Where would you go?

May 20, 2016


The milk in your refrigerator has an expiration date, and so do you.

It’s graduation season in highered-land and I’ve been thinking a lot about forced choice. Seniors are heading out into the great wide-open – some have job offers and others keep their pockets lined with hope. Either way, they have decisions to make about the lives they want to live. We work on a four-ish-year cycle here and there’s a clear end – when we push our little birdies out of the nest.

We’ve enjoyed having you here, but now it’s time to for you to go.

Life gets a little ambiguous after that. There’s no four-year alarm clock that rings and tells us to get our asses moving. My life is this perpetual contradiction. Some days I want to stand in this same spot, feet planted firmly on the ground, enjoying the breeze. But oh, sweet Jesus, it’s so hard to keep my feet planted when my head is always in the clouds. Brain says, “Life is good,” while Heart whispers, “There’s got to be more to life than this.” Many days, I find myself snuggling up with playing-it-safe. I know many of you might feel the same way, and it begs the question:

Where would you go if you weren’t allowed to stay?

My father-in-law is one of the smartest people I know – he is analytical and curious and questioning. He spent many years a chemist, in a good job with great benefits, he probably would have stayed there forever. He might sound a lot like you, a lot like me. That is, until one day, his company pushed him out of the nest.

We’ve enjoyed having you here, but now it’s time to for you to go.

It’s not always easy when someone makes that choice for you, but the good thing is, now you get to write your own rules.

Instead of finding another position as a chemist, my FIL decided he was going to become a professional musician. For over a decade, he’s made a living by playing rock shows on the senior citizen circuit and by teaching piano and bass guitar lessons. If no one told him he had to go, maybe he would have stayed. Maybe he’d still be a chemist and not a full-time musician.

Sometimes we don’t know it’s time to leave. So what happens if no one ever tells us to? That we’ve overstayed our welcome? Quite often, we just don’t know what we don’t know… yet.

Now I’ve certainly been an advocate for staying if it fills you – and this has been the best decision for my life right now. But that question still lingers, Where would you go if you weren’t allowed to stay?

[go here.]


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