Beginning a journey. Three mates at dinner. (Chapter 5)
So where did this actually begin?
Many have come across the path of this journey during the initial execution of the 10 City Bridge Run, whether that was in the first stages of crowdfunding, or whether that was in the concluding days of the epic journey that saw me literally run around the world.
In fact, the seeds of the journey took place in an earlier effort, and that was spawned because of a conversation that took place back in 2004.
It was in Paddington, at the home of a good mate from school, Cam. Another mate who also attended school with us, Al, was part of the trio. Together we were meeting for dinner and a few bottles of wine.
During the evening, Al interrupted the flow of conversation asking “had you heard to news?” We answered in the negative. What unfolded was nothing short of a bombshell, and stole the remainder of the conversation for the evening. Al told us the sad news of one of our classmates from school who had committed suicide.
None of us were naive to the realities of suicide, but it was probably fair to say that we hadn’t been directly affected before that point by the actions of our friends in this way. We talked earnestly about what could have been different to have otherwise arrested this situation. Accepting the reality of the situation, we also asked each other what we could now do to change such circumstances into the future.
We left that dinner resolved that things could be different.
Act 2 of this same scene took place four years on. It was towards the end of 2008, and the three of us had met again for dinner. We enjoyed those occasions to gather together, coloured with the richness of close friendship. Incredulously, during this dinner Al once again was the messenger of bad news. Another colleague had taken his life. Again, the conversation turned towards a probing examination of what we might do differently. If there was just one thing?
We left that dinner, our resolve emboldened that this ought to never happen again. But truth be known there was not any significant action taken that was different. We talked a lot. We gave the matter considerable thought. We went on with our lives.
To say that these incidents had no affect would be wholly untrue. I know for a fact that Al was deeply saddened by the deaths of our friends, just as Cam and I were too.
But how often is this the case where there is an assembly and a reason to do something. People talk. People sign petitions. People are seemingly mobilised. They might even wear a ribbon, or do something that defines their commitment to the change they are seeking. But in the pages of this book, I want to argue that what we see is a clear example of what I am calling Backswing. The windup is impressive. And we want to knock that ball out of the park. But for whatever reason, impact alludes us all, and there is no hit, or so it might seem.
As if to create the dramatic structure for the journey ahead, this was the first Act of this narrative played out across two scenes. An exposition achieved between three friends.