Sunday, 28 May 2017

46 Years of Similarity

Before you read on, I feel it important to disclose that the following article is very self-indulgent. It is motivated primarily by an event that took place today, between 10 am and Midday, and for 6 years starting 46 years ago.

So, if the decision is to stop reading now, I understand.

I had a conversation today at a coffee shop in South Brisbane.

The conversation commenced a little before 10 am and concluded at about midday.

It was the first conversation we had ever had.  

What’s more, we first met in 1971 and for each of the next 6 years, our paths crossed for about 200 days a year. Over those 6 years, we spent many hours together, usually in blocks of 60 minutes at a time. Together, we learned about Physics, Chemistry and Maths, English, Biology and History.

I was learning about these subjects as a means of filling in time until the next recess, the next party or the next chance to play sport or talk to this hour’s favourite girl. She was interested in the subjects themselves and in doing well, and boys other than me.

When I failed to understand something in Chemistry, I went to lunch break. When she didn’t understand something, she found another teacher who could explain it to her.

Two people could not have been more different. The Geek and the Non-Geek. One interested in doing well, the other in matters more social.

After 6 years, she went her way and I went mine. For the better part of 40 years, I never gave her a thought and I am as sure she never gave me one.

Our paths went in understandably different directions. Hers to Apollo Bay, Ballarat and Phillip Island to name a few, mine to Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne (twice) and Brisbane.

You will by now have realised we were in secondary school together.

At the 40th reunion of our School graduation, we discovered some common interests. We discussed these today but only fleetingly.

We talked family, her three daughters and my two sons, we discussed philosophical matters, opinions and plans for the next 50 years. We barely touched the surface.

I had an inspiring, energising, challenging conversation with someone I have known for 46 years, but equally, have never known.

It is easy to look for inspiration in books and podcasts. To seek out experts in our chosen fields and follow the teachings of high profile practitioners.

My discovery today is, we can learn much from and be inspired greatly by those who have in one way or another always been part of our selves. There are hidden treasures of wisdom waiting to teach and challenge us, to be inspired by and to be open with, without judgement.

I found a new friend today, a friend of 46 years standing, and I am better for it.

Doctor, your shout for coffee when next we talk, in Melbourne.

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