“So…What are you going to be when you grow up?” The question caught me by surprise tonight. The Lovely Lady and I were sitting and relaxing after the usual tiring activities which go into making Sunday less of a day of rest than the Good Lord intended it. I’m still trying to decide if I know the answer to her question, inspired by a television commercial. One would think that after thirty some-odd years of doing a thing, you would realize that this is what you are going to be. I still think it might be wise to keep my options open.
Not that I haven’t loved what I have done for the last few decades. I can’t think of anything I would rather have worked at, of a better legacy to leave than one that influences folks to learn and enjoy music of all varieties. The feeling of having a customer come into the store and remind me of “way back when” is hard to beat. It happened again just a couple of days ago, as a familiar face came back through the door and the name popped into my brain at the sight of his features. Roger was surprised when I called him by name (although he also called me by mine) upon seeing him for the first time in twenty years, and we spoke for awhile of things which were familiar in that era, but which are now lost in the blurry haze of progress and technology. Eight track tapes, 45 RPM records, and Disco music topped the list. Come to think of it, none of those would be worth bringing back anyway, especially the last item, so it may be a good thing we’ve moved on.
I have enjoyed immensely, the experiences which I’ve lived through and the people who’ve gone through them with me, but as the Lovely Lady posed the question this evening, just for a moment I was tempted to explore the possibilities. I’ve not ever been much of a “rolling stone”, having lived at only three addresses over the last 34 years (all within a mile of each other), so maybe a change is in order. Truck driver? Oil rig roughneck? Maybe a deep sea diver? Hmmm…. No, as I consider each of those, I’m reminded of the solitude, the isolation which each brings. I don’t do well without other people to be with and with whom to talk. Maybe, I could be a teacher! That would be a job which has a positive influence on kids or even adults. Nope…I am reminded of the short stint I spent teaching guitar students many years ago. What a disaster, both for student and teacher! “What? I told you the fingering for that chord last week! I’m not going to go through that again. How could you not remember it after only a week?” No, teaching wouldn’t be a good career path at this point in time.
My mind whirls through the possibilities…brain surgeon, astronaut, preacher, Secretary-of-State, sanitary engineer (garbage collector?)…the list plays on through my brain. With each one comes a comparison to the person my past has actually made me into. I find, the longer I consider the options, that I know the perfect job, the dream position I want to hold. I would, first of all, like to be a husband, and a father, and a grandfather. I would also like to work in a place where I could help people to do something I believe is really important; to facilitate a path of learning and growth. No, I don’t want to teach, since that is a frustrating process for me, but I do want the people I serve to grow, and become more skilled, with the products I offer. I’d like to offer products which span generations, not ones that are trendy and faddish. I’ll be happy to find a profession which would allow me the freedom to spend time with people, talking and listening, maybe learning a little in the process myself. I’m willing to get my hands dirty (once in awhile); willing to work a few more hours than the customary forty a week. I wonder if that job exists? Oh, I love music, too! It would be nice if that could fit in somehow.
Her question came out of the blue tonight. It wasn’t a serious one. Sometimes, though, you just have to stop and consider, “What if…?” I’m really not done growing up yet. And, I don’t want to mindlessly wander the path I’m on if changes need to be made. Socrates said, many centuries ago, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Mind you, I know many people who never actually do anything because they are constantly examining and re-examining their choices, but I’m willing just once in awhile to stop and consider the alternatives. That said, all the qualifications I mentioned above point me to one thing I should be doing right now. Just what I am doing. And, how great is that? I get to go to work tomorrow, knowing that I’ll be doing something which is fulfilling and worthwhile. At least at this point in my “grown-up” life, I’m where I need to be.
So, do I have a point to make for you readers? I’m not sure. All I really know is that the Lord has led me to do the thing which makes sense for who I am. I’m pretty sure He has a path for you to walk also. It might just be right there in front of you. Too simplistic? I’ve been accused of that before. I won’t argue. It is how the path was laid out for me. So far.
Next week, who can tell? Perhaps the path will lead elsewhere. Don’t worry. I’ll let you know before I leave to be a jungle pilot in South America.
“To be is to do.” (Socrates)
“To do is to be.” (Sartre)
“Do be do be do.” (Sinatra)