Tuesday, September 3, 2019

When I Grow Up

We change so much as life goes on.  Something that every relative asks every child is "what do you want to be when you grow up?".  We immediately think about what profession we want to have...be it a doctor, lawyer, soldier, or whatever.  Before we really understand what life is about we are trying to figure out our career for the next 30 years.  Its no wonder that most people I know who went to college are not actually doing what they went to college for.  A 17-year-old can barely get out of bed before 2pm but we think they will miraculously make the right career choice.

Perhaps we are asking the wrong question.  Maybe the right question is...WHO do you want to be when you grow up?  What kind of a person, friend, parent, citizen do you want to be?  Its a question we should never stop asking ourselves.  

When I was about 5 I said I wanted to be a garbage man (true story).  When I waited for the school bus in the morning a garbage truck came by and the man would wave to me and smile.  He seemed happy enough and it was really one of the few interactions I was exposed to at the time.  At about age 10 I wanted to play first base for the Phillies.  At about age 13 I wanted to be a professional bowler.  Through my twenties I tried many different things but knew there was a better fit for me out there.  In my 30's and 40's I wanted to be a Safety Manager.  At nearly 50 I find myself still wondering what the next decade will bring.

But now I have enough time behind me to look back.  The first question in my mind is not whether I would have made a great garbage man, or whether the Phillies would have won more rings had I played for them.  I don't wonder how many records I might have set on the PBA tour, and I don't even think about the safety record of those I have worked for.  

I think about the kind of dad I have been.  I hope that when everything is said and done that I have loved my children the best way I knew how.  Have I been a good friend to others?  Have I been a good spouse and been willing to become better as time marches on?  Have I left a positive impact somewhere on this earth?  Have I been a good neighbor?  And have I been true to myself?  Those are the questions that I think about now.

It doesn't matter WHAT we are, it matters WHO we are.  If we are compassionate, loyal, and loving to those around us, we have lived a good life.  

When I look at pictures of my wife and children, I wonder what they see when they look back at me.  I want for Tyler to see love, courage, and devotion.  I want Samantha to see love, laughter, and protection.  I want Robin to see love, compassion, and joy.  These are the things I want to be when I grow up.  For those are the things that truly last forever.

Be well and God bless.    Tom

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