It is time for another letter from your old man who in spite of what you think really isn’t all that old. You know what I like about being 42? I have been around long enough to have accumulated a ton of life experience. I have lived, loved and lost. I have gambled, gained and grown. I have been on both sides of success and failure.
I have been on all sides of that old cycle of life thing. You watched me help bury your great grandparents. You saw me take the shovel so that someone who loved them made sure that they were buried with honor and respect. I did it for them. I did it for your grandparents. I did it for you and I did it for me.
Forty-two means that I have been out of school for more than a little while. It means that I know what it means to get up and go to work day in and day out without a summer vacation or winter break. I know what it means to be the sole source of income for the family. I know what it means to love a job and I know what it means to hate it.
That hate part is what some of the fellas would call “a real motherfucker.” They’d say it with a certain inflection and expect that by using that expression it would carry a little more oomph than if they didn’t curse. I am ambivalent about it. I can tell you that some people will respond to it positively and others will be negative.
My advice is that you don’t ask for approval. Just do it.
“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” Mark Twain
I don’t know when you’ll start reading these posts but I do know that you’ll see lots of quotes from Mark Twain. He is one of my favorite authors and someone I refer to frequently. There is a lot of wisdom in what he says and that brings me back to the real point.
The Beauty of Life Experience
The beauty of life experience is that it helps you figure out what you really want to do with your life. If you are very lucky you’ll figure it out at a young age and take steps to make your dream into a reality. But if you are like most people it won’t happen that way and you’ll have to live a bit before you figure it out and even then you might change your mind.
You are old enough now to recognize that I am not satisfied with the way things are but young enough that I won’t share details. You don’t need to know them. They won’t help you and it will probably just confuse you. So I have given you plausible answers that serve the purpose of providing an explanation and more importantly make you feel secure.
But years from now we’ll talk about this. Years from now you’ll probably go through your own search and perhaps my quest will help you. Right now I am working on a variety of projects but what I really want to do is focus on writing. I am good at this. The words come easily and more importantly this brings me joy and you can never have enough of that.
I don’t tell many people about my dreams. I don’t do it because I don’t want to hear their excuses and reasons why mine can’t come true. I have given up more than a few and suffered heartbreak because it seemed like the right thing to do. But I have figured out that all I did was hurt myself. I wasn’t true to me and that is among the worst things a person can do.
Be true to yourself. Don’t let fear stop you. Fight for your dreams and even if you fail rest comfortably knowing that you tried.
What Matters Most
Everyone you encounter in life will be able to tell you what matters most….to them. It is a subjective thing and something that you are going to have to figure out. And because life is nothing but fun it is something that will change over time. What was once important to me now seems trivial and what was trivial is of paramount importance. I can’t tell you why only that it happens.
What I know is that years from now some of the angst you see me write about will seem less important in large part because of “this too shall pass” syndrome. You won’t feel the pressure of time. You won’t know the immediacy that I knew but you’ll have the joy of experiencing it for yourself. My hope and my dream is that some of this will make it easier but I am not real optimistic. It is not because I don’t want it but because your great grandfather was right, “you can’t screw an old head on young shoulders.”
That life experience I talked about earlier- there is no substitute for it. So chances are that you’ll be like most people and find yourself laughing about some things that fell into your lap and crying about that which you missed. And that is ok.
Time for the old man to catch few zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. I look forward to watching you grow.