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To My Children (2): Career, Its Ending and Beginning 子供達へ (2): キャリアの終わりと始まり

Neil is 66 and has been retired for 2 years now. My children are in their 30’s working hard building up their careers. For me, the word “career” does not apply, since my work is so free and individualistic. I just watch. When I am watching, it gives me so much insight and perspectives from each one of you and makes me think.

When you retire and look back on your career, you realize how much you have learned over all those years. Often those learnings were earned in the hardest ways. Naturally, you want to pass them on especially to the young loved ones who are just starting. You don’t want all the wisdom you acquired to be lost and wasted.

However, do young ones really want to hear them? They might feel, oh it’s from last generation and therefore irrelevant, or you can always find better information online, or they might simply want to have their fresh start, do things their way. They might not want to be bothered with awkward suggestions, “just leave me alone!”

I don’t know if you are feeling that way…but even if you are, please graciously listen to Neil’s stories, put his wisdom somewhere in your head. One day, it might become helpful…or at least you might understand what he was saying.

Neil was an excellent researcher and wonderful educator. However as you know, he is super simple and ultra honest person, and he does not read air very well. He was not a politician and politics gave him so much pain. I could see that very well. It was hard for me to see him suffer in his career. However, he IS a deeply caring person. His struggles led him to take on the position of the faculty advisor for the university. He wholeheartedly helped for many many years those who were having difficulties in their careers. He dealt with all kinds of difficult cases. His knowledge is amazing. He was such a valuable person in the university.

Organizations are all so political, especially universities. They are terrible. One day, you are bound to face some enormous problem. When you do, I hope you remember that your stepfather is there for you, offering you some valuable ideas.

ニールは66才ですでに現役を退いた身。子供たちは30代でこれからキャリアを積んでバリバリ働く身。私はフリーな仕事がらキャリアという言葉は当てはまらないから横で気楽に観察している身。横から見ているとそれぞれがなにをどんな風に感じているのかがよくわかってちょっと複雑な気分になったりする。

リタイアすると今まで人生の大半を占めてきたキャリア生活を思い返して実に色々な教訓を得てきたことに気づく。そしてなんとかその教訓を若いこれからの人達に伝えたいって思うんだよね。そうしないと苦労して得た教訓が無駄に消えてしまうから。でもね、若い人たちはそう言う教訓を聞きたいって思ってるんだろうか? 時代が違う、なんでもオンラインで調べられるからいい、フレッシュスタートで自分の思うようにやって見たいって思ってるかもしれない。お節介なお説教は聞きたくないって思うかもしれない。

たとえそうであっても、ありがたくニールの話を聞いてあげてほしい。頭のどこか隅っこにでもニールの教訓を置いといてあげてほしい。いつか役に立つことがあるかもしれないよ。

ニールは研究者、教育者としては優秀な教授だったんだけど、ど単純でバカ正直で独りよがりのところがあって政治的に立ち回ることができない人だった。横で見ていて彼の苦労がものすごくよくわかって心苦しかった。誤解されることが多いけどニールは心から思いやりの深い人なんだよ。自分の苦労を生かして役に立ちたい一心でファカルティーアドバザーのポジションについて、一生懸命、大勢の教授達の様々な問題を長年にわたって助けてきたんだよ。だから色々なケースをよく知ってる貴重な人なんだよ。

どんな組織でもそうだけど、特に大学は難しいところだよ。必ずいつかは岩にぶつかるからその時はどうか素直にニールの苦労話や教訓を聞いて参考にしてほしい。


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Family Reunion 家族のリユニオン

We were always together….nobody questioned about it. But one day, somebody moved out for university, then somebody got married, then somebody moved for work…. before knowing, our family was forever changed….sad. 😢

Since I was divorced in a foreign country, my three little children and I were like a little cocoon, so close together all the time. I really miss those days…

My boy, Ikkei, got a job in Hawaii, and we decided to have a family reunion in Seattle. After all these years this was the first time all of us gathered together. We rented a house in Seattle for three days. Ikkei’s family drove from Pennsylvania, Tomoka and her kids flew from Tokyo, Rutsu and her baby drove from Lions Bay, of course Neil and I also drove from Lions Bay, and we all joined in Seattle. My three children are now 37 to 33, and our five grandchildren are from 9 years old to 10 months old.

It was crazy noisy, but such a joy. It was my life’s highlight!

It’s so true that the time never comes back. When we gather again, we will be all different. Some of us are aging, some are growing…. that makes the moment even more precious. I would treasure the memory for the rest of my life.

当たり前のように一緒に暮らして喧嘩したり笑ったりしていた家族が、進学、就職や結婚で、ある日一人抜け、二人抜け、気がついたら家族構成がすっかり変わってしまっている。。。寂しいな。特に私は異国で離婚して3人の子供たちとの4人暮らしで4人が一つのサナギのようにして暮らしてきたからかことさら寂しさを感じる。

今夏は長男の一敬が就職でハワイに移転することになったこともあり、初めて子供たちと孫たちと犬たちと猫が全員シアトルに集合して3日間を共に過ごすことになった。一敬たちはペンシルヴェニア州からドライブ、知香たちは東京から飛んで、瑠都たちと私たちはライオンズベイから、それぞれがシアトルに集合した。子供たちは37才から33才、孫たちは9才から10ヶ月。

気が狂いそうなくらいにぎやかだったけど、とっても楽しい3日間だった。私にとっては一生の思い出になるハイライトだったなあ。

本当に、この瞬間は2度と戻って来ない。次にまたみんなで会える時はみんな変わってしまっている。歳をとってたり、大きくなってたり。。。そう思うと、本当に貴重。大事な大事な宝物のような瞬間…