"As you move into your forties and fifties, the recognition of your own mortality becomes more and more a part of decision-making. You realize that you're not going to be around forever. Your choices become a lot more precious. The gap between your dreams and what you're actually doing narrows, and you start living your life more directly. What you're doing is who you are. And who you are becomes more important to you." See the full article this was taken from @ Is Your Job Your Calling (extended interview) | Fast Company.
If things had worked out as expected, I would now probably be in the middle of planning a move back to Africa. My intention was two fold, one to invest in alternative fuel production in Africa which I already have done to a small extent and the other was to create a new business, also in the alternative fuel field, but with a very different approach to the current foreign investments in the continent. My idea entailed empowering local communities by partnering with them in the commercial production of electricity primarily and bio-diesel from alternative sources. Electricity is a big need in Southern Africa, nearly all the countries suffer from an electricity production shortfall.
This alternative fuel vision is a fairly new one and was made on the basis that I believe in its worth and that I would be able to afford starting it up. I suspected I may have had a bit of a hard time convincing banks and investors in my business model and so I needed a working prototype. Even though this particular vision is new, I incorporated my long term wish to live and work in a place that had 'sea, sand and sun'. Having spent my formative years in the Seychelles, my intension has always been that I will return to the 'sea, sand and sun' despite being born thousands of miles away from such an environment. So the choice of base was restricted to coastal countries such as Mozambique, Angola, Madagascar or the Seychelles.
So when the disappointment had sunk in, I knew it was time to move on, time to close this chapter. I reached back into my dreams and thought of investing in me. When I moved to England many years ago I came with the intension of going to university and getting a degree but life somehow got in the way. I have always thought and said that I might obtain one at some point in the future. I even dared to harbour, secretly of course, the thought of earning an honorary one from some prestigious university! Silly me!
So here I am, committing to spend the next three years of my life learning a totally new set of skills that will turn me into a scientist of sorts. Science and particularly genetics as relates to inheritance and behaviour has always fascinated me and my favourite regular read is the New Scientist magazine which I subscribe to. I like the New Scientist because I intend to write, whilst I am getting and after I get my degree, about science specifically for the lay-person, which The New Scientist does superbly.
Writing? Why? Because I have always written, I love writing. I have done very little writing in the last few years but have nearly always been involved in the publication and distribution of content even in my work as a web developer. In fact, I originally got into web work with no commercial experience but based on the websites I had created outside my day to day job at the time, though the content was job related. My first web job title was Website Editor as I was to be the content guy! I have been writing as a hobby since the age of 13 or 14 and some of the poetry on my poetry website was written as a teenager. In fact I have a few poems published previously but I digress.
So last weekend, I dug out my old writing stuff with the intention of reviving an old manuscript that I had intended to get published many, many years ago. I was utterly shocked to see all the stuff I had been doing at the time when I was hell bent on being a writer. There was stuff I had obviously used for my websites but in this box of memories was the aforementioned manuscript, 2 fiction novels in various stages of completion, one of which handwritten, countless unfinished poems and articles and two self published booklets. One of the booklets with Christmas poems was distributed at a local primary school but the valentine poems booklet was never really marketed. Money was tight in those days. What was shocking is just how much I had done and forgotten. If I had not been sidetracked by the web work, would I be a professional writer already?
It is like once the decision was made and steps taken to change, all these dreams, new and old, some remembered frequently and others filed away in the subconscious, are now vying for their time, their chance, haunting me with their promises. The 'sea, sand and sun', the degree and the writing all waiting to be weaved into my coherent future.
I am thankful that I can even consider a new direction; I know many people do not and will never have the chance to even think about it. And I am scared. Oh yes, the potential for 'crash and burn' is large, maybe even huge, but 'a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do'. After all, I'm not going to be around forever and when my time comes a smile on my face would be nice.
What about my African dream? I suspect it is being quietly stored in the unconscious for the time when it will be possible to revive it sometime in the future.
If my experience can help you face your own ghosts, make your right decisions in the near or far future, I am glad.
May you find the balance.
[First published on my Talking2Myself blog on specified date]