Thought for today:
"The very first time I walked out with a member of the opposite sex was when I was 7 years old. She was a 9-year-old girl called Silvia (whose identity I will not disclose in order to preserve her modesty and good name), and she lived next door. She was a bit of a Tom boy and was the only girl ever allowed membership to my gang.
Over the next five years, Silvia gave me my first kiss, my first touch of intimacy, my first peek of things to come and my first heartbreak when she decided that a 9-year-old wasn't old enough for her and dumped me in favour of 12-year-old Tony Walker; a freckled-faced youth who looked like a speckled thrush too sorry for himself and whose name I care not to preserve favourably for posterity.
During my teenage years I rapidly came into my own and learned how to play the game of hide and seek. Whatever the girls elected to hide was what I sought to seek out at my first opportunity. The tables had turned and I gradually became the heart breaker of Windybank Estate. The years between 21 and 26 were my wildest of times. It was a time when I was fearless to any experience or anyone, or the mixture of both in any place, form and at any time.
My first marriage at the age of 26 and the birth of my first two children proved to be both a brake on my life and the emotional dismantling of me as a fearless individual. Instead of abandoning all caution as I'd previously done, I found myself giving it too much consideration and influence over my actions. For the first time ever I found myself driving my car within the legal speed limit, learning to drink from a half-pint measure instead of a pint glass and inviting neighbours around to our house for a social evening so that we might show off a new sofa that had cost three months wages and which my 60-hour-week job would rarely afford me time to relax on.
It was only after my heart was broken once more through bitter divorce and estrangement from my children that I realised I had spent 13 years in an unhappy marriage thinking always of others and never of myself. I knew that this martyrdom was unhealthy and that I needed to stop. Having been dumped once more, I needed to start thinking about my own priorities again.
It was at that juncture of my life I discovered that one cannot truly be in love with life until one has learned to love oneself and all others creatures and people in it with equal measure. I found myself walking a new road; a more purposeful path where the journey's end would always bring satisfaction and reward, rarely heartache and never permanent regret.
About one month ago I surprisingly saw Silvia..........walking down the road which we had walked together hand-in-hand 63 years ago. As I passed by her in my car, I hardly recognised her with her mane of grey hair and shapeless body, some ten stone weightier than I'd first known her. For one brief moment I was tempted to stop and say, 'Hello', but after looking at my own oversized body I now possess and the creases of aged wisdom in my face, I decided that it was perhaps kinder to both of us to grow old with fond recollections; remembering our first peek at things to come when she was 11 and I was 9 years old." William Forde: July 18th,2013.