Monday, August 08, 2005

Cavalier Serendipity

Love me, love my dog. When we visit with our inlaws who adore their dogs (and I like them too), we usually score a few brownie points by taking treats for Oliver and Charlie — two rather adorable (excuse me as my nose tilts towards the ceiling as I write this) Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.

This post is not about dogs, however, but people. When I dropped into the pet store to purchase Greenies just before our visit, I was surprised to note that a former student was there to transact my little purchase. He had worked there, in his parents' store, during high school, but I hadn't seen him for some time.

As we caught up I learned that he had graduated with a science degree from my old alma mater. After four years of higher education and one year in a research lab, he was forced to conclude that this wasn't the life for him. He did not love spending his days working in a small, windowless, interior space. And he began to recall that he had quite enjoyed working in the pet store while he was in high school.

He called the folks, and they were happy to have him back and take up ever more and more of the duties as they sailed further and further into advanced middle age.

We talked a little about the notion of preparing for the future. It's a really hard thing to do. Mike had a notion about science and research, but when he reached that place, he was disappointed. It wasn't him, wasn't what he had expected.

He certainly hadn't planned to take over his parents' business, hadn't expected to become a shopkeeper. But he likes it and is happier there, probably making much less money for the time being anyhow.

Life is like that. When we are young, we are told that we can be anything that we want to be. Silly and false notion that. The problem is that we can't really know what we want to be until we sip from that cup. We have to strive for something, and I don't suppose that Mike regrets going to university (in fact, he tells me that he had quite a good time there), for in my unworthy opinion, education is almost always a good thing. However, Mike was smart enough to to look elsewhere when he found himself disappointed and dissatisfied with life in a research lab. He reevaluated and ended up in a place where he never thought to be.

Retirement has been a somewhat similar experience for me. We are told to plan for our retirement, to know what we want to do. I thought that I might delve into A and B, but I found myself flowing into Y and Z. It's not that A and B don't interest me to some degree; I may take them up at some point. But right now, my inclinations lead me to Y and Z.

Just leave yourself a little elbow room. Give serendipity a chance. That's all that I'm saying.

And just in case you were wondering, this is what a Cavalier King Charles Spaniels looks like. Oliver is a sweet boy who looks a lot like Walt Disney's Lady to me.



Karla said...

Thanks for sharing this story.

I’m still waiting for that serendipitous event to happen and hearing this makes me feel less alone in my decision to leave the field of geophysics and return to school for Information Technology. After all that, I STILL don’t know what I want to be when I grow up!

I thought I loved rocks, and then I thought I loved minerals, and then I thought I loved electromagnetics, and then I thought I loved computers. Turns out, I just want a family and a place to call home. The rest is just stuff in between.

Debra said...

Oh my... What a beautiful dog! Thanks for sharing... Debra

Dale said...

Thanks, AC. I'll make sure my young friend, Girl Alex sees this post.

kathy said...

Thanks AC! loved this story! i love dogs (and cats)...looking forward to seeing that movie too "Love me, love my dog" <--- i think thats the name of movie thats coming out very soon! anyway, the picture of dog really does look like a Cavalier King Charles! cute dog great story. loved it. :)

Christi said...

Yeah, I went to school for criminal justice, got that degree, and then decided it wasn't for me. So I went back and got a degree in Special Education. Did that for a little while, and also found out it wasn't for me. Now I have two degrees, and I stay home and raise babies for a living! I make no money...but I found out where I belong!

swamp4me said...

You never know where life will take you, but you can learn to enjoy the ride :) Every experience adds to who we become.

You got Greenies for the dogs! Wow. That's a high-dollar treat around here. Lucky dogs.

Lora said...

It takes a lot of guts for a young man to make such a realization. He must be exceptional.