Back to the beginning, again

The depiction of Christ’s Crucifixion at St Quentin Cathedral, which was a frontline city during the Great War and suffered heavy shelling.

Passiontide and Easter are emerging on the horizon again, it is hard to believe that during the last couple of weeks, that so many things can change so quickly and so very rapidly also. In a short space of time, my own attitude and overall direction towards my own future has changed, and I feel that it is time finally to go back to basics. A couple of weeks ago at Flat Iron Copse Cemetery on the Somme, I was asked a question by a very good friend that personally I had the inability to answer. “What do you want to get out of this yourself and what do you want to do for yourself in the future?”

In that question alone and in the presence of the greatest generation that our nation had ever produced, it was a moment. It was in the great author Roald Dahl’s words “a monumental bash on the head”. I realised albeit painfully that I had to make two choices, and it would be a very painful decision to make. I must admit that I have been in my comfort zone for far too long. It was finally time to be brave and to try to step into the right direction. I am scared to fail, evenmore so now. My friends have grown up around me and moved on with their lives, I in all fairness havent yet done that. Im still watching Tom and Jerry when I feel miserable. I’m 34 in October for heavens sake!!!

One, to keep my passion of the Great War as a hobby, and keep to visiting as a tourist whilst keeping my books, knowledge and notes safely locked up in the cupboard in my room. It is something that I really enjoy, and it has given me great comfort over the years in knowing that everytime I come back home from France and Belgium, I will be returning back because they never leave you in some strange way, that is very difficult to describe. The fields of France and Flanders are truly my source of inspiration. When I have been lonely and felt isolated I go back to the photos and it keeps me going.

Two, to do something completely different and completely out of my comfort zone and depth, to go back to night and weekend classes and actually try to properly challenge and academically take on the historical significance of the Great War in a new way, and to come back with something to properly cherish, not for my family but for myself more importantly. I never passed my History GCSE, according to one teacher who once said in a school report sent to my mother “He is so laid back that he is in danger of falling over”. Its time to prove to him wrong and to prove to myself that I am truly worth something. To have that chance to progress and change my life is an offer that I can no longer refuse. I today applied to go to University to try and change my ordinary circumstances hopefully for the better. I have nothing left here at home other than my family and friends, its time for the bird to fly away properly. Its also time to share what I have kept locked up in the cabinet to other people and to absorb more and more information.

But that comes with serious difficulties, the last time I wrote an essay I was seventeen years old, filled with Absinthe, Vodka Kick and Ultrabeat. That was well over a decade ago. I havent ever really stepped into the breech of revising, studying, concentrating. More than likely because I didnt really know what I was really doing. But this time I feel that I need to be on the road of a true direction and purpose, I have nothing left to lose now. Im still determined to look for a solution and its important to find one quickly. But maybe no one ever truly does in life.

Irish House Cemetery, Wytschaete.

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