I am playing catch-up because it took me awhile to think of this one. I thought of famous people first and quickly discarded them because they were flawed in some way or another. So many people usually end up disappointing me but I still admire something about them; that is, however, because people are complex. But it is also why I am not big on celebrity worship and see it as superficial, too. People are human, warts and all, and that’s what makes them interesting, not fame and fortune.
The Bloganuary day 6 prompt is: Who is someone that inspires you and why?
I finally came to the conclusion that I had to get personal. The person who inspires me the most is my dad.
From my dad I have gained my work ethic, my sense of responsibility and integrity. He has always been there for me unconditionally, and I know if I ever need a safety net or extra help and support I can come to him. He is the rock of my family. We have led different lives – he worked as an engineer, married my mom, had three kids, bought a house in the suburbs, hunts and fishes and plays the bass for hobbies, and retired from a successful career working for the same companies all his life. He still lives in my childhood home with my mom.
I, meanwhile, made poverty wages as a reporter, have bounced between careers, majored in creative writing, I rent my current abode, I’ve lived many different places, I’m not married but I have a longtime partner, and I don’t want kids.
However, I respect and admire him. His father died at age 49 of a heart attack, leaving his mother to raise him and his sister as a single mother in Washington State. He was the first in his family to go to college. He went to junior college, then to a four-year college to major in engineering. He got an engineering job which paid for him to pursue a master’s degree. He’s your classic self-made sort of man but he’s also very humble.
From him I gained my love of jazz. I grew up listening to Diana Krall and Nat King Cole and Miles Davis, watching my dad cart his double bass to symphony orchestra or big band rehearsals. I learned the piano, then started playing the flute, and was the only other person in my family to stick with music. My dad taught me that you don’t have to make a living at your passions for them to be worth pursuing and add something to your life.
He’s had heart issues but he has still stayed active, tromping through the woods on hunting expeditions or doing his hill walks in his suburban neighborhood; his Nordic Track in his office was not gathering dust. He had complications from surgery a few years ago but still regained most of his motor functions through sheer force of will, persistence and determination.
He built a shop in his backyard so he could pursue his passion of restoring vintage British motorbikes. He’s so involved with this hobby that he volunteers with a motorcycle and vehicle museum in his retirement years.
Maybe it’s not true any more in today’s economy that you can work hard, do all the right things and still live a comfortable middle class life and live your life to the fullest. But my dad inspires me that it’s possible. His work ethic, integrity and practical, grounded approach to life inspire me to be a better person and work hard at my goals.