Way back in the aeons of time, one of the lessons which were part of the school week (when I bothered going - always happier with a fishing rod or air-gun) was "careers". At that time, the late 1960's/early 70', gas fitters, locally, were much in demand and, surprise, surprise, the lessons focused on how to become involved in that industry. I always wanted to be in the building trade but, due to "parental guidance" (two school teachers), found myself in a role within the Medical Research Council - a medical laboratory technician at The Lister Institute of Preventive Medicine - Dagger Lane, Elstree, HERTS - I fucking hated it! (Even more than I hated school - if that's possible?)
Salvation presented itself in the form of a job, as a factory operative, within the Distribution (Southern Region) warehouse operation of Kodak Ltd, Swallowdale Lane, Hemel Hempstead. I was like a duck to water - the role and the environment suited me to a tee! That was 1978 and I've been in warehousing/factory employment ever since.
I couldn't say that it's been the most rewarding way of spending a working life - but there are plenty of worse options. I get up, go to work, come home and forget about it - it is a means to an end, not an end in itself! I've only had four employers since I left school - The Lister Institute, Kodak, Brooke Bond (Unilever) and now Fujifilm SIS. Each one has played a massive part in my development as an individual and also influenced my thinking on so many other factors that are on the periphery of my world. I'm six years off retirement (should I choose?) and still don't know what I want to do. Over the years many have asked the question about turning my passions into a job (be that fishing or birding) - I'd hate it. Having to do the things that provide a release from the mundane - to create the mundane? Not for me, I'm afraid - I have to keep the two as far apart as is possible.
Has my time on this planet been put to the best use - have I lived my life to the full? Only someone looking from the outside will be able to make that call. I've done so much, that I'd never believed possible - I've been married (twice), got two fantastic kids, two more step kids and five grandchildren. I've caught some massive fish, watched birds all around the UK and the Mediterranean coast of Europe, experienced the adrenaline overdose of Disneyland, Florida, watched whales and dolphins in The Bay of Biscay and spent my youth watching QPR playing in the top flight of English football. And yes, I've been blessed with good health and had a blast living the way I find most rewarding, I've always enjoyed a pint but drugs and cigarettes have never played a part in any aspect of my journey - I can get myself in enough shit without their help!
Do I know what I want out of life - more of the same I guess? I continue to explore as many avenues as my interests dictate and will, hopefully, find enjoyment in the discoveries that await.