"If somewhat presumptuously, I took the liberty to wonder what would have happened had I not, in a moment I both deeply regret and cherish beyond measure, made a choice last August twenty-fourth and penned a missive that ought not to have been yet had a thousand reasons to be so."I remembered that when I was at Prep School (US translation: Junior School?) the Headmistress (in the days before Head Teachers) wrote the following in my autograph book:
We cannot foresee what is going to happen.
How then can we plan what we're going to do
Most of us would, I think, act very differently if only tomorrow's screen we could peer through.
But life's vision is short
And we can't see its answer.
And things come our way
Which we're eager to take.
And so we snatch hungrily at its brief pleasures,
And worthwhile and lasting things sadly forsake.
J Twomey Ryebank 1954
I have more recently found it quite strange that I have held this up as the essence of wisdom whilst ever since I was 5 I have thought that Miss Twomey was logically challenged after she stressed in one lesson that pride was one of the seven deadly sins and then in the next told us that we should have pride in our work. When I queried this (which, as a five year old, seemed to me to be completely incomprehensible) I was told off for being insolent (or whatever it was I was supposed to have been).
In the meantime all I can say to L'Archiduchesse is 'You'll just never know!' and if you have achieved happiness, however brief, before 21 you are doing well above average.
(I wonder how many challenges that will provoke).