In yesterday’s post, I talked about how some of us fail to recognize when we’ve stopped being productive and need to either change or move on. Today’s post is a short take on that same theme.
A colleague of mine describes life as having three phases. The first is learning how to become an adult. The second is actually acting like an adult. And the third is having fun. There isn’t a prescriptive timeframe for each of these phases, but according to my colleague they always happen in this order. It’s a nice clean, simple way to look at things. But the exit and entrance phases of each stage aren’t so clear and simple.
They can be marked by different things: college, marriage, kids, jobs, grandkids, retirement, deaths, etc. The key, I think, is to be proactive about the transitions. For me, the first transition came when our oldest daughter was born. I knew then that I had to acknowledge my responsibilities as a provider for my wife and our children. It didn’t mean I couldn’t have fun anymore, but I had to choose work that allowed me to prioritize providing over passion. Notice I said “allowed.” Nobody forced me to make that decision. It was my call based on what I deemed as the character of a man. We all make our own calls. We just have to be careful not to subject those who rely on us to the whims of our dreams and passion.