A very good question was posed to me last night. Now that I have responsibility; responsibility of being a father, of being the man of the house: how much and what do I sacrifice of my dreams? That’s a little reworded but hey, it’s my blog and I do what I want. I thought about this long into the night and into the wee hours of the morning. I found my answer and found a deep peaceful sleep.
You see, everyone and their life’s journey is unique. The way I approach things has changed so drastically I could have answered this 15 different ways at 15 different ages. Someone I grew up with very closely may have a completely different answer. “Dreams” are different. The way I came to some kind of conclusion was to think about the end. When I’m done with this life, what will one of my children say at my memorial. What will my legacy be? If I was someone else, they could say, “He was a proud man. He worked for 30+ years in the same job. He provided a roof over our heads, food in our fridge, and shoes on our feet. My dad was tough as nails and I respect him. He showed me hard work and reward from it. He retired a veteran of the blue collar work force and when he retired he spent the rest of his days in harmony with nature. Thanks Dad.” I know so many men and women that have lived that eulogy and are still living it. If you would have asked a younger me, I would have said they are “trapped, with no escape.” Now ,however, I see the beauty in that life. I respect that man. In a way, it’s the life my own mother has lived. She lived to work, to provide for us and that’s it. If you ask her if she would have done anything different; there are varying answers. Yes, she had dreams and some of them came true, some did not. My mom is a self sufficient small business owner is a male driven industry…..but if she would have had a chance to do things a little different, you bet your ass she would have. These people organize their lives with “responsibility” on the top of the pyramid and there is nothing wrong with that.
My unique situation. For many years I chased an impossible dream. I dreamed of playing on the PGA Tour. I lacked so many tools for this feat, but it didn’t keep me from trying. Yes, I try stuff that’s seems impossible. It’s part of my story, it’s part of who I am. My possible eulogy, “my dad lived. He tried everything. He tried to be a college athlete but his mind and maturity wasn’t ready for it. He skated parks too big for him. He snowboarded huge mountains. He surf waves beyond his level. He got knocked down a lot. He tried out for a professional football team but his age tampered with his perfection. He played golf with guys that would constantly fleece him for every dollar he owned but he didn’t give until the cash flow reversed. He worked hard and put everything into the chase. He never quite matched up his skill level and timing in life. Life tried with everything to break my old man down and almost did. When I came along, something sparked inside him. He went on to pursue multiple different dreams, changed career at what some would assume to be”later in life” but he would say, “i’m only getting started.” He even accomplished his goal of playing in a tour event. He taught me to follow my passion. He told me that of all the people he knew and met in his life, it was the one’s that did what they loved he looked up to the most. He taught me that you affect more lives than the one’s under your roof, when you are out in the world living your dreams. He was a man of many hats. He provided not only a roof for us to grow up under but instilled in us a hope that life is about what’s in your heart. He also believed that it was never too late, never too early and dreams can be changed. In fact, they must be changed as you go and that’s ok. He learned that failure was just a made up word and the journey was all that mattered. He learned that helping other people holds rewards that are too big for words. He lived a full life. He dreamed big. Thanks Dad.”
Out of the two examples, I have no disrespect for the first guy. I just prefer the second one, because that is me. So to answer the initial question, what have I sacrificed? Very little. Sure there are the obvious things like our household budget and time management, aka we have none. But I have a secret weapon; my wife, my family, my support system, my “unique situation.” The biggest lesson I’ve learned and that I can pass down is that “you can’t be great by yourself.” I tried it, doesn’t work. I have a small strong circle now and they allow me to be me. Life will continue to throw curve balls at us but now I have learned flexibility and strength in my own character. This life is an incredible one and I thank those that continue to inspire me. I also thank those who work hard everyday to make this country great. Without it, I couldn’t be doing what I am today.
This might not make any sense to anyone. I kind of blathered on but it’s one of my favorite things I’ve ever written. If you have questions about your life, eulogize yourself and don’t be afraid if you feel like you need to change. The one constant is these paragraphs is that both guys….die. We get one go around. How do you want to live?