After months of restless nights, 40-year-old Simon made a desperate call to his father.
Simon: Dad, I need to talk to you about something important. Can I stop by after work today? I’m not in any kind of trouble, but I could really use your advice.
Dad: Sure Simon, it’s always great seeing you. Whatever it is, I’m sure we can find a solution to it.
Simon: Thanks Dad, I feel much better already. See you in a few hours.
As the day unfolded, Simon kept pondering over how he would have this important conversation with his dad. It wasn’t that he was in any kind of trouble. Infact, he was a successful architect who had gained global recognition for his futuristic and eco-friendly building designs. His ingenuity, attention to detail, hard work and reputation had earned him countless contracts. Needless to say, he was a very wealthy man. Simon was happily married to his college sweetheart with whom he had two children; Kelly and Amaan. Unbeknownst to his wife Nancy, he had been re-examining his life lately and had come to the realization that it was time for him to pursue his passion of being a Lawyer. While in high school, he had an undeniable passion for all things Law. An eloquent speaker, Simon exceled in school debates and was unanimously voted the President of the Debate club. He was adept at resolving conflict and helping everyone.
One summer session, he was fortunate to find part-time employment as an administrative assistant with a prestigious law firm. Although he never made it to the court house while at the firm, he felt at peace in their midst and was ever so determined to make it to law school. In his high school yearbook, he was voted “the 1 most likely to succeed”. By all accounts, he had succeeded; what more could he possibly wish for? Lately though, there was this “itch in his heart” that he couldn’t let go. He had realized that it was time to pursue his real passion. But how could he break the news to his wife and dad? How about his business partners and all the contracts he had won? What will become of it? What if he did not succeed as an attorney?
Simon became an architect because his dad wanted him to. Being the “good boy” that he was, and not wanting to disappoint his father, he succumbed to the request. Afterall, Simon had the skill and mind to be an architect. And it came to pass that a few months after graduating from college, he landed his first employment in a reputable firm and did not look back. He won many accolades for his designs and rose quickly through the ranks. Within 7 years, he had his own architectural firm. It sure was great and rewarding to be “Simon the Architect”, that had been his identity for the past 15 years; and now, he had to give it up? Would he pursue his decision, or would he renege?
At exactly 5:30pm, Simon pulled in the driveway of his father’s house.
Dad: Come on in son, I’ve been waiting anxiously for you all day.
Simon: I couldn’t wait to get here either. I’ve got lots on my mind
Dad: Whatever it is son, we can get through it
Simon: Remember when I wanted to be an attorney during my high school years?
Dad: Yes, I do
Simon: Well, I don’t know how to say this but lately, I’ve been thinking about pursuing that dream
Dad: Did anything go wrong at work? Are you in some kind of trouble? Aren’t you happy and successful
Simon: Everything is great at work and yes, I am happy and successful, but I could be happier
Dad: So how can I help?
Simon: I don’t want to disappoint you dad, I know you are proud of my work but it’s time for me to pursue other ambitions.
Dad: Have you considered the time and sacrifice needed to become an attorney? You would be at least 44years when you are done with law school. Have you considered all that?
Simon: Yes, dad, I have, and I am content with the process. I just needed someone to talk to.
Dad: Well, I don’t know what to say, I had no idea this is what you wanted to discuss with me when you called, but I’m proud of you Simon, I will always be. I wish your mother were alive to witness how her little boy has grown to be such a fine young man. You are 40 years old and its okay to grant yourself permission to explore your truest and deepest calling. I’m surprised this is what you desire to do now but I’m impressed that you have mustered the courage to pursue your high school dream.
Simon: Thank you dad. I feel much better now
Dad: Don’t worry about what others will make of your decision or how all the pieces of the puzzle will fit, just take it one day at a time and you will be alright. Lots of people (including myself) will question your decision but don’t let that discourage.
Simon: Alright dad. Thanks again for your support. I’m hungry now, what’s up for grabs?
Dad: I guess some things never change. You will always love food (lol).
A lot of people go through life never mustering the courage to make the necessary amendments. Sometimes, we invest so much time and energy into a particular career or project to the extent that we are unwilling to pursue anything else. We feel we are too old, too tired or drained to make changes. We let the days and years pass by and we fantasize about how life would be if only we had the courage to “move”. Truth is, it’s never too late to do the right thing. Life comes in stages and sometimes, what felt right in your 20’s or 30’s may no longer be relevant in your 40’s and beyond.
Life may require you to make a minor adjustment or possibly, pursue something completely different from what you are already comfortable with. Don’t erroneously assume that change is only necessary when there is a problem. In all you do, don’t be afraid to begin to take little steps toward that needed change. You may not have many people cheering you on but that’s okay, because sometimes the path to real greatness can be very lonely.