Who or what I am is the result of my decisions in life. Well, mostly, but I’ll save that until later(or another post). From a strictly materialistic viewpoint, all my choices have been(mostly) good ones. Dumb luck may have played a role in this but I’ve never depended on it. Preparation for the long haul was always the goal. I’ve come to realize certain desirable necessities in the here-and-now were either forgotten or missed in the process of securing the future.
My father died from cancer at age 60 when I was 28. This had some immediate impact in that it caused me to wake-up and pursue some previously long-held dreams. The deeper impact was admitted many years later during a discussion with a financial advisor I’d known since my mid 20’s. Never one to talk about my specific long term(material) wishes for retirement, one day we got around to discussing my father. It was then the advisor understood and challenged me on my belief that I never expected to live beyond age 60, regardless of my(still good at this point) health history.
When I compare myself to my father(apart from what he did/saw in World War 2 plus as a parent) I’ve exceeded his life experiences in most areas, exactly as he(+mom) wished and worked so that I could achieve. First the finances- unlike my parents I’ve never had to live on a budget nor paid for anything except vehicles over time. (mom owned her first new car only after dad died) Both parents never went beyond high school but they drilled into me that education was everything and the sole key to success. Heads down focus on obtaining an engineering degree(which admittedly has served me well on my resume-as is still the case in the business world), in hindsight now causes me to wish I had taken the time to explore the “humanities” in some depth.
Unlike many kids today, all the way thru high school I didn’t have a clue nor was engaged by counselors at any time about possible areas of study or just to discuss my future.(my parents were no exception-never having been themselves they didn’t understand the decisions required for higher education- they just wanted me to attend) It was only after I learned that nearby St. Johns River Junior College would award me a scholarship based on academic performance that I got around to choosing something to study.(luck or serendipity?) Based on nothing more than my infatuation with electronics, I decided to give that a try. Four years later, one week after receiving my bachelor’s degree diploma from Florida Technological University (now known as UCF), after attending just one job interview, I was employed in the telecommunication industry.(more luck) The first 19 years were in “data” communications, the last 9 have been in telephony(voice systems) but over time they have become intertwined.
I’ve posted criticisms and rants on LJ detailing my increasing frustration and disappointment with certain aspects of the industry that overall has allowed me to enjoy a very comfortable life. To summarize – telecommunication used to be about the transfer of information (data, voice, etc.) from one point(person) to another. Somewhere along the way it became more focused on “lifestyle” where the end user’s image was more important than the delivered content. Also, the ability to instantly reach anyone anywhere has worked to lessen our need to interact or depend on whoever we might encounter in time of need. Face-to-face, interpersonal relationships and the need to have them have suffered. I believe this has weakened whatever bonds hold us together as a society.
(yes, I get the irony of posting this on LJ knowing what I just typed)
I am not a natural or born leader. I could cite many examples starting in my youth but just know there have been numerous instances where I chose(or was elected) to lead, said “let’s go” and after a while looked around to find no one was following. I’m not always self motivated unless I can see an end result of my actions. I do enjoy observing and learning from others if they are truly sharing their knowledge and not forcing it on me.
I remember a conversation with a co-worker over two decades ago about charity in which I freely admitted performing charitable acts because it made “me” feel good. His understanding and total lack of condemnation helped me realize and accept just how self centered I was. After achieving a certain degree of comfort and security in life I find myself focusing increasingly inward. Primarily feeding my mind with many things I’d missed (literature, arts, etc.) and moving more into introspection or self examination. Over time I’ve come to believe that contributing to the overall well being of society, the environment, would be a more (I hate to use this word) spiritually rewarding experience versus the stress I feel doing whatever it is now that (sometimes) occupies my time. I hold an ‘absurdist’ view in that I don’t think life or my life has a higher purpose or meaning. It’s the here and now that matters.
I feel the need to seek out others for guidance, advice, direction and to work thru possible internal conflicts.