A Custom-Tailored Life Restructures the Family Tree?

One December, I spent Christmas with family. I thought nothing of business and I stopping journal writing long enough to be in the moment, for once. I’m glad that I was, because I was attuned to an undergrad relative who clearly wanted to ask career questions.

I asked him, “Tossing aside the idea of what you are ‘supposed’ to do, what would you like your life to look like?” His answer had nothing to do with the major he was pursuing and had nothing to do with what would impress the folks. He smiled as if he had said something naughty.

His ideas were like a little seed; I gave him some tips on what to do to grow that seed once he returns to school after the holidays. His ideas were nebulous; I gave him ideas to clarify and structure his goals so that he can pursue his interests while also making money. He took notes.

Suddenly, I felt as if I were restructuring my family tree and, frankly, to give my ideas such importance is frightening. (You and I have discussed fear in goal setting before and how to deal with it. See “Prepare for Fear.”)

This conversation was a jolt for me. I realized that to succeed in creating a custom-tailored life is not just for me, it is also for others in my social sphere to understand their possibilities.

What a weighty responsibility.