[tweetmeme source=”ChazGunningham” only_single=false] SBS are currently showing 56UP, the latest catch up with a dozen or so people they have been filming since they were 7 year olds back in 1963. I first came across the series in the late 1970s (must have been 21 UP?). I was captivated by the people’s lives, a soap opera of sorts, reality TV well before we knew what that dreadful thing was. It somehow seemed extremely raw and real. The people were from such diverse backgrounds, and to see how their lives had changed from 7 to 14 to 21 was fascinating. And so I have tried to catch up with it every 7 years.
For those of you who know the series, my favourite is Bruce. The teacher with a heart of gold, who taught in the tough schools in London, did a year in Bangladesh, and then got married quite late to a cute bubbly wife, and now has 2 teenage boys. He went from teaching in a state school to a comfortable private one. He still has the best intentions, and is a classic “Mr Chips” character. All schools need them.
My own life runs exactly 7 years behind the 7UP series. I was born the year it came out, and today I am 49 while the participants are all 56. What has struck me this time is to examine what my life has done every 7 years (imagining I was a participant in the series)…
- at 7, I was living with my parents, attending the local primary school in Wiltshire, UK
- 14, boarding school in Somerset, UK (I “left home” at 10!)
- 21, university doing an Economics degree in Hampshire, UK
- 28, teaching Business/Economics in a Singapore expat school
- 35, now married, had moved to Perth, Western Australia, bought a house and was doing an MBA
- 42, running my own dotcom, had 2 children & had extended the house (still in Perth)
- 49, having sold the company, am working at REIWA; my parents had both passed away; kids (now 9 and 11) at primary school
Where will I be when I am 56? Who knows? That’s part of the fun I guess.