An imagined conversation with my 3-month old son, some undetermined number of years in the future:
Him: Why did you become a reporter?
Me: Long story
Me: You want to hear a long story?
Me: Well, I'll summarize. Basically, I wanted to write for a living.
Me: Because I'm good at it. And it's fun to have people read what you've written.
Him: But why be a reporter?
Me: I wasn't sure at first. But it turns out that I like getting to learn for a living. The different subjects I can write about are basically unlimited. And I get to go places I'd have no other reason to go and talk to people I'd have no other reason to talk to. And tell their stories.
Him: Do you make a lot of money?
Him: Isn't that important?
Me: Not to me
Me: Because money can't buy you happiness. We need money to live. But money does not equal success.
Him: That's not what Todd's father says.
Me: Todd's father is an idiot.
His mother (listening from the other room): Um, hello!
Me: Sorry. What does Todd's father say?
Him: He says you can tell who is successful by the car they drive.
Him: Well, is he right?
Me: Well, I say you can tell who is successful in part by how they judge success. Some people treat life as a game where the winner accumulates the most stuff.
Him: What does...ak-yoo-moo-mates mean?
Me: Accumulate. It means to gather. Some people measure success by the size of their wallet. Other people measure it by how much they give to other people.
Him: How do you you measure it?
Me: I try not to.
Me: I'd like to think a successful person has given more of himself than he takes from others.
Him: Do you give more of yourself than you take from others?
Me: Not really.
Him: Does this mean you're not successful?
Me: Possibly. I like to think I'm a work in progress.
Him: What does that mean?
Me: It means I can still get better.
Me: I also think you can measure success by raising good, smart, responsible children. And creating a family that revolves around love and an appreciation for the little things in life.
Him: What things?
Me: Like the quiet of a rainy weekend morning, telling a funny joke, playing sports, eating a great meal, singing a song, reading a good book, making a strong argument, hugging someone you love. And you know what else?
Me: Conversations like this.