Right now, my father is riding in a plane, counting down the seconds until he jumps out of it, and dives into the sky. All I can think is, "I want to be jumping with him."
My Dad is an adventurous man, though he's never been out of the country or seen the Mona Lisa in person. That wouldn't matter to him, because those aren't things that deserve mention. They're tourism and material things. It's the present action of life that gets the credit. He's the man with the tanned leather hands - that have worked the soil and plow since the age of twelve. I think that's where I get my desire to work with my hands...be actively living out what it is I want to do in life.
"Be present where you are," is what my old camp friend, Andrew, would say when we talked about dwelling on a bad decision or worrying about the future decisions we'd also have to make. In many ways, the two men are similar, but my Dad doesn't say phrases like that aloud because they are a little deeper than he'd like to go or are more cliche than he'd like to sound.
What he doesn't know is that he says the same thing with the way he and my mom raised his daughter and his two sons: how he taught us to work our asses off in whatever we do, wherever we are..and also, to just go for it. Just jump! Before I left for Chicago, I had a dramatic breakdown that almost led me to flip off the city all together and stay in the comfortable dwell of Nebraska. You know what he said to me? First he told me to stop freaking out - like the Auten women in our family often do when they try something new or say goodbye for a while to something or someone they love. Then he told me, "I'm proud of you for being uncomfortable." I take it as, "I'm proud of you for taking the leap and starting to pay your own bills, even if the altitude or the whipping wind on the way to the ground is, at times, too much." Then he told me he was going skydiving in September.
We made it!
Na zdravi, Pops!