Do It All Again

building 176

Gentle readers, honoured guests, I had recently prepared an imposing post of 1250 words when it suddenly disappeared whilst I was typing, and went to zero word count. I had saved on many occasions but it just vanished into the virtual abyss. I came across a “Restore Previous Versions” button and eagerly pressed the inviting blue button and the text appeared in narrow columns inviting me to select one. Ain’t technology wonderful? I selected the latest and absolutely nothing happened. I repeatedly pressed the button in a fury of desperation. Einstein’s famous definition of madness applies here. “Madness is repeatedly doing the same thing, and expecting a different outcome”. That was the point I lost control.  The goal was tantalisingly close, transfer the text I could see from one window to the WordPress window.  Of course I tried ‘cut and paste’, but that gave a layout and format so mixed up and twisted I could barely decipher my own writings and squashed the text into narrow columns.  Frustration levels and blood pressure by this time had risen to such levels that when I came across a ‘delete’ button, the temptation was too hard to resist.

Reminds me of a case in the US where a man was accused of shooting his own computer with a shotgun.  I quite understand he had reached the same levels of frustration as me, and his actions were therefore entirely rational, and whilst there isn’t actually an American statute defending the rights of innocent computers, he shouldn’t have done it in his shop with customers around.  The charge was “reckless endangerment” and the judge acknowledged considerable sympathy when determining the penalty.  Fortunately, I don’t own a shotgun.  Thus saving myself from considerable expense.

The post was history about when my father dropped in for a couple of days whilst on a round-the-world business trip.  On a raging hot day, father in business suit, I proudly showed him Possum Valley.   I had only seen it a couple of times myself and I thrashed a path with machete through a kilometer of rainforest splashing through creeks to emerge near where Blackbean now stands.  I was bubbling with enthusiasm.  “Build a house here, put in a hydro generator there, garden for self-sufficiency over there”.  He thought I was totally mad but didn’t tell me at the time.  He was nearly right.  There were lots and lots of difficulties, not the least of which was access.  Then ignorance, then poverty.  I solved the problems in the only way possible …… one at a time.  If I had seen all the problems in one go, as my father had, I’d have given up and never started.

building 176

building 1976

It took a lot of hard work, actual physical labour, hard yakka and the occasional inspiration to overcome the problems and much had to be learnt.  And on reflection I’d “Do It All Again”.  I had many goals such as building my own house, power system, etc, but the important thing was I enjoyed the process of solving problems.  I like building things and I have the satisfaction of using them 4 decades later.

It is important to satisfaction in life to be achieving your goals (at least most of them as the veggie garden is my enduring failure).  But if you don’t actually enjoy the hard yakka of getting there, then you are doing the wrong thing.  My Daughter Alice graduated with a degree in microbiology and biochemistry, and work in the field for a couple of years but didn’t like the lab work and the office politics, so she threw all the cards in the air and got another degree in nursing.  She really identifies with being a nurse and its amazing human dimension.  Nursing is the nexus of science and emotion, the balance point where each are equally valid and important.  It makes particle physics look simple.  Alice did the right thing to change course because although she was achieving career goals, she was getting little satisfaction from the process.  In case you didn’t know, I have the greatest respect for my daughters.

Of course there were many items I would change if I could relive my life, and some failures of personal relationships, but on the whole I am content and relaxed, not worrying about ‘what if’.  Yes, I would do it all again.





  1. Nice post Paul ! Short , to the point and covers a lot of ground.

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