For those who have known me a while, would have seen this blog start up in the beginnings of 2011 as I started to prepare for moving to Japan. Since coming here I’ve done so many amazing things, met so many incredible people and realized so much more about myself. Even now, a year later, I’m still working to try and build a life here. I’ve blogged about some of the fun stuff I’ve done and the problems I’ve had, but never really spoke about how I manage to keep going. It’s one of those near-invisible forces that pushes you to do your best, despite the issues it creates.
For me, I would never have been able to do this without my Dad.
I know for sure that whenever anyone has ever asked me why I’m so confident, or why I’m apparently so brave to come here alone, I always point the finger at my Dad. When I was in high school around the age of 14 or so, I was miserable at school. I’m not sure why particularly, well, I don’t particularly remember. After breaking down one day (again, no idea why) my dad came to school and took me home. After a long talk we both agreed that I had quite a lack of confidence, I didn’t understand how to be that confident, happy person. So he taught me. He taught me golden words on how to be that person who keeps their head high and to just not give a F**k. I’ve always felt that my life just took off from there. It wasn’t long before I got a beautiful girlfriend, was making new friends and just generally being happier. It led me to try and join the army as an officer, (which I passed but never took the final offer up on), to come to Japan at the age of 17, and it helped me get a great job when I got back to the UK.
The last 3 or so years has been tough for the both of us, a time which shook us to the core but ultimately brought us closer together. In a twist of luck, I was able to try and be the same driving force behind him as he was for me in my time of need. I know now I was sometimes overly harsh, but I always tried my best to be there for him when he needed it. Towards the end of 2010 we had become a great team, both working hard (him more than me admittedly) and we were working towards that brighter future. Alas, I was struck with the realization that I was never quite over Japan, It pestered my thoughts. When I was given an opportunity to get back here, I was nervous about leaving my Dad. He had already taken a huge financial burden for my stupidity, yet when I was down and defeated, he again stepped in with magical words, more accurately, a question that I’ll never forget and one that I’ll be sure to ask my own children one day. The question burned into my mind and ultimately pushed me here. In my time in Japan, I’ve gone through student poverty, working to extremes with even a little heartbreak mixed in. He has still always been there. At the end of an internet connection with a wonky camera that never seemed to point the right way.
Now, he knows the kind of independent person I am, I have no problem going my own way and looking after myself. He knows this, mostly because this is the man he brought me up to be. It sometimes ends up that we don’t speak on skype for a while, or he’s too busy to answer emails, but he (hopefully) knows that I am always thinking about him, and on days when I don’t want to do anything or when I’m down about stuff, it’s always him I think about. I think about him telling me to make the most of life, to stop bloody worrying about money, to just get out there. When I get worried about my future, it’s him that pushes me on.
I’ve always said that my time here has been one of great self-discovery and experience, without such an amazing father, none of it would have been possible. I still hope everyday that I’m making him proud.
The question he asked me before I left, the one that pushed me on, is one of the simplest things I’ve ever been asked, that still guides me when I’m lost. I would like to think that he also remembers it and asks himself the same thing from time to time.
“If you could do anything right now, without thinking about how, what would you do?”
Obviously my answer was my burning desire to get back to Japan. His reply? A stroke of genius which he said to me while smiling.
“Then let’s do that.”
So here I go…
Happy Fathers Day Dad,
miss you millions.