A year in people #48 – Dad

I think about people who have sacrificed their passion or dreams to get a ‘safe’ job because they now have a child. I get it, I get having security is important. But what about passion?

I was lucky enough that all my life I knew what my Dad did for a living was his passion (he was self employed and worked with wood/carpentry/antique restoration in a variety of guises). My Nan used to say that as soon as my Dad could hold something he picked up a hammer (and tried to hammer the dogs head, but I think that’s another story).

For us kids, we just accepted it, we knew no different. He worked all hours, but that’s just what he did (I’m guessing that old adage of working for your passion doesn’t always pay richly in cash is true).

He was always outside in his workshop, making something. I’d go out and watch him work just to hang out; it’s how I got to spend time with him. I’d sit on an old battered black stool and watch and chat. I’d be fascinated by all the craftsmanship and tools. How he’d measure and cut and create. He’d try to teach me but, well, let’s just say woodwork isn’t my forte.

Often I’d go into the workshop and he’d just be leant against the bench. Not doing anything, smoking a cigarette, lost in thought.

“What are you doing Dad? Why aren’t you working?”

“I am working Tink*. I’m thinking. Planning. Figuring out how to do something. It’s just as important as the doing.”

I’m not sure of my Mum’s perception of his work. He was a bit of a renegade. I know it wasn’t the most stable and secure of jobs, and she had to work a lot herself, in jobs that weren’t really her passion, to keep us afloat. She was always keen to teach us about financial security and independence. But she never discouraged us from passions per se; she fully supported my Dad and had her own interests.

How people live life and what they do is a role model for any kids they might have, whether they realise it or not. You can say one thing, but it’s important for them to see it. My Dad always told me, when I was sat on the black stool, picking at the leather and stuffing, questioning life, that I could do anything I wanted and I shouldn’t let anything stop me. But I’d have to work hard for it, and go make it happen myself. But not only did he tell me that, I’d also see it.

Even if you don’t work or make money from something that’s your dream, don’t give up on it. Yes it’s hard to fit everything in, but don’t forget who might be watching.

I learnt a lot from my Dad (and have some beautiful pieces of furniture, and fond memories of the Death Slide he made us). He’s the one that taught me not to worry about what other people think, to embrace myself and that perfection doesn’t exist; character is way more interesting. That as long as you try your best, that’s all you can do.

Appreciating what you do have, rather than what you don’t, is the important thing.

SONY DSC

* his nickname for me

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