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Rated: E · Essay · Contest · #2214715
I once got a bit of great advice. This story tells what it came to mean to me.
A moving target is hard to hit…

Many years ago, the manager of my department in the company I worked for gave me a bit of advice. “Dave,” he said. “A moving target is hard to hit.” I heard him, and thought I understood. I credit his advice with saving my job during a period of industry economic downturn, when layoffs were numerous and heavy. Little did I know how much this phrase would come to mean to me.

I have three siblings. I am the youngest male, with two older brothers. They were both good in sports, the oldest extremely so. He also sang like a lark and was in many singing competitions in our youth. I was kind of nerdy. I was not good in sports. I remember feeling overshadowed at times, but I always held my brothers in high esteem. Don’t get me wrong. I am not singing a sad song or lamenting a wallflower life. Even so, family dynamics did shape my attitudes and opinions, especially about myself. I never considered myself an extremely confident person, or that talented… at anything.

I had no real purpose in my life after graduating high school. My parents had divorced many years before, and I had become a bit wild. I had no focus and no plan. Then I met her, and she changed my life. I got married and we had a child on the way. I joined the military because I had a family to support. I completed a career and retired. It was in my first good job after retirement that I got the advice that would mean so much in the years to come.

Taking a chance, despite the layoffs I mentioned earlier, I took a job in a new department within the company. I soon realized I would need a degree to advance and chastised myself for not going to school during my Air Force career. I did not look forward to going back to school at 40 years old, but I knew it needed to be done. In fact, I completed three degrees. Using that education, I eventually moved to another job in Washington, D.C. I was doing work I felt was important, a real contribution to society.

Many years have passed, and I am now in the twilight of my career (ok, my second career). Recently, while talking to a friend at church, I remembered the phrase and mentioned it to him. Upon reflection, I realized that it applied to me, that I had lived it. I have always kept moving, kept trying new things, never being afraid to step out of the box, to take risks. I still do not consider myself the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I am not the dullest either. I have had a good life. I would like to think I have been a good father and grandfather. Both my sons are successful business owners. My grandkids are good people. If you asked today, I would say the greatest advice I could give to anyone, family or friend, is to stay busy, don’t be afraid to try new and different things, to learn. Don’t be afraid to step outside of the box, to take chances. In other words, a moving target is hard to hit…

550 Words
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