As I write this, I’m sitting on a sofa in our apartment in Taipei, listening to the rain coming down in giant buckets and (sort of) thinking about “life.” I do this once in a while…mostly when I’m more-or-less caught up on “must-do” stuff and, sometimes, when I’m on vacation and it’s raining.
I’ve had a lot going on in the past several months, mostly good stuff, some not-so-good. The end result has been that I’ve had to give my own existence a lot of thought…what have I contributed to the world in general that actually matters? What could, or should, I do differently? And does anyone besides me even care?
“Retirement” and our concurrent move to Riverview, Florida, has been, for the most part, fairly smooth going. (I put the quotation marks around “retirement” because, as some of you know and the rest of you now know, I hit the ground running. Immediately got involved with the Tampa Bay Chapter, PRSA; got really involved in PR ethics activities both with the PR chapter and with the University of Tampa (UT) Sykes College of Business “Center for Ethics.” I’m also chairing the Tampa Bay Chapter’s PRSSA/Young Professionals Committee. Oh, yeah…and I’m teaching part-time at UT.
This past weekend, though, I saw/read/commented on a gazillion Facebook posts by my friends/former students from Curry College. A lot of them were celebrating their undergraduate graduation; others were reveling in completion of graduate studies. All were kind of in a dazed “Wow! What just happened and what’s next?” state.
All were/are excited, though, about what lies ahead…and a bit apprehensive. And I totally understand how they feel. It’s a scary feeling realizing that, in the eyes of the “real world,” you’re now “growed up.” And you are now expected to make mature, life-serious decisions about things you’ve never even thought about before.
That’s what makes it so exciting, though, in my opinion. I can’t begin to imagine what it would be like to be afraid to make a move until someone else tells me what to do. Yes, I’m married…47 years…and a lot of things that I do are based on the input of Margaret, my wife. But that’s what being married is all about…doing things that you both want to do. Yeah…there are those times when one of us “gets his or her way,” but those are the rarities. Easily 98 percent of the things we do are mutual agreements.
Going back to my now-graduated student-friends, this is the advice I pass on. “Do what you think is the right thing to do. If that decision turns out not to be the best choice, learn from the experience. You’re going to trip and fall once in a while. Big deal. Get up. Brush yourself off. Keep on going. There’s always tomorrow.”
“And many a broken heart is here and many a broken head;
By the living God, we’ll try the game again!”
– John Masefield, “Tomorrow”