I kicked off my career in music and audio engineering at the tail end of high school. Not surprising, it never earned me much but I valued the work itself. 20 years later, when I became a father, out of some sense of needing to better secure my future -- whatever that meant -- I attempted a pivot. I went back to school and got my MBA. I was well-positioned to enter the corporate world with a handsome salary and all the rest of it.
Shortly before graduation, the President of the University came to speak to our cohort. When asked, regarding his career's trajectory, if he had any regrets, he answered without hesitation, and somewhat defeated: "I wanted to be a folk singer."
With that, I'd received the most important lesson in all my academic sojourn. I'm not implying that my time in school was wasted, but it clued me in to the fact that I was running from what I really wanted, out of fear of the uncertain. What the President's answer did make clear was the certainty of regret. And I knew, right then -- although maybe not consciously -- that I'd be diving back in, somehow, headlong into my passion.
As for securing my future.. well, it's arguably a justification to say that I thought it more important to live by example, and condone the pursuit of one's dreams, when in reality it's probably an extremely selfish act. It's not lost on me. Part of my path is carrying that potential hypocrisy around with me, and everything it entails. It's not easy. I don't know that I've ever been interested in what's easy, though.