I just got a call from my mother that reminds me I am not the mature 45 year old that most of the people I graduated high school with have turned out to be.
What I mean to say is, I haven't done my all to settle into one career path with an eye on retirement and trying to improve my golf score as a means by which to climb the corporate ladder and assure a hefty paycheck and status maintaining house in the suburbs. I used to think about that quite often and it scared the shit out of me because as a single dad, my son was looking up to me to provide for him and send him to a good school so he could grow up to do the same thing when he became a dad, but it was not a life I wanted to lead nor was it what I want my son to become.
My fear of the corporate climb comes down to the possibility of becoming so focused as to ignore the calendar pages turning until one day that calendar says, "retirement party," on one of the days and it turns out it is my retirement. I want a life that sounds more cliche than attainable. I want to be able to say I made a difference and I don't see that as achievable if I have a title like Regional Manager in my name.
Please don't misunderstand my own dreams and desires as a negative pallor cast upon corporations and the free market economy. This is not a blog about occupying anything, rather it is about crafting a personal reality that is fulfilling and meaningful. I like corporations. They provide jobs, goods, and services which make my like better. They advance medical research and technical achievements. I won't go so far as to say greed is good, but still, it is a great motivator.
I have a few friends from high school who have some cool jobs. One is in a cover band. Another makes indie horror films. I want to be the one who becomes an author. And I may be pretty close to that point where writer meets a dollar sign and they fall in love and make an author. I have a couple of children's picture book manuscripts being considered by a publisher in the UK (darn London Book Fair causing delays for me) and a YA novel I wrote is in the second round of judging in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel contest. These are rewarding accomplishments and I am grateful for all who helped me on the way, especially my beautiful wife Paige.
There is more to me than just writing down stuff I imagine happens to people I imagine exist. I also have political aspirations. I am a candidate for an open position on my County Board. The primary election is in a few days and right now early voting is drawing to a close. I am one of six candidates competing for four open positions on the November general election ballot. In my race voters will choose the four people they want to see move forward. This is why my mother called and when I heard what she had to say, I loved her even more.
She asked me if she had to choose four candidates or if she could just vote for me and leave the other choices blank. I responded that it was an acceptable was to cast her ballot and indeed my wife Paige had done that exact thing when she voted early. My mother was glad to hear that because her position was that if she voted for other candidates as well, she might be the one to cast the vote for one of my opponents that would give them more votes than I would get.
Wow! I was taken aback. How smart are my mother and my wife? Pretty smart, right? So I am smiling thinking that I might actually become an elected official with the honor of helping to craft a society which will hopefully benefit my kids someday. Cool.... but wait. What if this point in my life is the existential cross roads faced by so many literary characters? March 20 is not only the Illinois primary election day, it is also the day the next round of the ABNA finalists is announced!
This could be like in Field of Dreams where Moonlight Graham gives up his baseball dream to become a doctor and Kevin Costner gives him one shot at playing in the biggs and in the end he chooses to spend eternity as a doctor with James Earl Jones walking into the corn behind him saying, "Baseball," in that incredibly deep voice of his. Will March 20 decide my destiny? Will I go on to become an author or a politician?
Gonna go take a nap now - this is too heavy.