ve twice taken the applause at a major awards ceremonies recently. It’s great to be rewarded for hard work and recognised nationally, but in the bigger scheme of things it probably doesn’t mean much.

It reminds me of that much-used John Lennon quote when as a child he’s asked:

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

“Happy,” he replies

“I don’t think you understand the question,” teacher adds.

“No, you don’t understand life,” is his riposte.

It’s probably far too good to be actually true but I think measuring landmarks in happiness is probably the best way to get through life.

Which is why my abiding memory of this year will be the first trip to Disney with my two girls, unless that first nativity show tops it tomorrow night.

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