In the context of my life, my 49 years, I have been many different versions of myself and I have learned many lessons. Most times, these things were learned the hard way; because I am stubborn as hell and for years thought I knew it all already. I have learned that I DO NOT! The things that I do know, from trial and error, can help I think, and I will offer them to you now:
- When you wake up,be happy that you woke up: Each day is a gift
- Hug and kiss each of your loved ones and say you love them, before they walk out the door each morning: We never know who’s coming back, for sure.
- Create a small, reachable task as a goal to complete, no matter what else happens: Accomplishing small daily goals helps build confidence in yourself: It gives me the confidence to believe I have the ability to achieve more by adding more and more small tasks as my confidence has grown.
- Open a door for a stranger: look them in the eye, smile, say hi, good morning, hello. You may have just changed their whole day for the better. Then again, you may have just made it worse, take a chance, I think it’s worth it.
- Shrug off negative reactions without words or confrontation: Be polite because it makes YOU feel good, not for recognition or reward. Giving without expectation has been one of the best therapies I utilize and the rewards never cease to amaze me. (nothing to do with $)
- If you are capable of charity I would normally say share it, and I do when I can, but for me, where we leave, by a beautiful beach community, the homeless have over run it and if you give a little, they might even go to your home to take a lot. I give left-overs when we eat out most times, donate clothes but never give money or shelter. I wish people were trusting enough to do that but it’s not worth risking my children when THEY are why I am enjoying this life full of labor and drama.
- Don’t think you know how someone is by the color of their skin or their dress: I have always been and encouraged my kids to be as original a person as possible. Think for yourself, don’t just follow along if you know what’s happening isn’t right, maybe even take action to correct it if your brave enough, but not participating is the first step. Giving the person the chance to have a conversation might change your whole perception of specific “groups” of people. Then again,if your calling people “groups”, you probably don’t realize we are all one species already, hope is dim.
- Don’t judge: Don’t judge other people for their decisions, they are THEIR decisions, and ultimately they will be the ones dealing with the consequence. If they mean something to you, support them, listen to them and then you have a better understanding of what they are dealing with, whatever it may be family is family to me, and there is no greater bond to me or no greater importance. Judging people without knowing of their actions first is just ignorant and narrow-minded, in my opinion. Everyone gets a chance, the way it should be.
- Relieve any grudges: I refuse to spend my life caught up in “coulda”,”woulda”,”shoulda”. For me, there is nothing of monetary value, that would have me wasting precious time on negative thoughts, especially about someone else, I already do it to myself. Second, Everything that I chose to do, whether good or bad, has landed me exactly where I am today and I wouldn’t change any of it. It makes me see the world from the view of someone who, although being through some really brutal experiences,came out on the other side a humble lover of life and a caring, giving parent and person. Going through some of the “hell on earth” I have seen has played a great deal on my ambition to make a difference and lead my children in another direction. One of my strongest points to them is that life is too short to hate and to spend time with it is a waste of valuable time. If we all loved as strongly as we hate, imagine the difference.
- Be honest and faithful: Honestly, I struggled with these most of my life. The pain that I caused, I never realized, would come to hurt me. The trust I threw in the face of those that loved me most. The terror I caused my parents by being a 15 year old runaway, who is now the father of 4 and terrified of the same. The lies I have told to save a person that I often find, “not worthy”, me. The pain in the eyes of my children as I walked out the door, knowing my visits would be brief and far between. These realizations are a gift to me, in my opinion. The clarity they have produced on the person I wanted to be, drove me to today and the kind-hearted, open-minded, free thinking, fun loving, music playing, lover of family, life, our planet and everything in it, person that I have become.
- If you take anything from this, I would like it to be this: Do one good deed today, no matter how small and I will do the same. Maybe we can start making a positive difference in someones life.
DAP 5/18/19 Written with Love