Four decades from the epiphany: Memories and the future

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The district commissioner's office in Tjolotjo, long before I visited to meet the last white DC in the transition to Zimbabwe. This photo was taken in the early 1950s.

We can look back on our lives with memories that mix some certainty (especially if we have journals or other contemporary evidence), but can only project/imagine our futures.

So today, as the world lives through its first truly major pandemic since the World War I-era Spanish Flu, I’m having some trouble visualizing life and business in three months, while the great day of April 4, 1980 remains firmly in my memory.

I decided to create the epiphanystories.com website to honor that experience and perhaps create a vehicle for others to share their own epiphanies. It isn’t in any ways complete or ready for prime-time as it is a hobby project, and the last few weeks have been truly challenging with the pandemic news coverage, so please don’t expect much if you go there to take a look.

Four decades ago, as I took the local (African) bus from Bulawayo to Tjolotjo in Rhodesia about to turn to Zimbabwe, I combined incredible emotional and interpersonal immaturity with a truly odds-defying personal experience. How could a 26-year-old guy with virtually no social skills and plenty of identity confusion live through an African war as a journalist? That night, in a bar where I got truly over-the-top drunk, I figured it out.

The good news of course is the 40-year-old epiphany foretold my life; marriage, love, family, and a good degree of financial and emotional security. It couldn’t have foretold the many experiences and surprises that have defined my life and the world since then; certainly blogging on a WordPress site was beyond my imagination, and staying at home for weeks on end with my immediate family and very limited physical contact with other people would have seemed truly out-of-this-world.

We’ll get through these “interesting” times. In the meantime, for a few minutes, I can recall the evening that defined my life.

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