Looking back

This is a guest blog by Paddy Linden. Here’s how Paddy, in his customary witty and self depricating way, describes himself:

“I am, in no particular order, teacher, football coach, parent, husband, neighbour, friend, eejit. Struggling with them all but haven’t been found out yet.” 

Paddy is a gentleman, a friend and a wise one at that. Here’s what he has to say about looking back. 


During this lockdown, the social distancing days of Corona virus, there’s a lot of looking back going on. I love sport and with no live sport being played almost anywhere, there are lots of old football games being shown on sports channels. There are lots of old All Ireland Football and Hurling finals on RTE and TG4.

I watched Roy Keane on Sky Sports recently and they are asking him about his career, looking back over his years at Notts Forest and United. Roy doesn’t sugar coat anything, straight talker, shoots from the hip. He told it like it was, warts and all. I like Roy. Roy doesn’t do nostalgia.

I have been reading more during lockdown too and have reacquainted myself with one of my favourites- Philip Larkin. I like his deeper view of simplistic things and his looking back to a more straightforward time are often mistaken for a rose tinted view. Larkin doesn’t do nostalgia.

The thing about nostalgia is that it is false comfort, we only recall the good things. The summers were warmer, the sweets were better, (ok they actually were!) music was better, the football was better, we were happier. That’s rubbish. Here is my un-sugared poking back.

I grew up beside the Falls bus depot …..and it was dangerous, it was adjacent to the Army barracks and Milltown Cemetery, there was rioting and burning of buses, there was shooting and bombing, our house was wrecked, my Mother took ill, a nervous breakdown, alopecia. My Father lost his job, redundant at 48, done, finished. We had very little spare money, poor I suppose….

But then again that’s not all I remember. I had love, I had a family, I had a football and a big wall to kick it against. I enjoyed school, I had my friends, many that are still my friends 40 + years on. Looking back, I recall the happy times.

Perhaps nostalgia gets a bad rub after all! Despite the difficulties we face we have an ability to also recall the positive in situations; let’s do that.

So how will you look back on this time? It may be the time away from work, a slower pace, more time with family, a realigning of priorities, the things you did and the people you were with…..and of course the sunny weather. That’s what is important when you look back. That’s the good things.

Stay safe, stay healthy, stay active, stay distant.

God bless

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