Tuesday, 10 December 2013

I'm Going To Miss The Do-Over

A couple of people have asked me lately what I felt was the greatest accomplishment of my life, or what I was most proud of in my life. I have a really tough time with this kind of question. I don't think I've done anything terribly spectacular in my life. I don't see great accomplishments or elements of my life where I deserve to be proud. When I look back on my life, I see a man doing the right things in the best way he could.

This does not mean, not by any of the wildest stretches of any imagination, that I am not proud of my children or that I do not see them as wonderful. The truth is, however, that my children are making themselves and have been ever since inception. While I have had a hand in forming them, it has been a small hand. So many other things in their lives have formed them and I cannot even begin to take credit for their successes, nor take blame for their failures. If I am proud of them, it is not through anything I have done other than to give them a belief that they can do whatever they want.

My daily life has been essentially that of a working man. I've done my job, fulfilled my responsibilities, worked my work, paid my bills, raised my children. It's not that my life was a drudgery; it's been a wonderful and wonder-filled life. I've traveled, mostly on business and at the behest of others, yet still enough on my own, within my own desires to explore. Simply travelling isn't really enough to make me proud of my life. I've had wonderful times with my children and I hope they will with theirs, yet this does not make me particularly different or amazing. I'm just a normal guy with a normal family and a normal life.

Nor has my career been one of great accomplishment. My career, while interesting and diverse, has not really changed much in the global sense. I have not been spectacular in my work. For sure I am good at what I do and have been good at many things. But writing training manuals or managing projects or running a data centre or selling securities; these are not things that change the world. It was my job and I did it as best I could for as long as I could. Then, one day, I couldn't do it anymore.

Basically I don't think I am an "accomplishment" collector, nor am I a man particularly possessed of pride. But if you ask me to look back on my life and share the fondest memories, tell of those moments that hold themselves in the forefront of my hindsight, talk about the things that have brought me the most pleasure, this I can do in a heartbeat. I loved being a Dad. That was, and still is, the highlight of my life.

If I regret anything about my impending death, it is that I will not have the time I wanted to be a grandfather. I will not get the do-over that only your children's children can give to. I will miss that gift. Being a Dad was probably the closest I will ever come to holding a true and positive image of myself. I may not have been the best Dad on earth, but I loved the job and would sign up for it all over again in a heartbeat. Fatherhood; this is my greatest accomplishment. This is the thing I am proud of.

1 comment:

  1. Proud Richard I am proud of you and all my sons. Why? Because you are all good men. what more can a mother ask.
    love you