_"You can do anything you want, until someone tells you can't.", my father advised. It was expedient, basic advice to be built on as I grew.
Constantly testing limits, the leather strap several times a year for most years of elementary school taught me that my decisions had consequences; but, did not suppress the spirit as does today's use of drugs.
Entry into the military presented me with an environment rife with rules, regulations and consequences. However, very early, a wise officer who told me that the Queen's Commission that made me an officer in her Canadian Army came with a responsibility to choose wisely when to follow regulation and when not. I read the rules and set about making every decision based on what I thought was right and needed in each circumstance. Fortunately, reason prevailed, and I retired as a senior officer, after many years of honorable service.
Time in government service was an exercise in frustration. No matter how well one solved problems and presented solutions, the blind resorting to instruction, habit, and the slowness of bureaucracy, suffocated achievement.
Taking charge of a failing high-tech company with market penetration in over 50 countries gave me challenge; and there were voices that shouted "You can't do that! You don't know anything. You are a government guy." The naysayers, the chief scientist and all sales and marketing staff, were replaced the first year. The excitement and freedom of being able to lead, make decisions and take action came with responsibility, and many sleepless nights. Perseverance, self-confidence and new staff resulted in net profits being up 64% in the second year. I went on to turn around another failing company shortly thereafter. Finally, I had the privilege, ability and responsibility that I had long sought.
Why do I now use the pseudonym, pen name, Andre Hugo?
As a junior military officer, I asked for French language training. The psychologist gave me a series of tests and declared that I did not have the aptitude to learn a second language. I managed to get on a three-month course and shocked the pants off them when I qualified bilingual, able to function in both of Canada's official languages, English and French. I then worked in both languages in Canada and Europe. At age 63 and seeking adventure in retirement, I moved to Ecuador and total immersion in Spanish, a language in which I am now comfortable
The first name, Andre, represents my French proficiency and Hugo the Spanish. Using the name Andre Hugo, encourages me not to listen to negativity from within or from others. If I want to do something bad enough, I can.
What is it that you want to do in your senior years? Look within yourself and discover the spirit that, assuredly, is still there; though possibly hiding. Set your personal objectives and chart your path. The experience will be uniquely yours as well as the satisfaction you will feel as you pursue your dreams.
Yes, you can !
Yes, You Can !
( You can read about Andre's first year in Ecuador on "Gringos Abroad" Click Here )
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