… The Road Less Travelled …

I have just finished reading a very interesting novel about time travel.  I know this has been written about in fiction many times before but this book ‘Q : A Love Story’  by Evan Mandery has a different take on it – one that I found intriguing and gave me pause for thought.  I did miss out huge chunks of this book which I personally didn’t think were relevant to the story, but the remainder was very interesting and thought-provoking.

“When our hero meets Q, one Monday morning at a cinema in New York City, he has met the love of his life.  Their romance quickly blossoms; in the row boats of Central Park, on the miniature golf courses of Lower Manhattan, under a pear tree in Q’s inner city Eden.  Nothing it seems, can disturb the lovers or prevent their approaching wedding.

Until one day a man claiming to be our hero’s future self tells him he must leave Q.”

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The gist of the story is that there are several versions of his future self who come back and guide him through his life and advise him to change direction before aspects of his life start to go wrong.  I won’t give away the ending just in case you decide you would like to read it – but as I said – it did give me pause for thought about my own life – and that little question of  ‘…what if …’.

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When I left school, the Careers Officer asked me what I would like to do with my life.  I told her that I wanted to be a writer.  She scoffed and said that wasn’t a proper job and suggested to my parents that I go to secretarial college where I could learn  skills that would enable me to find work and earn a living.  I guess my parents thought they were doing right by me – but I have always wondered about this other life that I could have had as a writer – maybe if I had pursued it I could have had a few books under my belt by now and made a comfortable living doing something I enjoyed.

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Maybe if my future self had come back and said don’t do it, don’t become a secretary,  you will be bored out of your box for the next twenty years – would I have listened and tried something different.  Or maybe this was the course I was meant to take and each event or decision I have made along the way was the right one which has led me to where I am today. 

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I personally think it would be great  if my older and wiser self gave my younger self advice – but would I take it, or just go along my chosen path regardless and live with the mistakes and, sometimes, the unhappiness, they would bring.  I guess I’ll never know (unless someone invents time travel, that is)!

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I hasten to add that I think I have made some good decisions along the way too.

I was only fifteen when I made that bold statement to the Careers Officer - so perhaps a little young to understand what I was saying or what was involved in becoming a writer. In the end I had a good career, 'retired' at the age of 40 to become a smallholder, then I tried painting for a living and now I write for pleasure - so I think I have had the best of all worlds.

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‘Till next time …

Comments

  1. This post has made me think Elaine....about my own life.
    Back to yours, you could have been an author of that I am sure.
    When reading yours posts, I can truly say I thought you to be a lover of the written word.
    In saying that, I also believe that life is mapped out..........our journey is decided from the moment we are born.
    I have lived an exciting and challenging life, but for sure, it is not what I had planned. I was swept along with the current and taken on the ride whether I wanted to go or not :)

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    1. I was only fifteen when I made that bold statement to the Careers Officer - so perhaps a little young to understand what I was saying or what was involved in becoming a writer. In the end I had a good career, 'retired' at the age of 40 to become a smallholder, then I tried painting for a living and now I write for pleasure - so I think I have had the best of all worlds.

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    2. I have just added my reply to you to the blog post as a closing paragraph just in case you were wondering.

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  2. It would be interesting to consider your life as a writer -- your style and habits of working at writing, research and plot ideas. The What-Ifs are certainly intriguing.

    Lovely to peek into your summer garden, by the way.

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    1. I'm not sure I would actually want to be a full time writer now - it is too time consuming - every year I write the draft for a new novel but that's as far as I'm prepared to take it - who needs fame and riches anyway! lol

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  3. A very thoughtful post. Made me consider my own life. What would I change and as you say, would I have listened? and yet all the mistakes I have made, the decisions that didn't get made, have brought me to where I am. which is a good thing :)

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    1. I think this is so true - if I hadn't got divorced from my first husband I wouldn't have met my second and found happiness - everything is linked in some way.

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  4. We all have 'what ifs' don't we? I chose to be a teacher as at my school after sixth form you either went to university or trained as a teacher, I couldn't think of what I would study at university as I only really was aware of subjects taken at school level so I became a primary teacher which for years I enjoyed but teaching changed and I didn't enjoy the direction it took, Maybe I should have changed carrers earlier than I did but it was a big step to creep from under the security blanket.

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    1. Career changes are scarey - when I left my secretarial job to set up a small farm it was going into the unknown - but something I had to try for my own peace of mind - as it proved to be a wonderful life-changing experience, that I wouldn't have missed for the world.

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  5. Beautiful post, Elaine. A lot of it really resonates with me; I need to sit back and let it sink in.

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    1. Thanks Isabelle - the book made me do just that - to consider all the possibilities and different turnings I could have taken.

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  6. Oh dear Elaine as a former Careers Officer this post has saddened me. Scoffing at young people's dreams is something that I hope I never did. As far as I'm concerned constructive careers advice should explore what you can do to achieve your goal as well as explore having a back up plan. I can only apologise on behalf of one of my colleagues. You were unfortunate to meet her :(

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    1. I think the careers officer job was in its infancy in those days and there wasn't a lot on offer - office work, factory work or shopwork - most of us ended up in one or the other. But I agree that I did feel that she shot me down in flames instead of trying to find a solution.

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  7. Really interesting post. Even the slightest changes would impact greatly on lives. Bit like the Sliding Doors film with Gwyneth Paltrow.

    jean x

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    1. It does make you wonder doesn't it - one little change and I could lived a whole different life. I loved that film.

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  8. A most interesting post which leads me to lots of possibilities and lost possibilities.

    I also love your flowers - is that a pale form of the scarlet runner bean?

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    1. Yes Susan, beautiful apricot coloured flowers - makes a nice change.

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  9. I happen to know that the commentator above (SH) attended London's finest Secretarial College in Park Lane.

    How many writers start off as writers; very few methinks. Nor do many painters rent a garret in Paris and starve until they find success. Experience of life MUST be an essential quality for any writer; n'est pas?

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    1. Wise words Cro and I totally agree - I would have made a rubbish writer back then that's for sure.

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  10. Ah, those sweet peas, I can smell the perfume from here....

    Ms Soup

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    1. They have been glorious this year I have vases of them all over the house.

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  11. you still be a writer you know. in fact in this blog you are xxx

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    1. I still write all the time but for my eyes only - and of course with a blog you are certain to get published.

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  12. It is never too late to follow your heart Elaine - although my eldest son is a Geologist, he is a poet and writer too. However, his job makes big demands on his time. I know that in the next few years he will give up his job, and become a writer full time - I am fully in favour of him doing so.

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    2. I have written three draft novels but can't
      summon the energy to do all the editing needed - it is a very time-consuming profession which I have to admit I'm not sure I'm suited to.

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  13. Follow your dreams Elaine.. I started writing a book for my family many years ago. Its only for family. Mainly for my grandchildren. About my life ..its ongoing. My eldest son writes ..only for us.. he writes super stories, essays, and other , when he has time.
    Now is the time Elaine. go for it.
    wishing you a happy Sunday.. val xxx
    I can imagine, that you have lots to write about. Your posts are always so interesting.

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    1. I have done a lot of writing but never bothered to try and get published, fear or failure I guess.

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  14. Were you ever a secretary, Elaine? Both my daughters did a stint as a PA to a chief exec, in order to explore the world of business, but they both had ambitions of much greater things, and I'm glad they did. My own life has definitely been "a game in two halves" as they say. Initially I had planned to be in the Army all my working life, but once I had tried it for a while I realised I didn't really like it, and it was totally incompatible with a stable family life. I'm glad I quit!

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    1. Oh yes - but I quit too - looking for a very different lifestyle - everyone warned me against leaving a secure job but I did it anyway and never looked back.

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  15. I love that...the thoughts the dreams, the fulfillment, and that it can still happen. Elaine, who says that your path wasn't supposed to veer off into writing....now? What choice is there but to follow your heart when it calls you.

    Write, be, do.

    I think the time may be here for you to follow your passion.

    As for the Careers officer, may her life be the tiny box that she decided to fit into until the end, and may she find some sort of fulfillment in popping dreams...she could have used a wider open vista in her life that's for sure.

    Jen

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    2. I'm sure she meant well and she was probably right at the time but had no idea how she had deflated my dreams. I do have a book in the pipeline but it is a long slow process as I only work on it in the winter - it helps pass the long dark nights.

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  16. A most enjoyable post and wonderful photos.
    I really like the new header. Flighty xx

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  17. How interesting! Hopefully you will still have a book or two published, you certainly have the talent. Just love your pics.xxx

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    1. Thanks Snowbird. By the time I have finished the book I am working on I will just about have one foot in the grave I reckon.

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  18. My dream was to be a fire fighter but my careers advisor laughed at me as they weren't recruiting women back then. So, into admin I went and ended up studying for fire prevention while being a PA to a Fire Prevention Officer, so I sort of got my wish! I always think that if the dream is strong enough we will get there in the end, we can't say when or how but we may just touch it. Your writing is captivating and thoughtful so I say, hooray to you... you did it!! xx

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    1. I think that there are a lot more opportunities now than there were in my day and I am sure firefighting wasn't on the list of jobs for girls to do that's for sure. I have always enjoyed putting pen to paper and found fulfilment in doing so all through my life, in one way or another - fame and fortune never entered into it -I just wanted the satisfaction of seeing something I had written in print - I now I get that pleasure on a weekly basis writing blog posts!

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  19. I ask myself this very question a lot!!! Like you I knew what I wanted to do....I wanted to specifically go to design school in the city. I was ready and visited the school...my folks thought that it was best that I attend a regular 4 year university so design school was out of the question. But like you said ...what if?!!? I do so love the shots of beauty from your garden! The colors and blooms are exquisite!!! You have an outstanding week dear friend! Nicole xoxo

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    1. It probably doesn't do to look back and wonder - you can't change the past only the future.

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  20. Elaine, I have enjoyed many books with themes of time travel or shifting really good (almost anything by Suzanna Kearsley and Stephen King's 11.22.63 all good examples), but never thought of it from the point of what I would say to my younger self. Really food for thought. Have a wonderful evening.

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    1. I'm sure we would all like to give some advice to our younger self whether it would be the right advice is another matter. But it does make you think doesn't it?

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  21. We all think about if, what could have been. I wanted to write, too, but lacked confidence. Ironically, I taught writing to college students. Now living a very good life I think I don't remember the hard times. And you are probably right, we wouldn't have listened to our younger selves, for what does youth know any way, nor do youth pay attention to the words of wisdom their elders try to pass on. And what about fate and destiny? Love d this post.

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    1. I am sure fate and destiny play a big part in our lives - although a lot of people think otherwise. Whatever the outcome, what's past is past and there is only today when all said and done.

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  22. You do have the best of all worlds - and the flower photos are gorgeous. I wish that my older self could give a little advise to my younger self!

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    1. Thank you for visiting Barb - I think we all need to live a little before making big decisions - but when we are young how on earth can we know what we want to do for the rest of our lives - I have changed course a few times and am glad of the experience.

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  23. Aah, that old 'what if', Elaine. I think about it often. I had a chuckle at your careers advisors advice though, I wanted to be an archaeologist and was recommended for a secretarial post because I was a fast typist ;-) I'm a prolific reader and that book sounds interesting, so it's now on my list. Thanks for the recommendation.

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    1. It makes you wonder just how many people actually did live their young dreams - most likely we all just drift with the tide.

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  24. I think if you are able to retire at forty and do what you really like after that, it may not be a bad bargain. On the other hand, a whole life of doing what fulfills you might have been better. There again, if you hadn't 'made' it as a writer - you might have been full of the feeling of failure. I'd suggest the problem with the careers adviser was in not suggesting you can do several things at the same time.

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    1. That would have been the ideal solution but no one ever thought to suggest it - let alone me.

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  25. Dear Sweet Elaine, I think that a lot of our teachers were men and women who grew up during the great depression and because of that, earning a living was important and the arts and creativity was thought to be a hobby. I feel the same way about being steered in the direction of doing only what would bring in a good paycheck. I am glad that in today's world there are teachers that appreciate the arts and encourage children in following their dreams.
    Your blog is beautiful and a blessing to anyone fortunate enough to read it. I am feeling blessed to have found your little corner of blog-land. I do hope that you will visit my blog, too.
    Your newest follower and blogging sister, Connie :)

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    1. Hello Connie, thanks for visiting and leaving a very kind comment. I shall be popping over to visit your blog too.

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  26. You have really got me thinking Elaine. What advice would I have given my younger self if I could? Is an older self necessarily wiser? Such interesting questions! Hopefully we learn from our experiences.
    In a related matter, my bossy younger sister is always giving me advice I don't want to take. She is on my mind because I will be going home in a little over a week's time and she is coming home too (Nancy lives in Ireland and is as concerned about our Mom's health as I am). What do I say to her when her ambitions for me don't match my own? It is another tough question that I will definitely be mulling over in the coming week.

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    1. Only you know what you want to do with your life - regardless of what your sister says - we each must find our own path. Enjoy your break hopefully your visit to visit your Mom will relieve your anxiety about her.

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