We are all driven by the genes we inherited from out ancestors. Most people were like my parents, especially at the times when they were living. They did very little with their lives. It was routine, routine, routine. I got all my ideas and excitements out of books and my constant curiosity to learn something new every day. I had the intellectual equipment I needed and my curiosity about human nature that led me to notice everything that drew my attention to what was going on around me.
It is one of the hardest things in the world to understand ourselves. You might think that at my great age I should know myself very well, but I am still analysing why and how I led my life the way I did.
If you are my kind of person, always looking for new things to do, I can assure you that old age can be the best time of all, as long as we stay reasonably fit.
The reason I am writing this book is to show my readers the path that I followed in my life that helped me to understand what was really my fundamental purpose in living. I am now in the happy state that I have no regrets. I have tried everything I wanted to try. I grasped every opportunity that I recognised with both hands. I made all the right kinds of mistakes. We learn far more from ourselves than from our successes as Rudyard Kipling wrote. Shakespeare, the wisest writer of us all, taught us the value of self-knowledge.
Why am I pushing these thoughts? Because I now see clearly how everything that went wrong in my life, mostly from unforeseen events, inevitably led me down unexpected paths. Every one of them brought me the greater understanding I had been unknowingly searching for.
My husband wondered why I did so many things later in my life, such as writing and researching which brought me to my PhD. He did not understand that everything that I had brought into my life through my entrepreneurial ways was grist to the mill. The wider our interests are, the more arrows we can shoot from our bow.
These opening paragraphs are a preparation for my readers. After building up for the possibility for creating a string of poster shops which I intended to franchise, I lost all my money. I didn’t quite go bankrupt. I was left with a few thousand over. I had always promised myself that when I finished with my businesses I would take three months off to go round the world, or rather to those particular places I wanted to see. I learned a lot, despite my anxiety, because at the time I knew I might go bankrupt but at the end I didn’t. I will tell you all about it later.
When I came back to England I was again living in the same house with my husband. The feeling of freedom that overwhelmed me after years of working every Saturday and sorting out problems was very great. I still had my car and found that I was owed a few more thousand pounds and I was well equipped to begin my next career: running a private practice as a psychotherapist in a room of my own in Bob’s house.
I was then sixty-two. I had two grandsons by my daughter and I looked forward to watching them growing up. During those fifteen years I finally learned to be a professional artist and, best of all, a real writer. I have given up painting for the time being because I have several more books to write. I may never paint again, but it doesn’t matter. I have proved to myself that I am a real artist. My best works are portraits. I don’t know how long I shall live but that doesn’t matter. I am in reasonable health and I shall be working for the rest of my life. Everything I have done in my life has provided me with endless ideas in my favourite subject, people.
I agree with Alexander Pope: “The proper study of mankind is man.”