Are you where you thought you would be at this point in your life? Did you make a plan and see it through to reality? Did you always know how your life was going to play out or are you letting fate take care of the details?
I have always been jealous of people who know from a young age what and who they were meant to be when they grew up. For some, there wasn’t even a question, they were given a gift, a natural skill that manifested itself early and only needed to be honed to a master’s perfection. A passion so strong that it seemed that God was merely using their body as the vehicle to present this tribute to the world.
To have that kind of certainty is a trait that eluded me.
Oh I have a passion, but it is broad and very transferable to many things. My passion is being of service to others. Nothing Jazzes me more than making someone’s day by helping them with a problem.
I have spent most of my work career in the service and retail industries, selling the public consumer goods and solving their marketing needs. I have taught others practical skills, and even counselled people through personal problems. All my jobs have given me the opportunity to create a human connection, that even if for only a few minutes, left another person better off for having interacted with me. That has always been my goal.
It may be that our interplay resulted in them achieving a more comfortable home, or a new outfit that made them look and feel great or it may have been as simple as a smile and a little conversation that saw them leaving my place of business a little lighter than when they came in. Knowing that I have made even a small impact is the zap I need to feed my passion.
It took me a long time to realize that service to others was my gift because I always thought that one needed a career title to define who they were and what was their contribution to humanity. I figured that I just wasn’t disciplined enough to, first decide on a career, and second, buckle down and commit to that one choice for the rest of my adult working life.
Yet it wasn’t a commitment issue, I have been married for over 28 years, lived in the same house for 26 years, have stay connected to childhood friends, I am a reliable, steady human being. Was I just fickle in this one area of my life? Every time I made the conscience decision that I was going to commit to this next job, I would get bored within a few years or so and feel the need to move on.
Until finally I got it, life is a series of adventures meant to be experienced, and for me, my job is to experience lots of different careers using my passion of service to others. I was looking at it the wrong way. I had made a commitment, it was to my passion of service to others, it didn’t matter how I achieved it, only that I did.
I have learned over the years that job security is a fantasy, the market ebbs and flows and businesses, even decades old ones fail, so I learned very early not to be afraid of having to find another position. One might argue that I have lost out on maybe having a good pension plan or earning higher wages, but what I have found is that the more I make, the more I spend on stuff I don’t really need which means that I become a slave to a paycheck. I might not live in a fancy house or drive a new car, those are just things that require more money to buy, but by making purposeful choices in my day to day life I have managed to experience and enjoy most everything that I’ve wanted to so far. That’s good enough for me.
So in answer to the questions that I started with; No I didn’t have a plan for my life. No I never knew how my life was going to play out and I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up and probably never will. I do know that the gifts, passions and skills that the universe has graced me with have lead me to a rich life full of creativity, compassion, human connection and a rainbow of memorable experiences and adventures and that is a way better place to be, at this point in my life, than I could have ever planned for myself when I first started out.