Different Maps for Similar Chaps?

Graham has been wondering…

…how to reconcile an apparently freeform lifestyle with being an effective instrument of social change.

You could say I’ve been, maybe (and probably less than I think), something of an embodiment of an alternate existence. But that’s been often a subsistence-level lifestyle, supported by crap jobs like contracting electrician, labourer, and the like — kind of interesting, but off-point, and in many ways, limiting. Only now do I get to some level of formal achievement with some resources to do something more –facilities, knowledge, credit in triple digits. Meanwhile, John, a man with whom I share a scarily similar background …

… went another route. He has done stuff that would in another time have caused me to assume a lot about his social/political attitudes and reject him outright — stuff that now I envy, in many ways.  He’s had experiences — challenges, calls on judgment, levels of responsibility– way beyond mine, met and gained respect from people I do not (and maybe could not) know. Yet here we are, converging on many of the same values, wishing for similar things for our communities, and in many ways, he’s way better off than I am.

Once I held it as axiomatic that the two sets of experiences were incompatible — that the commitment to social change, embodying and promulgating it — came probably with personal sacrifice. Perhaps I was a little off beam…

John is still wondering …

… why two people brought up within a few miles of each other in the North of England needed fifty years and hundreds of thousands of miles of travelling to meet on an island literally on the other side of the world to ‘dear old blighty’.

And … on the topic of ‘off beam’, he is thinking that whoever was responsible for this beam …

should probably be off this beam …

John also cautions …
… Graham to not underestimate himself. Graham has done stuff and had responsibilities that John would have run away from.