Much has been written recently about the fact that my generation is the first to financially fall short of my parents' generation. As a dad and – more importantly – a man, this is a disheartening fact. It doesn’t matter how true it may be. It doesn’t matter if the facts and figures all support the reality. What matters is that my manhood has seemingly been challenged.
I absolutely hate talking about money. I hate writing about money. I hate worrying about money. But, living where I live, money is on the tip of everyone’s tongue. It’s the appetizer, main course and dessert of a complete conversation. “Hi, how you doing? No, not personally…I meant financially.” And, you’re off and running. Before long, you and whomever you’re speaking with are bonded in financial agony.
But, as I pack for a business trip…I think about K-Man. If the meetings go well, some of the financial pain will be alleviated. Working in a somewhat freelance capacity means making enough money, but not consistent money. Winning this project might mean generating some consistent capital. Winning this project might mean that I’ll not only be breaking the societal trend of not doing as well as my old man, but also creating more stability for the kid. And, let’s be honest, that’s all I want. That’s all any of us want – security for our kids.
My business partner and I have spent hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars preparing for this meeting. We’ve basically dedicated our waking, non-family hours to this trip. We’ve produced spreadsheets, storyboards, case studies and even a dozen hats. And, as much as we want this project to provide validation for our creativity and ingenuity, we really want it for our kids.
I’ve never been the 9-5 guy. I’ve been that guy, but I hated it. It didn’t take. I’m not wired to think during set hours. I’m not capable of producing my best work simply because it’s light out. Inspiration hits when inspiration hits (which, admittedly, sometimes gets me in trouble – even with my editors on this very site!). While it may be a scary way to live and earn a living, it’s equally exhilarating.
But life isn’t all about drawing inside the lines. Life isn’t about taking lots of tests. And, frankly, life isn’t about making sure that my generation does better than our parents’ generation. Life is about trying to make sure we do the very best we can. And, when we stumble, trying our very best to learn from those missteps. Life is about taking bold risks.
So, yes…I want to do better financially than my dad did. But, not simply because then I’d have more money, but because then I could perhaps set up K-Man with the opportunity to not worry about doing better than me. I could provide that kind of security that allows him a freedom to explore, take his own chances and draw outside of his own lines.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m not suggesting that he get a free ride and never learn the value of a dollar, or what it feels like to earn a living. I just want to be able to provide the opportunity that he can go after whatever living he wants – with something of a safety net, if need be.
As I finish packing and get ready for the most important trip of my career…I can only smile. I’m prepared for this trip. I’m ready for this meeting. We’re going to win this thing, kid. And, when we do…it’s all for you.