I’ve been blessed to have parents who are supportive of my crazy half-baked dreams. While they encourage me to do things that will better myself and my life, they also help to elevate my financial consciousness. They would prefer I choose a career in which I won’t be calling them asking for help paying my phone bill before it promptly shuts off mid-call and they are doomed never to hear from their broke-ass daughter again.
My dad may not be the easiest person to eat with (he has preferred seats, meals, wines, etc) or live with (his way or the highway) or talk to (if you attempt to talk to him while the Packers are on he’s like a disgruntled caveman) but he listens and knows when and what I need to hear. My dad went to college to get an an education in Physical Education with goals of being a P.E. teacher. After a few years, he realized this perhaps wouldn’t be the most lucrative choice. He then got his CPA license and eventually his CFP and now owns his own business.
My dad helps me to understand that there’s time to figure everything out. He’s living proof that things change and we end up doing what we are supposed to be doing. He’s 50-something and he still parties like he’s 28 (he goes to concerts at the House of Blues every month) and acts like a 13-year-old boy (he bought himself a remote-controlled boat for our pool this summer) and he wakes up doing what he loves every day. And up until a year ago, he did it with a mullet.
My mother is insane. She’s loud and she’s opinionated. She hates silence and therefore constantly asks questions. She’s obsessed with people and knowing about their lives. She strikes up conversations with people at the table/barstool next to her on a weekly basis. And she’s basically me, or who I’ll eventually become after one too many
glasses bottles of wine.
But she also gives me some of the greatest advice. This weekend I explained to my parents how impressed I am with the longevity of their marriage in the face of over-surmounting divorce rates. Their advice?
- “Marriage is something you work at every day.”
- “Divorce is just trading one set of problems for another set with someone else.”
- And of course, “I couldn’t be married to your father if alcohol wasn’t a foundation in our relationship.”
The anecdote my mother told me about travel this weekend truly inspired me. She spent a year in Sweden working as an intern after college. I’ll admit she doesn’t really talk about much and I have a sneaking suspicion it’s because she had just as wild of a time in Europe as I did. I was reminiscing about my semester abroad with her late Sunday night over a bottle of Chianti. I was describing for her some of the incredible people I had the chance to meet while traveling and how lucky I felt to have met them.
Then she said this to me: “You know, I’ve tried to find the people I met over there on Facebook now and I haven’t been able to. I would love to get in contact with them again and see what they are doing. I know their first names but can’t remember their last names anymore. But I can distinctly remember their faces. It’s been over 30 years and I haven’t forgotten what they look like. I don’t think I ever will.”
I can tell my mother something and she’ll forget it within 15 minutes. (“Where are you going tonight? Oh that’s right.”) but she remembers Swedish friends she made when she was in her twenties. That’s the impact of travel and the friendships you form when you’re there. I loved when new cities became my home and the strangers I met became my friends, even it was only for a couple days.
She reminded me once again why it’s so crucial for me to go back again. I’m not done meeting people. I’m not done learning about different places and cultures. I’m not done exploring and making memories and getting lost and then finding myself once more.
I’m lucky I have parents who remember what it was like to be young, because they’re still young at heart.