I received the most wonderful text from my wife last week. She is traveling overseas and her text to me was that it “felt right” for her to be where she was. It may seem strange that “feeling right” about being away from home is a good thing. But it is. In this case it is, at least. In fact… it’s awesome.
I’ll tell you why.
My wife is a physical therapist and a thumpin’ good one. She’s good at a LOT of different aspects of her job. But what she loves most is hands-on sports therapy.
And that’s what she’s doing right now.
She’s the physical therapist for the US Nordic Ski Team and is traveling with them on the World Cup circuit. Her job right now is to keep the team competitive and healthy during the run-up to Sochi and the Winter Olympics.
When she sent that text, she was standing at the finish line in Oberhof. The team was absolutely killing it. The text read, “I’m in heaven here, feels right to be here.”
It is an amazing feeling to help your spouse and best friend find that one thing they love to do more than anything else. To help them chase that one thing. And then to engineer life such that it is attainable.
It’s a damn good feeling.
It’s been a long road. Two years apart for the masters degree. The risk and expense of owning a company. The clouded indecision of selling one. All-nighters and long weekends away from the family for the doctorate degree. It all adds up.
“Feels right to be here,” is the payoff for all of that effort. It’s worth it.
Somewhat selfishly, I take a fair bit of personal pride from having helped make this happen for her. And it’s also got me thinking.
So many of our decisions in life are based on the expectations of others. I mean, we tell our kids that they can be whatever they want to be when they grow up, right? At least we tell them this here in the U.S. And it’s probably true. Well… just so long as whatever they want to be includes an education financed on debt, mortgages, multiple car payments, insurance out the wazoo, and dual 8am–5pm incomes that provide both health and retirement plans. Sure. They can be whatever they want to be.
I think a much more heartening message is to let your kids see you do the things you love. And I’m not talking about things that are simply fun. I mean things that are truly and deeply rewarding. I believe that actively pursuing the things you find fulfilling will keep you happy and engaged around the home. They make you a better person to be and to be around.
Let your kids see the effort and dedication that it takes to accomplish meaningful work. Let them see the sacrifices that need to be made. And let them see that those things are worth it.
Hell. Let everyone see.
Sure… it might not be “proper” to forego the stereotypical American life. It might not be common to pass on the big salary or public sector benefits. Proper is fine. Common is safe. But when Zuzi comes home and I ask her how her day was, I don’t want her to sigh having slogged through one more weekend-obstructing day. But that’s the script, right? That’s what we’re supposed to do.
I’d much rather see her smile and hear her say that what she is doing feels right. How could you not want that for your spouse? Or for yourself for that matter?
And I most certainly want it for my wife and kids.