Lost potential

I was watching re-runs of The West Wing last night, and much of the plot revolved around Toby Ziegler, and the fact that he was born in 1954.

My uncle Richard was born in 1954. He was only half a generation older than me – my mother’s much younger brother. He died in a car accident when he was a bit younger than I am now, and every now and again I am reminded of the loss of potential. If Richard was alive now, I imagine he would be very successful in whatever field he was in – perhaps not quite the White House Director of Communications, but that’s hard to top from New Zealand. He topped New Zealand in his final year of school, and was just as successful at university.

I last saw him just as I was starting my career. Because we lived in different countries, I have quite distinct memories of conversations with him, very different to each other, as they were separated by 2 years each time, which for me particularly, meant big changes in how I was thinking, and what I was doing at the time.

Alone of anyone in my extended family (my brothers and cousin came later), he was in the corporate world, and successfully. I was just starting out, and I still remember him casually asking me questions about my job, and the company I worked for, and how my career path might move. That conversation opened my eyes to the much bigger picture of corporate life that existed outside the narrow confines of an actuarial department.

I imagine that if he was alive today we would have a lot to talk about, and I would have a huge amount to learn from him.

This post is about Richard at work; there was far more to him than that; but imagining him the same age as Toby Ziegler made me wonder, as I often do when I see someone successful that age, what Richard would have done had he lived.

  3 comments for “Lost potential

  1. May 4, 2006 at 9:54 am

    Sad. Sounds like an interesting man.

  2. May 9, 2006 at 9:10 pm

    Jennifer. Thanks for commentng on my blog when you can. You must have a busy life. I read your posts and wonder why there aren’t more comments. Maybe, you write for yourself and don’t need the feedback from other bloggers.

    Besides….

    Blogging and counting comments can take over a persons life….

    Actuarially speaking

  3. May 11, 2006 at 9:13 pm

    Thanks Tjilpi. This post was very much for myself, but it is nice to have comments…

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