nanos gigantium humeris insidentes.
I was once told by my Grandpa that this inscription, which could be found on the edging of a £2 coin meant ‘Standing on the Shoulders of Giants.’
Now, not for one moment do I believe that my Grandpa got his interpretation wrong. Indeed, he was possibly the smartest person I ever had the fortune of knowing, and though he is missed dearly, this piece of wisdom bestowed on me by him has bugged me for years.
As a petulant and incomprehensible 8 year old, I always assumed that it meant being able to see lots, because you would be really high up. However, as I have come to realise, the meaning has much more significance than that.
In some cultures it is believed that if we were to see our lives mapped out, our past would be in front of us, our present where we stood, and our future behind us. To me this makes perfect sense, as one can easily see the past, but the future, in all its uncertainty, is blissfully unavailable for our eyes.
At this stage in my life, I find myself considering many things. The past? Certainly. Though I have long since learnt that it is one of many things in life which you cannot change. It is also what allows us to learn, and endeavour not to repeat its mistakes. The Present? Not so much I must admit, as each new dawn brings another day hurtling towards me at break neck speeds, I simply do my best to embrace whatever arises.
But the future? Yes the future I think about a lot. It’s the one part of my life which I seem to have a slight sense of control over. And though I may not like how fast time is flying, and how such happy moments of childhood are now nothing more than distant memories, I find myself curious.
If one had the chance, would it really be wise to see one’s own future? I sincerely doubt it. For one thing, the past is full of the things we cannot change, yet the future is full of the things we can. I am a great believer that everything, no matter how good or bad, happens for a reason. And if we were to mess around with what is yet to happen too much, would it not directly leave us with consequences that must be dealt with in the present?
The future is a delicate thing. Our choices should be our own, but only to a certain extent. Some things are preordained, some things are going to happen, regardless of how good or bad a person you are. Some things you can’t control.
And that’s the way it should be.
Don’t come crying to me if your life isn’t working out the way you planned it. Because let’s be honest here, whose ever actually does. You can only try to be the best person you can be, not necessarily who everyone else wants you to be. Be happy with your choices. If you make bad ones then regret them, certainly. But do not dwell on them. Nobody ever had a happy present whilst trying to rectify their mistakes of the past.
“I shall pass this way only once. Therefore any good that I can do, or any kindness I can show, let me do it now, for I shall not pass this way again.”
Stand on the shoulders of giants my friends. But be sure to face the right way. Nobody ever made progress whilst trying to walk backwards.