To Walk A Path That Cannot Be Tread Easily: Part 2

The past two months have flown by so quickly that it’s hard to make any sense of it. It never used to be like this. Time would always come to a standstill as a child, playing with the neighbour’s children or waiting for the school bell to ring. Cherished memories captured in brief moments of time. Pure innocence.

As adults we are at the mercy of time. There is so much to be done and yet so little time.

Time; a treasure more valuable than all the natural gems of this world. A person lives and dies at the mercy of time. How we choose to live our lives determines how much we’ve made the most of this precious gift.

It makes sense then why it’s called the present.

But man is not made for defeat. A man can be destroyed but not defeated. ”

Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea

A good friend of mine shared the above quote with me a couple of weeks ago. He wanted to include a quote on his Instagram page as he grows his passion for photography. I’ve been with him to The Blue Mountains and regional Australia.

Photography has become a cathartic treatment for him. There was a time when he found himself in a dark place. But that time is now history. And he’s now basking in front of the camera’s lights.

Source

I knew my friend hadn’t read Ernest Hemingway’s ‘The Old Man and the Sea’ and neither have I. However, I did watch a short animated film about the book.

It never occurred to me that time plays a major theme in the film. An ageing fisherman down on his luck yearns to recover from his precarious state and earn the respect from his fellow villagers. He reflects on his his younger days with fond memories, a time when he had the strength and endurance to face any challenge and come out on top, commanding respect from his fellow men.

A man who simply chooses not to give up.

The book went on to earn the author a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954.

It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.”

Confucious

Many years ago I bought myself a bonsai tree. I bought it at the time I took up Hapkido martial arts to symbolise my journey as that of a seed. One has to care and nurture the young seedling in the right environment for the tree to blossom. It takes time, dedication and patience. 

But I was too eager and naive, and took up Tae Kwon Do at the same time. It seemed I was in a rush.

Take your time. It is the fastest way to achieve your goal.

I spent five days training per week. This wasn’t enough to give my body a rest. My Grandmaster advised against the dual training – a serious student can only ever have one teacher in the present. 

When the Student is ready,

the Teacher will appear.

I guess, to be old and wise, you first have to be young and stupid. And with that comes life experience. A cruel but well-meaning teacher. 

One of the lessons I’ve learnt is whenever embarking on a journey one has to pick the destination and arrive at it. It makes no sense to hunt two rabbits at the same time. You will end up catching neither. 

I had set myself a number of side-hustle goals for 2021. Unfortunately, what I planned didn’t turn out to meet expectations.

An example is when I launched my own shoe-line: a brand new sneaker called Spades Made in Italy. It happened by chance. I came across an online platform called Aliveshoes that promised aspiring entrepreneurs / designers to launch their own custom designed shoes. The key selling point was that the shoes are manufactured in Italy. I was sold.

Unfortunately, the cost of shipping to Australia is expensive (pricing is set by Aliveshoes). And the quality of the shoe once they arrived left much to be desired.

And with that, the money I’ve spent on editing software and marketing material went down the drain. It simply wasn’t worth it. Have I given up? Not by a long shot.

By chance a friend of mine had a passion for high-end shoes. The sort of shoes worn at country clubs, formal events or by the C-suite of any organisation. He loves the Allen Edmonds brand in particular. It’s more than a hobby for him.

Cleaning and restoring high-end shoes is a rite for the initiated. It’s not a simple matter of grabbing a brush and shoe polish. There is art and science to it. Not to mention expensive products imported from France and Germany.

We decided to join forces and work according to our strengths. We bought a pair of second-hand Crockett and Jones from eBay in the hope we can restore and resell at a markup.

It’s still a work in progress.

In the end, we’re still learning. I’m still learning.

Good things in life take time. Luckily, I still have time because I’m young. That’s precious and can’t be wasted.

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