Dear Son: Find Your Fire

Find your passion no matter what it is - embrace it, cultivate it and make it your own.

A few years ago I went through a very difficult transition – one that many go through in this country. I went from being married to being divorced.

Divorce is difficult all around, but one of the aspects of divorce that I struggled with the most was not being able to see my son every day as I had for the first three years of his life. This separation from my little boy was a transition I never fully accepted and one that took me years to learn how to deal with. One of the ways I dealt with the transition was to start writing in a journal. My journal became my nightly conversation with my son, even when he wasn’t there to share it with me.

Inside my journal, you’ll find a wide variety of subjects - from deep, meaningful and thought-provoking epiphanies to off-the-cuff thoughts. I poured my heart and soul into the journal, not only for myself but for my son as well. I was worried our time apart would take its toll on our relationship and I didn’t want him to forget me.

I thought about the values I wanted to convey to him; messages I hoped he would pick up along the way, but ones that I was willing to be crystal clear about if necessary. I wanted him to avoid some of the pain and mistakes I made along the way, if possible. That was, after all, one of my jobs as his dad. Here is just one example of what is in my journal.

Dear Son, Find Your Fire

Those words may not mean a lot to you out of context, but they’re hugely important to me. I think I’ve gotten lucky along the road of life so far. I didn’t struggle with school. I was able to graduate from a university during a time of growth in the economy and I fell into a career that seemed to choose me.

As grandpa used to say, “It’s better to be lucky than good” and luck, it seemed, was on my side for much of my adult life.

However, after 36 years on Earth, I’ve learned a few important lessons. One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned only time can teach. But I’m going to give it a shot anyway.

In these times of a tough economy and the ever-increasing focus people have on the accumulation of wealth and “stuff”, I’ve come to discover that many of us fail to find what it is in life that we’re truly passionate about until it’s too late.

Find your passion, son, and don’t be afraid to try new things. Let your passions lead you; let them guide your journey through life and not vice-versa. Life & career burnout is not necessarily a foregone conclusion.

The relentless pursuit of the high-paying job, the big house and nice cars isn’t the end-all in life. Those things are all nice to have but they’re still just that – things.

Find your passion no matter what it is -- embrace it, cultivate it and make it your own. Let the ‘stuff’ come as a bonus only after you’ve found, experienced and perfected that passion. You’ll be so much happier in life if you do.

Love,

Dad

You can read more of Daniel Ruyter’s work on his Memoirs of a Single Dad blog at www.memoirsofasingledad.com.