"So what's he going to do?" asked my coworker.
"Oh, most likely accounting," I'd said. "He's getting his degree in Finance and Business Management. He's an accountant right now for a small manufacturing company......." blah blah blah. The conversation continued like this for a few minutes, me detailing the standard hopes and dreams of many American families...a good, steady job, good pay, good benefits...my coworker nodding his head in appreciation, listening as I expressed fears about the current job market and making ends meet.
Then I dropped this incredible thought:
"Ya know, if he had it his way, I mean really had it his way, you know what he would be? What he really wants to be?"
My coworker kinda raised his eyebrows, interested, but not sure where I was going.
"A bread truck driver. He would want to drive a bread truck. A real bread truck. With bread on it."
This was met with silence and unblinking eyes.
"I mean think about it, bread is light, easy to carry, and smells good. He would smell good all the time, just driving around his bread truck. Best job ever."
My coworker just kinda continued staring at me for a minute, then did that eye dart thing everyone unconsciously does when checking for hidden cameras.
"Oh wow...!" he said. "Yea...uhm......not much room to grow there, as a....uhm....bread truck driver."
He trailed off and slowly started to walk away. Now this is a nice guy, my coworker. He wasn't trying to be snotty, or uppity, or holier-than-thou. He was simply expressing his opinion - alluding to what it means to be successful in his eyes. To my coworker, a successful career means room to grow in a company, to advance, to become an executive, perhaps.
Our convo got me thinking.....
Ten years ago, had you asked me what kind of man I'd like to marry, a bread truck driver would've probably come in dead last. Ok it wouldn't have even been mentioned. Seriously who thinks of things like driving bread trucks??
Well Aaron, that's who.
Aaron's been deployed to Iraq twice, the first time for 15 months, the second for 13 months. He earned the rank of sergeant and had the incredible opportunity to be hand-selected for the Personal Security Detachment for the Command Sergeant Major (CSM) of his unit...which basically means he was a bodyguard for a big, high-ranking guy. He manned the 50-cal on top of the CSM's Humvee. Aaron was chosen for this job because during his first deployment he was caught in an ambush and survived primarily because he had the quick thinking to shoot out a generator supplying light to the streetlamps illuminating his entire convoy and making them an easy target for the heavily-armed terrorist snipers surrounding their position.
To him, a bread truck sounds nice.
Success. It can mean a million things and for each of the millions of possibilities it can mean for one person, it can mean equally as many things to someone else.
Success is making your oldest daughter laugh like a crazy person.
It's surviving an 8-hour plane ride with a kid suffering from motion sickness.
It's watching your dad and your daughter catch her very first fish.
It's maintaining, improving, and cherishing a marriage regardless of relentless obstacles.
It's having your baby girl open her eyes for the first time......and see you.
Nope, driving a bread truck won't nab the big bucks, or a corner office, or even, in some cases, the respect of others. But that's ok. There's more than one way to make your mark in this world.
Aaron may end up becoming an accountant. He may end up being a bread truck driver. He may hate both those things and just start working for his soon-to-be-famous wife (eh? ehhhhh???). Whatever he chooses, I know he will be successful, as he's always been, as I know he can be.
Do what makes you happy. Whether it's a six-figure paycheck or the scent of fresh-baked yeast, reach for your goals with intention and the knowledge that if you want something bad enough, I mean really want it, nothing can stop you. Not a confused coworker, not lack of time, not lack of money, nothing. The true measure of your desire is your commitment to making it a reality.
Here's to the dreamers, corner-office dwellers, and bread truck drivers.