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Where did the road go?

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When Inga was an inquisitive little girl asking lots of tricky questions about life, Mrs GOF or I would occasionally answer “I don’t know.”  This response invoked criticism from the more highly educated mother next door who believed that parents should never reveal fallibility or uncertainty in front of their children.

(In this case I suspect her kids eventually discovered some previously unrevealed parental weaknesses after the family imploded shortly afterwards at Bhagwan Sri Rajneesh’s ashram in India.)

As a Dad I wish that I did always have the answers, and that whenever things inevitably went slightly pear-shaped for my children I could easily “make it all better again.”

Today my little girl is all “growed up” and recently she blogged about “How did I turn thirty without realising what I want to do with my life”(here)
(Reading through the responses warms my heart with appreciation of the quality friends we have made on Vox and WordPress.)

I suspect many people feel the same way as Inga as they travel through life. After all it’s often very difficult to be objective when selecting itineraries best suited for ourselves from the multitude of options available.

The route to happiness and contentment is rarely an Appian Way stretching into the distance as far as the eye can see. Sometimes it involves being stuck in some unfamiliar favela and trying to find a way out of the maze of alleyways into more comfortable territory.
I’ve been there myself.

When I was Inga’s age I had to put the cleaners through my own life; terminating a toxic personal relationship and making a stand against having my working life dominated by bureaucratic bullshit.
I left the job I loved in Papua New Guinea and moved to the Australian bush. Few people have bothered me ever since.

The Highway of Destiny has been good to me but as retirement age and diminished physical capacity loom ever closer I can see another confusing roundabout coming up on my horizon.

One possible solution offered by Inga for herself was that of  “Spiritual Enlightenment”.   Maybe lots of Gen X’s and Y’s will need to follow this path.  If so, I think I’ve just found a way to avoid my own upcoming identity crisis;
How does Bhagwan Sri Gof sound to you?
Would anyone like to donate my first Rolls Royce?

*      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *

Inga, you are in very good company as you search for the answers which you will ultimately find within yourself.
From John Denver’s “Sweet Surrender”…..

Lost and alone on some forgotten highway.
Traveled by many, remembered by few.
Looking for something that I can believe in,
Looking for something that I’d like to do with my life.

There’s nothing behind me and nothing that ties me
To something that might have been true yesterday.
Tomorrow is open and right now it seems to be more
Than enough to just be here today.

I don’t know what the future is holding in store.
I don’t know where I’m going, I’m not sure where I’ve been.
There’s a spirit that guides me, a light that shines for me.
My life is worth living, I don’t need to see the end.

*      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *


About GOF

"Life is like a sewer. What you get out of it, depends upon what you put into it." (Tom Lehrer)

40 responses »

  1. As parents we never really let go of our children do we, but there comes a time when they have to make those decisions for themselves that we had to do. And make their own mistakes as we had to do. And learn from them as we had to do. That’s life, isn’t it. I think Inga will choose well. She has a maturity that will serve her well. And loving parents to be there for her. Sadly, so many kids don’t have that anchor.

    As for your own life decisions that you have to make in the not so distant future, I can only wish you well. Bhagwan Sri Gof does sound good. As does the Rolls Royce. You can always keep the chooks in it if all else fails. Now there’s a status symbol to aspire to…

    • Very well put Snowy. Thank you for your contribution. We’ve always encouraged her to be an independent person although sometimes I think she was just born that way.

      Thank you for your wise suggestions as to what I can do with Bhagwan Gof and the Rolls Royce…..Mrs GOF will probably have a few even more down-to-earth suggestions for me when she finds out about my plans to be a guru. 🙂

  2. This is beautiful. I am going to sing this song all day today at work. (I have the lyrics memorized, as with most John Denver songs.)
    I do so want to visit Bhagwan Sri GOF. It would be a pilgrimage. 🙂

    • Thank you Lauri……Denver songs can be very catchy…..whenever I hear “Some days are diamonds” I can never get it out of my head for days.

      “I do so want to visit Bhagwan Sri GOF. It would be a pilgrimage. ”
      ………And a complete waste of your time 🙂

  3. Thanks for this GOF, much needed.

    Also it’s funny how many times I’ve sang along to those lyrics and never really listened to them…

    • You’re welcome. I’d not really listened to the lyrics either until yesterday. I was wandering around trying to compose my thoughts for this story when the ‘random select’ on my mp3 player picked out this song. Coincidence? Perhaps not.

  4. What a lovely essay, GOF! (And of course I love John Denver’s lyrics!). I’m sure Inga cherishes your words and her very philosophical and thoughtful Dad!!

    • Thank you Elaine. John Denver has influenced my view of the world in several ways.
      I just hope Inga has been able to filter out the occasional useful piece of philosophy from all the useless garbage I’ve fed her over the years. 🙂

  5. I can’t believe anyone still remembers the Orange people! The idea has potential. Nice post :).

    • Orange people are impossible to forget when you’ve had them living next door to you, or remember the television interview with ‘tough titties’ Sheila, one-time spokesperson for the cult.

      • I was trying to remember that God awful woman’s name. Now I can go back to forgetting her. She was just as annoying as the Yank woman with 4 eye brows.

  6. I know it’s been a long while since I’ve been here, GOF. I hate it when my real life kidnaps me and forces me to deal with it, but that’s what happened, until my recent escape and my current status as a fugitive running from the Law… of responsibility. Lol

    Raising my own daughter, who is about the same age as yours, I often said “I don’t know.” if in fact, I really didn’t know. I think it can be a good thing for parents to let their kids know that Mom & Dad aren’t all knowing since no one is. I’ve also tried my best to answer her questions in a way she would understand, if I had an answer.

    If I had a Rolls Royce to donate to you GOF, I would do so and happily. I don’t care how much one is worth or what level of high status it proclaims for the owner. Because every time I see a Rolls Royce, all I can think is ‘Man, what a butt ugly car!’ Sour grapes? Not so! I’ve had fantasies about robbing banks, if it would get me a Porche 944. But come to think of it… why go through all the bother of robbing a bank, when I can just steal the Porche? Lol – Why thank you, GOF! Reading and responding to your post has inspired me to new levels! though maybe not levels headed in the right direction. 😀

    • Welcome back Chris…..last I heard you were taking a blogging vacation so it’s nice to have you back in action…..even if you are a fugitive.

      I also believe in honesty when answering kids questions….after all one day they’re going to know for sure that parents don’t have all the answers…..that’s the exclusive domain of teenagers.

      I’m with you re the Porsche….times have moved on…..any self-respecting guru should have a stable of red Porsches. Please don’t go stealing any….even though I reside in another jurisdiction I’m worried I might be extradited as an accessory after the fact of your stealing luxury vehicles.

      • Thanks for the welcome back! 🙂 And not to worry, because that would be a reach that even the “Long arm of the Law” would be not able to reach far enough to grab! Lol

        • I’m totally relieved. 🙂

          • Why, what a coincidence! So am I… I guess our digestion schedules must be similar. Lol

            • That one almost passed straight over my head Chris…it’s only 7am here and I haven’t woken up yet. 🙂

              • You are not the first Aussie to have that problem with me, and I’ll try to remember to be more considerate. 🙂

                • Just keep doin’ what your doin’…there’ll be plenty of occasions when you won’t understand my Aussie weirdness.

                  • Maybe yes, or maybe not so much – since I have years of experience with Aussie weirdness, and enough so, that I know it’s now approx 9:10 am where you are, and you are probably more awake. And no, I didn’t need to google the time in Queensland since it’s a simple to remember (unless I forget to do it) to add 2 hours to my time here, and reverse AM or PM here to know what tine it is where you are.

                    But maybe I have less of a grasp in your case than I think, since almost all my experience has been with Aussie female weirdness, and very little with the blokes. But I have greatly enjoyed and mostly understood your weirdness so far GOF, and I’m sure that will continue. And now I will stop going on about it, cause I gotta take a slash and run for the dunny! 🙂

  7. A couple of good people I know have told me through the years, when shit gets really rough: ‘you don’t need to be fixed…you’re perfectly fine the way you are.’

    That *could* be enabling — but to those of us who bust our arses, taking care of others, running household since age 8, having to be head of the class — for school we paid our own way through and then find ourselves ‘nobodies?’ It needs to be said and heard some times!

    • Thanks MT. Most of the shit I’ve found myself in over the years has been the result of my own poor decision-making so I have no difficulty accepting blame for it…….I understand that many people (and unfortunately children too) find themselves in circumstances over which they have no control.
      Oh…and perhaps everybody is a ‘nobody’….in 100 years time who will ever remember that we existed. I consider you a unique ‘somebody’.

      • Thanks, GOF. I think my worst decision was choosing to work here and not leave in the Good Old Days. Once things went haywire, you’re lucky to have anything, so I’m stuck. My fault entirely but 20/20 hindsight’s not such of a help!

        • I guess sometimes we just have to concentrate on whatever’s good with our lives and remember that so many people in the world don’t have the opportunities and services which we take for granted.

  8. I’m sorry, but I refuse to believe that you don’t know the answer to everything … or that you wouldn’t make up an answer … lol.

    • Well it only ever happened on one occasion GOM, when Inga asked “Daddy, why isn’t Elle knocking on the door begging to be our live-in housekeeper?”
      Some things in life are just totally inexplicable.

  9. Bhagwan Sri Gof you are obviously very wise as saying “I don’t know” is one of the best lessons we can give our children. As teachers we allow ourselves to say “I don’t know, but let’s see if we can find out together”.

    I would suggest a tree change, but you already have the trees!

    • That is very refreshing to know that teachers these days are free to admit that they don’t know the answer to everything…..I suspect it was not always the case when I was at school.
      I think we will eventually need a ‘services change’….somewhere with power, water and sewerage supplied by someone else.

  10. It looks like you subscribe to raising a young adult rather than a child. Same as us. I am often saddened to see folk who raise their children as children and don’t prepare them for decision making. It usually involves viewing the world as perfect rather than as it is.

    I’m not talking that awful tough love BS, but allowing them to do stuff and standing by to offer assistance when asked.

    Occasionally I see parents interfering with their kids when I’m running Laser Tag. I just want to lock them in the back room and let the kids play uninterrupted.

    • I think Inga was born a young adult…..maybe she has a different view of it, but I hope we encouraged her to make her own decisions about life from an early age. She also had ample time to be a child without too many adult responsibilities. (Mrs GOF let her off the hook of domestic contributions too often) 🙂

      I once witnessed the behaviour of parents at a kids basketball competition…..abuse and swearing at umpires……unbelievable…’s only a game for God’s sake.

      • Sport events can be the worse events to see parents at.

        The worst we heard of was a bloke who slapped his Son for losing a 10 pin bowling competition. The manager grabbed him and got him out of there before the spectators got hold of him.

        Most bizarrely, he was an adopted child

        • Terrible story… certainly can’t get much worse than this.

          • It rather blew away the theory that adopted kids must be really loved. I forgot about the “human” factor.

            Still, there is an abundance of real love in the world if we look for it.

  11. On the other hand, Lama G has a nice ring to it. 😀

    Lovely words, GOF. My first thought was that most of us rush ahead to achive our goals while never sitting down for half an hour to decide if that goal is what we really want. That was my mistake – but I think there’s still time to make things right.

    • Thank you Amelie……I made up my mind as to what I wanted to do with my life at age 10 and never had the courage to question it or examine alternatives. Perhaps my outlook on the world and the experiences I’ve had in life have been unnecessarily restricted as a result.


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