"Dream Big"… I don’t remember my dad ever telling me that these two words were ok to be placed together in a sentence. What I do remember, when asked if I was going to follow the family business, he would always respond, “He will do whatever makes him happy.”
Growing up, my Dad always worked for himself or my Grandpa as a farmer. My favorite part of the year was when it was time to sow plaster on the peanuts. If you were ever told to drink your milk as a kid, plaster is the “glass of milk” peanuts need to be healthy and strong. The reason this week was so special for me was that it was a two-man job, Dad and me, it let us spend quality time together working at something. This week was also one of the most telling for me of what it means to work for yourself. It would rain, the plaster was too wet, the fields were too wet, the truck broke, the truck was stuck, the flies were eating me alive in the back of the truck. This rhythm, or lack there of, is the world that my Dad lived and still lives on a daily basis. What is amazing for me is that no matter how bad the day was before, he wakes up at the crack of dawn and starts fresh every morning.
At one point, I remember thinking Dad was crazy for not just getting a normal job. I spent a summer working for my Aunt Sis and Uncle Melvin at their sign and print shop and I thought, “this will be the life, AC all summer” … but it wasn’t. Then I got a job working for Subway for the next two years - can I just say how repulsive the smell of Subway is to me even today? I’m sorry, Subway. I love you and still eat your food and if you wanted to sponsor the site I would gladly take the money, but Jesus God, you made me totally un-datable for my last two years in high school. Looking back, I appreciate that my Dad let me walk away from the farm to gain other life skills. However, the life lessons that I connect with the most are from those moments in the field with him.
I have spent much of my adult life working as a subcontractor, which I totally blame on Dad. Even though he isn’t nearly the nomad that I have become, his ability to be his own boss has always been a source of inspiration to me. Most of my life I’ve thought, if I could only be tough like my Dad, then someday I will make it. In the last year as our relationship has changed, I’ve learned that my fears are the same that he faces on a daily basis. Often, he fears that he doesn't have his father's strength. My Dad is in no way a millionaire but the look in his eyes when those first plants pop out of the ground is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen, you would have thought he won the lottery. Dad would do anything to protect those little guys and the same way, he has made it his life’s work to take care of me and help me to grow into my full potential.
I couldn’t talk about life’s potential without bringing up our friend and mentor, Dave Gierke. I think everyone should know Gierke better, but that is a whole different letter for a different day. Anyway, Dave has used the phrase, “fake it till you make it,” for as long as I have known him, which I agree with to a point. However, what I am realizing now is that you never really “make it.” Sooner or later, and with a lot of blood, sweat, and tears, you really do have to stop faking it. That level of accomplishment isn't typically reached from one-hit wonders or YouTube discoveries, it comes from work. Work, something my Dad did 6 days a week for the last 32 years of my life.
So today I’m committing to putting in the work. Not farming, although I'm not totally against the idea, instead I want to work on my passions. My passion to create, and make, to study. If I ever want to truly be an artist, the the buck starts and stops with me. I’m going to make it a priority to post new content daily as a way of reliving those moments in the field with Dad. I want to wake up every morning and say, “Today I’m going to ‘Dream Big,’ and I’m going to work on my craft so I don’t have to ‘fake it’.” I may not have Dad’s strength, but I have to try.
Thanks for Being There,