Life begins at 56.That, at any rate, is the idea. To call it a plan would be stretching things; to say it is a firm intention would be to provide  a hostage to fortune. But it is a hope, nonetheless.

Children out of the house, divorce (after four-and-a-half years of separation and low-intensity conflict) all but done and dusted, new relationship posing some new (do I move to Canada?) and some old (should we live together, should we get married?) questions, a fork in the road signposting quite different options and risks on the work front, a budding novel sitting untouched on the stocks – oh, and a house to be renovated. Does this sound familiar to anyone out there? Not in the details, necessarily, but in broad outline?

The world must be full of 56 year old survivors of life’s ups and downs trying to figure out the opportunities – or straighten out the mess, depending on how you look at it!

So why write about it? Is it not better to keep quiet perhaps, and try to figure out for myself what happens from here?

But, I wonder, where are the maps and markers? Where is the set of instructions?  This package doesn’t come with instructions; nor can it be returned for exchange. The only way is forward. The consequences will  only become clearer later, when it is too late to change direction.

If I lack a map, so I suspect do others. Perhaps the only map then is the map provided by those who are travelling a similar road. If this is the case, perhaps there is a responsibility to share one’s notes from the journey, for the entertainment if not necessarily the enlightenment of one’s fellow travellers.

Adherents to the cock-up theory of history will suspect that the journey I am about to begin is not exactly the logical next step in a well thought-out plan, an epiphany on some flower-strewn path to self-actualisation. They would be right, but not entirely.

The fact is, I took some decisions. I can’t say I foresaw all the consequences, but I can’t say either that I leaped blind. I knew what I was doing. I just didn’t know – won’t know, actually, until after, where it was taking me.

This journal will tell the story, as I go along. Whether anyone else will notice, or pay attention, remains to be seen. That, too, will be part of the story I guess. So here goes.