I’m going to go off on a bit of a tangent today. It’s something which has had quite a profound effect on me and I don’t want the message to lose effect – more for myself than anyone else – by sitting on it for a while.
My current job is in a further education college in North Manchester but I’m support staff – I don’t actually work with students very often except on specific projects. One such project has seen me take a group of students out to film for a new video for the last three weeks. These students are on the ball, their heads are glued on and they will go on to do fantastic things in the future.
This all sounds quite soppy, Dave…
I guess so, but hear me out.
I spent some time getting to know these students, finding out what they want to do after college, where they want to be. They all had plans. They knew where they wanted to be. It got me thinking about myself at their age (around 10 years ago!) and I was nowhere near as focused. I knew I wanted to be a writer but my course at the time – and jobs – weren’t going to lead me there.
I wasn’t worried. I knew I had time. I actually took some time away from writing around then to expand my horizons and try new things. It’s definitely helped get me to this point but I can’t help wondering if it was the right path.
Not that it really matters now. I’ve made my choices and I’m happy with them. Has my life panned out exactly how I wanted it to? No. Would I change it? Not a chance.
What’s the point in all this?
We’re getting to that, chill.
Well, it was in a discussion with one of these students when the tables were turned on me. I figured it wasn’t fair not to answer their questions so I told them my plans, where I wanted to be, what I was working towards. Turns out, there was some interest and we had some good conversations.
Maybe it’s the innocence (or naivety, depending on your view) of youth – yes, now that I’m older, at that age it is still innocence – or perhaps the fact their generation has grown up with all the technology that lets them be whoever they want to be, with vast crowds swarming to them across the internet an social media. I’m not sure, but their belief is astounding.
At this point, I was given a lesson. A lesson that I give other people a lot: a lesson that I didn’t even realise I’d forgotten or stopped believing. Shame on me.
So, what was it!?
At this point in time, I’m 27. It’s not exactly old, is it? Time is on my side and I’m only going to keep improving as I keep writing. I might not be able to write for as long each day as I’d like, or as I’m used to but does that matter? As long as I’m writing, whether it’s a short story, a blog, a novel – I’m doing what I love and that’s the most important thing.
Keep in mind, I’m paraphrasing here but it was such a straightforward point and it hit my like a slap in the face. I didn’t even realise it was something I had let slip away. Looking back, I can almost pinpoint when it happened and that’s just as big a shock.
Not everyone can say it though. Well, they can but it won’t mean anything. From people who understand, or those who genuinely have good intentions without that experience, it can make someone’s whole world change. It’s a powerful feeling. Now, I’ve got to make use of it.
To summarise: never give up. Keep going even when it seems hopeless. Don’t let anyone put you down because they don’t have the conviction you do to have reached this point. If they’ve reached this point, they’ll be supporting you just like I am.
Thanks for reading – and good luck!