I was born a Jack-of-all-trades. Blessed with an optimistic disposition, I set off on a peripatetic journey through life, qualifying for, but never practicing, a profession.
I'm of the age where people ask me what I did, rather than what I do. I sweep a broad brush -
“business administration", I say.
Have you ever heard anything more boring in your life? Can you imagine any two words that conjure up a worse fate? Roll out the coffin, tip her in, she’s crisped and dried out.
Jack shouts in my ear, “No, no. That’s not right”.
“Shut up Jack, it’s too hard to explain. And in any case the fat lady has not yet left the stage.”
I didn't necessarily choose careers either, some were foisted upon me. An American watched me with fabrics, designing, sewing, trialling colours, making a quilt. She said, “How long have you been an artist?” I said, “No, no I’m not an artist”.
Never mistake a blush
Jean-Paul Satre said modesty is the virtue of the lukewarm. My friends, I’ll own up to business administration sounding boring as batshit, but not to being lukewarm.
Shortly afterwards I was back on the road. I filled out the forms at the airport and when it came to occupation, instead of Retired Business Administrator, I wrote, with a flourish, Artist.
Forget, What Colour is my Parachute, mid-life career-choice blues, just book an overseas trip. Then you can instantly be anything you ever wanted to be. You can adopt the persona just for a trip or make it permanent. Go joyfully through the barrier, exchanging your hat as you go. Once I’d made it official, Jack said, “Oh. Of course, that’s what we are… I had been wondering”. That whole trip, I saw images, constructed new artwork, for after all, I was an artist on sabbatical.
Two years later
It was the next overseas trip, two years later, when I changed professions again and I became a writer. As I travelled, I filled notebook after notebook.
And that is how you find me now.
Jung said, “I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become”.
I had to think about this one. I have always felt I became what happened to me, but once I fixed on the idea that I wanted to write a memoir, I made a choice and magic happened.