Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Jack of All Trades

I spent two of my weeks in Scotland with the bosses son. He will be graduating from college in the fall with an electrical engineering degree. He has no interest in working for his dad, but the boss man thought it would be good for him to get some real world experience. He enlisted me as the mentor for a two week whirl around a real life construction site.

I feel like I have come complete circle. My first job site with this company was as a 23 year old novice. I had a mentor as well. I knew nothing and didn't understand why this old man wouldn't stay out later and drink some beers with me. He was boring.

Now I am the old man travelling with a 22 year old college kid. I know he thought I was terribly boring. At least we had a bar in the hotel so he could hang out with the staff and other exciting guests when I left him. When I was a young man my only option was to watch Italian TV or read a book.

While I was visiting with my young apprentice something became abundantly clear. College aged kids and young single adults have the time to be a jack of all trades. You can keep up with all the modern music, spending hours downloading and filling up you iPod. The youngsters also have time to watch Sportscenter every day. They know the standings and leader boards for every major sport. They can also spend hours playing Wii, Xbox, or PS3. Young men and women alike have time to go out on the town, hang with friends, shop, watch all their shows, and generally follow any and every interest they have in life. In my book that makes them a jack of all trades.

As adults we have to put down some of our favorite weapons. I never thought I would quit caring about modern music. I could never turn into my parents and just stick with the music that got me through my youth for eternity. Of course I was wrong. It happened a long time ago, and it was certainly reinforced when I listened to my young helper's thoughts on the music scene. I knew absolutely zero of his favorites. I guess it's a good thing that one of my wife's passions that she will hold onto forever is clothing. Otherwise I might end up hanging on to the clothes that got me through my youth for an eternity too.

I still hang on to everything I can in my personal interest categories. That is not something I am proud of though. The main problems I have in being a father is giving up my time. I still want to watch the Cardinals every night. I still want to watch 25 different TV shows every fall. On top of these things I would love to play video games all night as well. With the magic of the DVR I have been able to stay afloat with sports and TV, but video games are dying.

Even without the DVR it shouldn't matter. TV and video games are not lasting, and certainly are not that important in the grand scheme of things. I know the main focus in my life should always be Braden and Arica, yet I struggle. As a father and husband I hope to find a way to stop being so selfish with my time. I want to do a better job of making them happy, and being there to enjoy every great moment of Braden's life. With such a wonderful family it shouldn't be that hard.

You see the end of that jack of all trades title is "master of none." I don't want that to be me. I want to be a master of two simple things, fatherhood and being a husband.


otin said...

I have given up on a lot of the old bands that I used to listen to! A Led Zep album just bores the hell out of me now!

Jill said...

I know what you mean about the younger generation. However, my husband and I do still listen to current music. But we still have the good ol' standbys of our youth. And the DVR... one of the best inventions ever.

However, after you are a parent, you wonder where your identity went. You immerse yourself so much that you sometimes begin to wonder who you've become. But that's the great thing. Priorities usually fall into line better that way. :)

PJ Mullen said...

For some reason I've turned into a cranky old man when it comes to a lot of new music, it all sounds like derivative noise. What can you do.

I definitely understand what you are saying, as I sit here reviewing all the copy I've written for my fledgling business's website I feel the same old habits I thought I had shaken by being a father and a SAHD.

The fact that I'm home with my son during the day his needs come first, then I work on my blogging and business activities. I did promise my wife that I would turn the computer off a few nights a week (at least until she goes to bed) so the only images she has of me are from behind the screen of my laptop. It is a difficult thing to balance and I wish you well with it.

I tell myself that I'm doing all of this for them, to hopefully someday soon start contributing to our family finances. This has always been a sore spot for me, personally. I've been in between jobs before, but I haven't had a paycheck in three years now. Still, I need to ensure that I realize that while I'm doing it for them, that they need me too.

surprised mom said...

With your great attitude, I believe you will be a master of the two things you most want, husband and father.

We all want to things or favorite activities that are uniquely us. It's not uncommon. Finding the time and organizing your priorities are a struggle for most I think.

With my girls getting older, I do have more time to myself, but I still have moments where I struggle with little time and more than one thing to do at the same time.

Good luck to you.

marcus said...

I think I have turned into the kind of grumpy old man I used to deplore when I was a kid! I have no idea who is in the music charts, I tut aloud at news articles I read and i wish tennagers would all pull their bloomin' trousers up!
Terrified Dad

Russ said...

It's amazing how priorities change!

WeaselMomma said...

Another great old adage is that 'with age comes wisdom'.

Captain Dumbass said...

One of the hardest things for me to adapt to when I started my year off with my kids was the loss of personal time, and it was tough. Twelve months later and I still haven't gotten used to it. There's things you obviously have to set aside, but at the same time, you need to hold on to a little to keep you sane.