Living a full life


You do not want to die an idiot,” and with that Luc offered a glass of wine to a dinner companion who did not drink wine.

This was during a dinner on the Island of Reunion where we used to go year after year when Zim was still Zim.

Ever since then, this person enjoys a glass of wine with meals or just after a good day’s work as a well- deserved indulgence. It is not even an indulgence, it is taken for granted.

This is about living a full life. For some, it is spending three years, on and off, away from the family to go and coach some sports team in a far land to finally win the highest trophy in that sport.

In other words for instance, before you met your spouse you were a cricket coach.

For others, it is injecting themselves with all manner of dangerous chemicals to see whether their bodies can produce a cure for some disease and living to see it happen!

For Haile Gebresselassie, it is that “one push” waiting inside of you that he speaks about in his Johnny Walker advert.

Whatever the case, let it never be said that one abandoned one’s dreams simply because one met someone that they never knew before!

Part of the reason many people divorce after their kids have left the nest is many a mother realises just how much they had given up when they got married, that they had simply hung in there until the children were old enough before they, in turn, followed them out of the door.

This happens a lot and still leaves the neighbours asking what on earth happened.

This week is not about marriages. I could have chosen another example but this one came to mind.

This week is about learning not to give up on what you cherished and nourished for 20 years or so of your life before giving it up because of a fantastic opportunity in the form of a job, marriage, move to a new country or whatever “temporary” distraction came along.

Was Muhammed Ali born to box? I think so. Ryan Giggs for soccer? Certainly, for he was a very good rugby wing before settling on soccer and what a career he’s had! I like Giggs and he exemplifies, today, he with Raul, the kind of people I am writing about.

With the economic crisis in Zimbabwe, many have abandoned their dreams and plans, in most cases for genuine reasons. It is no reason, nevertheless, to fail to go back to that which drove you the most at one point in your life.

Go back to your first love. I will not even go into the reasons why most women are smiling at this. I am not going there!

Your first love may have been medicine, law or politics. There, that is safer territory, whatever the case plumbing or robotics, perhaps fortune and peace of mind await you there?

If you cannot afford to do it full time, do it as a hobby. I know a man who started playing bagpipes way into his forties because he had always wanted to play the damn things and in fact, once he had played for a while, he seemed to be satisfied that he had at last done it and then carried on with his life.

Do it well. There is a saying that everything worth doing is worth doing well which is what the likes of Giggs and Raul have done in terms of loyalty, discipline, commitment and professionalism. Raul only reluctantly left Real Madrid after setting all manner of records.

Enjoy it. When you do what you love, you love what you do which makes it easier for you to do it well. In my experience, many a businessperson enjoys toying with a new idea to see how much money they can make out of it before moving to the next and eventually running an empire.

Look at squash players and see how they whizz about the court, sweating, at times slamming into the wall or being hit with the ball squarely in the back, and yet still enjoying the workout.

These are principles you can apply to your life. Getting home and saying to your spouse, the judge was tough today but I saved a youngster from jail, there was a riot but I saved lives on the operating table or I am glad I finally acted in a theatre production.

Legacy: would it not be nice for you to have your face on millions of T-shirts, years after you have departed the land of the living and not because you set out to, but as a result of the life you led, like Steve Biko? What do you want to leave behind apart from your offspring?

Finally, try new things: Bungee jumping, whitewater rafting, learning to play the mbira or writing poetry, whatever you choose, you will be adding to the richness of your life simply by starting a new thing.

The saying goes: “If you keep doing what you have always done, you will keep getting what you have always got.” What do you want to add to your life today?