The Wisdom of ‘Dr. Fine’

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The good doc living well

One of the things I’ve always loved about my dad (who, back in the day, was granted the nickname Dr. Fine; you may vomit now) was a piece of knowledge he frequently dropped to the four Goodlet offspring. We’d be sitting around the table some night, and one of us would offer up some random, offhand comment like, “It’d be so awesome to tour with a band or be the next Bond villain or climb K2.” And, without fail, Dad would respond with something to the effect of, “Why not? What’s your problem? Do it.”

People always say that you turn into your parents. Which is maddening… because it’s true. Not just because I’m picky about grammar (thanks Mom) and I’m getting to a point in my life where clutter in my house or car drives my blood pressure up (really appreciate that one, Dad). But also because I find myself saying and thinking things which fall in line with those dinnertime chats I had growing up (not that I’m saying I’m wise… anything but; more on that later).

What I’m finding is, in talks with friends, students, and myself (yes– I talk to myself), that there’s all too often a disconnect between what we study or do for a living and what we really are passionate about (for the record, I LOVE my job; more on that later, as well).

Why are so many of us afraid of doing what really drives us?

I guess it’s easy for me to step back and ask this question when I had parents who challenged me with the very same question growing up. I’m really, really lucky in that way. The fact of the matter is that many people do receive parental or peer pressure to be heir to some job or inheritance… and it can seem as though their life is already paved in front of them. And let’s not forget the allure of the almighty dollar, which makes it easy to settle for vocations that pay but don’t suit us well.

I’m also sensitive to the fact that it’s easy to feel trapped. Life can be so cruel, especially when it makes us feel as if there’s no escape, financially, emotionally, what have you.

Still, though, I wonder what life would be like if we really, really lived… and lived well. What if we ‘danced as if no one were watching, sung as if no one were listening, and loved as if we’d never been hurt?’

Listen, I’m not perfect. Not even close. The whole practicing what you preach thing… wah wah, Debbie Downer.

Do I love my work? Heck yes. Absolutely love it. I get to hang out with students, play video games, take ’em out to lunch, and listen to what they have to say. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

But there are days when I’m wasting my time doing things that really don’t need to be done when I could be spending my time in more productive, fruitful ways. The whole self-care thing is a huge growing edge for me, because I often do work on “days off” and ignore Sabbath. And it’s easy for me to let the candle burn from both ends when I could be out on a river stalking trout or going to catch a flick or something.

So am I a model for all of this? That’s a good joke. But I think there’s a lot to be said for living… and living well. And something tells me that living well goes hand in hand with living passionately.

That’s just me, though.

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~ by presbytide on September 2, 2009.

One Response to “The Wisdom of ‘Dr. Fine’”

  1. hey bro – this post made me think about Switchfoot’s “Meant to Live”

    Fumbling his confidence
    And wondering why the world has passed him by
    Hoping that he’s bent for more than arguments
    And failed attempts to fly, fly

    [Chorus]
    We were meant to live for so much more
    Have we lost ourselves?
    Somewhere we live inside
    Somewhere we live inside
    We were meant to live for so much more
    Have we lost ourselves?
    Somewhere we live inside

    Dreaming about Providence
    And whether mice or men have second tries
    Maybe we’ve been livin with our eyes half open
    Maybe we’re bent and broken, broken

    [Chorus]

    We want more than this world’s got to offer
    We want more than this world’s got to offer
    We want more than the wars of our fathers
    And everything inside screams for second life, yeah

    We were meant to live for so much more
    Have we lost ourselves?
    We were meant to live for so much more
    Have we lost ourselves?
    We were meant to live for so much more
    Have we lost ourselves?
    We were meant to live
    We were meant to live

    ____

    Love you….

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