Monthly Archives: February 2012

Wandering Stars – Burning Regrets

Closeup of a campfire

Campfire Regret

Our regular social huddle at the Fisherman’s Arms, affectionately refered to as ‘office hours’ by group members, was poorly attended last Sunday. Rab and I formed the stalwart rear party and were left holding the fort of debate. If there had been anything to raise the hackles since we last met, it appears we must have missed it…

Given that both Rab and I generally tend to keep abreast of news and current affairs, it’s somewhat unusual for us to be without a catalyst for the session. Politicians appearing in court for perverting the course of justice (see here) was ‘news’ however, it did little more than serve to remind us; there are (alleged) liars in all walks of life.

In other ‘news’ – after the demise of the NOTW last year, along with the massive financial losses for News International Corp, Rupert Murdoch confirmed the poorly kept secret about lunching a replacement (see here). Great, more tabloid journalism covering salacious ‘celebrity’ gossip, sleaze and innuendo. I suppose it will keep the masses happy but worryingly, it probably also generated more interest and excitement than the next piece.

Some of the fiercest critics of the planned NHS reforms in England were angry about government’s ‘closed’ meetings on the matter (see here). Indeed, on a local note, William Hague MP was berated in The Sun for supporting a local hospital dispute which seemed to fly in the face of his party’s stance on the NHS (see here). As with much of the recent police reform process currently being implemented, this appeared to be more evidence to prove; politicians rarely seem to listen to those who fully understand all the practical issues surrounding their self-interested political rhetoric.

Finally, early on Sunday morning, a school ski trip coach crashed near Chalons-en-Champagne, in northern France, killing one teacher and seriously injuring 20 people (see here). Although sad for all those involved, it concerns me how our media machine (and social media now) always rush headlong into generating as much national mourning as possible; woe betide anyone who fails to wear their heart on their sleeve.

As a slight aside, I found an interesting piece this week that goes someway toward evidencing the true value of our Sunday afternoon sessions in the pub. Writing about the ‘mob culture’ in social media Milly, a non practicing barrister, wrote…

Beneath The Wig – Calm down dear! – It used to be that comments such as the ones we have seen on Twitter this week were confined to the pub. People would express their outrage, have a pint, and frankly, got over it – especially as each pub would have the wise old grey chap in the corner who would quietly express a contrary view, and urge them to think about the subject matter in hand…(More)

I have to agree with Milly’s comments about “herd mentality” kicking in after opinion is committed to Twitter and the like. People seem to have this inherent need to be seen to be outraged or belong to the populist and prevalent side of an opinion, any “contrary view is not heard, indeed it is trampled upon, with scorn and vitriol poured over those who dare express it.”

Being without, or unable to find, any significant fuel source for our fire of opinionated debate, the conversation smouldered on, waiting for that spark to catch hold in our bonfire of social and political combustion. Two ‘Wandering Stars’ in a wilderness bereft of topical subject matter.

Despite both of us having the ability to create fire, a useful skill that separates us from the animals, it appeared my survival compatriot in life and I were only creating a smouldering pile of twigs.  We pressed on, around matters of personal history, achievements and failures until suddenly, a brief glimmer of a spark came from an old chestnut. Thankfully, the subject of personal regrets meant, we were finally able to ignite our fire of our verbal pyromania.

My father, a wise sage of few but always pertinent words, once told me; “son, you don’t have to be the best, just be the best you can be and, when you don’t realise your dreams and aspirations, you can always have another go.” In many ways he was correct but just sometimes, an opportunity presents itself only once, never to reveal itself again. Too often you don’t actually get a chance to apply that old adage; if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. You see it’s not a problem, your personal aspirations don’t always have to aim for the very top of any particular path or career, good generals will also always need capable and willing soldiers!

Everyone will have regrets at some point in their life.  We have regrets because we’ve learned better from those “gigantic lessons” and from learning acceptance.  The idea of accepting what happens around and to us in different situations and dealing with all the good and bad situations in life gives up the experience to eventually learn how to live life with no regrets…(Tranquil Dreams)

Many of our aspirations and goals in life tend to actually be based upon the wishes and advice of others. We clamour to achieve what is expected of us by our peers, we develop a personal requirement to be accepted as important in the eyes of our peers. It’s not just a case of ‘keeping up with Mr/Mrs Jones’ any more, we have to excel and be better than them, usually so we can be smug and look down upon them, unfortunately!

How you climb up the mountain is just as important as how you get down the mountain, and, so it is with life, which for many of us becomes one big gigantic test followed by one gigantic lesson… Its how you accept winning and losing, good luck and bad luck, the darkness and the light… (Tranquil Dreams)

I would agree with the author of Tranquil Dreams in that, the majority of my past regrets have taught me how to think better of myself and to deal better with present and future situations. I have no real regrets only lessons I hope I’ve learned from!

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