‘Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life…’ Thoughts on turning 65 February 16, 2012 and my most memorable birthday.

February 16, 2012 | Author: | Posted in Dr. Jeffrey Lant’s Article Archive

by Dr. Jeffrey Lant

Author’s program note. I have always liked Charles Dickens. Not only was he a writer able to make words do his bidding, but he roused multitudes of people, people who after reading this master could never see the world as before… but only through his eyes. That is power indeed.

When I was a student living in London in the late ’60s, Charles Dickens’ house was right around the corner on Doughty Street; I went often, my mission clear: to see how the master of words lived his messy, turbulent, always productive life. That didn’t help; I had to wait until I lived my own to find out how it’s done….

But I resolved that when it came time for me, as an older man, looking back on my young and tender self, that I should incorporate the great beginning to “David Copperfield” (published 1850)… and so today I shall do so:

“Chapter 1. I am born.

Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show. To begin my life with the beginning of my life, I record that I was born (as I have been informed and believe) on a Friday, at twelve o’clock at night. It was remarked that the clock began to strike, and I began to cry, simultaneously.” And so, very similarly, it went for me… and, no doubt for you, too; for at that moment we are all similar… something we ought to remember later, when we cultivate and embrace divisiveness instead of diversity.

Seeking clues, finding clues.

There is no adventure so thrilling, so personally significant, so completely fulfilling as going on expedition to find yourself, for the discovery of you cannot help but be the most important journey you will take. For this epic journey — for your life must always be that — I have selected the lush 1969 score by Sir Malcolm Arnold to one of the several filmed versions of “David Copperfield”. You can find it in any search engine. Play it now before going on…

And so we begin…

I was born in Illinois February 16, 1947, making me a card-carrying Baby Boomer. It was the date of my parents’ first wedding anniversary; the date, too, when two of my paternal aunts gave birth to boys the same time. Family, fecundity, faith in the Great Republic and its devices were in the air.

It is fashionable, particularly in political circles, to minimize what one’s parents had, while enhancing the struggles they faced; the deprivations many and humiliating visited upon the hapless children… but this is not my story, even if I stretched the truth.

When I see my life in its whole, the words that come to mind are words of security, amplitude, family… words about the Great Republic, its especial place in the firmament… and of small town life and verities… where everyone knew you, almost from the first moment of conception. There my father built us a rambling ranch house graced by a sign that said “This is the house that Don built, 4906 Woodward Avenue”.

It was set in the midst of acres of violets whose very color I can never see without a lump in my throat….if in such circumstances we may have lacked this or that, we didn’t know and it never mattered… because we were blessed in so many ways… No one more so than I.

“You looked at me,” she said, “with interest and intelligence, as if you had come to tell me something and know me better.”

Life revealed one of my important traits right from the start. My mother was young and feared delivery and the burdens of maternity. She told me often in later years that she didn’t want children, didn’t like them… and was resentful when her early pregnancy was discovered. But then…then… a nurse placed me in her arms for the first time… and that changed everything.

She told me, always as if she had never told me before, I looked at her at that crucial moment of acknowledgement… not with fear, anxiety, trepidation or even uncertainty… but instead steadily, with empathy, as if I had come to cheer her and tell her all would be well.

Thus it came to be said that I had a special mission to humanity and the necessary skills and healing gifts. If so, I used them that day.

Prodigies

All mothers probably think their children prodigies, especially the first born… but my mother’s oft reiterated belief about what she saw on our first meeting put my feet upon the path I continue to tread this very day… a path that gave me what, age ten or so, I told them I wanted: to go to Harvard, to write books, to be a millionaire, all accomplished before thirty. This is how it happened…

Exemption, recognition

Boys in 1950’s Illinois needed to be good at sports, especially baseball, basketball or football, handy with cars, or at some practical subject like mathematics, a requirement for careers in engineering and the like. I was good at none of these… and yet it never mattered. I was, from the first day of school, the recognized school leader, master of words and thoughts which were always more adult than my schoolmates, who might so easily have derided… but never did, not least because I was always perceived as a friend, even confidante of my teachers, able to empathize and understand their situations; always, therefore a (young) colleague, never merely a pet. I used this influence for the good of my classmates, my instructors, the support staff… and myself. As such, I had the ear of all, for the benefit of all.

I learned what it took to assist authority and to achieve what I wanted… by helping such people get what they wanted. And this skill, once planted, has never deserted me… and as a result I have always been welcomed by the intelligent, the accomplished, the powerful, and all manner of people whose brains are fertile, whose visions are expansive, and for whom life is a grand thing, to be savored, improved, enhanced at every step and always shared, as I share mine with such people; now including you. In this way I lived a life enhanced by those good people and kind who have chosen to live it with me, as you perhaps will do, too.

My favorite birthday.

Have I then become the hero of my own life? Even now, it is too early to tell, though I remain resourceful and always hopeful. But I can resolutely tell you this: my favorite birthday is my actual birth day for from it everything else has come… and it all started with a look, two eyes just opened looking for the first time into two eyes anxious and frightened just a moment ago, now with a dawning realization that all will be well and with incipient happiness, too.

That is why, so equipped, I approach each new day as a pilgrim to this planet; ready to smile, to laugh, to use my talents, to enhance life… and above all else to love… for love explains all, enables all, enhances all, forgives all, understands all, embraces all… which is why, just 65, the best is yet to come… the last of life for which the first is made. So Browning enlightened my mother; so my mother enlightened me… and so I trust, on this special day, I have now enlightened you.

For this is the only acceptable kind of life… where, one by one, we reach out to each other… determined to engage… to touch… to venture upon the ocean of time with hope, humility, humanity. This is what I have learned in my first 65 years… and now it is my present to you… gratefully given… and I hope gratefully received and used for good… for this is the way if you, too, wish to become the hero of your own life, as I know you wish to do…

About the Author

Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is CEO of Worldprofit, Inc., providing a wide range of online services for small and-home based businesses. Services include home business training, affiliate marketing training, earn-at-home programs, traffic tools, advertising, webcasting, hosting, design, WordPress Blogs and more. Find out why Worldprofit is considered the # 1 online Home Business Training program by getting a free Associate Membership today. Details at worldprofit.com

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