Friday was the sixth anniversary of my father’s death. Lately I’ve found myself wondering whether I’ve been living too much in the past, or at least too much in reference to that event. Granted, it marked a profound change in my life, but I think I’ve been using it too much as a line of demarcation, and too much as an excuse for things that would not have been acceptable in any other context (the extra thirty or forty pounds I’ve been toting around come to mind…).
The other day I found myself thinking about an interview I once saw with Bruce Springsteen on 60 Minutes. It was in that interview, at least I think it was (though I can’t find it anywhere; therefore it can’t be true, right?), when Bruce said something to the effect of “You have to stop trying to be the man you want to be, and start being the man you are.” I took this not to mean that we shouldn’t have goals, aspirations, or standards for ourselves, but that in our constant search for that ideal (and probably never living up to it) we miss being who we are and being true to that in that moment.
My dad was a practical man. I don’t think he spent a whole lot of time musing about what might have been, but made the best of the situation at hand. And though he wasn’t perfect, any more than anyone else, he never seemed to dwell on the setbacks in life but found satisfaction, and maybe even joy, in being the man he was.
Another lesson imparted. See, your work isn’t done yet. Thanks, Dad.