Sometimes, we do not know what we have until it’s gone. I truly believe we should never live our lives with any regrets because you cannot take back your actions, your words or the past. Having said that, there are so many things we wish we had said, or done differently when disaster strikes but it’s often too late.
For myself, I wish I had done things differently with a friend of mine called Jennifer. She was a really close friend who wanted to be a photographer but she said the professional course was too expensive for her and she kept making excuses as to why she could not enroll herself. I knew money was an issue but it wasn’t the real reason for holding her back from pursuing her dreams. The truth is, she just didn’t believe in herself enough. She played down the shots she took but for someone constantly looking through the lens to capture the beauty of life, she seemed oblivious of the impact her photographs made. Her shots moved people, despite her lack of experience. I personally thought her pictures were incredible and that she should do something about her talent.
I used to tell Jennifer if she was that serious about photography (and I knew she silently was) that she should follow her life’s passion. It might be more fulfilling to try being a photographer, even if she failed at it business-wise than to continue just sitting on the fence and left wondering if you would ever make it. Unfortunately, she was not one for taking risks or chasing her dreams so she stuck to the safe route and she never explored her true potential.
She was doing a basic job that was putting food on the table and paying her bills but she lacked the confidence to really go after what she wanted. She stayed in the same unchallenging position for years to a point it was a chore waking up in the morning. I was saddened she was not doing more to develop her natural talents.
I had this brainwave of an idea to sponsor the photography course she always wanted to do, as a surprise gift. However, Jennifer was not good at receiving gifts, or even words of genuine praise so I figured the only way for this to be a sure-fire success was to simply go ahead and buy it so she had “no choice” but to show up for this course she was always dreaming of. She simply needed a nudge in the right direction.
As it turned out, I suddenly got relocated to Hong Kong and work started to post me to countries round the region so I started to spend less and less time in Malaysia, which was besides the point. Though I kept in touch with Jennifer whenever I could over email, I started to feel bad that I had not gotten round to buying her this photography course as a gift. Each time we made contact, I told myself that I would get it done but somehow, I would get caught up with whatever I was doing and it kept getting postponed or tucked into the back of my mind on a long list of pending “things to do”.