It’s a Long Run We’ve Signed Up For

The career opportunities are hard to turn down. It’s hard in the moment, ​as we’ve talked about​, to be able to think too far into the future. It’s hard to make much in the way of long term investments as a parent because you’re so overwhelmed by the responsibilities of the present.

But we have to remember what we’re after, we have to keep in perspective that this is a marathon we’ve signed up for. We quoted the baseball player Anthony Rendon recently about how he was having to ​weigh painful but career-elongating surgeries​ and the grind of continuing to play against the kind of shape he wants to be in as his kids get older and the kind of relationship he can have with them. “Right now, it looks like we are only playing for these next four years of baseball,” Rendon said, “but I’m trying to hang out with my kids for the rest of their lives.”

That’s a physical and emotional thing. Can you literally hang out with them…and ​do they want to hang out with you​? There are Wall Street bankers who so neglected their families as they made their fortunes that their kids have no interest in spending the summers at the family beach house. There are runners whose love of marathons has wrecked their body for the marathon of raising teenagers or carting around grandchildren. And there are regular folks in between who are burned out, who have overcommitted, who have just not taken care of themselves enough.

This is a long race we signed up for. It’s a true test of our endurance. We have to pace ourselves, ​we have to prepare ourselves​. We have to remember that the choices we make now—what we invest in or don’t, what we overuse or under-utilize—impacts the choices we’ll get to make in the future.

Choose wisely.

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