What would you do if you had to choose between your family and one last shot at following your dreams? As parents, we often say that we would lay down our lives for our kids, and as a grandparent, I know it’s literally true. But there’s a more common version of that all-or-nothing decision.
It’s the choice between pursuing a goal, or giving it up for the good of your family.
Some choices are just that hard. You can’t do both. Difficult enough to decide when you’re young. It’s worse when you’re older.
My niece, a new mother, was recently offered a promotion. It was big money, but this management job would have required her to work random hours, travel, and be on call 24/7 (for retail! Get real, corporate egomaniacs. It’s not like she’s a first-responder.)
She said thanks but no, and will stay with her lower level position. She wants to have another child, and she doesn’t intend to complicate her life with that promotion.
My niece can afford to make this decision, timewise. She’s only thirty-one.
On the other hand, Joe Biden is seventy-seven. It’s said that he’s looking at a run for the presidency, but he’s torn. Biden and his family are reeling from the recent death of his son, Beau. A presidential campaign would make their lives much more difficult. Nobody knows for sure what he’s going to do, not even his closest friends.
I suspect Biden doesn’t know, either. The stakes are very high. He is a man who is dedicated to family, but if he waits for the next election, he’ll be eighty-two on Inauguration Day. It’s now or never.
If he chooses to sit it out, I’m sure he’ll be okay. Most older people have been through so much, they’re sanguine about sacrifice. Biden has accomplished enough in his long life to settle back and relax, and if he made that choice, he’d have the satisfaction of knowing he put his family first.
Sometimes I stop in the middle of my hellbent drive for business success, thinking, “Why am I working so hard? Maybe I should give it up and spend more time with Bill, my mom, my siblings, and my friends.” But if decide later to go back to it, I might never be able to regain this level of momentum. Things are changing so fast. If you don’t run hard, you might not be able to keep up, especially with technology.
Should I keep running or give up forever? Am I, at sixty-one, doing the right thing?
Do you ever feel this way, like you have to decide pretty soon whether to make one last run at your dreams, or shut it down and go fishing? If you have already grappled with this, would you mind telling us how it went for you?