The phone rang just as I took a breather from a grueling day riddled with calls, meetings and loads of planning. It was my dad. And for the first time ever we spoke at length for over 20 minutes.
It was heartbreaking to hear him break down and cry. I couldn’t hold back my tears either. But he didn’t know I was feeling as miserable. He felt empty, alone and desperate — for love and attention.
While I didn’t know how to react I made sure that I am listening to him fully. No bias. No judgments. No comments. And I guess that’s what he’d ever needed, to be heard.
He went back to being himself after that call. And although we deepened a relationship a notch further I was just not feeling any better. I realized that I’d felt empty, alone and desperate too. But instead of seeking someone to listen to me I directed all my energies to my work, passion and the pursuit of excellence. I started a journey that’ll possibly consume the rest of my life.
Now, I don’t regret any of my choices. But I do regret not spending enough time with my father. I’d always wished to bond with him, understand him better and spend quality father-son time with him.
But that never transpired until he made that phone call. “He” made that call. Not me.
I wish I could undo what has happened. But I can’t. I can, however, make the choices right now. It’s not too late. To connect not just with him but my family and friends. It’s never too late. Until it is.
What I’ve realized is that though love is free… people end up paying a huge price for it. They let their worldly priorities and/or ego come in the way. Remember, we were once kids when our parents were THE whole world to us. They eventually become a part of the whole world and then (as you grow old) a small minority of people who deeply care about you.
But then, you’re busy worrying about your next big promotion or assignment. You have your priorities set — and it’s not them.
That’s life. But, thankfully, it’s not too late. Stephen Covey has beautifully defined the four human dimensions: to live, love, learn and leave a legacy.
It seems we’ve put “love” in the backburner. It’s free! And there’s market for it. You just need to make time for it.