Wednesday, August 23, 2017
Once there was a time when forty seemed old and then of course when I was forty it seemed quite young. With increasing life expectancies, it's a long time since I heard the saying that life begins at forty; these days it probably starts at fifty or even sixty. But forty years ago - well, that is something else if one can look back that far and still be an adult.
Two very important things happened to me forty years ago. In July I went on my first pottery summer school. In August I came to live in Stroud (having at last secured a teaching job). I was truly rubbish at pottery and I hated Stroud.
Stroud has become the home I never want to leave and perseverence has turned me into a potter. I've learned that rather than being good with my hands but not very bright, which I believed back then, I actually have quite poor hand-eye co-ordination, but am intelligent. I now understand why it took so long to learn to throw a cereal bowl (many years) and I no longer brush aside my ability to do accounts and write websites as just things I'm interested in.
In forty years I've done a variety of work, none of which I regret and all of which I probably still draw on from time to time, both in my working life and in relating to others. I've had therapy, two marriages, two widowhoods, two dogs, gained some wonderful friends and lost two of them - all of which experiences have contributed to my becoming the person I currently am.
An emotionally healthy person will be constantly changing, albeit often in small and subtle ways, so I'm pleased to recognise that I'm a work in progress. I didn't get forty years of marriage to celebrate, nor children who turned forty (though I have some wonderful stepchildren doing that) but I'm really happy to be celebrating a forty-year relationship with clay and forty years living in the place which will always be home.