Something a little different and lighter, for a Friday afternoon: 

In my twenties, when anxiety was not an issue, I tried to join the Royal Navy. 
I was so excited: reading feverishly about officer training at Britannia Naval College, and thinking that a life at sea would be my dream. 

Ultimately, I was turned down on medical grounds. 
I was pretty much crushed, for a long time. 

But fast-forward a little:

A number of years ago, my friend Laura and I spent a couple of days on a boat -- just a little one, on the river ways in Norfolk. 

Being much more grown up and clever than myself (not to mention gorgeous, fabulous and fun), Laura was very much in charge. No question. And I was content with that. 

She even gave me a hat -- a white-topped peaked nautical cap, you know the type -- and throughout the jaunt, referred to me as "Admiral". 

After a while, over wine, I asked her: "Why Admiral? Why not Captain or Skipper?"
She smiled her lovely smile, and explained that, in Naval circles, when a commanding officer was highly incompetent, and unfit to captain a ship, it was customary for him to be "kicked upstairs", given a fancy title and office, and not have any power or responsibility. 

"An Admiral is someone who does nothing useful, but poses on the ship all day long and pretends to be important -- and that's you," Laura said, her customary twinkle in her eye. 

Of course, some weeks later, I began to fret about the fact that I wasn't a "useful" individual -- fretting in a way that Laura would not have ever wanted. But that didn't stop me. 

[I still miss Laura. I'm happy that she found love and moved overseas to be with him, but a little selfish part of me wishes she were still here.] 

The point of these anecdotes, Buffy? 

The question is: Am I now regretful of my shortcomings? 
The answer is: No.

Many years later, I'm content that I wasn't allowed to join the Navy -- And I'm glad that Laura liked to nickname me "Admiral" in her cheeky fashion. 

I am who I am -- insufficient in certain areas, not actually good at responsibility, and I enjoy a good time instead of over-exertion -- and I've made my peace with all these things. 

I'm alive, I have more cash coming in than going out, and I am [I think] a good friend to my friends. What more can be asked of me?  

But if I were to be brutal with myself, I'd say I was happily useless, in many ways.  

Being happily useless, however, in a spiritual sense, is better than being unhappily talented. That's my view. 

In the meantime, Admiral Buffy will grab himself a cuppa, and be grateful for the friendship, love and light in his life. 

I'd rather have that than a glittering Navy career, given an either/or choice.


  1. Buffy, it looks like we’re flip-flopping on the mental health scale. Finally got up the courage to post a darker piece on my blog, and left an incomplete but long overdue “rebuttal” in tribute to you. Been having a really rough time lately. So sorry.

    For what it’s worth, you are really good people in my book, and I’d be honored to have to Admiralize my sinking ship. Just be sure to bring your wet suit.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Gabe, I’ve just read your piece [and will comment in a few mins] and I must say it’s an honour to be mentioned in such a post of quality.
      I’m very sorry it’s been so rough of late… believe me, if possible, I’d like you have a few choice words with your Eddie… there would probably be some profanity(!)
      I’ll say it once again: you are a gentleman, mon ami.
      (And it’s now my mission to use the word “Admiralize” in a pub conversation…)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “Being happily useless, however, in a spiritual sense, is better than being unhappily talented.” I love this! It’s one line I must remember when I try to push my brain and/or body past what makes me happy just because I need to feel accomplished at something. You really have a great grasp on what means most to you. As my mother would say “the shoulda, woulda, coulda’s aren’t really important now are they?”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Why, thank you… most kind!
      Your mother was quite right: we do seem to chase that sense of being accomplished a lot, and when I see people being unhappy doing so (not least myself) it does make one reassess priorities, certainly.
      To try is good — if we really want something and are passionate — but to fail/fall short really shouldn’t induce despair.
      Thank you for your thoughts… most welcome indeed!


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