MacPhail – week 01

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More than any other date on the calendar, January 1 is the most commonly held reference point of time in this part of the world for taking stock of where our lives are and how we feel about our past, present and future.

This self-evaluating happens commonly on an individual level at birthdays – particularly when multiple decades are reached – and when other anniversaries are marked.

Because at New Year whole populations are doing this simultaneously, the presence of self-analyses set against our years on earth is accentuated. The prevalence of the New Year’s resolution is everywhere at this time of year and although there is a fair amount of fashion, commercialism, grandstanding and gimmickry involved in it, I think the general concept is a good one.

2019 will mark a few meaningful milestones on my own timeline that make the turning of this year feel more significant than others of the past.  This year I will turn 40, Skipinnish will turn 20 and 2019 also marks 20 years since my father passed away. In their own different ways, these three markers of linear movement through life are significant.

These reference points of time in our lives are useful in giving us the perspective to evaluate what is important to us and what is not.

When we started the band I was a fresher year student aged 19 with no real plan for what my future life might entail other than generally wanting variety, freedom and progression while trying to maintain a good level of morality and decency as a human being.  I was having a great time studying and partying in Glasgow and heading off to pubs, village halls and festivals up and down the country at weekends with the band.

Twenty years on and approaching 40, I don’t really feel much has changed in my outlook on life and I have no wish for a clearer vision of my future. I am, hopefully, slightly wiser, but other than a few grey hairs, a couple of scars and few extra stones I don’t feel that too much has changed.

Throughout these 20 years I’ve managed to have plenty of variety, freedom, independence and among all the rough and tumble some sort of progression has hopefully been made.

At the beginning of every year when contemplating specific aspects of life to work on to improve our journeys and increase our contribution to the world there is a range of fairly standard as well as some very specific activities on which to concentrate.

As we enter 2019 one of the main areas of life that is very much on my mind more than other years, – added to by a recent dream I had – is making time to visit people who have been an important part of the previous years of our lives.

I’m going to delve into this subject further in next week’s article but in the meantime, trips to Iona, Mull, Barra, Benbecula, Perthshire, Lochgilphead, Edinburgh, California, Tiree and many other places to see certain people are being planned.

In the blink of an eye, 20 years can pass and in the blink of an eye people too pass and we lose the chance to see them and to meet again. So, while we are all still here time should be made for these powerful human connections.

Happy New Year to you all.