There is a story told of three old men. None of them was far from the grave. Though not all lay on their death bed, they all knew that the journey would soon end. As is the custom of young reporters who want to write a good story. This reporter went to see the three.
The first, though strong and full of years, said naught but lost thought. “If only there was a way I could turn back those years and live it all again. I would avoid all the vain of youth that in my latter years has cost me so much pain. It would not be so bad, but for the fact that others, from me, have nothing to gain is too much to bear and just multiplies the pain.
The second leaned back and stared into space. On his face he mused about how it would have been if he had taken his chances, put in a little more effort and a lot less sloth. He mused that others really did not know him or what he could do. He listed the grades he should have got in school, but it really did not matter because there was nothing he could do about it now. His only regret is that he did not get to know that person he thought he was. He did not know himself.
The third was sad, but not unhappy. He had done what he could and wished he could have done more. He took every chance and failed so many times that his mind was sore at the failings galore. But when asked what he would have done differently, he said, “I really don’t know. I think I got out of life all it had for me and if I thought there was more I would have taken it. I never gave up on my dreams. When I sleep I still dream. I really have no need to go over that way again.”
The reporter gathered up his story and made his way back to the paper. On his way he met a fourth old man with an old dingy camera. The old man said “I am a reporter and I write stories for the paper”. “But why are you still doing this” asked the young man. “Well” said the old man, “ I never really gathered the courage to do what I really wanted, so I got stuck with a camera”. The young reporter never filed his story. In fact he never returned to the paper. The editor found another reporter to cover the story, but the fourth old man was never found.
Allan Bukusi, December 2016