Apropos of the previous post, it dawned on me recently that if Ella were to come to me in 35 years for advice on the same kinds of questions I’m trying to answer now, about career and fulfillment, my counsel to her would be different than the path I’m currently taking for myself.

I’d tell her, “kid, you’ve got to follow your heart, and nobody knows what that is but you. If you feel like you’ve spent the past many years drifting away from a career that would make you happy, it’s time to get back on course.”

My goal as a dad is to spend the next 20-odd years encouraging Ella to let her soul guide her, so she won’t be stuck in such a quagmire.

But I get caught in a paradox of one variety or another. My goal has been to pump up the 401K so I can retire “early” and do whatever the hell I want. In Texas we call it having f*ck-you money; having enough money to tell an employer “f*ck you,” and walk away with peace of mind.

That seems like sound financial advice, but it’s also foolhardy. Why wait 20 years to do what I want? I’ve grown to believe that happiness and financial success, however it’s defined, comes from doing what one loves to do.

And then there’s the other paradox — thinking it’s too late to change course now, that it would take too long, and losing sight of the fact that time doesn’t matter, that if it takes five years or 10 I’d still be ahead of the game.


Last night I told Trish, before we drifted off to sleep, “you dream big, and I’ll dream big, and let’s combine our dreams into one great big life.”