The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

New Doesn’t Last Forever …

For reasons not worth discussing, I recently saw this …

Yes, it’s from a very, very long time ago … but it’s still a bit bizarre to see ‘Electronic Mail’ being touted like it is the cutting edge of tech.

But of course, once upon a time, it was.

A dawn of a new future with new possibilities.

Where – according to an Apple ad of the time – mail would travel at the equivalent of 670,000,000mph to anyone and anywhere in the World.

Even now, that sounds impressive … but back then, it was revolutionary.

Prior to email, if you wanted to send a card … a letter … a document or whatever, the only way was to trust the competence of the mail service.

And if you were writing to someone in another country, then it would take weeks before you had any chance of it being received.

We call it ‘snail mail’ now … but back then, it was just mail.

The reason I’m writing this is that time always creates change.

We might not like where it takes us.
We might find it hard to adapt or embrace.
We might not like the time-frame it’s working to.
But whether it’s good or bad, the thing you can be sure of is things will change.

The reason I’m saying this is because I recently read something on The Athletic.

Not only was it about my beloved Nottingham Forest, it was written by someone who is also living in NZ. That means there’s 2 of us here – which is the same amount of fans as there were when I lived in Shanghai and Los Angeles, haha.

Anyway, they wrote this:

“The past two seasons need putting in a box marked “Vintage”. It’s only so often in football fandom that circumstances gel to give you a gift like this period. Dramatic, successful, joyous but mainly the sense of togetherness and belonging. All praise to Steve for being the key man that’s made it happen and in particular the way it’s felt.

History suggests it won’t stay this way, maybe another year or two if we’re lucky, because expectations get in the way and start twisting the behaviour and attitudes of all parties. Sad but hey it’s all part of the cycle.

The positive point I’m making is that this has been as good as it gets really, outside of unexpectedly rising to the absolute top (e.g. Forest 78-80; Leicester winning the league), so let’s be sure to savour it while we’re in the moment! And hopefully the moment has another couple of years to run.”

I loved it.

Not just because that’s exactly how following Forest over these past 2 years have felt, but because life often follows a similar path.

The reality is we often never realise we’re living in a golden period of our life.

Often, we only realise it as we sense it passing us by.

And then we panic … trying desperately to hold on to something that is only partially – if we’re lucky – in our control and likely already has left the station.

Worse, we can end up putting all our effort trying to recreate something we had, rather than create what can be next.

That doesn’t mean our focus should be blindly running forward and ignoring – or not valuing – what is happening around us, but it does mean we should appreciate we can’t stop time … because as ‘electronic mail’ has shown, even the most exciting times of our life can end up becoming the most mundane.

Life is hard.

It’s not fair.

Sure, for some, it way harder than for others and effort doesn’t always translate to achievement or progress, which is cruel as fuck. But as I have got older, I’ve learnt to appreciate something my parents used to say to me when I was young.

“The more interested you are in life, the more chance you have of enjoying a good one”.

First of all, note they said ‘chance’.

No blind promises, more an attitude to life.

Secondly, when they said ‘interested’, they meant ‘invested’.

Not just in terms of being curious about what’s going on, but committing to being in it.

Trying stuff.
Exploring stuff.
Appreciating what you learn from it – good, bad or indifferent.

And finally, their version of a ‘good life’ was – as I’ve said many times – a life of fulfilment rather than contentment.

Where you go after the stuff that makes you feel alive, rather than what makes life comfortable and easy.

It’s why I adore they said ‘enjoy’ rather than ‘have’.

Not just because it acknowledged time will continually challenge and change our contexts and beliefs … but because it means you recognise, embrace and value the good moments while not letting yourself get so lost in them that you are removing yourself from the possibilities of the future.

Nottingham Forest spent too long being lost in the past.

Always judging themselves by it, which meant never being able to live up to it.

An invisible hammer continually bashing everyone down.

But Steve Cooper has changed that …

Sure, he’s not achieved a fraction of what Clough did, but apart from the fact he’s only 4 years into his managerial career, he has done stuff even Clough wasn’t able to achieve.

For example, the togetherness between fan, club and manager is – even in the eyes of ex-Clough players – better than it ever was at our European peak.

In essence, he took the values of the club to liberate the future of it … enabling a new generation of fan to take the club to somewhere new and exciting. Something that represents their future, not just a recreation of another generations past.

It’s so exciting to see it.
It’s so exciting to share it.
It’s so exciting to be a part of it.

Now I know what some of you will be thinking, I’m reframing achievement to set lower expectations. But that’s the point …

When you try and hold on to things already past, you’re stuck in limbo.

It’s why I’m revelling in what Forest are doing right now.

I know it won’t last forever, but to experience something so magical is more than I ever dared to dream.

Sure, it’s not the same as last time.
But that doesn’t mean it’s any less wonderful.
Even more so that it is happening in the present not in my memory.

When Forest won the playoff final to get back into the Premiership after 23 long and painful years, some genius played the track ‘Freed From Desire’ by Gala. It wasn’t just the perfect choice of song for us, it conveys one of the most valuable lessons for life.

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