A letter to my children….

Your greatest challenge and my greatest hope for you is this – Find Your One!  It will not be easy.  You will make mistakes.  You will get frustrated.  You probably will get hurt.   You may even hurt others (never do it intentionally, it is not worth it). 

There is no rush.  Any sense that you are running out of time is not real.  There are no rules governing this.  When you find this person, you will know.  You will probably know immediately.  Life is great.  Living life with someone you adore enhances how great life really is.  Remember, jobs will come and go.  Friends will come and go.  Sadly, your kids will even come and go (the reality that my kids will move out someday is beginning to hit me).  The person you choose for the rest of your life will be there through it all.  All the good and all the bad.  Finding comfort and excitement in that reality cannot be measured. 

Looking around, it is very easy to see most never found the one.  I am sure there are countless reasons why this happens.  I think there are just a couple reasons that drive most of the misses though.  If you do not know yourself, I mean really know yourself, you will not find your one.  I think many people feel rushed into finding the one.  They see their friends and colleagues moving through the various milestones in life and feel compelled to keep up.  Do not fall into this trap.  There is a reason the divorce rate is greater than 50 percent. 

I started out blogging so my kids could see a different side of me (or ensure they did).  Below are other things I have learned in 40 plus years on this Earth.  This is for them and I will update it as I move through the rest of my life. 

There are no rules.  There is not a guidebook to follow.  No one has it figured out.  Do it your way and on your own pace.  Ask questions (ask lots of questions) of those you respect.  If you ever worry you are not doing it right and have doubts, simply look around.  Most people are just fine, and you will be too. 

You got no control.  Let go of any preconceived notions that you have control of your life.  That is not to say you do not control your actions, you do, and you are fully responsible for those actions.  What I mean by no control is you must remember that tomorrow is not a given.  Tragedy and hardship may be lurking around any corner.  This does not mean you should act recklessly.  It does mean that you should strive to get the most out of each day.  Only you will know what that means. 

Control your ego.  Life ends up being pretty simple if you can learn to control your ego.  Your decision making will be sounder.  Your view of your life, life in general, and those within it will improve dramatically.  Your relationships will be deeper.  You will learn more.  What I want you to know is there is no scoreboard.  There is no winning and there is no losing.  You have nothing to prove to anyone. 

You Be You!  Be your authentic self.  This will take work and a lot of trust.  The outside world will fight like hell to carve you into the person it wants you to be.  Do not let it.  “Finding yourself” is a journey that has no destination.  You will evolve as you grow and have experiences.  I think we all know who we are deep down and even more important I think we know who we are not.  We should not be ashamed of either and should not apologize for who we are.  We should try to be better every single day.  Fuck the pressure of what others believe is right, cool, or necessary.  You do not (and probably should not) follow the crowd.  Challenge yourself every day.  Trust your gut.  Staying true to your core will set you on your best path. 

Effort is always part of the answer.  In this life, putting in honest effort will never be a regret.  This is especially important in relationships you choose to enter into.  Clearly it can apply to work and day to day life as well.  Work hard but keep your eyes open.  Keeping your eyes open will help you know when it may be time to move on.  Being the hardest worker on a sinking ship is not wise. 

You are responsible for yourself.  Take ownership of yourself and your surroundings.  Leave the excuses to others. I believe it is rare that something happens to you that truly changes the direction of your life.  Take ownership of the little things that feel like big things.  Evaluate what they are and determine their value.  I think you will find that most things do not have a lasting impact on your life and can be let go rather quickly. 

Leave the world a better place.  Anytime you can make someone’s day a little bit better, do it.  You will never regret it.  If you get to the door first, open it.  If you see garbage on the ground, pick it up.  If the toilet paper roll is out, replace it.  If there are dishes that need to be done, clean them.  The result is you feel a sense of accomplishment, but more important you will make someone else’s day a little bit better. 

It is ok to be taken care of.  If someone opens the door for you, step through and say thank you.  If someone wants to help you, say yes.  It is not a sign of weakness to be taken care of.  Coming to rely on being taken care of is a weakness though.  Take pride in the fact you can take care of most things on your own.  Feel joy and comfort knowing there are people out there happy to help you. 

Set boundaries.  Not all people and things are good for you or have your best interest at heart (in the case of people, it may not be their fault – have grace).  It is not possible or even appropriate in some cases to avoid them all.  Set proper boundaries.  Boundaries will help you keep relationships and other things in your life contained to mostly positive experiences.  Lack of boundaries can lead to negative experiences with people and things that generally can be easily avoided.  This too is not easy.  It will take experience, and some hurt to determine which people and things need boundaries and what the boundaries need to be. 

Protect your health.  This is within your control.  Mentally and physically, you can choose to work on yourself every single day.  Do it!  The benefits will pay off forever.  Good health is freedom.  Good health allows you to do what you want when you want to it without reservation.   Without focus, good health can deteriorate quickly and can be extremely difficult to restore.  After putting effort into your most important relationships, you should focus on your health.  Every single day. 

Live below your means.  This is another freedom that is completely in your control – financial freedom.   Choose to live below your means.  Not only will this create good habits for your life, but it will afford you the opportunity to make mistakes that do not have devastating financial consequences.  Financial freedom also gives you options that most do not have.  Living below your means comes with a very valuable lesson – material possessions do not matter.  I believe you will find very quickly that not having whatever you want does not impact your life in any meaningful way.  You will find a great deal of freedom when you realize that you have few “needs” and many “wants”.  Once you figure this out, you can reduce those “wants” to trivial meaningless things that don’t even make the “want” list anymore. 

Have fun, but do not allow yourself to be in a situation you cannot get out of.  This can be applied to everything in life, but I am speaking to alcohol or any self-medication now.  Remember, lying on your stomach with your arms wrapped around the toilet will be your memory, not all the fun you had leading up to that moment.  Your ego will play a role here too.  If you have not set it aside, self-medication is even more dangerous. 

Life is extremely short.  It will not all be pleasant.  In the end though, we all move through this life one day at a time.  Every day we go to bed and know we will not live the same day over again.  We can count on both the good and the bad from the past to be gone.  We are living this moment only.  Be present for this moment.  This moment will pass quickly too.  Enjoy them all as best you can.  Find those you want to share your moments with.  Find the things that truly bring you joy.  Spend your time and your resources on these people and things.  Do not waste one second.  Seconds add up very, very quickly!

As I continue on my journey, I know I parent too often by using the time-honored phrase, “do as I say, not as I do”. I try to improve on that every single day. It is not easy. I want to be a better role model and ultimately a better person. One of the few things I know that I get right is my effort. I will always put in an abnormal level of effort. It is the only way I know how to be. You can count on that. You can count on me to be there, always! I Love You!

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