There was something special about yesterday. The sun was shining, the air was temperate, the sky was blue and I was alone with my thoughts. It was a good place to be.
So many journeys, just one story
For reasons that are beyond my understanding, I started pondering the many journeys I have embarked on in my 60 years -- and there have been quite a few.
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When I say journeys, I am not talking about drives in the car on a Sunday afternoon, train trips to the country or even flights to Europe to ski. I am talking about ‘life’s journeys’.
There are two kinds of journey in life, those you initiate and those that someone else initiates. In the early part of my life, most of the journeys were initiated by my parents or other adults.
The decisions I pondered were those that I initiated, or at least allowed myself to believe I initiated. To initiate is to have a choice, and we all like to think we have a choice more often that we do.
Like most people, the end of high school was the start of the period during which I initiated most of my journeys. For many this period ends shortly after when they marry. I made no such mistake.
When I left high school, I didn’t know what I wanted to do so I took a year off to drink as much alcohol and consume as many illegal substances as I could. My objective was achieved, although at the end of the year, I still had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, so I selected an eclectic group of first-year subjects at the University of Western Australia.
To fund these studies, I worked three nights a week in a soft drink factory and drove a truck on Saturdays. I used more alcohol and illegal substances to retain my sanity during this period.
I continued down this path for four years and graduated with honours in psychology, without a great deal of work. Then, still not knowing what I wanted to do, I started full-time work in research psychology and completed a Diploma of Education over two years. Else>>>cohol and drugs were involved.
Then I decided to work in marketing, starting my own business and doing my best to build something I could look back on with pride. This continued for seven years until I decided to get out of that business and buy a pub. I ran the pub for about a year. Again, drugs and a great deal more alcohol was involved.
From this stage, I had lived with three women over varying short periods of time.
Nothing was settled and a new journey began.
I was asked by a mate if I wanted to manage an advertising agency for a receiver manager and recover all the money the bank was owed. I accepted the offer and worked on the project for a year. Then I bought the advertising agency and started the process of building it up, before buying a number of other businesses -- establishing a national presence over a 20-year period. Once again, there was a considerable amount of alcohol, but few drugs were involved.
I still did not know what I wanted to do with my life and by this stage, the likes of Steve Jobs were telling us all about the importance of finding and devoting our lives to a passion. I was failing at this.
Somewhere in the midst of all of this I gave up drinking and managed to work my way through three more live-in lovers.
Moving on from the advertising business, I got involved in a number of ventures, some more successful than others, all taking me somewhere, I hoped.
In all, I must have been involved in 10 businesses, sat on a dozen or more boards, been involved with 20 charities and participated actively in a dozen community groups – all with different objectives.
There were more long and short- term relationships, some live in, some not. There was no more alcohol, but the drugs were back, although in very modest quantities. I was still directionless, but pretty clean and very healthy – physically at least.
Medication kept the mental side largely under control.
These were just some of the journeys that flowed through my head this sunny November day. There were more, but one can only ponder so much in one day.
The biggest journey is yet to begin. It will however begin soon. The direction I have lacked all my life is becoming clearer. I have, I think, found my passion, and I am getting closer to making it a reality.
On this sunny day in November, I also realised something important. There were many journeys, but there was only one story -- the story of life, of a human being struggling to find out who he is and where he should be journeying to.
We all embark on this journey. Not all of our stories have a happy ending and there is no reason to believe that mine will, either. Only time will tell.
These days I am thinking less about the outcome. What will be, will be.