What are you going to do with your life?

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In the past couple of months, I’ve had a chance to think about what I want to do with my life. Remember when you were a kid? Maybe just leaving grade school or high school. And your mom or dad asked you, “What are you going to do with your life?” At that time, your answer was supposed to be cast in stone. “I’m going to be a doctor.” or “I’m going to be an astronaut.” And the inevitable question back from Mom or Dad, “Are you sure?” And, of course, you were dead sure!

Then life took over. Instead of an astronaut, you became a piano tuner. And then a nurse. Instead of settling in your Canadian home town, you settled in the United States. I can still hear my Uncle Henry cussing out those “damned yanks”. Your childhood sweetheart somehow got lost in the sands of time, and instead you married that wonderful girl you met while you out “discovering yourself”. You got a cat, then another cat. Then a dog and then another dog. You had kids. Hey, where did they come from? And here you are. Just about ready to start thinking about retiring–but not quite. That last job–the one everyone told you was perfect for you, but wasn’t. What do you do now?

Well, I’ve always been sort of a poor man’s philosopher I guess. I’d like to thing I’ve acquired just a few smarts since I told mom and dad that I wanted to be an astronaut. My great brainwave, to become a nurse, after 10 years in the music business? I think the decision to pursue nursing, on the whole, was an okay one. It enabled me become part of a family, to buy a home, to save some for retirement. I sure didn’t get rich and famous the way I would have if I really did become an astronaut! But being a nurse, helping others as my life’s work, did keep me happy for a little over two decades.

What now? What am I going to do with my life? I think I can still make a contribution. I think perhaps some of the skills and ways of thinking that I learned working as nurse can still benefit. That last job? Not at great decision, but it kept me gainfully employed, and got us a couple more years towards our retirement goals.

I’ve thought about “going back”. Going back to tuning pianos, going back to working the sorts of nursing jobs I did what I was starting out that profession. I’ve thought of doing something else entirely! A couple of years ago, I thought I’d “try real estate”. Do you have any idea how many people “try real estate”? It was a great experience when I was younger, but I really don’t think the older and wiser me appreciates all the hard work it takes–and it takes hard work–to be a great agent. Besides, under my wife Jan’s tutelage, we’ve managed to do okay in real estate–not selling it, but owning it!

What am I going to do now? I often go back to think on some of the wise sayings of my mom, and her mom. Very often, left with an impossible decision or facing the opportunity to make a new plan–whatever that was going to turn out to be–my mom (or my grandma) would say, “Let’s just wait and see.”

Now, all the personal success gurus and productivity experts I’ve read and listened to would say that “Let’s just wait and see” is a poor answer, a copout, the answer of someone that lacks conviction and courage!

Again, I think about my mom (and my grandma). Certainly neither one of them lacked conviction or courage. They were the last of a people who had stepped out in faith, founded a nation, and built a way of life for their families–against all odds. So, I say–if “Let’s just wait and see” worked for them, it can sure work for me.

What are you going to do with your life? Just wait and see!