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So, It’s Been A Year

“A person needs new experiences. It jars something deep inside, allowing them to grow. Without change something sleeps inside us, and seldom awakens. The sleeper must awaken.”  – Duke Leto Atreides (Frank Herbert, Done)

I recently read this quote somewhere, someone had posted it in reference to taking on a new career change. It caused a moment of reflection and introspection, the kind that is usually best done with a glass of wine. A year ago, I also began a new journey at a company called Narratives Inc. I left behind my position as community planner at a place where I was quite comfortable, did work that I ultimately enjoyed, with people I liked working with. But a change was needed. Something was missing.

I was unsure what this new journey would entail. I had not worked in the private sector since my time in media and film some 15 years ago. I was comfortable back then too, but the need for change also stirred back then. That stirring ultimately led me here, where I am today, through two university programs, multiple countries, and a global pandemic. Who would have thought – an audio engineer becoming a Project Director and Senior Planner at a place that was at the time called a little ship of awesomeness. We are not so little anymore. 

Change does awaken things. For me, the change to Narratives woke-up old passions, passions I had let sleep for a time. That is okay, everyone needs a rest from time to time.

Before she hired me, Somia, our Principal and Founder, called me. She wanted to warn me that this would not be like anything I had been doing up to that point, that it would be hard, and sometimes even dark (we work with people that are confronting trauma they have experienced). I do not remember what I said. I would like to think I simply said “perfect.” I assure you I was not that confident or suave, and I am fortunate she hired me anyway. She did not lie; it has not been like anything I had done before. And that is good. I did not want to do anything I had done before.

I took this journey out of a desire for change. A change of pace, a change of perspective, a change of scenery. But also, a desire to see change in the work I was doing, and to change how that work was being done. The past year has given me experiences I could not have expected, and each of them have shaped and reshaped me. I find myself continually inspired by the people I work with. I found a wonderfully strange fusion of contentment and ambition.

So, where am I going with all of this? To be honest, I have no particular agenda here. It is just one of those moments where there was something on the heart, something on the soul that needed to be shared out loud. Maybe someone else out there needs to hear it. Maybe I just I needed to share it for me, to acknowledge the changes of the past year. Acknowledge I am no longer the same person I was when I came here, and that the sleeper slumbers no more.

Paul Bell 
Project Director & Senior Planner at Narratives Inc.