I'm only human after all

Saturday November 30, 2019

A song by 'rag-and-bone man', also known to a friend as 'dog-and-bone man', it is something I have to remember. The realisation is both liberating, and, if I am honest, causes some small sadness.

I was brought up to believe I was someone special. "From those to whom much has been given, much will be required." I suspect this could be even more of a problem for the next generation, as we run out of superlatives to praise our children, making up for the deficiencies of austere Edwardian parenting. My wife and I frequently praise our children, but we tell them our love for them is not dependant on their being perfect. We love them just as they are, with their weaknesses. Even when they are a little bit naughty.

When I was 18, I admitted to my dad that I had made a mistake at my work. I was doing a gap-year at his old solicitors firm where he had found me a job. His response? "Solicitors don't make mistakes." What a bozo thing to say! Wasn't I allowed to be human?

To be honest, part of me wants to be special. To be above average. Even to be perfect.

When I first had counselling, I told my counsellor of a moment of crisis on a foreign holiday. I was trying to read a German newspaper, some 25 years after I stopped studying German and was horrified with how little I could remember. At the same time, I couldn't master something on my smartphone. Was I useless? No. Just human after all. These things, while frustrating, were normal for someone of my generation. Why did I think I would be different?

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