New Beginnings

Spring time is considered the season of change, the time for a fresh start, a “spring-clean.”  We’re so used to using New Year’s Day as the date we decide to start afresh, and we always say that’s when we’ll give up smoking, we’ll lose weight, we’ll find a new job – the list is endless.  It always feels easier to use a landmark as the date that things will start to be different – a Monday, the first of a month, a birthday, and especially the 1st of January.

Realistically though, if we want to make a change, we don’t have to wait until the start of a season.  We should do it now.  I realised it last year and made a change of my own.  I was very unhappy in my day job, and decided to quit to pursue my journalism dream.  I was working in administration at an accountancy firm  and becoming frustrated because it was nowhere near what I wanted career-wise, so after a lot of thinking and a little deliberation with friends, I decided to take a risk and make the leap.  I didn’t have any concrete plans, just knew that come Christmas I wanted to be out of there, and that’s just what I have done.  The death of my cousin also helped me put into perspective that despite the fear of the unknown, life really is too short not to at least attempt to achieve something we want.

It takes a whole world of reasons for people to decide to change something, and more often than not it is sparked by a certain event in their lives.

Depression

Adam Brown:  “Back in 2008, I was recovering from Meningitis and after that it was clear that I needed to change my life.  I was working in a high pressure job in IT support for a finance company.  I decided to make a radical change in my life, so I moved city (from London to Bristol) and changed job.  As a lifestyle I stumbled from relationship to relationship, looking for love and not finding it.  My family was (and still is) a wreck. A father with a alcoholic past has caused me much hurt.  I suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and back then I did have thoughts of suicide and self harm. I was also unhappy in my job – a very bad manager.

The turning point came when I found God.  My turn to faith has changed my life beyond measure.  I was invited to a gathering by a friend at the time, just a small church, nothing fancy.  I wasn’t entirely sure I wanted to go along, but it was better than staying at home, as there would have been a large chance I would have hurt myself.  The speaker was talking on a passage in Luke, and it really resonated with me. It was then I decided to give my life to God to change my life.

If you want to make a change in your life I would say take slow steps. Think about your life and what you would like to change.  Keep your goals achievable and clear. Do not beat yourself up about things that have happened or chances that have not been taken – you can’t change the past, only the future. If you want something, get it. Do not be afraid.”

Loss

Eddie Ofei:  I changed the direction of my life in all aspect – friends, career, and lifestyle.  My parents split up when I was young, and my dad left to go and live in Ghana. My mum was left to raise my brother, sister and I alone and so growing up was quite unstable in terms of us being settled in one home. 

Although I finally graduated from university in 2008, I was unemployed for many years, and so was generating income from clandestine ways.  I was financially comfortable, but I wasn’t happy, because I felt that I wasn’t fulfilling my full potential, and I knew I could do better if I was around more ambitious people who wanted to make something of themselves, instead of the circle I was in.  If I wasn’t careful it would have only been a matter of time before I’d end up in jail or dead. 

The turning point was fuelled by the deaths of so many close friends.  At one point I lost three friends in one year.  I believe I am still here for a reason, and you definitely have to quit while you’re ahead.  The kind of people I am around nowadays are not from the same background as me.  They are all mainly highly educated “goody-goody” types, who haven’t really experienced the situations I have. 

I now live in Ghana, and import and distribute commodities – I wouldn’t change it for the world!  It took me a while to get used to being around such different people, but humans are made to adapt.  My stress levels are minimal.  I would tell someone who is contemplating making a change to take the leap and don’t look back. Grow some balls!  It’s better to shoot and miss than to not shoot at all, and always wonder what could have been.  You have to forget all the “ifs” and the “buts”, because without sacrifice you will get nowhere in life.

First published in Candy Mag UK, June 2011

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