When I was eighteen, I just knew I was destined for greatness. I was young, creative and had my whole life in front of me. The only thing that was uncertain was what the type of greatness that I was headed for would end up being.
I definitely had Rock Star potential. My hair was long, and my rebellious spirit was more than adequate to fit the bill. I had even practiced smashing air guitars at the end of my concerts and screaming “THANK YOU DETROIT!”
I was fairly intelligent, even in spite of “not applying myself”. I could definitely be a famous scientist if I wanted. I could end up being the guy who would cure the common cold, or hiccups, or dandruff. My greatness as a scientist would rival Einstein’s. Perhaps I would become a scientist after retiring from my career as a Rock Star.
I could be a great writer, or a great athlete . . . .or a billionaire! My greatness could be almost anything, and I was certain it was there just waiting to be activated.
Years somehow slipped by and before I knew it, I was forty years old, married, and father of two daughters.
One day, as I sat on the couch taking inventory of my life, I realized that in that blur of passing years, my greatness had never been realized. Where was my greatness? I was baffled. Something was wrong. My younger sureness of greatness was such that I could not have been mistaken about it, so what had happened? I recounted the last two decades and tried to determine just where my greatness had been missed.
Could it be that it was still yet to come? My long Rock and Roll hair was gone and I was left with more forehead than hair. My butt wouldn’t look nearly as good in tight leather pants as it would have years ago, and I never did learn to play the guitar . . . . . It was unlikely that greatness as a Rock Star was in my future.
My scientist career was out of the question at this point. I had a hard time remembering my kids’ birthdays or our anniversary, let alone remember enough information to become Einstein’s rival. Besides, scientists nowadays rely heavily on computers, and I could hardly turn a computer on without help from one of my daughters. One would surely not be taken seriously as a scientist with a daughter standing over my shoulder yelling, “Dad, stop pounding on the keyboard! It’s not going to uncrash the computer!”
It didn’t seem like my greatness was going to be in the form of money either. I had a decent job that paid our bills, but I was a long way from being a billionaire. In fact, I was a good half dozen decimal places from being a billionaire . . . . I was a hundredaire. And without the winning of a lottery that I never played, there was little chance that this was going to change any time soon.
While I was still pondering my greatness that had escaped me, my daughter Hannah came into the living room and plopped down on the couch next to me, leaning her head on my shoulder. In our house, this wasn’t an uncommon thing to happen while our family watched TV. It is how my daughters communicate to me that I am not the worst parent in the world . . . . It’s how they say, “I love you dad”.
Suddenly, there it was . . . . . My greatness.
I felt foolish for not recognizing it.
My greatness had not come in the form that I had imagined it would when I was eighteen, it was better.
I had hit the lottery by marrying a wife that was as loving, caring and as understanding of my inner Rock Star as my wife was. The feat of getting her to say “I do” was greatness in itself. She was my jackpot . . . my fortune.
My daughters were my greatness. To think that my wife and I had raised two young women as wonderful as my daughters were, was my greatest accomplishment. Being called “Dad” was my fame. My reward was the love and pride that I had for them.
I was instantly filled with a sense of satisfaction and peace knowing that my greatness had been realized. I was rich. I was famous. And I wouldn’t trade my greatness for any other form of greatness in the world.