Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Road Less Traveled... Or losing my first friend

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
                                                  - Robert Frost, The Road Less Traveled

I don't consider myself a trend-setter, and I don't really follow them either. But, lately, I find myself longing for a path uniquely my own. Longing, longing, longing...

And I think I've finally found it.

Like I said last time, I'm gonna start my own business.

It's going to be hell. I'm doing this in a foreign country. I'm still trying to raise the insane amount of capital that the Japanese government insists I have. And of course, even in the best of circumstances, starting a business is never easy. I've gotta build a name for this company, and build the company itself. I have to convince people to have faith in me and then live up to their expectations.

But I've found my path. I turned 35 on Thursday, and I've just figured out what I'm meant to be giving the world. I can't ignore that.

I expected it to be tough. Raising money is going both worse and better than I thought it would. And people I expected would jump at the chance to support me, haven't. And people who I didn't imagine would care have jumped at the chance to help.

But I think what shocked me the most was the first time a person I considered a friend just did not support me.

I don't mean with financial donations. And I don't mean the play-it-safe types who fear for me jumping off this cliff into the uncertain like a Disney character in the middle of the flagship song.

I said to my friend that I couldn't meet in the middle of a work day on a Monday. My friend accused me of worshipping money and letting money change me. I drew analogies about 9-to-5ers taking a break in the middle of their work day to hang out. Or taking a day off in the first week of a new job to chill with a friend. It made no difference.

And the more I think about it, the more I can't avoid that I'm going to lose this friend. You can't have a friend that despises children after you have kids. You can't stay friends with people after you find that they're opposed to some fundamental part of you - your race, gender, sexual orientation. And by the same token, I can't be around people who spew poison about my commitment to building my business while I'm building my business.

It's a lot like being a writer I guess. Some people you consider close will never buy a book. Some people will try to discourage you because of their own fears. And some people will never understand and make you feel guilty for not making them do so and bad for following your dream.

But you have to follow, don't you? As Langston Hughes asked, "What happens to a dream deferred?"

Kudos to you all for following the road less traveled. And if you haven't - yet - I wish you strength. Strength .... and the support of those around you. You've already got mine. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2016


Barbados gained independence on November 30, 1966. Just last week, we celebrated our 50th anniversary. Even for an ex-pat like me, it was a momentous occasion. My Dad was a cadet on the first Independence Day parade and returned as the 2nd in command of a special detachment for the parade this year. I pretty much spent the whole week busting with pride.

But, of course, I got to thinking about being independent. As a person. About making big changes. And taking big leaps of faith. I've decided to start my own business and with all the obstacles to being a foreigner and starting a business in Japan, I spend a lot of time wondering if I'm crazy...

What am I talking about? I AM crazy. This is established.

Oh, well. Hang on to your hats, folks. The wild ride has just begun.