Have you ever spent any time in a retirement home? I have and it’s equally as depressing as it is inspiring. Let me explain.
For a couple of months this year - and for reasons that are too long and boring to talk about here - I worked as a manual labourer for my dad’s construction firm on a job he had at a retirement home in one of the dullest towns on earth, Wellingborough. Talking to the residents was an absolute joy and it was great to hear all their stories about growing up in a world vastly different to the modern one that we inhabit now, but after a while there was a striking trend that became apparent. Lots of conversations were started with phrases such as “Oh I wish I was your age again so that I could…” or “You know what? If I could go back an do it all again…”
What these lovely people were actually expressing to me, whether they knew it or not, were many different forms of regret. Quite literally everyone there wished they could go back and change something that would have led they lives in completely different directions. Now, I’m not naive enough to suggest that it was as simple as just doing the things you loved 50 years ago when the world was still picking its feet up after being ravaged by war and when societal norms and pressures dictated almost all behaviour.
But it’s almost 2017 and things have changed. We have the internet, which is this wonderful thing that has enabled near-instant communication and collaboration between people all over the world. It’s democratised pretty much everything and removed gatekeepers from practically every industry under the sun. Just look at what Drivetribe is doing; it’s a publication which doesn’t require you to be chosen in order for you to write for it. There are no editors to navigate, managers to appease. You can just do what you like and people are free to follow you if they so wish.
What does this have to do with cars and Drivetribe I hear you asking. On my previous trajectory it became obvious that I was going to end up as an old man full of regret that I never fully immersed myself in the thing that I truly love: the automotive world. A couple of weeks ago I decided to buy a clapped-out BMW 3 Series Estate (E46) from eBay for £400 with the intention of teaching myself car mechanics. Don’t worry, I’ve been filming myself and will upload the results here so you can all laugh at me.
I’ve always wanted to do some writing, so taking advice from Seth Godin: "Just write poorly. Continue to write poorly, in public, until you can write better”. I’m also in the middle of building a technology company focused on the car industry, so I’ll be sure to include musings from that also.
I hope we all realise what an amazing opportunity this is to stake our own little claim of the internet and to just do the things that matter in life.