At 42 Joseph was sitting by the side of a Spanish commercial street with a hat laid out on the floor before him and a guitar resting on his lap. He was busking for a living and he was struggling to pay the bills. His life motto had always been “no plan is my plan”.
When he was growing up in his teens and early twenties, he would just go with the flow and end up where he would eventually be. He didn’t really want to go to university but was forced to by his parent. His plan was to ride the current and hope to end up in a place that would be fun and enjoyable. It worked out pretty well during school and university, as it’s easy to party and still be fine. You don’t really have to think about bills and you can get away with not being punctual with your assignments.
His strategy seemed to be working out. Joseph was having such a blast out in the nightlife that he decided to quit university and take up a job working with pub crawls. This gave him enough money to live and have fun. Everyday was like groundhog day, except it was full of partying and laughs. He was the life of every party and when there was no party taking place, he would host one. Everyone loved being around Joseph. Slowly but surely though, he realised something.
Every three to four years his circle would change. Old friends would leave and new ones would arrive which made his list of people he knew massive, but it lacked substance. After close to two decades of living this lifestyle he realised that everyone loved to be around him because he was the fun guy. He would always be the spark to ignite the fuse of fun. All his friends however, were mostly from the university scene. Although Joseph had dropped out, he still kept a close relationship with the university peer group and became the one to show new students around because he was still responsible for a lot of Fresher’s pub crawls. This status made him kind of a legend and the go to guy if students were new at university and wanted to party.
Soon enough though his lifestyle began to catch up with him. Endless nights of drinking into the early hours of the morning, coupled with bad nutrition and lack of sleep meant that his health started to take a beating. He felt ill one day and went to see the doctor. He was told that his liver was diseased and that he would need an operation to secure his future health. This devastating news was made even worse because of the fact that he wasn’t studying and was only working part time, which meant that the hospital bill would put him in financial difficulty.
To add insult to injury the people he was working for didn’t pay any medical leave. He was now in an even bigger spot of bother.
Joseph was in danger of losing his flat and being put out on the street. When he looked for financial help from his friends, none of them could really help him out, as they were all students and only getting by. His older friends were all abroad and Joseph didn’t want to be a burden and ask them to lend him money out of the blue. His family were living on the other side of the planet and the flow of his life had taken a huge turn.
He was now in a difficult and fearful position. His health had taken a hit and his security was at risk of disappearing. With no qualifications, and no job, Joseph decided to turn to the only thing he could think of which was busking. Everyday he would sit by the side of the busiest street in the city playing his guitar for eight hours straight. The money he was making wasn’t good and he was as far away as he thought he could be from the lifestyle he had pictured himself living.
When life is easy and going well we find comfort in thinking that we can simply go with the flow and everything will be fine. In reality if you’re on a ship with no captain, the current of the sea will smash you against the rocks and you’ll sink.
Always have a goal and a plan of how to get there to avoid drifting off and crashing.