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Have you ever wondered how it feels inside the head of someone who has this paralyzing fear that prevents them from achieving their greatest dreams? The situation stinks. Life stinks. If you gave me the chance, I might say life sucks when I am almost entirely to blame for the situation. Let me explain. I am Michael Bosnan, a 30-year-old stuck at a job that pays me so well that I have no worries. You are probably thinking I am insane, right? Many have worked their entire life for their dream life, but never achieved the level of wealth I have. What do I have to complain about? Well, honestly, just one thing. I live a rather boring, monotonous life that does not really fuel me. In fact, I am burned out.

I would rather be out there living my dream life, pursuing something so epic that sets my soul ablaze. Something other than toiling away at my dad's multi-million-dollar senior services company. Daily, I work with rich, loaded seniors who need a companion or adults who need some advice on how to care for their indisposed parents. I also administer one of the leading retirement homes in the country. It is a lacklustre job. Not what a 30-year-old man in his prime should do. This is similar to wanting to sail around the world on a yacht, but instead you are stuck in a tiny dinghy, rowing your way through choppy waters. It may be safe and secure, but it is not the adventure I really want. I am more of a driven, passionate man who wants more adventure and excitement chasing my dream. Dealing with boring old people and their retired life is not really what I had in mind when I graduated top of my class from one of the most prestigious Business Schools in the country. I knew the only reason I went to Business School was because my dad was adamant about me taking over the business he built. But here I am, wondering why I ever listened to him in the first place. I should never have attended business school!

I have had a big dream since I was a little boy to become a pilot. To fly the mighty skies without fear of it. To see the whole world while vacationing for free. To live a life as majestic as the sky. 7-year-old me received my first airplane toy as a birthday present. I dreamt that one day, I would not need a toy and imagination but would actually be able to fly the aircraft. I had a dream of soaring in the sky, with no boundaries and no limits. I dreamt of being able to take my passengers to any corner of the world, of being able to see the sun rise and set from the cockpit, of being able to experience the thrill of flight thousands of feet above the ground. As Dr Roopleen, a famous motivational speaker, once said: “If you have a dream, don’t just sit there. Gather courage to believe you can succeed and leave no stone unturned to make it a reality.” If only......I was a coward for going back on myself and my dream. After receiving my High School Diploma, I did the unthinkable by accepting an offer letter to this prestigious Business School instead of a pilot school. All those decades of dreaming of becoming a pilot got crushed. I had been so close to achieving my dream, but I let it slip away due to fear of disappointing my father. I regret not being brave enough and now I am stuck in a job I do not enjoy. I should have taken a risk and followed my dream. In a study, 72% of people regretted not fulfilling their dreams, while only 28% regretted not fulfilling their obligations. I could easily fit into that 28% category.

I was born into a driven, successful, and affluent family. Both my parents have successful careers. It is like I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth, and instead of using it to break down the walls of opportunity, I used it to build a comfortable prison for myself. I had everything I could dream of. Best nannies, best food, best toys, best care, best education. You name it, I have it all. I had the finest view of life right where I was. I was not concerned about a thing in the world. When life was so gracious with you, you had little to complain about. I have been to the finest clubs for the elite, got my education in one of the most renowned educational institutions in the world. I travelled to all corners of the globe, seeing more than an average human in his lifetime. It may seem like a dream many would relish but it was far less sweet for me. What I lacked in my parents' love and care they made up by bribing me with the world's finest. To a child, the most valuable thing besides a room full of toys is his parents' presence and love. No amount of money could make up for the lack of love from my parents. I felt the void of their love and affection and it weighed heavily on me. I felt isolated and alone, no matter how much money I had or how many toys I owned. I longed for a connection with my parents, but it never seemed to materialize. I felt empty and lost without their love. But despite all this, I still managed to find the silver lining - at least I had all those toys to keep me company!

Fast forward to my college years, I surrounded myself with people worth investing in. Instead of rebelling and losing my way, I was devoted to making it. I wanted to excel in my studies. I wanted to take all that pent up anger, frustration and void and use it as fuel to achieve excellence. For that, I have my parents to thank. If it was not for their absence, I would never have ignited that killer determination and commitment to excellence. I worked hard and I worked smart. I poured my heart into every task and assignment, and I pushed myself to be the best of the best. I knew I had to prove myself if I wanted to succeed. Alas, when my finals results were out, I was over the moon to learn I graduated with Top Honours and Top of my Class. That moment defined me and everything I could accomplish if I set my mind to it. The joy was almost unbearable. It was a moment of immense pride for my family and me. I knew that I had achieved something that I had worked hard for and I was grateful for it. It gave me the confidence to take on any challenge that came my way. This moment was like a floodlight illuminating a dark room, giving me clarity and direction in life. It made me realise that if I focused my energy, I had the potential to reach great heights. Not only that, it was also the first time I saw both my parents in the same room with me celebrating my accomplishments. That moment is one I will never forget. It was a moment of immense pride, joy, and accomplishment. Seeing the pride on my parents' faces and the joy of achieving excellence was something I will cherish forever.

As soon as I graduated, I was prepared for what lay ahead. I am joining my father's business as Chief Operations Officer (COO). My memory of that first day is very vivid. Everyone assigned to my service seemed to walk on eggshells around me. My curiosity was piqued by their edginess. It is odd that they behaved this way considering that they had never met me before. Is it possible that all employees in all other companies are exactly the same? Do they need to be wary of their bosses in order to avoid being fired? It certainly made me uncomfortable, whatever the situation was. It is the first time I have been in such an awkward position. People acting afraid of me. I met the most terrible type of men before, that cling to you like a leech just to rub off on your elite status. But I have never met anyone I have imitated per se.

Two years into this job, I met countless people, business people. People whose only focus is entering into a major contract with us. To share in our spotlight. To promote their business and agenda. Sharks in business suits out for blood. I have seen mankind's true horrors in my years as COO. Man, who is prepared to do anything for money and fame. I have seen how dangerous they can be. These dangerous business people have no regard for morals or values. They will do anything to make a profit and grow their business, regardless of the consequences. They are prepared to lie, cheat, and manipulate to get what they want. I have seen some people go to extreme lengths to get what they want, and it has been a sobering reminder of the corruption in the world.

Despite all the things I have seen, the most defining moment in my life happened when I met this elderly man. He was a humble, kind, and wise old man. He talked to me about his life and his experiences and I was astonished by his wisdom and insights. He shared his philosophy of business with me and the importance of doing the right thing and making sure that the people that you do business with benefit from it as well. This experience changed my views on business and it made me realise that, while money and success are important, it is more important to be ethical and to treat people with respect. This understanding has guided me in my business dealings ever since and I am thankful for having met this amazing man. 

Meeting him was my silver lining. It was this inspiration and motivation that kept me going in this dull job. Something about his speech intrigued me, captivated me. It made me look forward to more conversations with him. It was on an uneventful Saturday morning that I was called into one of our posh retirement homes for a brief meeting. That was when I first encountered this man. He immediately caught my attention. Something about him drew me to him. He was perched on one of the luxury Italian sofas with a tea cup in his right hand. His sight seemed lost somewhere on the vast horizon. I approached him cautiously not wanting to startle him. I greeted him softly, "Hello, sir. How are you?" I did not get a response right away. So, I tried again, and this time I saw his gaze shift. He looked right at me and replied, "I'm surviving." His lips broke into a smile that was barely visible unless you looked intensely. I could not imagine how miserable it must be living in a retirement home and having no one to call your own. No family, no friends, just a bunch of strangers floating through their final stages of life in a place where they were most likely abandoned by their family. I politely asked if I could join him and have tea with him. He was more than excited to have me join him. His joy at having my company was like a desert flower that has just experienced a long-awaited rain shower - suddenly rejuvenated and bursting into life. He welcomed me with such warmth that I felt like I had known him my whole life. We talked for hours, discussing our lives, sharing stories, and laughing until the sun went down. His hospitality and openness touched me deeply and it was a day that I did not even realize was going to change my life forever. 

It took him a while to open about his family. For obvious reasons, he was not keen on sharing the personal aspects of his family life with me. I don't' blame him. I understand his reasoning. It is not something everyone would happily make available to strangers. He took his time warming up to me, trusting me. We can both agree that something about each of us draws us closer every day. We talk about our lives and our families, learning more and more about each other with every conversation. We can both appreciate that the bond we share is something special, and it will continue to strengthen as we get to know each other better. This is similar to the way a flower slowly blooms, gradually revealing its beauty and fragrance with each passing day. As we nurture the relationship, it grows and flourishes in ways we never thought possible. When the day finally arrived, he dropped the biggest bombshell of news. As a matter of fact, he was the grandfather I didn't know existed for all of my 30 years. 

Mr. Harold Bosnan, the original owner of Bosnan's Senior Services Company. The company my father claimed he founded. It was all an epic lie. Mere eyewash. It was not even my father's company to begin with. My grandfather was the founder. My father cunningly played my grandfather out of his own company and left him out in the gutters. Everything my grandfather worked so hard and tirelessly to build has been swindled from under his feet. The cruellest part of it all was that my grandfather trusted my father who betrayed him. In all, my father single-handedly destroyed my grandfather's legacy, making a mockery of his hard-earned trust in the process. It was horrifying to hear the truth come out of my grandfather's mouth. Such treachery. To make matters worse, my father had the audacity to proclaim himself the rightful owner of the company, despite his blatant disregard for my grandfather's feelings and his hard-earned trust. The shock of betrayal and the sheer treachery of the act was too much for my grandfather to bear. To compensate, he placed my grandfather in the very retirement home my grandfather started. It ignited within me a sense of rage and disappointment that cannot be articulated. I had this burning desire to avenge my grandfather's betrayal but my grandfather had always been a much better man than I was. He was not driven by punitive revenge like I was. He did something truly remarkable, something I could not do, forgive his son. He said those words with pain. For instance, when my grandfather said, “He’s still my son,” I could feel the sadness and pain in his voice, despite the betrayal. 

My grandfather's tale taught me one thing: if a father really loves his son, he will eventually forgive him for his shortcomings, no matter how big or small. It made me realize that the man whom I called my father, the same one whom I feared I would disappoint to the point that I gave up my own dream, is not worthy of a father. The very luxury I lived on was my grandfather's hard work. It felt so wrong. I owed my grandfather so much, and I was determined to make him proud. I decided to pursue my dream, no matter the cost. This time, I was going to do it for me and for him. That was the turning point in my life. That day, I resigned as the company's COO and enrolled in pilot school. I pursued my dream of becoming a pilot. There was a time I was so desperate to get my father's approval in everything I did, to get his acknowledgement, his love but now never again. I do not know if what I am doing is the right thing. However, I have tried my hardest to please him, to make him proud but that moment has run its course. As a result, I am taking control of my life, no longer held back by fear of letting him down. I will pursue my buried dream for the rest of my life. Soaring into the skies, flying around the globe and making my grandfather proud. I am now doing this both for my grandfather and for myself. Jonas Salk, the discoverer of the polio vaccine, once said: “There is hope in dreams, imagination, and in the courage of those who wish to make those dreams a reality.” 

To my dear grandfather, Mr. Harold Bosnan, I owe everything. Because of you, now I have found the courage to live the dream I have always wanted but never dared to pursue. I credit this life and everything I have accomplished to you. Thank you. I love you. I promise that I will make you proud. I will take all the love and courage you have given me and I will make something out of it. I will make sure to make you proud of me.


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