This is my first blog post ever and it is inspired by my friend and colleague CNN correspondent Errol Barnett who told me over a glass of wine in Johannesburg the other night that I tell so many stories in the office and when working in the field that I should start blogging.
So today I’m thinking of how long I’ve been working as a journalist and story teller – this year marks 30 years of my career, as long as Errol has been alive. He taught me the other night – or perhaps retaught me, because there are so many lessons we need to keep relearning as we go along – that we need to constantly be open to the possibilities other people show us whether they are younger or older than we are.
30 years is a long time to be doing the same thing you might think, but the wonderful thing about being in a media career is that you seldom, if ever, do the same thing twice. There are always new people to meet, new places to visit, new things to learn. It makes me think of some of my favourite lines of Dryden from his play Aureng-Zebe: ‘Tis not for nothing that we life pursue; It pays our hopes with something still that’s new…Did you but know what joys your way attend, You would not hurry to your journey’s end.’
Hurry – it is one of the most compelling and destructive things we do. Too often when we hurry we get blocked, which makes us try to hurry more and get blocked again. And so it goes, a frustrating wasteful cycle that pushes us far too anxiously and blindly to our journey’s end.
I don’t mean dawdle either. Life is short and we must catch it on the wing as best we can, but the best way to live is the simplest – as the Zen masters tell us: We must pay attention to our lives, and to the stories of their unfolding.
The other day I was rushing around covering a story when I received an SMS on the phone from my wife. It was raining in our garden at home and in the cool summer rain a single water lily had sprouted this beautiful flower. She was rushing in from work and about to rush out again, but she found the time to send me this picture – just paying attention to our lives and to the beauty in them, that’s all it takes.