I wish someone told me to listen to my Dad…

“I wish someone had told me” is a series of posts that feed into our inquisitive nature at CN&CO. Each week we hear from someone in our network about something interesting or surprising that’s recently happened or occurred to them – or lessons they learnt. These blogs are a way to pay it forward and form part of CN&CO’s belief that the world can be a better place – and we all have a responsibility to make it so. This week’s post is by Francois Joubert.

As the second decade of this century came to a close, something else also came to its very end. Yes ladies, gents and non-binaries – the 2nd of January 2020 marked the day I paid off my entire study loan – by my very own self [insert confetti cannon here].

Now, as it goes with any loan of any kind, at the very beginning I had absolutely no idea how I was going to pay back the hefty amount. But here I am – debt free in 2020. And as that last payment went off, I couldn’t help but replaying the words of something someone told me many a time in my life: “Life is like a toolbox. Everything you do throughout helps to craft custom tools that you add to this toolbox – and these tools are priceless.”

Initially, these words never mean that much to me, and I thought it was a loose translation from Forest Gump (you know the line). Yet this certain someone referred back to it many a time throughout my childhood and early adulthood. The person who instilled this tidbit of wisdom was my dear ol’ dad and it was only on the 2nd of January 2020 that these words finally fired up the synapses in my brain and connection and meaning was made.  

I began to think of the toolbox and the tools I’ve crafted since 2015 (year repayment of the loan started) to 2020 – and how this hefty loan, that was initially a burden,  forced me to hustle and do jobs outside the realms my field of study (BA Drama) to get that burden of my back. Not to say that I haven’t used the knowledge of my degree to apply it to the ventures outside of the field, because through smart choices I crafted myself a foundation, a handy “toolbox” if you will – and until today I keep on learning and crafting custom tools I just add to that toolbox.

Since 2015 I’ve taught myself how to use Photoshop which led me to eventually using Illustrator primarily for my graphic design. Therefore – tool one: rookie graphic designer.

I’ve learnt how to do make-up, walk on stilts and balloon modelling for entertainment jobs I continue do over weekends; Therefore tool two: rookie jester and entertainer.

I’ve learnt (with a lot of help from my colleague Llewellyn Du Plessis) how to conceptualise, plan and execute events of all kinds. Thus, tool three: rookie event planner. And the list goes on and on. Suffice to say, all these diverse opportunities presented to me with many obstacles – but forced me to craft and fill my toolbox with many tools I use on the daily.

In summary: I’ve read, heard, listened to and seen many a insta- worthy quotes of inspiration and motivation. Quotes & words of wisdom on feeds from many famous authors, and celebs, all of these trying to be inspirational & motivational (whilst showing off your bare bum on the beach- ya’ll know who you are). Some of the sayings, quotes, words of wisdom have stuck like a toffee on your top pallet… Others have been non-stick nonsense. But, dearest reader (whomever you may be), if there is one piece of advise I wish someone told me perhaps a decade or two earlier is this: listen to your dad (or your version of an elder), ’cause the sh#t your dad says are gems of wisdom.