2018 has not ended well for my family, but more on that later.
Way back in 2012, I wrote "one of the most valuable lessons I've learnt so far is that when you put your heart into something and do it for the right reasons, you will be rewarded for it."
I don't maintain the blog I wrote that on, but occasionally I look through it (it's no longer for public perusal, sorry) to see what was going through my head. One reason is that it shows me that however much I might cycle through ideas, those ideas remain pretty much the same. In the same post I wrote:
Writing, editing, and teaching still form the backbone of my work - along with the occasional, and super fun design job - but consulting is becoming an increasingly prominent, and incredibly enjoyable and rewarding, part of what I do. I'm not in it for the money - I'm not rich, nor am I some kind of guru - but I love what I do and think that sharing stories and experiences can be valuable.
And I find myself in a similar position over six years later, as attested to by a recent post.
I keep doing this work because I love it. The fact that I love it means that I do it well.
I'm not tooting my own horn saying that - anyone who knows me knows I'm not like that - but people tell me that I do good work for them, and I'm sure they're not all mad. And I'm not paranoid enough to think they're all working in cahoots to thwart me. If they didn't like my work, they wouldn't keep on hiring me. Right?
Looking forward to 2019
So, for once, I'm going to follow my heart - and gut - and go for it. I'm not going to say I offer consulting, only to have second thoughts and take it off the website again. I work as a consultant, I love it, and I do it well.
I'm going to bring some of the design ideas I've had for years to life.
I'm going to increase the amount of writing jobs I take on, and write more for fun.
In short, I'm going to go for the things I love, and see where they take me.
So why the sudden change of heart?
A sad end to 2018
My father in law passed away very recently. Although this has come an enormous blow to our family, it's also given us all pause to reflect on his life.
No matter what happened, he was positive, passionate, and driven. His own father died when he was young, leaving his family poor, and taking away his chance of attending university.
Undeterred, he worked incredibly hard throughout his life, and was involved in some of the biggest innovations in the rail industry in Japan and other countries in Asia over the last 40 years.
He lived life to the full, combining a shattering work schedule with devotion to his family and a passion for music.
Constantly inquisitive and eager to improve himself, he never stopped learning.
He was also a consummate fighter. Diagnosed with cancer over 10 years ago, he was not expected to live more than five years at the most. Defying the odds, as he had throughout his life, he beat the original diagnosis, and went on to travel around the world with his wife.
When the cancer spread over two years ago, he was not expected to see out the year. But the doctors, and the disease, hadn't banked on just how strong he was.
He will be truly missed, and he remains an inspiration.
He reminds us that our time here is precious, and we should make the most of it. If he could work 14-18 hour days and still have time to be with his family and pursue his hobbies, we can find some time to be with the people we love, and do the things we love.
Because if we don't do it now, we may never get the chance.