- Family and Parenting
Days of Our Lives Episode Four: What Do You Want to be When You Grow Up?
Dredging My Memory
It’s one of those questions that always crop up during childhood. Our parents will introduce us to some other adults, and inevitably one of them will ask us what we want to be when we grow up….or a teacher will ask….or even one of our friends will ask.
A silly question for a young child, isn’t it? Oh sure, we all have an answer….mine was professional baseball player….but the reality is that it is not reality at all. We have a romanticized vision that is not based on a foundation of logic.
I was reminded of this question the other day while talking to a friend about our youngest daughter, Allora, who just headed off to college for her freshman year. I was asked that question….what does she want to be after college? My answer was a bit vague. I told my friend that Allora was going into the Business program at college and she was interested in Accounting, but that wasn’t set in stone.
The truth is she just isn’t sure yet. Check back in two years and maybe I’ll have an answer for you.
So That Got Me Thinking
Between the two of us, Bev and I have five children. The oldest is Matt who is a registered nurse and part-time farmer. Second in line is Tyler, who works retail, and then Andrew, a carpenter. Leo is fourth and he’s in California working on a farm and Allora, as previously mentioned, is in college.
I would be willing to bet that if we could go back in time and ask all five of them what they wanted to be, only Allora would match her reality with her dream. The same is true of Bev and I. There is no way a five-year old Bev would have said she dreamt of being a retail merchandiser, and in my wildest dreams I wouldn’t have said I wanted to be a writer.
And yet we are!
And the interesting thing, for Bev and I, is that we are happy. We didn’t even come close to reaching the particular stars we envisioned when we were young, and yet we love our lives.
How cool is that?
I suspect a couple of our kids are not at that point yet. They still have particular dreams, wants and needs they haven’t achieved yet, and that bugs the hell out of them at times, and that means more than a few days, and nights, of dissatisfaction and dis-ease.
Here’s the Thing
2015 marks the fiftieth year I’ve been employed in one fashion or the other. My first job was working in the Proctor Bowling Alley. I don’t remember my hourly wage but I know benefits included free bowling and I was ecstatic. Since then I have been a teacher and a lumberyard gofer, a store owner and a retail grunt. I’ve shoveled pig poop and shoveled coal into blast furnaces. I’ve sold wine, sold beer, delivered wine and delivered beer. I’ve mucked out stalls and I’ve driven a taxi, delivered newspapers and yes, written.
Bev has been working close to forty years, and her list of employment opportunities is equally varied and interesting. I went to college. She did not. We are both single parents. We both understand which side of life’s bread is buttered. There are days we haven’t had a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out, and there have been days when we were flush with cash.
Remembering My Dad
It was my dad’s big dream that I go to college and become the first in our family to do so.
And so I did.
I have three degrees, in Marketing, in Economics and in Education.
I’ve had six-figure incomes.
I’ve been homeless
With those three degrees I’ve owned fine cars and I’ve hitched rides to a homeless shelter.
So when I hear that question, what do you want to be when you grow up, I laugh.
As does Bev.
And my answer to anyone who asks is this…….
From the Movie Meatballs
I don’t know how many of you saw that old Bill Murray movie, but in Meatballs, Murray was a camp counselor. In one scene he is coaching this miserable, ragtag group of kids in a basketball game against some rich kids, and they are getting the stuffing kicked out of them. So Murray has this pep talk with his kids, and he has them chanting “IT JUST DOESN’T MATTER, IT JUST DOESN’T MATTER.”
I still laugh when I think of that scene, and I always think of it when this subject comes up in conversation.
It Just Doesn’t Matter!
As I said earlier, today, Bev and I are in love with life. We are ecstatic. We are rolling in clover. We are….well, you get the point.
And our happiness has nothing to do with what we do for a living.
I am happier today working on our urban farm than I was driving a Porsche to my business back in the 70s. I am happier today with a used washer and dryer than I was thirty years ago flying to Mazatlan for vacation.
IT JUST DOESN’T MATTER!
And do you know why?
Because happiness is an inside job!
It makes no difference today what I do for a living.
It makes no difference what Bev does for a job.
And, if our kids learn this lesson, it will make no difference what they do for a living in twenty years.
IT JUST DOESN’T MATTER!
Because happiness is an inside job!
The Greatest Lesson My Dad Taught Me
I understand where my dad was coming from. He was a child of the Great Depression. He worked hard all his life and barely scraped by more often than not, so he was determined that his only son would have it better than he had it…thus the insistence on going to college and his firm belief that the road to success went right through that college education.
But he failed to realize a much more important lesson that he taught to me daily…..
He failed to realize that daily he modeled love for his son, and it was that modeling that led me, eventually, to the realization that love is the most important thing in the world.
Not education, not money, not a three-car garage, not any of that extrinsic b.s.
If Bev and I have taught our children that lesson, then honest to God, their occupational choice…
JUST DOESN’T MATTER!
2015 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)