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My Second Life

My vacation from my permanent vacation was perfect.  Now I need a vacation from my vacation.  Reflecting back on the weekend while flying home makes me think about my second life.  Although I’ve been around volleyball for over 21 years, it has become my “second life” after my “first life”.

The rays of sun bent between the tall Chicago buildings as I rode in a  Chevrolet taxi cab this Sunday morning.  The ‘cleanliness’ of this cab brought the assumption that it was on the lot overnight and not out picking up the raucous litters from the previous night.  The cab driver was quite articulate as he broke the street noise with typical cabbie banter, “Where you from”, “Why are you here”, etc.  I turned the tables and asked about him.  I learned he had been a cabbie for six years, and prior to being a cabbie, was a Vice President for Andy Fran Corporation.  Andy Fran Co. provided the security and operations support for events, such as concerts, ballgames, shows, etc.  Andy Fran Co. suddenly went bankrupt and this cabbie took over where Andy Fran Co. left off and he started his own company.  He worked with all the A-List Chicagoans, Michael Jordan, Oprah Winfrey, Richard Daley, etc.  Then 9/11 hit, the economy slowed, and his business ended up going belly-up six years later.  He lost it all and now he is a cab driver.

Being around my best friends often reminds me of my first life.  I spent 10 years in international marketing and had more financial freedoms…travel perks, cars, boat, houses, etc.  That life has past, but I was able to vicariously relive some of those moments by riding the coattails of my friends while fishing on their boat, their hotel perks, their restaurant tabs, and a box suite at the Cubs / Yankee game with Vince Vaughn in the adjacent box.  They are very generous, of which I am grateful.

One of my best friends recently transitioned from teacher to the corporate world.  We have a lot of similarities in that we essentially are both teachers and its great to compare stories.  He earned his Masters in Education and was working on his Doctorate when he was let go from a school he was teaching for almost 5 years.  He struggled to find his next decent teaching job and bounced around a bit.  He said, “This country is not easy on teachers, nor appreciative of them.”  So he turned to the business world and is now on the fast track to become a vice president of a company, purchased a new home, and is not struggling like he was when he was teaching.  He said to me, “The teaching profession is dwindling, pay cuts continue, and good teaching jobs are almost impossible to come by.  There came a time when the political B.S. got the best of teaching and I said enough.”  This country lost and incredibly caring teacher.

There is this little voice of contradiction in the back of my head, I think we all have one of these voices, and mine is yelling at me.  “Go back to the ‘easy’ life.”  “Why continue to struggle?”  “When will the struggle end?”  I think about the cabbie. I think about my buddy who was a teacher, I think about how funding is effecting universities, and how easy it would be for me to jump back into the business world.

Darwin’s theory of evolution applies to the coaching profession.  Great coaches become great coaches because they survive, are not distracted by the ‘easy road’, and stay focused.  I know the struggle is a gift.  I don’t have to reread my last post “Four Year Vacation”, but the perspective from four days ago pre-vacation to post-vacation today is interesting.

Ultimately, I know what I want and the vacation was a test to confirm I’m heading in the right direction.  Sometimes we have to squash that little voice.  I’m recharged and can’t wait to get into the gym tomorrow morning 🙂

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