Fred’s Late Awakening

We’re happy to share this unique story from one of our readers.

Fred Talon was staunchly opposed to religion in all its forms for the majority of his life, but discovered late in life that all forms of spirituality were not to be completely denied after he had an accidental fall and a trip to the doctors combining to create a surprising change of perspective. 

There’s a notion that our personalities don’t change past the age of 30.

The idea is that our personalities are malleable for a long time, but by the time we reach this dreaded milestone the set of patterns that define how we think, feel and behave become much more rigid.

Although it can be easy to read this negatively, when I stumbled across this idea at the age of 64 it sent my life down a path that I would not have been capable of beforehand. I took this notion, read in passing whilst waiting for a doctor’s appointment, and decided to use it as an impetus to change my perspective on how I could lead my life.

The peaks and troughs of my life up until that moment had always veered the progress of my personality in different directions. My early problems at my Catholic boarding school were initially instrumental in my mistrust of religion. I struggled to focus, whether it was in the classroom or chapel and soon my tangential questioning was seen as rebellious in nature. I was often punished for my curiosity, although the violent responses to my queries often served to create more questions in my mind, rather than subdue my inquisitive nature.

By the time I was a teenager, I was proudly espousing my stance on the matter of religion, something that did not aid my social life. Holding a faith was by no means fashionable in the sixties, but there was still a certain nihilism associated with flat-out denying the existence of God. Many of my friends had grown up believing in God, although they were in no way passionate about their faith their religion was still at the core of their values. They distrusted me as a result of the new opinions that I held, after all, if I didn’t believe in God the how could I know what was right or wrong?

Throughout my adult life I would encounter the kinds of people that simply didn’t trust me because of that reason; finding a partner even in the more liberal 70s and 80s still proved to be a challenge. I hadn’t realised it at that point, but my personality had already solidified. Whilst psychologists purported that changes in personalities took place right up until the 30s, mine had remained unmoved since I was 11 years old.

It was only after injuring my hip gardening that, at the age of 64 and certainly entering into the twilight years of my life, I came to the realisation that I had remained in the same mental state for over 50 years. Idly thumbing through literature in the waiting room of my GP, my eye was drawn to a long forgotten, dusty copy of A Course In Miracles. I can’t say that I live my life by the tenets of the Course itself, but the story of William Thetford and Helen Schuchman’s remarkable transformations inspired me move into the next phase of my life…

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