Daily life for me and you is governed by the large events of history; peace or war, employment or unemployment, prosperity or poverty. In my youth I was taught that my future prosperity and happiness were entirely dependent on me, if I worked hard and used such talents as I have I could expect a happy, comfortable life. This is more of a myth or perhaps a fairy story. The really important questions are: where was I born, when and who my parents were. Clearly I had no control over any of this, irrespective of these facts I believed, as I was meant to, that my success or failure would be entirely my responsibility. Factors such as good luck or indeed the political orthodoxy were scarcely mentioned. Studying hard, passing the exams, presenting myself in the approved docile and courteous manner, these were the characteristics which were encouraged.
Sadly docility and even good exam results are not the passport to a furiously changing world. You will not believe the years which had to pass before I developed a more accurate understanding of what is really important in this fractious and always changing world. Youth had long since fled, middle age had gone beyond recall, two words rushed towards me with the speed of light O– A–. I can scarcely believe it, except my body reminds me that this is indeed the case. Time becomes a very precious thing, speeding away like a jet engine, and the other precious thing is energy, so quickly spent, so hard to renew. I am very lucky in the 1940s my family survived the bombing and just when I needed it the Welfare State arrived and gave me a free secondary education followed by full employment. Did I work hard?Well sometimes yes and sometimes no . Fortune favours the brave they say or possibly I was in the right place at the right time.
So much to learn and so little time.