Examining my limitations

The last few days have got me thinking about stuff. Nothing too unusual about that, I am aware. But when all is said and done, I am just, as we say in England, “An ordinary bloke”. I have never done anything that the world will remember, and I have certainly made something of a mess of the life bestowed on me. Even though I never asked for that life, I felt a sense of responsibility to do something useful with it.

I did my best, I really did. I tried to be fair and kind, and based on what my Dad told me, to do ‘The right thing’. I was never in a position to change the world, although I tried, believe me. I did what was expected of me for a long time, before breaking away from that, and trying to do something good with my life. Doing that right thing didn’t always work out. But I took the knocks, came back from them, and tried again. Whatever I lost in the process was just ‘put down to experience’, and I continued in the same way.

A life well-lived? Of course, I like to think so. But at times when contemplation takes over, (like tonight) it is understandable to be left wondering. Politics, Unions, trying to get some balance into society, and employment. I did all that, but things here are worse than they have ever been. I obviously didn’t do enough, for long enough. I was not fiery enough, when it counted. Mea Culpa. I can see that. I should have kept going, never giving up.

But I was overwhelmed by the apathy of others, and allowed that to cloud my judgement. If they didn’t want to fight, then why should I? How much could I possibly do for others, when their only ambition was to eat McDonald’s, and to watch Sky TV? What were all those years of confrontation and sacrifice for? I gave up so much, and achieved so little. Well so be it. I have got to the age of regret, and I am bothering my readers with selfish reminiscences.

My apologies, for the disjointed thoughts of an old man. For some reason, it is a strange night. But I feel it has to be said, even though I have no idea why.

92 thoughts on “Examining my limitations

    1. Well, that’s quite amazing to know, Abbi. I greatly appreciate you saying that, and confess to some surprise too. But as a ‘blogging friend’, that is very heartwarming. Thank you.
      Best wishes, Pete.

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  1. Hey Pete, you have not to rescue the world in one day. Remember: God takes seven days and it seems he is not ready yet. LOL
    Or remember James Bond and his past missions “Tomorrow is another day”. OK it more seems like “Casino Royal” these days. πŸ˜‰ Michael

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I completely understand. You are not selfish at all, and you are most honorable. Changing the world or making a difference doesn’t have to be some grand thing. It took me a long time to realize that my day-to-day actions might be as important as whatever you may be regretting not doing. The giving to others can have an enormous impact. So, don’t beat yourself up. You have probably done more than you realize. Really. We can only change the world one person at a time. I don’t mean that to be trite or syrupy sweet. It’s just a fact. Best to you, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comment and kind words, Jennie.
      With your dedication to your pupils, I am sure you have a great awareness of making a lot of difference in the lives of others, something you do every working day.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m glad writing down how you feel helped. When I come up against something bad in life that I can’t change I put it in a book. Even when I was a politician there were plenty of times when I felt I couldn’t do anything to help society. In the end I just wrote about it all, hoping it would make a difference when I was gone.

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  4. I have just read through all the comments here and am touched by the outpouring of support for you. I am also relieved that you are feeling much better today. I have been rereading Virginia Woolf’s “To The Lighthouse,” and the mother has just had a similar thought about the pointlessness of her life. It passed too. I think we all vacillate between hope and regret as you can see by all the comments to your post. No apologies needed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Elizabeth. Everyone, you included, has been very kind. As always, I am deeply touched by the support from fellow bloggers. This post feels like it was written by someone else, when I wasn’t looking. I had some strange noises in my head, and a real feeling of panic, both for the first time ever.
      I was very pleased to be able to sleep well, and wake up feeling much better. (And relieved.)
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I can’t help but wonder if some of malaise is due to the culture and politics of the day. As someone who was always progressive and find myself becoming more and more conservative as I age I would say take heart. Maybe the world is changing and with it we’re always left to wonder if for the better but the world was always bad and there were always good people. We have our time and we hand it over. Some of us are at the barricades, some of us raise kids and get by, some of us indulge, some of us rage. Very, very few of us actually make a difference but as an ambulance driver of many years you should know by now…one night in the 1970s there must have been one life you saved and from that night many many more. How could you not hold your head high and know that you have lived a life well with that just that? I do not know how you could not. πŸ™‚ And then think of how nice you’ve been to me and supported my writing and now I’m a fucking rockstar! πŸ™‚ Hahaha.

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    1. Thanks, Lloyd. Yesterday was something of an aberration. Some sort of panic set in, and I was hardly even aware of writing this post. Happy to say I woke up feeling a lot better today.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Good to hear you are feeling better today. Meditation helps me, but I also wonder and, in my case, I’ve spent a lot of time gathering knowledge but I don’t think I’ve put it to particularly good use. I’ll keep trying. All the best, Pete.

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    1. Thanks, Olga. That was a new experience for me. A rushing sound in my head, and a feeling of being gripped by panic about something unknown. I am very pleased that it has gone now.
      Best wishes, Pete.

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  7. Like the song,”Those Were the Days, My Friend” I too get days and nights looking back. It sometimes takes a lot of stamina to keep my faraway thoughts from showing in the present.

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    1. Thanks, FR. It was a weird feeling of panic, and a real compulsion to write this post. That was followed by feeling like a silly drama queen, and wondering what the hell was going on. Maybe writing this was just what I needed though, as I feel 100% better today.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, BF. I am indeed. Perhaps a combination of feeling tired, and an unfamiliar sense of panic, I’m not sure. Whatever it was, writing this post about it seems to have been the cure.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I think maybe the key to why you wrote it is in the title. When we are young, we are full of dreams. Dreams about what we will do and how life will be when we are older. When we grow older, we slowly become aware, not only of the limitations of others, but of ourselves. And there comes a point in life when we realise that some of those dreams just ain’t going to happen. And suddenly life can feel very empty at that point. Like everything we ever did was pointless? But I think you know that, really, it wasn’t. The battles you fought… the people you scraped up off the pavement… All of it will have changed lives for the better. I think perhaps these moments of doubt are about finding perspective… about the recognition that we are not the heroes we once dreamed of being. We are, as you put it, just ‘ordinary’. Just like everyone else. But we are also, in our own way, infinitely special… just like everyone else, but in a different way. Being able to hold those two truths in balance is, I think, what they call ‘maturity’. And that, I’m thinking, is why what you wrote probably felt so significant to you? Because it’s kind of like a right of passage… a natural step from a series of blogs about youth. Perhaps it’s not so much a mid-life crisis as a gateway into a new phase of life…

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    1. Thanks very much, Ros.
      Last night was very strange for me. For the first time I can recall, I was in something of a panic, what I would describe as a ‘state of flux’. It had been building all day, with an uneasy feeling during the afternoon. I felt the need to write this, then calmed down, and wondered why I had done it.
      Fortunately, I have woken up today feeling much calmer. Maybe getting all this out of my head was just what was needed?
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I have a theory. (Uh oh. This is never good.) Unless one is consumed with hubris, one is never aware of the positive effect and influence they exert upon those around them; the glue that holds the tenuous threads of society from flying apart like so much random shrapnel. Perhaps what gets generally lost in our search for meaning in our own lives are the thousand intimate victories that go unchronicled in the individual day well lived. (Or maybe not.) I wonder if Thomas More felt unfulfilled as the axe was falling?

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    1. That’s good to read, and appreciated, Chandler.
      I really didn’t feel like myself last night, and had no idea why. The closest I have ever been to some kind of panic/mental aberration. Fortunately, I am back to ‘normal’ today.
      Best wishes, Pete.

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  10. I blame the rain πŸ™‚
    David and Theo sum it up best for me and it saves me writing a heartfelt comment, after all I have a Macdonald’s to eat and a film of Sky to watch πŸ™‚
    Chin up Pete, it makes drinking the wine easier and more enjoyable.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. We think of those times when life was a little easier. And one’s health is not a priority. But there is something we really learn while growing older, we tend to appreciate life more and what it deals us every day.

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  12. Pete, you are the father of a wonderful community on the internet. That is a major contribution, in my opinion. On top of that, you have worked with the police, and helped many people in a state of medical crisis.

    I see nothing wrong with looking back at life, and pondering the road taken. However, I think it’s better to look forward, blazing the new path of a life in motion.

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    1. All very true, David, and thanks for those thoughts. I have no idea what came over me last night. I had felt some sort of tension/panic building throughout the day, and just had to let that out.
      All gone this morning, fortunately.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 2 people

  13. Dear Pete: If you have done your honest best with what you have been given then nothing more is expected of you. Be satisfied with who you are and with what you have been given and go ahead and enjoy life. Never beat up on yourself for any perceived shortcomings because we all have them and never allow yourself to be anybody’s punching bag because that is not required of us. If you have done your honest best with what you have been given then nothing more is required and you have lived your life well. Remember that there is still more life to be lived so make the most of it for yourself and for those you love.

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  14. From what I can tell, the average bloke is too busy making a living for his or her family, putting food on the table, hell, providing a table, roof, and place to sleep to be other than tired at the end of the day. Ten too, the news he or she watches is filled with, over here at least, the most incredibly stupid things the so-called leaders say and do. The average bloke is the recipient of so much hate talk by people who should know better, he or she often falls in line and spews the same things. Watching or falling into line is so much easier than doing something about their situation. Doing something, hell, it would be easier to push a vehicle with locked brakes up a ten-percent incline. So, how should you measure your success in life at making things better for others? The answer is a paradox–if you have reached one other person you are a success–a rabid revolutionary and take a bow. Be kinder to yourself, my friend, I do suspect you have reached more than one.
    Warmest regards, Theo

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks for your thoughts, and kindness, Theo. I am more than a little embarrassed by this post, to be honest. One of those ‘wonder what I did there?’ moments. If I was younger, it might be called a mid-life crisis. πŸ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. You’re not the only one.. It’s been a tough day for a lot of it by the sounds of it. 😫 WE LOVE YOU TOO PETE!! πŸ’–πŸ’– I’m off work now so, hoping to get in a better groove! Let’s all put on some tunes and dance!! Or, just throw back our heads and gargle. Just gargle and gargle and we don’t care if anyone hears us, because WE. ARE. BEAUTIFUL. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ’–πŸ»πŸ» (Jack Handey is the greatest…)

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    1. You have brought joy to so many, with your love of books, and your work in the libraries, Kim.
      I have no idea what this was about tonight, honestly. I am so sorry if it caused anyone else to be upset. It must be some sort of ‘old-age’ crisis, I can only imagine. πŸ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete. x

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      1. It wasn’t you Pete. I’ve had a horrid migraine all day and I’m just coming down from it. When I don’t feel well I tend to obsess about things.

        Thank you for your kind words. I loved what I did more than you can know. I guess I’m feeling melancholy because I still wish I was doing it.

        And Pete, speaking of touching lives, how many did people did you either save or at the very least have a positive effect on during your many years of work? I suspect more than you realize. And I won’t even go into what a wonderful and supportive blogging friend you are.πŸ˜™

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  15. Funny enough I understand completely what you mean… Sounds like we may have made some similar choices in our life. Good or bad. Hopefully your life has settled a little bit at least… I’m still taking the knocks… With more to come very soon.

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    1. Thanks, Nicole. I am sorry to hear your side of it, and would only ever wish you to be happy. I am very grateful that you understand, as to be honest, I am not sure I do. Or why I posted this tonight. But it made me feel better, so that is reason enough. Take care, and always let me know if I can be of any support, however remote.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you. πŸ’– I’ll let you know when shit REALLY hits the fan… πŸ˜• Everyone needs a vent now and again. It’s nice to have understanding people around. Or, even if they don’t TRULY understand the situation entirely, they can still be there for you. πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’– And if not, there’s always wine!! πŸ·πŸ·πŸ·πŸ˜„πŸ’–

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  16. Always easy to look back with 20/20 vision and call actions – and non-actions – into question, I think we all do it all all times in our life….but as I’ve said before, in general it does no good except to help us make smarter decisions going forward…

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    1. Thanks, John. I hit ‘Publish’, then had no real idea why I had even written this. Some sort of overwhelming crisis of confidence, I suspect. I must be getting old and silly, my friend.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. it must be, in the air as I too have been set on pondering such things-oh I have some regrets, and console myself that I tried and failed-and kept going. Youth is odd-we have the energy and ambition then, but not the wisdom-It ought to be the other way around, Pete, you are not alone in he quest to understand such things. Best wishes to the both of us from here on out!!

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  18. Honorable is the right word Pete. Things here are worse than they have ever been as well. I find it hard to recognize my country. I look at it this way. I opposed the Vietnam War and supported the fight for civil and voting rights. It is now time for the younger folks to pick up the banner. The world won’t run out of oil or get too hot before I go.

    As you say over there: I’ve done my bit. You have too.

    Besties.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I don’t believe any of this was selfish at all. In fact I feel it was helpful. A lot of people reminisce and start to weigh out their lives. What was enough, what wasn’t. When at the end of the day you’ve already accomplished so much. You never had to do what was expected and also one person can’t change an army. You sound very honorable and sincere and that in my opinion is a lot!! There are people who lack so much of what’s important. Here you are with so much!! It was kind of you to share your thoughts and feels because there’s someone who may not have been able to accept there thoughts enough to even say them aloud and now they can. From looking in? I say you have done so much, noteworthy comes from various sources and acts. And being strong is definitely one of them. Xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for your very kind comment. There are certain times in my life when things sort-of overwhelm me, and tonight was definitely one of those times. It is always so valuable to hear the opinions of others.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

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