We are not here for rehearsal, you know!

Don’s Diary

The end of the year is a time for taking account, a time for reflection before we make New Year resolutions.

This year, having just attended the funerals of two loved ones, my attention to this matter has been focused even more keenly. It is also the time for reckoning in a HSC year, arguably the most important year: time to take another career move. Perhaps more of us should take stock. “We are not here for rehearsal, you know!”

I find disturbing that so many young ones, and now the not so young, seem to have little or no ambition to make the most of their often-considerable talents and of life. Our society’s “safety nets” just supply the material needs of individuals. Safety nets never provide self-respect, promote self-sufficiency or provide for families in the long term.

Indolence is one problem and others lack confidence to get on with life. Some, usually because of their own poor life choices, lack the skills to be self-sufficient. However, instead of accepting responsibility for this situation and doing something about it they invent excuses. It will be a medical condition, often largely self-inflicted, of exaggerated proportions – most of us have something wrong. They will make themselves look unkept, often dirty and inappropriately dressed so when nobody wants to know them they can say “There is nothing wrong with me, they don’t like me because they are unfair. I want social justice. It is the big (successful) companies and people who work and save that are the problem, not the likes me.” Our system props these sorts of people up because it gets votes – governments are not doing them a favour!

When they are in their teens and early 20s, they will say that all young people are, or should be like them. In their late 20s and 30s, they will be delusional about their time passing and some will rely more heavily on mood changing substances to allow them to escape from reality. If they are lucky a strong partner will enter the equation and save them from themselves. It is then pathetic to see them in their 40s – more than half of “three score years and ten” - with nothing, most of their so-called “friends” having woken up to themselves and moved on or are dead. They become prematurely aged, bitter, associate in sub-cultures and are left with the dregs of society. At 60, on this path, they are an object of pity – I was reminded of this when I saw one recently at a funeral.

They forget that there is a biological time clock ticking. For women in particular a time when it becomes difficult to have babies. There will be a time of reckoning for long-term lack of physical fitness and dental care, poor diet and perhaps substance abuse. In their 20s, physical work can be too much and in their 40s when re-employment starts to get harder for most people, it becomes impossible for them. Yet at that age some are still delusional in saying I am still trying to work out what I want to do with myself then do nothing substantial. Pity their children if there are any.

With only pedestrian skills say as a musician, an actor, in horticulture, art or as a writer – what they do not seem to accept is that they need to get a “day job” first. For most they are hobbies at best and can done without employment. They do not seem to recognise that almost everyone these days will need to adapt to about three career changes in their lifetime and contend with major changes in technology.

Take a reality check. Let us all get real, take life in both hands, take responsibility for yourself and make it work! Let us all strive to excel at what is good and great, as we Freemasons say. “Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of your life”, a new one- or it could be.

Fraternal best wishes to all

Don Paterson