My arms have been twisted by Jean from “Transforming Stress Into Personal Power” into writing on this topic. I wonder if it is because she thinks of me as a staid, risk averse person. In any case, her post is worth a visit and the comments there are very interesting too.
To start off this post, let me take you to my post “The Wildest Thing I Did In my youth”.
I quote from that post – “In my case, to rank one as the wildest thing I ever did in my youth would be an impossibility. There were so many!”
So, leaving my youth aside for the purpose of this post, let me take you to two huge risks that I took, which in retrospect, paid off.
The first one was when I was 47 years old, on the fast track in my career, in a senior enough position in a multinational company of repute, with all attendant power and pelf when I quit. I quit to register my protest with the direction the company was taking in India and to save my personal life from deteriorating into a meaningless one. I had spent half my then life with the company and that the resignation was received with total disbelief is an understatement.
I left to work for an Indian family owned company, and most people thought that I was daft. Subsequent developments proved to the skeptics that I had taken the right decision. I did have butterflies in my stomach for the first couple of years and there were times when I wondered whether I was indeed daft. That phase passed and I never had to look back, ever again.
The second big risk that I took was a little over two years ago, when I decided to invite my then 92 year old father to come and live with me. Our relationship had been on an arms-length basis for decades and he had lived his life the way he wanted. He had had no touch with the realities of the life that mine had turned into. While I had a very good idea of his values and behaviour patterns, he had had none of mine. I had a lot of deeply held resentments against him. Some of my relatives thought that I was daft explicitly, and some must have thought so without expressing the thought to me.
The initial period was rocky, but manageable. After my wife passed away, he started off on power plays and the relationship went from good to bad and back to good and bad a few times. On some occasions, others in the family, primarily my sister and her children and my cousin had to come to sort matters out, but for the time being, particularly after his recent hospitalization and recovery, things are placid. I am satisfied that I have done my duty, and that too, without compromising on my values or life style. I have had to compromise on some matters, but on balance, I am satisfied that I did the right thing and can continue to be satisfied with the outcome.
On both occasions, my late wife was party to my decisions and a solid support. Had it not been so, I would have not taken either decision. In the second case, my son too had to be part of the decision and he too had to make adjustments along with me. I am sure that he would agree that in retrospect, the decision has worked out as well as possible under the circumstances.
Again wiser by hindsight, the grass just grew by itself!
So Jean, enough? Or would you like me to dredge up some more from my trove of memories?