Last evening I went to a graduation ceremony at the University of Western Australia – UWA. My stepson was being awarded his BSc (biomedical science), and it was a grand, proud occasion for Mairi and I as well as the many graduates, friends and families attending. Many were receiving Bachelors degrees, some Masters degrees, and some PhD awards. The pomp and ceremony was lovely – as one would expect from one of the world’s top universities. Drinks and food on the lawn afterwards was a fitting culmination to a wonderful event, which in itself was marking the end of a long road of toil and effort by so many students.
We all enjoyed the whole evening, and it set me thinking about the futures which lay ahead for all these students – at different stages of their lives and their careers. It set me thinking how one’s life is so often defined by the future, by the ambitions lurking on one’s mind, by the realities of life’s progression, by the onset of children, promotions, disasters, and many other events, both internal and external which affect us. They affect us, steer and sometimes direct our thinking, and begin to define what the next phase in our lives will be shaped by. For most of these graduates, the immediate future will be about career, whether further study or a passage into the workplace is the chosen pathway. Career will be uppermost in their minds at this time in their lives, but this may well be overtaken in future years by love, relationships, opportunities, family, tragedy. Their lives will then have a redefined future focus.
The actions one takes, the choices one makes, are steered by the expectations of the future. The hopes, dreams and desires we all have set the character of the rainbow we are constantly striving for ….. maybe it’s ironic that the elusive rainbow is always just ahead, like the carrot dangled in front of the donkey to make him walk. We all need these dreams and plans to forge success in our lives, and it is a simple truism that as we change, our plans change. As our hopes change, our futures change.
Sometimes, like Charlie, we wish things could go back to a time when we knew how the future was about to pan out. We wish we could go back to a more straightforward phase in our lives, one where the decisions were actually fairly easy, and the future was looking rosy.
As I contemplate my immediate future ( certainly not my long term future) I can’t help but put myself in Charlie’s place.
I have had a future led by career, I have had a future led by family responsibility, and I have had a future led by dreams of reaching the rainbow in the end. It was all exciting, it was all exhilarating, if sometimes stressful and challenging, and it was certainly mostly fulfilling and satisfying. A career in Education, helping young people to achieve their aims, goals and potential can do that for you.
Now as the rainbow started to get closer and closer, the dreaded diagnosis came. My future is now to be defined by that simple fact – that I have a terminal disease. How I handle this will, of course be a challenge, but I am determined – as I have said before – to be positive. I will reach that bloody rainbow if it kills me.