I turn 41 today. Since I left school I have almost lost count of the careers I have had and the people I have been. Since I turned 37 I have been on a more specific journey to realise the dream of my childhood of being a writer. Making dreams come true is hard. Taking your pole star out of your night sky makes it difficult to stay motivated when things are running less than perfectly. But the light it brings into your life more than makes up for it. There is nothing like waking up every morning and never having to ask “What the hell am I doing with my life?”
I have worked in post production in TV, been a free lance journalist a band manager and promoter, worked in sports marketing, been an events manager, a marketing manager for a publisher and held down a job as an online editor for a big portal (or two). But nothing has ever worked for me like what I do now.
I have published 5 books since 2001 and contributed to 2 more. I was the associate producer on a documentary film called Punk In Africa that came out in July at the Durban International Film Festival. I have acted in plays, been in adverts, had my own show on radio, made TV programmes, been interviewed in TV programmes and written scripts for them. I have played in bands, had a record deal, shared a stage with international stars. I took opera voice coaching for a year and finally learned to play guitar properly. I have my own record label with a friend and partner and I get to play music for fun whenever I want to. I have travelled a lot, crossed the Pyrenees on foot, trekked the Himalayas, navigated across Dartmoor, hiked the Drakensberg and walked San Francisco flat.
I am working on two novels at once, am about to publish an anthology of my own poetry and am writing another book on the entertainment industry for a client. There is a book on the way to go with the Punk film and a collection of horror stories I will finish one day. I will even be ghost writing a biography for a big South African star. There is another documentary film in pre-production and I am trying to get a part in a musical just for fun. I have started writing my own songs for the first time in my life and I will record an album of songs before too long.
There is nothing that I have ever wanted to do that I have not either already done or am now in the process of doing. I have been lucky to love some amazing women and be loved by them in turn. I have made some bad choices and had a lot of good luck. I have never been married and have no children (please don’t tell me otherwise now!). I guess I am about due a mid-life crisis but I am already having too much fun. I have been broke nearly all my working life but somehow I have never quite sunk below the waves. I have made a lot money but I have no things to show for it except my memories, my friends and my words.
The older I get the harder, faster and more effectively I work. I am doing quite the opposite of slowing down. When I look back over my life I see these long straight lines bringing me to now. I have faith these days that there are equally strong lines taking me where I am meant to be. I just can’t always see them, but these days at least I can typically at least see them leaving this station. I am certain that the best and the biggest has yet to come. I am proud of what I have done and achieved but I am going to do so much more.
I have not always felt supported as I walked this road, but I understand now that I needed to do it regardless of what others thought or felt. I have kept myself to myself and kept my own council, thereby breaking hearts, keeping myself isolated and making my own, sometimes senseless mistakes. While I am sorry for the hurt I have caused I do not regret my path because I am happy with where and who I am. I wasn’t always and I realise I have battled with dark and gloomy spectres all my life. But these days they are just shadows in the corners.
It’s a brand new year. I welcome it and you in with wide open heart and arms.