I know that the usual question is, “Where did I go wrong?” However, it occurred to me this week that I had obviously done a lot of things right. This realization came as my wife, Regina, and I were driving to Denton to attend a concert of the A Capella Choir at the University of North Texas. (It was a very enjoyable concert). As we were driving, I began to reminisce about when I was a choral director. She asked why I had left that profession, since I had often talked about how much I enjoyed the experience.
Fast forward to the present. My life right now is wonderful. I am married to a woman who is my best friend and soul mate. I live a very comfortable life on twenty acres, with all sorts of animals to love and care for. My health is very good. I am able to do just about anything I want to do. So, where did I go right?
Leaving the public school teaching profession was only one of the life changing decisions I have made. There were hundreds, maybe thousands, of important decisions during my life, but only a few that actually changed the direction of my life.
When I was growing up, my father was a Baptist preacher. We moved a lot. I lived in a small East Texas town, several towns in the Texas Panhandle, a wonderful little town in Southwest Texas, and finally graduated high school in Houston. Seven different places from the time I was five years old until I graduated high school. Needless to say, I was used to life changing decisions. Not mine, but my parent’s.
Even though my college degrees prepared me to teach in public schools, the politics, policies, and parents involved began to cause me to seek other pursuits. I probably could have worked hard and moved into college teaching, but some very good friends had introduce me to work with retarded children.
So, it was off to Austin to get a Doctor’s Degree in Special Education Administration, and work at the Austin State School (now referred to as the State Supported Living Center). A missed promotional at that facility, that was given to an incompetent manager who just happened to be a PhD Psychologist, opened my eyes to reality, and put an end to my degree studies as well as my desire to continue working for the state.
While I was living in Austin, an opportunity was presented that would change my life drastically. It involved leaving the comfort of that life and pursuing a career in the musical theatre in New York. I didn’t do that. Too much of a gamble.
Instead, I decided to work for myself. I started a home improvement company (actually a siding company) with a friend of mine. This business expanded beyond my imagination, and so did the ego and manipulation of my partners. After a short period of time in Austin, the business moved to the Dallas area, and so did I. In 1986 I sold out and went home. (That’s the short version) The greatest benefit derived from that nightmare of a venture was meeting Regina.
I don’t think I mentioned the time frame of each of these segments of my life. Each one lasted seven years. So, for 21 years, I was a perfect example of the phenomenon known as the “seven year itch.” Luckily this last segment has now exceeded 27 years. A record I have no intention of allowing to lapse.
The most important life changing decision that I have ever made was to marry Regina. That was in 1987. Since that time, there has only been one other big change. We sold our house in the city, bought land in the country, and never looked back.
As we drove to Denton, we began to play the “what if” game. There were many scenarios to consider, but none could be completely visualized, because they had not happened. There are those who say, “If it is supposed to be, it will be.” I’m not sure I totally agree with that system, because it takes away the individual’s ability to agonize and scrutinize.
So, where did I go right? Everywhere! That’s not to say I have not made some bad decisions, I have. But if I had not made the big decisions I did, my life would not be what it is today. What a tragedy that would be.
So, ask yourself, “Where did I go right?”