Imagine your life so far as a film played in front of your eyes. Imagine you have editorial power and you could cut out or change various scenes. What would you change? What would I change?
– Perhaps I would have done a different degree at university. Latin and Ancient Greek are all very well but let’s face it, they are not particularly relevant in professional terms in 2013. People always ask me whether I speak Latin/Ancient Greek – no, I reply, they are dead languages. Really useful. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my degree subject but I hold it partly responsible for my total lack of ability to decide on any one career. Classics is not what you would call vocational (unless you want to be a classics teacher of course) and apart from all that very worthy “it is invaluable in learning any of our modern European languages” blah (which is, by the way true), the only time I have used Latin since 1996 is when people ask me to translate inscriptions on monuments – something which I fail to do almost 100% of the time, thereby looking like not only someone who did a fairly irrelevant degree but was also not particularly good at it.
– I would have had long hair when I was a child. Looking back at photos of me between approximately the ages of 3 and 15, I had a deeply unflattering short layered cut. My sister, who is only 20 months younger me, had very pretty long hair in plaits, bunches and the like. Why didn’t I, you may well ask? Well, some misguided hairdresser informed my mother that the only way to thicken up my very fine hair was to have this hideous bowl-like short hair style. My mother, rightfully bowing to this woman’s supposed superior tonsorial knowledge, kept me shorn for the next 10 years. Result – I’ve still got very fine hair and I’m emotionally scarred from my hideous childhood hair.
– I would have been slightly more circumspect about my teenage crushes. Boris Becker (why o why?), Bruce Springsteen (cried when he got married for the first time???) and James Dean (he was dead for God’s sake). OK so things have improved since then but I can’t help but feel it says something rather concerning about me that my room was a shrine to a dead man, that I fell for a middle-aged rocker and Boris Becker…well, what can I say about that…
– I would miss out my slightly goth stage (admittedly it was a blink and you miss it one) – purple paisley shirts, dark hair, dark mini skirt, dark tights (ripped), dark boots, dark eyeliner, dark lipstick, white face and a penchant for Jesus and the Mary Chain. It was definitely not one of my finer moments. Although, now I come to think of it, I am not sure that my “brown suede jacket from Kensington Market” (which was second hand and stank) stage was that much better.
– I would definitely not have worked in a Harvester restaurant when I was 15 (despite making one of my best friends there). Not only did we have to face the daily humiliation of wearing a see-through brown and yellow checked outfit, but we had to ask the same mind-numbingly repetitive questions to each and every customer – “Have you been to a Harvester before?” and “Can I show you to the salad cart?”. The tedium was only temporarily relieved when a customer found a large piece of concrete in his lancashire hotpot.
– I would have passed my driving test first time. I know everyone says that the best drivers don’t pass first time but that is just one of those rubbish statements made up to make you feel better (along the lines of acute morning sickness is a sign of a strong pregnancy). Anyway, it is not relevant to me as I didn’t even pass second time. Admittedly going through a red light in my first test was fairly fatal to my chances and doing my 3 point turn in about 17 turns didn’t boost my chances in my second test. I eventually passed third time and this was probably only because I don’t think I saw another moving car during that test. I imagine that my chances of passing nowadays with the theory test would be slim at best. Although perhaps marginally higher than those of someone I know who when presented with a road sign of falling rocks, declared that it meant “No falling rocks allowed here”?!
– I would have taken a different career path – journalism. Now, I would be a successful writer with best sellers to my name and the odd Airport exclusive…and as I count backward from 10, you will open your eyes at 3 and be totally awake by 1…instead of a 40 year old blogger who has tried her hand at more careers than most and who blogs about largely irrelevant issues and just doesn’t seem to be able to start that novel…
Actually, as Edith Piaf sang “non, je ne regrette rien” – all of the above have made me who I am today. I guess it’s good to still have dreams at 40 and actually, you know what, just perhaps this is my time to start fulfilling some of those dreams. Watch this space.