Thursday, 7 October 2010

Life - nothing but a collection of memories

Son&Heir was in pensive mood as we drove the 30 minutes home from school in the dark tonight (did I mention that the nights are drawing in?). Apparently he'd been watching a particularly inspiring Commonwealth Games hockey match on TV during social time after tea, and was now bitterly ruing the broken wrist which currently prevents him from doing any more than coach the Juniors one-handed for the next few weeks. But he said something which made me think, namely that he'd rather play at the Commonwealth Games and/or the Olympics than be rich.  Now, coming from a boy who is normally a typically materialistic, hedonistic teenager hellbent on accumulating fame and fortune in equal measure, his sudden volte-face took me somewhat by surprise.
And it got me thinking about what is really important in life, reminding me of a quote that I once read many years ago: "Life is nothing but a collection of memories - so get out there and start collecting."  Back in those Halcyon days (or should that be daze?!) of my youth, I initially wondered what the writer meant. Yet the words stayed with me all the same, and with each passing year, their meaning has became ever clearer.  For the older you get, the significance of the memories of the highs and lows of your life grows proportionately, and you learn to treasure recollections of great occasions such as wedding days, memorable achievements on the sporting field or in the workplace and - especially - simple, everyday events like a child's first steps or even a particular moment that marked a turning point in your life.  There is, quite simply, no monetary value to be placed on such memories, and it made me somehow happy that he had come to this conclusion at the comparatively tender age of fifteen.  I hope he holds on tight to his dream.
Meanwhile, down in the depths of Oxfordshire, his big sister certainly seems to be living hers.  My faithful Blackberry was subject to a veritable barrage of MMS photos during the course of the day: photo of the view from her bedroom window in halls; photo of the student bedroom (complete with mandatory empty bottle of wine just sneaking into the photo in the bottom right-hand corner); photo of the amazing chocolate - ornately decorated with the College crest - which had apparently been served at the previous evening's academic dinner.  What does one do at an academic dinner I wonder... spout Shakespeare during the starter, mull over Moli√®re during the main course and dissect Dostoevsky over dessert perhaps? If Daughter No. 1 ever pauses long enough for me to ask her, perhaps I shall find out.

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