There have been many who have inspired me over the years, but I need to go way back in my life to the very first inspiration, and that is my father.
This lovely man was 45 when I was born. He always seemed so very old to me when I looked at him on the outside, but on looking within all I ever used to see was one very alive, and young man, who never stopped living life to the fullest, and who never had the word retirement in his vocabulary.
He was the eternal teacher, a headmaster and an incredibly wise and popular one, who at the very young age of 60, nine years younger than I am right now, had to retire from his position, as was the case back in the 60’s. It’s quite incredible to think he, and others in his position, were considered too old to continue this type of job, at this ‘young’ age. But thankfully he never considered retiring in full, so his immense wisdom, skills and knowledge were not lost to the education system, as for the next 12 years, until he was 72, he taught at several local secondary schools.
How blessed were the hundreds, if not thousands, of children who came under his tutelage during his 52 years of teaching, as he believed that every single child has a ‘gift’ to bring to this world and that his role was to support them to discover it, in spite of an education system which did not support this philosophy, and still, in most cases, doesn’t.
There are so many things I could write about this amazing man but I will share them through some of the many ways he inspired me.
- understanding that life is for living until our very last breath
- the word retirement doesn’t belong in my dictionary as I/we all have so much to offer to those around us until that aforesaid last breath
- the more we look after ourselves, especially as we get older, the more our body will look after us. A healthy, fit and vital body is our best superannuation
- every single one of us has an equal right to be in this world, no matter what our nationality, colour, religion etc. Peel back our skin and we all look the same
- each and every one of us has a gift, or many gifts to bring to the world, in our own unique way
- there is no such thing as a stranger, simply someone you haven’t taken the time to get to know, even if only for a moment
- we are never too old to make changes in our life. At 75 years old, he and my mother moved 600kms to live near me and my brother, and although many thought they were crazy to do so, in fact it was the opposite.
- if life seems to be throwing us challenge after challenge, there is always joy to be found in life, in nature, in the universe and in the people all around us.
- and even when our health takes an unexpected turn and life will never be the same as it was before, that joy is always there to be found in the simplest and sometimes the most surprising of ways.
At 88 my father passed away, and just like the way he lived, there was a lesson in his passing from this life; a beautiful lesson for us all, about the love, the joy and the grace that is possible, right until our very last breath.