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Thoughts after reading Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – After the War

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Yesterday I felt heavy hearted after reading ‘Captain Corelli’s Mandolin’.  The words “What if?” and “Why?” echoing in my mind.  So many years, so much life wasted.  Today my mind has circled around the characters and situations and I now realise that the root of my mental discomfort were the words “After the War”.  These words opened most conversations between the protagonist lovers.

In my own life, ‘After the war’ could be replaced with; ‘After the children have grown up’ (I will do something serious with my writing), ‘After I find true lasting love’ (I will be at peace and fully happy), ‘After I’ve paid for a new washing machine’  (I will return to New York).  You get the gist.  In the words of John Lennon “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”.  As in the case of the novels protagonists my life has veered far from plans.  The result, wasted years and wasted youth.

Mid life has left me mourning squandered time.  The habit of waiting and expectation now so ingrained.  “I’ll be fulfilled when my children’s picture book is published” and so on.  Tomorrow never comes, the goal posts move, scenarios shift and I wait, wtf for?  I could have focused more on my writing when the children were young, if not on a grand project at least honing my skills.  I could have done this while still enjoying and appreciating every precious second of their development.  Waiting served no purpose, took me further from the goal and robbed me of appreciation for the present with all its hues and textures.

While ‘Waiting for true love’ I could have appreciated my solitude more, savoured the mental space.  In rough times even pain should be experienced fully, it is a true and pure state, happiness can be over rated.  Now in my content I look back on the vibrance of youth with longing.  I miss the intensity of thought.  I don’t miss the objects of past passions but the opportunities which they presented to heighten senses and awareness.  Waiting always waiting for ‘After the War’ and so youth passed.  My passionate intensity now replaced by something faded and dusty although comfortable.  Waiting for the dawn has muted the brilliant shades of so many splendid sunsets.

Now is the heartbeat.  Now is not the time to linger in the echoing rooms of yesterday or yearn for the elusive promises of future dreams.  I need a big neon sign to remind me ‘YOU ARE HERE’, Engage fully with present reality.  See the colours of now, hear the music of now, find joy and beauty in NOW.

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