I have been struggling to summarize the enormous role my dad has played in my life into a few sentences. And then tonight.. I thought of it. His most important lesson to me has been to have your passions define your life, instead of your life defining your passions. Let me explain.
He loves sailing. But growing up in Chicago after the Depression isn't exactly yachting season. So, he built one out of orange crates and had a great time sailing around the great lakes. Years later, he would be sailing up and down the coast of California in a West Sail. His passion for sailing defined that he would always have a sailboat, and share his enthusiasm with family and friends, thus making it a part of his life.
Another example. He always was interested in medicine, but took the opportunities that came to him and had a very successful career in the film and TV industry. But he never lost his passion for medicine. So when an opportunity arose to leave everything behind at the peak of his career for a chance to go to medical school in Tiajuana, he took it. His passion took his, and his very understanding wife's, life in a totally new direction, but one that lead to wonderful adventures.
So I want to take the opportunity to thank him for imparting this wisdom on me. He has always nurtured my passions, giving me a microscope and slides of sheep intestine when I was a kid, buying me the horse who he knew was my sailboat, even encouraging me to give a ten minute talk on quantum mechanics to my seventh grade English class (though that was a fiasco, it is one of my favorite memories). He taught me to exploit my circumstances, take every opportunity at full value, and always keep an eye out for the next open door. Thank you so much Dad.