While social media has made it incredibly easy to indulge in nostalgia and look up people from the past, this is not an article about reconnecting on Facebook. Likewise, it isn’t about the simple pleasures of life such as jumping into a lake or drinking cool lemonade in a wicker rocking chair on the screened-in porch. Rather, this blog is to challenge you to reconnect with the things that bring you happiness.
But What About
Many years ago, a brilliant child psychologist decided he’d had enough of psychology. The man had written hundreds of scientific papers and had helped countless families through their trials and tribulations.
One fine day, he announced to his wife that he was going to retire from the profession to pursue a practice in financial planning and investing. His reasoning for the career change was that as he had been so successful at working with people, and since he had treated so many children from families where money was a key issue, he would combine the two elements and exploit the situation.
His wife intently listened for a while and then asked, “Jim, what about your singing?”
He snapped that he would never get back on a stage again; that part of his life was over and done!
Time for a Real Job
Before Jim had earned his doctorate in psychology, his passion had been singing. In fact, in high school, he was a vocalist in a jazz band and in college his minor was voice. In college, he met a fellow singer by the name of Bob, and after graduation, they teamed up to form a band in which they were the lead singers. Though they started to achieve local success in the Northern Florida area, Jim convinced himself that singing in a band was a tough road to travel, and Bob wanted other things for his life. Jim became a psychologist and Bob would eventually become a successful tax lawyer in Miami.
The difference between the two at the time of the amicable break-up was that Jim really loved music, and Bob thought it was just a nice diversion on the way to something else. Passion is like that. Passion is as intangible as it is beautiful.
The years would pass, and Jim became just as bored with financial planning as he had with psychology. He didn’t realize his financial planning clients would call him at all hours of the day whenever the stock market had a cough or a hiccup! He thought their concerns were silly, and he got tired of the numbers. His wife saw his boredom as well—and the passion that was missing inside of him.
She gave up reminding him of his singing and, sadly, she eventually gave up on Jim. Then, as it “all went away,” his financial planning clients also began to sense his lack of interest. His commissions dipped and then virtually stopped. Aside from a small pension and a bit of social security, he had no other income.
How I Met Jim
I did not meet Jim when he was a singer, nor did he treat any children I knew, nor did he ever plan my finances. I met him one day when he was sitting on his usual stuffed chair at a local coffee shop. In fact, he sits there most every day, much to the consternation (but compassion) of the store manager.
Jim is a nice person, and he is always careful to dress in business attire, bowtie included, and he calls the coffee shop his office. He even occasionally convinces someone to talk to him about financial planning. His voice is tired and weak.
Occasionally, Jim will break out in a soft song to entertain the folks who know him well, and it is obvious that he once had a wonderful, rich baritone voice, but the train has long since left the station. I won’t say that Jim is necessarily lonely, for there are many people who talk to him, but the interactions are generally brief. Yes, Jim’s predictable routine can sometimes break my heart. For that reason, I stop by “his office” on Saturday mornings for a cup of Joe when I’m not traveling.
The Joy of Reconnecting
I am, of course, passionate about my family. I am zealous about my friends and associates. I absolutely love what I do and cannot imagine doing anything else. In addition to my speaking life, I have several hobbies and interests. I live life large by actively participating in it, and all that it has to offer always fascinates me.
My plea, my request of you, is to uncover the passions within you. No, I am not suggesting you quit your job today and then to go out and build sand castles on the beach! I am inviting you to connect or reconnect with the things that bring you happiness and joy.
Life is truly striking for those who foster and connect with the desires of their heart. Whether it be gardening, taking up the saxophone at 65 or helping a needy family, be passionate. One thing is for certain: unless your passion is upholstery, don’t spend the rest of your life watching the world from a stuffed chair!