I have spent the morning immersed in research which I have to say is one of my favourite ways to spend my time. I’ve been looking at poems about escape, hiding and history for an exciting new project. What is the project I hear you cry? I’ve been asked if I’d like to lead a series of poetry workshops, for a local historic house. Obviously, my first thought was “oh I’m not good enough for that” but then my possibility sensors started to tingle and I realised that I’d spent a big part of my life designing and leading workshops about things ranging from how to handle tricky customers to how to choose the very best specs. It was one of my favourite parts of my pre-writing/pre m.e. career. Match that with a deep love of history, and an understanding of poetry and I think I may be able to do a good job.
What about the wasted time?
Well, this is the thing. I’ve always (not so) secretly resented the fact that convention and circumstance meant I had to follow a path that was more about economic security and “having a job” than following what I love. It’s what many people have to do, and many people have to make harsher choices than mine. Nonetheless, I wonder what might have been, where I might be as a writer if I’d gone to a brick university rather than taking the OU route, where I might have been if I could have afforded to do a masters or a PHD.
And then I think and realise that this kind of what if is pointless. I made decisions, based on what would work at the time. I might make them differently if I had another choice, but then I might not be here, about to spend an afternoon in a workshop about bird poetry, I might not have my wonderful hazel tree to gaze at each morning, I might not have a family of bluetits that are so familiar I feel I could name them. I might not have learned the way to lead a workshop with skill and care. I might not have gained understanding about individual learning styles and know how to create a rounded, balanced way to learn. I might not be in a situation where I’m trying to make this new career, late in life yet feel a glimmer of possibility that I can do it.
I often say regrets are pointless. I don’t think I mean that. Regrets are a way to reflect and understand on how I might make different choices. A way to learn, I suppose.