Recently I had a conversation with my dad. He has relaxed more as he has gotten older. He always wears a worn out University of Florida Gators hat. He and my stepmom just bought a house in Las Vegas to move to when he retires. He loves playing three card poker. We gave him the first generation iPhone and he can take a photo with it. He loves going to Costco to eat free samples and won’t hesitate to go for seconds.
However, he is very old fashioned. Growing up for us it was always study hard, make good grades , go to a good college (Ivy league would have been nice). Being a doctor was acceptable (that didn’t happen either).
I know my dad is from the older generation so his idea of life is straightforward. School, graduate, job, marry, family, continue working, then retire. That’s how he’s lived his life so far and how he expects ours.
He’s worked hard so we can have a better life. I truly appreciate that. He’s 69 and still working six days a week. He told me he doesn’t want to fully retire cause he’d be bored. He’d just like to not work as much.
Back in time
My parents have run restaurants ever since I’ve been walking. I’m 33 now. While my parents were working, my brother, sister and I would hang out in a little room with a television if we weren’t washing dishes or helping out.
They eventually sold the first restaurant. My dad went on to open an import business for a few years while my mom was a waitress in a chinese restaurant. Then 25 years ago my dad closed the business and they opened another chinese restaurant which is still open today.
In 1995 they both opened a Japanese restaurant which my mom now owns. (They divorced shortly after it opened.)
So it’s been my mom at the Japanese restaurant, where I work, and my dad at the Chinese restaurant. (If you ever come to Jacksonville, I can recommended a couple good restaurants).
Back to my talk with my dad…
That day I told my dad I don’t want to take over the Japanese restaurant. I’ve told him a little before. He didn’t agree with me (of course). He said I could work hard for ten years, make money and be done.
I told him I know I can make a lot of money if I took over the restaurant. More money than I could spend probably. However, it’s not for me.
I said money isn’t worth the stress of employees, payroll taxes, health inspectors, customers suing for slipping, and customers who complain they’ll never come back but do and more. I could feel my stress level rise just talking about it.
He understands it’s stressful but that’s part of the business.
I told him that’s how I feel. I don’t like it even now. There’s no way I’ll like it if I have more responsibility no matter how much I can make.
Then my dad asked me what I wanted to do. THIS IS WHERE I PAUSED. I know my dad. He’s about getting a real job. One where you work long hours doing manual labor. It’s putting in a certain number of hours a day. He’s done it all his life.
Though he’s an entreprenuer and self employed for more than 30 years, the idea of a job is one in the real world and not online.
It’s measured by hours put in and money made. Enjoying your work should be a distant third.
I know I could tell my dad I work 12 hours a day, making copies, shuffling papers, answering phones, doing boring crap, and he would be content. Full time hours….check. Paycheck…yes. I doubt he would be proud but he wouldn’t question if this was what I wanted to do forever. I have a job. I have a paycheck. Enough.
On the other hand, if I told my dad I only worked only fours hours today but I helped motivate a small group of people to take action to live a better life and wrote a inspiring blog post, he would think I’m crazy. Huh? Only a four hours? He wouldn’t focus on the the impact.
So I didn’t tell him my goals. I said just don’t worry and left it at that.
Don’t expect everyone to understand
If you’re going to do something unconventional with your life, don’t expect people to understand. These famous people knew people wouldn’t understand but kept going.
Those that don’t understand have a safe job, a salary, and spend a minimum of 40 hours a week doing stuff that only impacts the bottom line for the business.
Fun is suppose to be when you retire.
You know what my least favorite status updates are on Facebook? When the Monday-Friday employees write “Can’t wait till Friday”, “Is it Friday yet?”, “It’s finally the weekend!!”. Then it’s “I hate Mondays”, “Ughh another Monday”. Then it repeats again.
Lives are spent dreading Monday and wishing for Friday.
Should life be spent wishing the days would fly by? Of course not but they do.
I want everyday to feel like the weekend. I want to lose track of what day it is. I want to only know it’s Monday cause the kids have school.
Is that how you feel?
If you have relatives or close friends who also never understand, what should you do?
Follow your heart. Listen to your gut. Understand that you are the one that has to live your life everyday. You only get one life. No one else walks in your shoes but you.
Now go and prove them all wrong.
The world is waiting for you to do great things.