These last couple of months, while we have been sheltering in place here in California, I have had the pleasure of joining in on a zoom call and playing poker with a group of friends I have known for many years. These aren’t just friends; they are my fraternity brothers from my days at UC Santa Barbara (which ended four years before I met and married Suzanne).
Some of these brothers knew her. Most did not because despite being close in college, we all went our ways—and I lived abroad for nearly 20-years after college, so I did not see many of them (other than on Facebook) for many years. There were exceptions, but not many.
Seeing and spending time with “the boys” has been refreshing. It has made me relive some of my youth—remembering all the awful things we used to do, like drinking, cussing, teasing, etc. But it has also been an excellent opportunity to reconnect more deeply. To bring together brothers who shared experiences in college that shaped us into the men we became.
I have been able to play every two weeks for the last two months, except for when my new partner came out from Kansas City to visit two weeks ago (after travel restrictions to California were lifted by her work). It has helped to keep me sane at this time when I have not seen or able to connect with people in person.
At times during the games, we do get serious and start chatting about deeper level emotional and spiritual things (while we are playing)—of course, that’s in between the teasing and the banter. And it seems that so many of my brothers keep asking me about finding passion and purpose in their lives.
The thing is, in my life, and my most recent experience as a widower, I’ve seen so many people make the same mistake I used to make: stay in dead-end jobs with low pay solely for the sake of “security,” wasting years of their lives doing something they just don’t love. To me, that’s just backward.
Why do we waste so much time sticking with stuff we don’t genuinely care about? Is it the money? Is it recognition? Is it the health benefits? Is it truly for “security?” I just don’t know.
Of my fraternity brothers, I am one of the very few that is genuinely “self-employed.” And I love what I do. No, I don’t get health benefits, and I don’t want or ask for recognition. Nor do I have much security. But I do get to do something that I am genuinely passionate about and care about. I get to serve and help other widows and widowers.
And I wonder why we aren’t all doing something that we truly love? And I think of all the times I wish I could have been at home with Suzanne, working on something I was passionate about and loved to do instead of wasting all those years complaining and moaning about dead-end jobs and long commutes.
I’m considering putting together a free program on how to get unstuck from the thinking that is holding us back from being happier and living our purpose and passion. Would this be of interest to any of my fellow widower brothers? It seems to resonate with some of my fraternity brothers, and let’s face it; you guys are my fraternity now.
If this seems like a good idea, then please DM me with your thoughts or message me here in the group. Or, if you have any other ideas for anything better, then please let me know!
Jeff Ziegler can be seen every two weeks here on WSN-MO. You can write Jeff at Jeff.firstname.lastname@example.org.