This post is an important milestone, the 500th on this blog.The first post was published on 19 April 2009, just over 6 years ago. That is an average of 1.6 posts a week averaging around 600 words amounting to over 300 000 words, enough for almost 3 books.
It started as a marketing tool for a network marketing system I was involved in at the time. I did not have a goal to publish 500 posts or to continue publishing more than a post a week for years. At times, I would have loved to abandon it. There have been periods when I have neglected it for a week or two. Early this year I decided to abandon the twice a week schedule I had followed last year and only write when I felt I had something worthwhile to write about. Writing that you would find interesting and of value.
That this is the 500th post is a result of perseverance and commitment. Not skill, not ability. Just deciding to do it and doing it, not giving up on it.
It evolved along the way, partly because of comments and feedback from you, but mainly because it became part of my own story. Writing for this blog, others that were hatched and abandoned along the way, others for myself, clients and family members that continue, gave me the confidence and expertise to write a book, all 130 000 words of it over the last 9 months. It is being edited now and will be published later this summer.
That is part of my story, today I am looking at other people’s stories, but first a trip back in time to another story.
It seems more than a lifetime ago when I was a young boy. Considering I will be 65 this year, it was longer than the lifetimes of many people cut down prematurely by accident, illness, poor life choices, war or poverty.
One of the clearest memories of my late father who has been dead for 36 years, was his quotation of a verse from the poem “The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam” which goes:
The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it
Omar Khayyam was a Persian poet born in the 11th century. His poetry was written in the traditional Quatrain style of 4 line verses. His work was translated by Edward Fitzgerald an Englishman working in India in the mid 1800s.
Perhaps my father discovered the poem while serving with the British Army in India before WW2, I am glad he did, it is poetry that conveys many messages. Some consider it agnostic, that it denies the existence of God. I do not agree with that interpretation.
To me it carries the message that we should seize the day, not because as some suggest, the author did not believe in a life hereafter, but because our days pass so fleetingly that if we don’t make the most of them they are gone, never to be lived again.
It also reinforces my belief that we write our own story. We choose to either become and remain, victims to our circumstances, live unhappy, complaining lives.
Or to overcome adversity, rise above those circumstances, lead lives of purpose, be happy and successful.
That verse of the poem has been in my mind over the last 2 weeks.
One of the stimulating activities I have been fortunate to be involved in since February is being a mentor to a new Toastmasters club. There are around 20 enthusiastic members all determined to improve their speaking and leadership skills. Each week another member overcomes his or her fear, takes the nerve-wracking, knee trembling walk to the lectern and delivers the first speech in the manual – the ice breaker.
It is a 4 to 6 minute speech for the member to introduce him or her self to the audience. For many the first time they have ever got to their feet in public to address an audience. For most, it is absolutely terrifying.
But they do it. They “break the ice” then it gets better.
I have listened to 5 of these speeches over the last 2 weeks. All have told stories of interesting lives. 3 have told stories of extremely difficult lives, neglectful parents, harsh treatment, controlling partners. One in particular told how a difficult childhood led to a number of serious problems in early adulthood. One of the youngest in the group, she accepted responsibility for her actions, chose to accept the consequences and used the experience to craft a valuable message for other young people so easily led astray by the distractions of the modern world.
They all chose to turn their lives around, some at great cost. They all chose to take charge of their lives, make tough decisions and move on.
Not one of them chose to remain a victim.
For every one of us, that moving finger has writ and moved on. It’s up to us to decide what it will write next.
How are you writing the next chapter of your life?
Taj Mahal photo courtesy of Arvind Balaraman / freedigitalphoto.net