I’m prompting Max to prep for bed. While it takes a little longer, he eventually gets there. I finally warned him with a stern wag of my finger to wrap up the tub time. I came back in his bathroom after sorting his school clothes and he had a head of hair slathered with Old Spice body wash.
I grunted, “No. Not there.”
He proudly continued to rub it over his head. It never registered with him that what he was using was body wash and not shampoo.
“See.” He proudly held a bright yellow hand towel up and ran it through his hair to rinse it. “I wash.”
I dropped to my knees next to the tub in half prayer / half guilt for over reacting to the infamous Old Spice mix up. The thing was, it wasn’t a mix up, and it wasn’t a big deal. It was Max doing his best on his own to scrub up for another day at school. He was not only proud of his accomplishment, but also boasted a savory scent of grandfatherly masculinity.
After he was tucked in and off to sleep, I joined Liliana Hart in the living room to catch up on writing. I began to think about what I said to him, “Not there.” With my one year anniversary of my retirement as Chief of Police, I mused over that comment.
What if I’d listened to that same comment at times in my life? Admittedly, there were occasions that I should’ve known and heeded the warning, but we’ll save those for another less-public forum. I’m talking about people in your path, that for the sake of conformity or custom, tried to divert your direction in life.
What if I listened to the “voice of reason” when I wanted to enroll in graduate school in my forties after having been away from college for twenty years. What if I listened to the “friends” who thought I should’ve stayed in my position before becoming Chief of Police because it was safe and protected. What if I listened to a room full of “detractors” laughing at my first attempt to publish a book, and not because of the content, but that I’d dedicated it to my best friend who had always encouraged me during graduate school although he’d dropped out in eighth grade.
Finally, what if I listened to myself when God said it was time to retire. He didn’t mince words. It was clear, but I rationalized by looking at retirement and saying,
‘Not there,” for almost a year. What if He’d listened to me and said, “Okay, you’re on your own.”
While there are wonderful people offering wise counsel, do yourself a favor and weigh what they have to offer by what is right, what is important and what is yours. Even if the person you should ignore is you.
Being FIT@50 means I get to sit here in peace without the world’s problems being my problems, and Max gets to go to class with magnificent smelling hair.
Chief Scott Silverii, Ph.D.