'A sense of humour lends you poise, it gives you balance and it helps you to bend without breaking'

(HH Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda)

Menoptional [men-op-shun-ul]; the condition of making decisions

You've seen me lament the deterioration of the short-term memory - indeed its possible extinction.

Long-term stuff though has held pretty well.  That doesn't mean it is 100% accurate.  The interesting thing about nostalgia is that it is a condition  of colouration.  That's all good and well for story-telling, but for the sake of straightening records and maintaining integrity, one must be brutally honest about one's own part in things. 

Also, no matter how accurately told, almost certainly where other folk are involved, they will have their own view on the matter.  This can occasionally lead to disruption. On rare occasions, war.  It all comes back to how evolved each ego was in the moment concerned.  Too immature, too self-centred to see anything beyond the "why me?".  Or, more mature and capable at least of seeing others are affected.  Then again, perhaps sufficiently wise to understand that whatever is going on is part of the map of life and no matter how it goes down, one will land in the tomorrow with a memory worth retelling.

I put my hand up here and declare I am an observer.  Always tended to stand on the outside looking in, including my own life, which has caused some consternation to others when decisions have been made that could, on the surface, appear arbitrary.

I wrote yesterday about direction in life altering as a result of decisions others made in regards to my application to the Royal Air Force.  When a decision one has made is overturned by these sorts of road blocks one has to be ready to rethink strategy.  Those of you who have been here a few weeks will by now have understood that YAM is inclined towards the thinking department.

So it was that, regardless of the rejection, I was determined that I would leave school.  I was 16 years old.  There was talk (not by me) of going on to A-levels and university.  Mum enrolled me in a secretarial college privately so I could get a taste for more senior study.  I saw the 6 months through, but was pretty sure I didn't want to go on to uni.  I had a notion that I needed to travel. Part of the reason for this has to do with my inner 'guru'.  (see Menogmatic).  No way was I going to be allowed to go off on my own at that stage though. This led to some smouldering time in the MacLean household.

Then another event arrived which changed the lives of all the Macs.  Dad was offered his first overseas assignment. It was a promotion, managerial, therefore included the wife. 

Children on the other hand…  Well, that was a bit of a clincher.  My decision was now supported and my secretarial certificate, (Pittman shorthand and manual typing skills to 40wpm - electric typewriters were just coming on the market and I got up to a whopping 55wpm on one of those beauties!), stood me in good stead as dad argued the toss with his boss that I could be utilised in the field office!  WOOHOO.  Mac3 was barely 7 years of age and mum could not bear to see him enter boarding school.  Mac1 and Mac2, however, fell slap bang in the middle and a school placement in Edinburgh was found for them.

I know they were each affected differently  by the experience.  For me it was very strange to be without my sisters.  On the other hand, I was now expected to take part in adult activities and share some responsibility with mum for Mac3's home schooling. 

So, by sticking to my very own decision regarding schooling, I became incorporated in family decision making at an entirely different level.  I learned two things and made another decision that I have stuck to.  I didn't ever want to get married.  I didn't ever want to have kids.  Depending on your point of view this can look selfish.  Or very, very wise.  Just think of all the children in world who have missed out on being terrorised by the YAMonster.

I love kids.  For about an hour.  Less if they're uncooperative.

My point here, though, is that decisions regarding life direction are interesting and challenging and whilst others might be involved on the periphery, in the end it is all down to ourselves.  I look back at that now with a degree of astonishment.  I had no fear.  I knew it was the beginning of the rest of my life and there would be experiences from which I could only grow.  I embraced it with gusto.

Dear mother, devoted wife, struggled.  There were times she confessed the decision of moving with dad instead of staying and keeping the girls together was the hardest ever.  I think it haunted her for a very long time.

But I cannot speak in depth for her or any of the other family members.  I will only relate what directly affected me.  Nigeria was a wild and exciting place and over time, I'll share some of that with you.


  1. Please tells me you aint likes my mum and over thinks EVERY THING...I has nevers seen anybuddy dat could make things so complicated by thinkin' too much...hehehe. It can be a good thing or a curse.
    My mum's furiend went to Edinburgh fur school in forensic pathology.
    Anyways, I not thinks you is selfish at alls fur not wantin' kids or gettin' married. I think it would be way cool to be ables to travel da world and do what you want any time you want. Which brings up anudder point bouts your mom...I feels bad fur her withs such a drastic lifestyle change and da kiddos bein spread out everywheres. It seems like they all managed though.


  2. Hari Om
    Oh Puddles you said some very sweet things. I'm surprised - but pleasantly so!! &*>

    YAM's more a thinker in terms of the whys and wherefores of life and always has been. Occasionally though, she does sweat 'the small stuff' and get a bit fizzled. So I sympathise with your mum. Mostly I get it sorted though.

    OOOHH an Edinburgh connection! If you looked at the Menothority page you will see that we belong to Scotland, though much of the world has been trampled by various members of the Macs.

    Yes; inspite of the difficulties that being spread across the globe can give, it also helped in knitting us together ---- we're all well adjusted wierdos! (OH THAT's gonna get me into trubs 8-0...)

    Hugs and wags, YAM-aunty xx

  3. I don't envy your parents having to take those decisions, Yam, and agree that our memories of events can only ever be partial - hence the frequent amendments by Goldenoldenlady to some of my more nostalgic posts. :-)

    I think your were extremely fortunate to have recognised at such a young age that marriage and motherhood weren't for you, rather than stumbling into them as so many people do and realising your unsuitability after the event.

  4. Hari Om Perpetua-ji!
    It is not so much partial memories as that we can only rely on OUR part of the events! When my sisters or brother relate the same incident, each will do so only from THEIR part. That is why, in the end it is all just hiSTORY...:-}

    It is also the part of parents to have to make decisions for all and the poor darlings live with the consequences ever after.

    If they're lucky, like ours, the kids forgive and are forgiven. There's that Love with the capital ell again!!!! Yxx


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