The first quarter of 2014 is done. How are things going so far?
This month, I found myself asking this question and not liking the answers. This year will mark five years of me being back in Zambia after my “diaspora experience”. Year one of my return was probably the hardest but also my most productive. I feel I’ve lost some of that zeal. Thinking through questions of “how?” and “why?”, I found more questions than answers.
Have I lost my inspiration?
I’m not sure. I’ll admit that it has become harder for me to pick up a new project and stay the course to complete it.
In year two of my being back, I remember meeting an amazing electrician. Everyone called him for jobs and were always so impressed with his work when he was done. A year later, the standard of his work was almost mediocre. Today, I don’t even have his number in my contacts. I’m I on that path?
I used to be openly critical of web developers. In fact, I left formal employment because I was convinced I could do a better job. Have I become a hypocrite? Do I need a muse?
There are lessons to be learned from the past. I can only look at the past with “now-tinted” lenses. That exaggerates how good or bad things were. It can be hard to look back with objectivity. The fact is I can’t live there.
What is not helping me is comparing my life to others lives. The trouble is walking in to a former employer’s office or long-term clients office and having to answer “No”, when they ask, “Do you have a car yet?”, “Are you married yet?”, or “Do you have your own house yet?”.
In the time I’ve been back, I’ve seen people around me skyrocket in to the thermosphere of life’s check-boxes. By comparison, I’m a paper airplane.
So where does that leave me?
There is an analogy that life is a race. However, I don’t think that it is the same race that we are all running. Considering that we start at different times and end at different finish lines, in many respects it isn’t a race at all. If it is, we aren’t competing with each other.
I believe in a lot of things. At the core, I believe in God who will help me through this life in to the life after, if I submit to Him. In the Bible, I learn that my actions have effect in eternity. It actually is important that I do good work in this life even though I won’t be able to take the visible results in to the next one. My perspective has to always be long-term and where possible eternal.
I’ve felt tangibly discouraged this year but I noticed something that gives me hope about how I really feel about where I am … I have started to plan again. I only plan when I have a deep conviction about my success. That’s not a statement about whether or not I’ll succeed but it is evidence that I am optimistic about where I am heading.
I have hope and for the first time in a long time, I also have lots of people around me who are moving in the same direction … against the current. I’m getting caught up.