Tough Advice From Dad

In life it is easy to sometimes lose track of the future, especially when you follow the all powerful  credo of “Don’t Blink,” a statement that emphasizes the live-in-the-moment type lifestyle. Since graduating college I have had an amazing time working a job I love, meeting great people, and having a lot of fun. Before an hour ago if you asked me how I viewed my present existence I would probably respond with “successful.” Well, sometimes it takes a dad to bring you down to earth.

I don’t talk to my dad that much. Mind you, this has nothing to do with a strained relationship or different personalities contrasting. In fact, it is the exact opposite, my dad and I have a great relationship and many people will tell you that we are clones of each other. But with our work schedules, locations in different states, and an amazing ability to prolong a game of phone tag, we probably talk about once every three weeks. Many times our conversations are pretty basic and quick: “How are you? How is the weather in Montana? How is work? What did you have for dinner? You get a hair cut yet? Talk to you later, love you.” Sometimes though when we are both at our respective houses and are not multi-tasking, a little more of an in depth conversation will take course, and my dad will make sure to subtly (or sometimes not so subtly) step on my toes a little bit. Tonight was one of those nights.
My dad and I last summer.

As I said above and what usually comes through on this blog is that I like to have fun. I like to take trips, I like to go to concerts, I like to go out, I like to eat good food, and I like to live for the moment. This May marked the third year anniversary of my graduation from college. Shortly after graduating I found employment at Grizzly Athletics. Since then, I have kind of celebrated the “young professional lifestyle” – live up life now and enjoy yourself while you can! Up until this point I kind of thought it was my right, something that I was entitled to.

My dad chipped away at my mindset a little bit tonight. God bless my dad too, because it was not like he assaulted me with everything that I am doing wrong, rather he sprinkled his words of wisdom throughout a twenty minute conversation. While talking about the golf tournament he played in this past weekend in Redmond, Washington, he somehow managed to transition into schooling. “So Brent, have you thought anymore about getting your Master’s?” This question of course sent me reeling a little bit. Yes, I think about it a lot but I would have to make plenty of sacrifices to pursue it at this time. My social life would definitely take a hit, I would have to get back into student mode again, and I would most definitely have to find a more suitable living arrangement. Not to mention I don’t know where I will be career wise in six months, let alone three years (time it takes to apply, enroll, and then complete a program). I answer “Yeah dad, I am thinking a lot about it. I know it’s important.” My dad responds “Now is a great time for you to do this. You are young, unattached, and got your whole career in front of you. It will make you much more marketable. No one can take that away from you.” Point taken.

We get out of that conversation and start talking about family and the Mariners and how our family cat, Nabisco, is doing. Again, my dad switches from the softball topics and launches into a discussion on my financial status. After questioning my plans to travel to Las Vegas for the third time in twelve months he just asks me straight up: “How are you doing savings wise? You bringing in more than you are spending?” When it comes to money management in our family, I am 100x more responsible than my brother. The way he spends money is nothing short of ridiculous. Please, read a previous post I wrote on how someone who is barely twenty-one can blow through $25,000 in record time. But obviously, my dad was not asking about my brother, he was asking about me. Over the past two years I have become a little more liberal with my finances. I use my debit card like it is going out of style. However, I do live within my means, but I could do a lot better. I respond “Yeah dad, you know me, I have a handle on what I can and can’t do. At this point, my bank account is steady enough.” My dad replies, “Okay, remember to be responsible. You are not going to be young forever. It is important to save and build up. Be smart.”  Okay, I am taking this advice to the bank.

After talking about the end of my brother’s collegiate baseball career, he switches gears to my career. He asks me how work is going and how I am holding up with everything that our department has gone through in the past couple months. Truth of the matter is, my parents are the only ones who I talk with about this subject.  It is a little too personal and a little too emotional to talk to anyone else besides them (and co-workers). I fill him in and then he non-chalantly asks about what my next career move is. My dad loves what I do and always asks if we could switch jobs but he reminds me to “Keep my options open.”
With that little bit of advice we BS a little bit more and then we say good night so he can get to bed by 8pm (Hey, when you are 55 your sleep is important…especially when you have to get up at 4am). I put down my phone neglecting to check the text messages that came in over the past twenty minutes and kind of sulk a little bit. Coming from the person I respect the most I need to get a higher degree, make changes on how I spend my money, and not get too comfortable at my job…basically, I need to GROW UP. Talk about a reality check!
I have the best dad in the world. Although tough to take in, he is right. My dad is my biggest supporter and is always the first one to compliment/congratulate me. But he is also not afraid to call me out. For that, I am thankful. Don’t Blink.

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