August 22, 2019

My Life Goals, Then and Now

“I don’t often get a question that stops me in my tracks. But on a recent vacation, my daughter and I had the rare opportunity to sit down and talk in a relaxed setting. We’re at very different stages in our lives. She is 21, going into her senior year of college with the whole world in front of her. I’m 68—most of my friends are retiring.

She turned to me at dinner and asked if I had met the goals I set for myself when I was her age. What an interesting question, I thought. First I tried to remember what I thought I even wanted nearly half a century ago and then summon the honesty to measure some sort of success ratio.

The first part took some doing. I do remember seeing everything in those days through a professional lens. What kind of job would I have? How much money would I make? Might I even become “famous”? (I’m not at all sure how I defined fame back then.)

After sleeping on it, I told her the next morning that I was surprised to find what I consider my greatest accomplishments today are not even remotely close to what I might have imagined back then.

None of my professional achievements are anywhere near the top of the list, and that shocked me.”

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