Then and now

“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” – Henry David Thoreau

You may recognize this rather famous quote. It’s from Thoreau’s Civil Disobedience. I read that book as a young man, as part of a philosophy class. I remember how smug I felt at the time about that statement. I was never going to be one of those people. I was young, very well-read, and I was going to do great things in life…

I trust you can see where I’m going with this.

I don’t even know exactly how I came to think of that quote, but think of it I did. And I came to realize that, at 50, it sums up the life I lead now.

OK, “swore to destroy” is an extreme way to look at it, but back then I really felt like I didn’t want to end up like, say, my boss at the accounting firm where I worked one summer. That seemed like the worst thing. Yet when I look at the situation objectively, his situation was not exactly bad… his house was probably paid off, his minivan actually worked. It’s always hard to know these things in retrospect but as a partner in his firm he was probably quite wealthy. Partners at large accounting firms are well paid

Well, the joke’s on me. Career wise things haven’t so far gotten me where I would want to be. My car has been sitting still in my driveway for over a year now. And while my old boss probably flew down to the DR a couple of times a year for a week of R&R, it’s just not the kind of vacation schedule I can think of as realistic. Not for a while.

So, as I thought about that, I must admit that my pride took a hit.


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