Monday, February 08, 2010

What Would I be Doing?

Do you ever wonder what you’d be doing if you weren’t doing what you currently do? If I had taken a different path would it still have brought me here?  I think about this stuff time and again.
Life is a series of choices and any choice has the potential to take you where you want to go, or strand you out in the tall weeds like a golf ball sliced by a rookie golfer with a handicap of 120.
I don’t have a lot of regrets in my life, but every now and then when I’m sitting on a mind numbing conference call and the voices of the participants begin to sound like Snoopy – bla bla bla bla bla, I find myself asking this question.
I really can’t imagine my life without my lovely spouse Jilda. But I sometimes wonder what would my life have been like if I hadn’t taken the job with MaBell.
I had been out of work for almost a year when I got three offers at the same time.  One was a job in photography doing family portraits and sports/team photos, one was in forestry for the state of Alabama, and the other was gassing up trucks for the telephone company.
I love photography. I’ve shot hundreds of thousands of pictures through the years. I have documented the lives of all my family members for the last 40 years, but that’s because I love taking pictures.
I’m not so sure the luster would have lasted if I had to make a living with photography.
Likewise, I love being outdoors communing with Mother Nature. But the older I get, the more my knees and other connecting joints are influenced by the weather. I can actually predict rain by the quality of pain in my elbow, or a drop in the barometric pressure by which knee is acting up. The outdoors are great when the weather’s good, but  it’s not nearly as much fun when it’s cold and rainy.
My job, for the last 33 years has been good to me. For the most part, I have had decent bosses who allowed me to be creative in my approach to work.
The company has paid for my house, my cars and the other stuff we enjoy. The job has sent me all over the country teaching, training, and doing other work. Many times, Jilda went with me and we always managed to pack fun time into our travels.
The Army paid for the first two years of college, but MaBell picked up the tab for my bachelor’s and master’s work in school. I know for a fact that wasn’t cheap.
A while back when I was listening to Snoopy, drone on, I pulled out my calculator  and did some figuring.
 I’ve worked in Birmingham since 1983. It takes me about two hours a day to commute. If I account for vacation, and other time away from the job, I figure I have about one year and two months sitting in my vehicle, driving back and forth to work. That’s a sobering fact.
Thankfully, I got into listening to books on tape so I’ve spent most of the commute time productively. In fact one of my buddies at work called me a “Road Scholar”.
When all is said and done, I’m happy with what I’m doing now, and that’s more than a lot of people can say.

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