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Seize the day... while you still have it

Seize the day... while you still have it

By Chris Haycock | 12 January 2022

We get but just one chance to live life as happily as we can. Time goes quickly - far quicker than is comfortable. If you don't grab the opportunity to do something that truly makes you happy, then that moment will slip by forever.

2022 marks a quarter of a century since I developed my first ever website for another business.

The year was 1997. By this time I'd already dabbled in web development for a couple of years.

Google was just a twinkle in Larry Page and Sergey Brin's eyes.

Altavista, Infoseek and Hotbot were the go-to search engines. They were so easy to rank a website in the top three coveted spaces.

A small photo, which takes a few milliseconds to load today, took up to 30 seconds on a dial-up connection. This was pre-broadband, but it was flipping thrilling to watch pages gradually load on the screen.

I'd just moved to Banbury from Torquay, and I had self-printed a couple of hundred flyers advertising my services as a Web designer.

A book publisher asked whether I could get their whole catalogue of books online using a database. I'd never touched a database in my life, but I gulped, and replied with a nervous "erm, yes", knowing that I'd have to learn by experimentation.
There were no manuals or training courses, so I just had to muck around until something stuck.

To my surprise, hooking up a MS Access database to a website was easier than I thought.

And so my Web developer career began. I had successfully built a database-driven website, so the company's staff could add and amend their catalogue of books, and sell them worldwide.


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I charged £800 for the privilege, which was peanuts considering it took a month to build.

But to create something this innovative (at that time) by trial and error alone felt like a huge accomplishment.

Since then, my network of my own websites has grown exponentially, and have been visited hundreds of millions of times. I'll never truly know how many exactly.

This major change in career path came as a result of being unhappy with my previous choice of careers.

My 5-year stint in the Royal Navy was incredibly rewarding, but I knew I couldn't fulfil my dream of "going it alone".

Another five years in hospitality and catering gave me customer experience, and saw me progress from humble waiter to hotel manager and pub landlord, where I first discovered my skill of marketing.

But by the age of 26, I still hadn't found my true calling, and I flitted from job to job (many of them low-paid menial jobs).
So, the ability to be able to create websites that people actually enjoyed using was a moment of revelation. It gave me a buzz which still gets my pulse racing to this day.

I like to think that those random jobs contributed towards where I am today. Because web development, customer relations, and marketing fascinated me immensely, the fusion of the three was inevitable (some may say it was destiny, but I dunno).
I may be an outlier in this regard. Having a wide and varied career may not automatically mean you'll eventually land on your feet in a dream job that sets you up for life.

But even if you've arrived at a time in your 40s where your brain gives a sudden jolt in the realisation that you're not actually very happy, it's never too late to change course and follow a different career path.

If I ever fall out of favour with my current work and find myself miserable at the prospect of waking up each morning unhappy, I would not hesitate to rethink my position and chase something new.

Even at the ripe age of 51, my future is never set in stone. I'll do whatever job makes me the most contented with my life.
We get but just one chance to live life as happily as we can. Time goes quickly - far quicker than is comfortable. If you don't grab the opportunity to do something that truly makes you happy, then that moment will slip by forever.

My old school motto was Carpe Diem - "Seize the Day", which is a phrase that I've (mostly) lived by. It has served me well.


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