I don’t want to follow. I’m not sure I want to lead. It’s easy when you’re young. You don’t understand that you don’t know. And as you grow, your confidence doesn’t so much wain, but it factors more. Never having it never mattered then. You thought less and did more. But, you slowly gain awareness and lose righteousness. You did some things once and maybe you were slightly proud for a moment in time but looking back now, you recognise your own inadequacies. You suddenly see the people who you didn’t quite fail, but failed to mentor, or failed to fight for.
Retrospection isn’t something I’d recommend anyone to do too often, but sometimes there are lessons to be learned late. You can’t always get it right but you can seek perspective. The trick is to somehow build on top of it rather than being buried by it. To find a way to still believe in yourself. To get things done. To do better in future. The challenge is to fight the powerful feeling of being lost and apply as much energy as possible to shaping that future. It’s about working hard, and smart, regardless of your own self-doubt and insecurities.
How? I don’t know. I don’t have anything clever to say. I don’t even feel like I have earned the right to write, or to speak, or to mentor. I haven’t done anything worthwhile in years. I live in a town I hate, in a city I feel disillusioned by, in a nation I can’t associate with, in a sovereign state that I think is passed it’s sell-by date. And yet I’m still here. I find myself working for and contracting with an endless stream of people who fail to show the same loyalty and respect that I offer in return. And yet I can’t find the courage to build my own product. I find myself single again, and I think it’s maybe meant to be this way. But it’s me, it’s almost always me, who walks away.
So, how? How to find love? How to find work that I love? And how to find somewhere to love while I finally start winning at life? I’m approaching 39 and while I must admit that I’ve crafted a comfortable existence, I know that time is short and that comfort holds me back. I need to fight much harder than I ever have before. Or another ten years will disappear, I’ll still be in the violently homophobic shithole that is Croydon, I’ll still be earning money doing whatever it takes, and I’ll be almost 50 without having shared any of my most valuable years. If it hasn’t been a total waste thus far, it will have been by then.
If I have to read this back to myself in a decade’s time having achieved none of my 3 goals, then that will be the biggest of disappointments. It’s easy when you’re young. But it’s important when you’re old.