Not Yet Done
I’m having an affair. No not with a person, I’m having an affair with life. Life is, after all, a terminal experience, and to my knowledge ― my apologies to those who believe in reincarnation ― there are no do-overs. So this affair with life is not a sit around and watch the world go by kind of experience for me. Not a chance of that happening.
I have always believed that there comes a time to evaluate where we are, where we want to be, who we are and what we want to become. When that happens, we need to seize that moment and change. There is no “if only”, no blaming others, it's all in our choices.
I started my career as an engineer and officer in the Royal Canadian Air Force. Chasing Russian submarines during the Cold War certainly had its up and downs. One night, we were on patrol over the Atlantic in a raging snowstorm that covered the entire Maritime region and into Ontario, Canada. It meant we had no alternative but to land at our home base, as an alternate landing site was out of the question. As we made our approach to land, our captain discovered he could not throttle back the engines, a fundamental requirement for landing. Our flight engineers struggled to discover the problem as we circled the airbase, the storm never letting up. Suddenly we lost an engine, making the situation even more critical. With the flight engineers unable to fix the problem, the decision was made, that in order to land, we had to turn off the fuel to the engines and the only way to do that, was by cutting off all the electrical power on the plane. This in turn meant that once committed, the pilots would have no control over the aircraft and its flight surfaces. We would be gliding in, and once we touched down, no reverse props and no brakes to stop us either.
To make matters worse, the other end of the runway was 100 yards from a bay full of large chunks of ice, and we were carrying a full load of depth charges and torpedos, a potentially explosive situation. I thought we were done, we all did. Crazy thoughts filled my head as we braced for impact. I watched out the window as our captain touched us down on the button (the very tip of the runway). We silently glided down the runway, past the flashing lights of the gathered emergency vehicles, coming to a stop 100 feet from the end of the runway. Clearing the aircraft, we were jumping up and down on the runway, in the snow storm, grateful to be alive. The ground crew, so sure we were going to crash, had only brought emergency vehicles, no means of transportation for our crew of fifteen. We had to wait some time for our ride, but I didn’t care. I was grateful I was not yet done, and a feeling that perhaps there was a bigger purpose for me.
Not too long after, a series of bizarre events, including the Vietnam War, encouraged me to reinvent myself. Leaving the service, I returned to graduate school, something that I never would have considered a few years earlier. As it turned out, it was the best decision I ever made. I was to meet the love of my life, my soul mate, the lady who would change my life forever. How that came about is a whole other story. In the ensuing years together, we raised four children, resulting in five grand children.
Over the years, I have had the opportunity and made the choice to reinvent myself many times — veteran, engineer, educator, entrepreneur, inventor — many challenging and exciting careers, each time with the thought that, “I’m not yet done, what’s next?” Age, circumstance or fear of failure have never been, nor will ever be, limiting factors.
So here I am, in what others may consider their retirement and declining years, reinventing myself yet once again, following my passion for writing — scripts, novels, nonfiction, poetry — just about anything that my pen will put to paper. Through my writing, I hope in some small way to makes a difference in someone else’s life. In that, I find purpose.
It’s more than a belief. I know from experience, it’s never too late to reinvent oneself, to follow one’s passion, and through one’s passion continue to find purpose in life. At my age, people are often asking, “How are you doing?”, to which I invariably reply, “I’m looking at the carrots from their tops”. It’s always about seizing opportunity, making choices and changing. And when my expiration date does arrive, I plan on sliding into into the old pine box screaming, “What a ride!” Until then, I’m not yet done.
There are those that settle, and those that keep trying, one life is living, the other is dying. — Lloyd R. Osler
About the Author: Lloyd Osler is a veteran, professional engineer, serial entrepreneur and business leader with heart. He has seized every opportunity to reinvent himself, resulting in several challenging, and exciting careers throughout 50 years in the military, advanced education, IT and health industries.
What a ride! And #notyetdone — he is exercising his right brain in pursuing his passion as a writer.
Lloyd relishes the opportunity to give back and has a long history of mentoring in education, business and community. Husband to one, father of four, papa to five, he is passionate about future generations and is a strong advocate of social issues such as mental health, gender diversity, and equality. He currently serves on the international Advisory Board of sitatthetable.org, promoting global gender mentoring and equality in business. He is also a co-founder at cormosaic.shop. Follow Lloyd on Twitter at @powerofpapa.
At various times in one's life, there comes a moment to evaluate where we are and where we want to be, who we are and what we want to become. Seize the moment and change. No time to waste. —Lloyd Osler