My daughter loves hanging out with her friends. She also enjoys reading or relaxing with our dog Nittany. Likewise, my oldest son loves to lift weights and watch action movies.
Over the past twelve months, I’ve watched as both have given up things they love and stepped out of their comfort zones to tackle new challenges and commitments. My daughter volunteered to travel across the globe, thousands of miles away from us, to serve two years in the Peace Corps to help those lesser-off and my son joined the Armed Forces to protect and defend our country. Both of them could have chosen easier, safer routes, but they decided to challenge themselves in new and exciting ways.
And then there’s me.
Late last year I started to take a look at where I was going in my job and with my career. I’ve achieved much more than I ever expected that I would be able to achieve when I was a young kid, growing up in rural Central Pennsylvania. If you would have asked me then what my claim to fame was going to be, I’m not sure I would have given you much more than keeping my head-down, staying out of trouble, and graduating high school. While I’ve achieved more than I ever thought—my wife and children are obviously at the top of that list—I’m still relatively young and there’s still much I want to accomplish.
As I sat at my desk and thought about my own situation, I couldn’t stop thinking of the choices my two oldest kids had made. They took a chance. They challenged themselves. They went out on a limb.
I, on-the-other-hand, had a wonderful job with a great company that is a giant in its industry, has integrity, and cares for its clients. I should have been happy. I had built up friendships and relationships with hundreds of friends and acquaintances across the company. However, I didn’t feel the same joy in my position that I once had. I had been able to grow and develop as a professional, but, somewhere along the line, I had lost some of the passion for my job. To top it off, I didn’t feel wanted anymore.
My kids took risks to achieve something greater. I felt like I had stopped taking risks on myself. In the end, I felt like I was settling. I’m not the same age as my kids and I have obligations that they don’t, but I still have hopes and dreams.
A change in the direction
With that in mind, I “retired” and took a gamble on myself. I took a few weeks off to take care of a few family obligations and started a new job recently with increased responsibilities and challenges. I don’t know exactly how this story will end up, and while I’m a worrier by nature, I’m reminded of the old adage that nothing is guaranteed. You have to appreciate and be grateful for your many blessings and go back to work each day.
So, yes, this new story is still playing itself out and, if it were a book, I’d probably still be somewhere early in the first chapter, maybe even in the prologue, but I’ve got to say, a few weeks in, I’m hooked. I can’t wait to see where the story goes. I’m enjoying life. I feel wanted and feel that I can make a difference in a field that I have a ton of expertise and skill.
In short, I’m like a kid on Christmas Day ripping open the wrapping paper. I look forward to going to work each day. I’m focused and attentive and excited for the new adventure that’s in front of me.
Thank you kids for showing me the way.