On the mornings I drag myself out of bed at 5.30 (yeah, yeah ok, 5.45… 50. SHUT UP.) my lovely Dad drives me to the train station on his way to work. And every morning, just before I fall out of the car and stumble my way to the platform, he says two words to me. In fact, they are the same two words he says to me most days – whether I’m glaring at him grumpily from the passenger seat, heading back to work eight hours after I’ve arrived home, or popping to the supermarket or going to the doctor. At 6.45 this morning, as I untangled my bag from the seatbelt and tried to get my foot to fit into my trainer (I am the very epitome of a ‘morning person’), my Dad turned to me and said ‘have fun’.
As with most mornings he received a derisive snort and a less than cheery goodbye wave but, once I’d arranged myself into a fairly neat pile of human, clothes and book, his words came back to me. I tend to think that when he says these words he’s being ironic, sarcastic, some other word ending in –ic that describes his attitude to the world perfectly. But… what if he’s not? What if my Dad – the quiet, moody old chap that I spend my life arguing with over things that don’t matter – is trying to tell me something?
My Dad is a funny combination of someone who finished their education at 12 and has produced three (ok, two plus me) fairly intelligent children whilst spending his life torn between struggling for the simple things and ignoring the fact that he is – like his littlest child – an emphatic thinker. We tend to ignore that side of him because that’s what he wants us to do. He’ll sit and stew over bits of life that we wouldn’t even have stopped to think about and then tell us to ignore him. But this time, I think I might take him up on his suggestion.
Maybe it is just a blasé comment, a routine phrase from when I was small(er) and skipped off with my Mum to do exciting things while he went to work and was under paid for doing too much. Or maybe he’s giving me the best piece of advice I’ll ever get.
Today I put a smile on my face and ignored the fact the train made me 25 minutes late into work. I laughed, I joked and – after being released from my prison cell two hours early (see, smiles work!) I dumped my shopping bags against a fence and sat on a swing. We don’t get another chance at life. If work gets you down tomorrow, laugh. It doesn’t matter. Leave it at the office and walk in your front door without the frown. If you’ve too much studying and the essays are piling up, take a good hard look at what you’re doing and appreciate the fact that it was all your choice and maybe, just maybe, you’ll get somewhere. But most of all, folks, have a little fun with your day, with your week, with your life. What else have we got at 6.45 when the trains are delayed and the tickets are too expensive and we know that once we get to work we’re just going to end up being interrupted every ten minutes by someone whose dog has peed on your nice, clean floor?