After reading Mark Edmundson’s The Pink Floyd Night School, I realized that I had a similar experience in my own life. Everyone has their own path that they choose to follow, whether it takes one year or many years to reach a final goal. For me, it was my journey that defined who I am and what I really wanted to do in my life. Often times, we experience special moments in life that change our mind and lead us in the right direction. For me, it was making a major career shift from the elevator industry to going back to school in order to become a dentist.
I began my career in an industry I really enjoyed while working for Otis Elevators. I decided to work in this field (construction) for eleven years and was an active member of the elevator union. It was so lucrative for me that I decided to move from Charlotte, North Carolina to Las Vegas in July of 2006. However, once the construction industry experienced a downturn in 2010 I was laid off, although, thankfully, my pension was protected. I assumed that my unemployment would not last long; however, I found myself not having a job for over a year. I became disgruntled with life and started getting depressed. My wife noticed that I had lost my zest for life and it was even affecting my personal relationships.
At that point, I decided that I have had enough. I sat down with my wife and asked her what she thought would be the best course of action for both of us. She insisted that I pursue what I really wanted to do. So, I took a long walk down the strip and noticed that there were lots of people selling tickets, begging for change and going about their day. What really struck me was the looks on their faces. When I was approached by various people, I noticed a direct relationship between the looks on their faces and the attitudes they had while communicating with me. In short, I could tell that these people were utterly miserable.
This experience struck a chord in me as I realized that I did not want to live the life that I had. Sure, I made money and had a decent life, but I was not really happy. So, I went back to the drawing board and really sought out to discover what I wanted to do in life. I ended up calling my mom and she told me that since I was a child, I loved working with my hands and making people happy. After pondering on it for some time, a doctor bumped into me at a grocery store and we began to chat. As I told him about a recent hand injury I suffered, he told me about the best way to get myself back into being active with it. I could see the light in his eyes; this was a man that was excited about what he wanted to do in life. It was apparent because the quality of attention he gave me, even outside of his actual professional workplace, was based on his keen interest in healing people.
I had the realization that I wanted to become a dentist and help heal people with the same level of passion as this doctor. However, I wanted to fully dedicate myself and really step up my commitment. The impression that the Doctor left me with was similar to Edmundson’s perception of Pink Floyd: “[They] demanded a certain quality of sound. They wanted their amps stacked high, not just on stage, where they were so broad and tall and forbidding that they looked like a barricade in the Paris Commune” (Edmundson). After discussing the decision with my wife, I enrolled back in school with the goal of fulfilling my dream, being happy and having the same standard of excellence as both examples illustrated. This experience surely changed the course of my life and resulted in where I am today. Now, I am back in school and actively pursuing my true passion in life where I can do well for myself, my family and be happy while doing it.
Edmundson, Mark. "The Pink Floyd Night School." The New York Times,1 May 2010, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/02/opinion/02edmundson.html?pagewanted=all.