In 1989 the film ‘Dead Poets Society‘ with Robin Williams who played inspirational English teacher, John Keating, was a pivotal moment for me. I don’t remember coming across the phrase ‘Carpe Diem’ much before then, but as soon as I heard it I found myself thinking about it almost on a daily basis. I watched the film long before I had even seriously thought about giving up drinking, especially the binge drinking, which I was doing more or less every weekend with my friends. But deep down I felt that Carpe Diem was almost reaching out to me. I’d lived up until then as someone following paths that others (my parents) were laying down for me, but a seed of an idea was planted the day I saw this film.
Within 3 years of watching it, I’d finished my college degree and with Carpe Diem nibbling away at the back of my mind, I decided to go and see the world and travel. I spent the next 18 months or so doing just that. I travelled and lived in Spain before moving on to Africa, where I explored places I’d once covered in geography class, but was now experiencing for myself in the bush. I was living my moment and this seed that was planted in 1989 continued to grow within me throughout my adult life. Still today I feel I’ve travelled the path less travelled by others. In giving up drinking I feel this more so. I’m pro-actively seeing how I can do more with my life and make it all count somehow. I want to be able to look back at any point and see the dots connected and see how I was either able to make a difference to myself or those around me.
Robin Williams was a genius teacher and inspired many to go on and do their thing. The fact that he’s overcome his own drink problems was another reason why he is also an inspiration for helping me stop drinking. Had I not seen the film I’m sure I would have still lived the life I’ve led so far. But perhaps it may have happened a bit later, which would have probably meant I’d have travelled to different places and seen different things. Like many others I was deeply affected by it and it’s helped me focus and do the things I’ve done.