The 60 year old is asked by the 30 year old – what would you have done differently?

About a month ago, I boarded a flight from Kelowna, British Columbia to fly to San Francisco to attend a writers workshop with James Scott Bell.

The young looking man who sat beside me on the plane for the first leg of the flight to Vancouver, turned out to be a Movie Producer. His name was Daniel Stewart. His company 144 Productions did commercials, and Independent Films. It turned out we had a lot in common. We’d both been to Israel. He’d spent almost two years there working with a production company in the past several years.

I had been there in 1971, and been an extra in Johnny Cash’s movie, called Gospel Road. We shared stories of our adventures, his in working in the film industry, and mine in my new vocation of writing, and we enjoyed a pleasant one hour flight to Vancouver.

The plane landed in Vancouver, and that’s when Daniel asked me the question, “Is there anything you’d have done differently in your life?”

Well, my life isn’t over, it is in the late innings (to use a baseball term) but I got what he meant. Daniel was 30 years old. I am 60, perhaps the Movie Director/Producer in Daniel was looking for the story in the story. I have no problem with that, and I think many of us should ask ourselves that question. Perhaps we should ask it when we’re 30.

Here is the answer I gave. I had told Daniel I developed this passion for writing in my 30’s, but I put it aside to start a business. The business did well, and from the business profits, I developed a second business in purchasing real estate, and that did well. I did retire early with a decent income from my profits – but here was the thing that always bothered me – I should have kept writing.

It was the thing I missed. I gave myself over to my business ventures, and for that 22 year period from 1988 to 2010, I was immersed in business and commerce. Did I have fun? Sure I did, making business deals and making money can be great fun. Just ask Warren Buffet, he can’t think of anything else to do…well maybe playing Bridge…he thinks that’s fun.

Before I started my business, I was enrolled in a University course to complete my degree in English, I gave it up to do my business. I was writing and getting published in magazines. I gave it up to do my business. I was working on my first fiction Novel, and yes, I gave that up to do my business ventures.

My final answer to Daniel Stewart? I’d wished that in the 22 years of working hard to make the money, that I’d kept up my love of writing. I did do some writing – I wrote business letters, proposals, and ad campaigns, but no fiction.

I am now a late blooming writer, one who is going through the learning curve, again, of writing, editing and publishing. I admit, I’m having more fun than I ever did in my business. This requires the imagination to take flight, the Muse to drop by and give the imagination a lift at times, and it’s a wonderful process.

I can only suggest to all those with a passion for something in their lives, that they do not give it up solely to make money. We all need money, it is a force that makes things easier for us in our lives, but it will never replace our inspiration, or our passion.

To all of you, who toil by day at your jobs, and work by night at your passion, whether it be writing, painting, acting or photography – don’t give up. At least keep the wheels turning, the well full of your passion as you make your money.

Who knows, one day, you’ll find yourself retired and living out your life saying, “I’d wished I just kept motived at my real passion.” Who knows what could happen.

I’m a late blooming writer, who waited 22 years for it happen to me. It is a long time to wake up again.

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Lyle Nicholson is the author of four novels, two novellas and a short story, as well as several articles published in Canadian Magazines and Newspapers. His path to his writing was first as a terrible actor in a Johnny Cash movie, called Gospel Road. He played Andrew the Apostle and apologizes to all who see him in the movie.
He was also a disobedient monk for several years and left the monastery to work at several jobs he’d was highly unsuccessful at until he started his own sales agency, where he finally had success. This was to the delight of his wife and his mother.
He retired in 2011 and took up writing full time. He now lives with his lovely wife in Kelowna, where he writes, cooks and indulges in fine wines.