Monday, August 23, 2010

No guts, no glory

Along with Heather's parents, Julia and I recently helped our son, Peter, and daughter-in-law, Heather, move to Baton Rouge for Peter to start graduate school at LSU (Louisiana State University, for those of you not from the south). This was no small task, on many levels. For starters, Peter was going to attend a school against who's sports teams he had pulled for years. Their school colors are purple and gold, for crying out loud! Have they no shame? But I digress  . . .

Peter and Heather have been out of college for 4 and 3 years, respectively and have been married for 3 years.  They owned a 3 bedroom, 2 bath home and were downsizing to a 2 bedroom, 1 bath apartment for their 2 year grad school adventure.  Trying to squeeze the contents of that home into an apartment that's a little more than half the size of your house can be quite a challenge.  Fortunately, both families had some spare room to store a few non-essentials for them. 

Even more challenging than the physical move were some other aspects of the transition.  Heather will continue to work in Jackson, MS for five more months until her retirement is vested.  With the help of the hospital where she works, she'll have a schedule that allows her to still spend almost two thirds of her time in Baton Rouge but will be traveling back and forth a couple of times each month.  This is a huge sacrifice for them and I greatly admire their ability to view this decision from a far-sighted and mature perspective. 

What is it about our sons?  One of them just finished graduate school, returning to school after working for a few years and now the other one is doing the same.  This time it's on their nickle  . . . Mom and Dad are not underwriting this adventure.  I'm inclined to look at this as a "no guts, no glory" type of decision.

Whether it's furthering your education, moving to a new location, or changing jobs, sometimes life requires us to take risks.  We can live safe or live large.  I'm not sure that we can live both safe and large, however.  Peter concluded that additional education would be necessary to prepare him for the future he envisions.  The risk here is that the additional education doesn't guarantee that the future will be what he hopes for.  That's where the"no guts, no glory"  part comes in.  Does he live life safe and not risk investing in something that can potentially change the direction of his life or does he live it large and take the risk that may not pay off.  Perhaps the better questions are,
  • What do I want my life to look like in five or ten years?
  • What would need to change for that to happen?
  • What do I stand to gain by taking this risk?
  • What's the worst that can happen if I take this risk?
  • Can I recover from this if it doesn't work out exactly as I planned?
So here's the question that all of us must answer: Do you live safe or live large?  Are you happy with that decision?  If not, what would it take for you to change that?

Remember, no guts, no glory.

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