“Everything has a price.
The universe is resolved in this.”
I’ve come to a certain point in my life where I’ve settled upon several truths. Any who’ve read my book Sacrifices, is aware of the particular truth quoted above. I came to this realization as I reflected upon my own life. I’ve strived in my life to fulfill my responsibilities as a son, brother, father, husband and friend. Being raised in a very pragmatic household I went to school for the purpose of getting a good job (though I should note that the most important thing my parents gave me were the value they placed on education, and their unmatched work ethic). So I, like so many of us did, selected my major based on how much it paid. And I am blessed to say, that in that regard it’s been more rewarding than I could have dared to hope (though one must temper this against what little black boys dare to hope and dream, but that’s another post for another day).
But as the leading quote suggests, every choice we make in life comes at a cost. These costs may literally be denoted in money and time, but quite often cost are measured in lost opportunities, the cost of which we may never know. The the blessings of my chosen profession, consulting, have too, come at a price.
I started traveling for work in the spring of 1996, thus this season marks the twenty-second-year of my consulting life, and most of it (all but two assignments) has been out of town.
Thus, for over twenty years, I’ve spent most of my days away from home. That and all it means are the most obvious cost of a life lived out of a suitcase. Being away from my family, and the repercussions there of, are the single biggest tickets item on my account. Yes, being away from the wife and kids (older kids, with the youngest being in high school when I hit the road), was largely the known cost, but when you’re only home on weekends, you tend to over compensate (and arguably, rightly so), by making yourself super available to your immediate family, at the price of spending less time with other family (siblings, cousins, nieces, nephews, aunts & uncles). Over the years, that brings on feelings of loss, which can never be reclaimed. Growing up, I’d just assumed that we’d all just always be together. As fully functioning adults, I don’t know that anyone’s life meets that expectation, with most of us constricting our social and familia network over the years. But when you’re literally a thousand miles away, I believe there is exponential effect upon this modern reality.
The second price of life on the road, particularly project work, is how it can diminish or at the very least defers one’s Dream. Yes, Dream, that big dream, the one you feel like you were born with. This phenomenon is not exclusive to those who’ve chosen to be road warriors. Many, of us were taught to be practical when pursuing our life’s work. But where many professions allow one to quietly plan out and develop one’s big Dream, consulting life, allows only the most dedicated to entertain such thoughts. So, while consulting life can help one reach their financial goals better than many professions, it can be a jealous mistress, which demands the vast majority of your waking hours and much of what energy you thought you might have after work or through the weekends, assuming you aren’t working weekends, which is so often the case. Conversely, many jobs, don’t pay enough to cover the life you have, much less the life you want chasing that Dream.
Lastly, are the unknown costs. The costs of paths not taken are ethereal in nature, like ghosts not fully formed, and yet always in the corner of our eye, calling out, “What if…”. But to allow one’s gaze to linger too long upon what may have been, is to lose sight on what is, and the blessings therein.
In my book, Sacrifices, the story of four sisters, born of a minister father and civil rights leader, who called into service to safeguard this world we love, must too reconcile their own hopes and dreams versus the calling to serve humanity which has been put upon them. In particular one of the sisters, Sarah, longs to leave Atlanta and the south, for pretty much anywhere else. With her gifts, she could easily leave and put all the hurt and pain behind her. Given all that’s happened, no one could blame her, if she left and never came back. And yet, she cannot abandon her sisters in the struggle.
As with many speculative fiction works, Sacrifices is a platform to discuss such things, in a form which is enjoyable, but can also transform how you see the world, if you allow it to do so.
Please, check out my book, Sacrifices, which is on sell through Monday, for just $0.99 cents, that’s right, $0.99 cents.