Do What You Love, Life Is Short
After work I took my son to a new playground. It had a jungle gym with several slides. He was in heaven. He grinned ear to ear as he kept going up and down the slide. Another father, watching his two sons, and I got to talking. Derek worked and lived several cities away, but came out with his sons so his wife could have a girl’s night out.
Derek was quite the conversationalist. He explained that the special girl’s night out was because his family was grappling with the death of his younger brother-in-law. Several months ago, his brother-in-law, who was just in his twenties, died tragically when he lost control of his car. Being the good husband, when his wife and some girl friends had a chance to blow off some steam, he was all in.
I am pretty awkward when it comes to dealing with death. When we were in college, my parents and I hid the news of my grandmother’s passing so we would not upset my brother who was away. A few years ago, a good friend was dealing with his mother in the hospital for a health scare. He was stunned and livid at my lack of support. In Derek’s case, I said, “I’m sorry to hear” and provided a sympathetic shoulder for him to vent.
He seemed like a happy go lucky guy. Derek beamed, “Thanks, but it is not all bad news. Look at these two little guys.” As I looked at my son I chimed in, “You are right. It’s times like these, although tragic, that make you appreciate your loved ones even more.” We nodded in agreement as we both realized how precious and short life can be.
After explaining what I did for a living, Derek shared he was a recording engineer for many Saturday cartoon shows. He rattled off a bunch of superheroes. He excitedly explained, “My favorite part is seeing the voice over actors in between takes. After voicing a very dramatic moment, it’s fun to see them chill and just goofing off.” Nearly two decades later in the biz, Derek was still wide eyed and bushy tailed. I marveled, “Wow, you are like a big kid. You never have to grow up.” He laughed, “Yeah my parents joked with friends that they knew exactly what they were doing when they plopped me in front of the TV.”
We chit chatted a bit more until the sun disappeared. We gathered up our sons, shook hands, and said our good byes. We hoped to see each other again. I just met someone who loves what he does. I wondered, “Can I say the same for myself?” I’m reminded by that Wonder Years scene where the main character, Kevin Arnold, asked his best friend, “Does she like me or does she really like me?” I continued wondering, “Do I like what I do or do I love what I do? Is there something more out there?” I may still have unanswered questions. But after tonight’s chance encounter, the phrase that keeps running through my mind is, “Do What You Love, Life Is Short”.