Why Am I So Happy – Message To My Sons

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(In looking back to when I first wrote this, it still applies! – Joe Dico)

9/3/14

“Joy and hope are never separate.
I have never met a hopeful person who was depressed or a joyful person who had lost hope…It is important to become aware that at every moment of our life we have the opportunity to choose joy. It is in the choice that our true freedom lies, and that freedom is, in the final analysis, the freedom to love.” – Henri Nouwen

I’m not going to elaborate much on this because it’s self-explanatory or should be. I do want to stress something I talked to your mom about. I’m doing everything in my power to keep you as happy or alternatively, not get in the way of how happy you can and want to be! How you use it is all on you guys. I strive to not lose my temper on the inconsequential, or when you’ve pushed every last one of my buttons. I’d rather laugh and try to make you laugh during those times because generally I’m one happy individual and as the adult and oldest one in the family, I guess I should exercise some maturity and proper perspective! Since I’m no longer as self-absorbed in the first place at the expense of your happiness, I’ve discovered it’s easier to find contentment within my soul through the happiness I create for you.

I’m sure I’m most annoying when I’m “insanely” happy about so many big and little things, most importantly you guys and our dog Dico. Wait! I’m annoying you because I’m happy about, and being with, my family? Something is flawed in that equation but then again, I’m the one with the brain injury. I’m sure I’m a bit much at times, given my penchant for extreme expressions, but maybe you’re not appreciating the source of what’s making me that way! Maybe it’s better not to ask questions and just hitch a ride with me because I’m headed in the right direction now and I’ve got room!

I am truly a shining example of my prior advice. When I think I’ve found a reason to be unhappy or in a bad mood, I easily find 10+ better reasons not to be. You may think its easy to feel this way given the routine of my days but try having the medical community label you as “disabled” and “brain injured”. I refuse to accept it but I have to work hard every day to prove I’m not and I willingly have embraced that challenge! I’m just a guy with a lot of joy and hope, especially since I keep myself surrounded by so many of the expected, and even unexpected, people who keep me that way!

One last thing. I saw a movie with Helen Hunt who is thinking about letting her sarcastic, neurotic boyfriend in her apartment. Before she does, she says “you can come in but please don’t try to spoil everything by being yourself!”

Let’s all try to do the same, huh?

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Intelligence – Message To My Sons

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11/15/17

The measure of a man’s intelligence is not so much about how he can think, but more by the quality of the decisions he makes along with his actions after he has thought things out and can place his signature on them afterwards with a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction. – Joe Dico

Thinking Before You Act

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11/9/17

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

I’ve also learned from experience that it’s not about who strikes first or last; it’s about understanding the distress and anguish that could have been prevented had I never stuck at all and if so required, how it could have been better delivered if tempered by an appreciation of my own intrinsic and fundamental humanity. – Joe Dico

Lead A Not-So-Boring Life – Message To My Sons

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4/14/15

“Imagine how boring life would be if we were all the same…embrace your own uniqueness… you make life that much more exciting.” – Barbara Streisand

It’s funny boys to think that we each have the benefit of age to deflect a certain amount of responsibility for our actions.  You guys will sometimes get the benefit of “being too young to know any better” for things you say or do.  I on the other hand am expected “to have known better” but given my age, I may have the advantage of being so old that I’m entitled to suffer some lapses in memory to remember all the time. Throw in a brain injury, a few seizures, and there’s a considerable amount of latitude that I can exercise when my words or actions are seemingly conveyed or expressed without the benefit of a filter.  If they come across unkind or insensitive, I apologize because that’s not my intent. If they just seem silly or misguided attempts at humor, I won’t apologize because I’m just doing my thing, living in a seemingly unconventional universe that keeps me directly on course towards my own fulfillment, and usually having a good time doing it!

One thing I do appreciate though is when you guys express your individuality when it truly reflects the natural and organic essence of YOU!  It’s understandable, given the amount of time we’ve spent together, that your mannerisms can’t help but illustrate the influence Mom and I have had on you, just like my parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles, had on me.  The same goes for you Cole (my “adopted” son), especially since your Mom has had to pull double-duty without your Dad and if you need present-day illustrations of walking miracles, take a silent moment to evaluate the “world” where you and your brother currently exist in and wonder where you’d be had she not done such an amazing job when doing less would have been understandable given her loss.  Oh and have I mentioned before that Dee Dee is one of my heroes and a source of inspiration to the extent that I feel so blessed to see her on such a consistent basis to remind me that people like her exist in MY world!

Now as far as your parents’ lasting impact, there are certain basic commitments to the quintessential values, beliefs, morals, and principles you’ve been taught that we truly hope that you emulate and exercise while disregarding various characteristics that aren’t relevant, useful, or desirable for your own purposes.  I mean really, I’m not offended as you increasingly demonstrate a conviction to ideals and standards that are illustrations less of rebellion but more the pursuit of “perfection” that will give you the best likelihood at “perfect” outcomes for you, those around you, and the circumstances and situations you navigate through.

If I leave you with anything (and I think I’ve displayed it consistently), it’s that the happiness and contentment you seek is a product of what you’re willing to obtain on the terms you dictate and should not be dependent on what you are waiting to be given!  Yes I’m “nuts” in how I express myself and each emotion that is generated in me but I challenge you to point out who is the master of those expressions and most important, whose complaining and if so, why.

Annoying?  Maybe.

Extreme?  Probably.

Stubborn?  Where would I be if I listened to other’s restrictions rather than discover on my own and work within my own limitations.

Challenging? I hope so because what I demand of myself and you guys is not meant for those who think ordinary and average are acceptable aspirations for the quality of our existence.  

Optimistic and positive?  Absolutely and if you interpret it otherwise, you’re getting lost in distractions that you are more than capable of managing.  

Loving, caring, and kind?  Do you even have to ask!  

You don’t have to figure out why I am “me” (too complex) or how I personally approach things, only that you are on my mind enough that I want to help make some of those 1,440 minutes of each day easier, a jumble of hours and days ahead of you more approachable, and in the end lead you to understand that all the “crap” I predicted for you coupled with your individual make-up is obtainable with no greater proof than the moment you accomplish it!

So be yourself with confidence because there is no one better at it and do it absent unnecessary vanity, ego, and self-absorption.  It is so important that you remember the following because what you’ll uncover is usually something you worried way too much about never happening:  “Be brave enough to live creatively.  The creative is the place where no one else has ever been.  You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition.  You can’t get there by bus, only by hard work, risking, and by not quite knowing what you’re doing.  What you’ll discover will be wonderful: yourself.” — Alan Alda

And while you’re on the road to that discovery, keep in mind “it is better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.” – Marilyn Monroe.  I kind of like leaving people scratching their heads with a smile after most encounters because being who I am doesn’t give them much of an option, you know?  As Jason has stated before, “don’t hate me because you ain’t me”, and in my view, you’re on the right path!

Perfect Moments Await Us – Message To My Family

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10/15/17

“No matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.” – Maya Angelou

If today does not offer you the perfect moments you expect, just remember to keep believing in the promise that there are so many that await you; and even if you’re trust in life momentarily wanes in that belief, remember that life continues to believe in YOU by offering so many opportunities that will provide such moments beyond even your expectations. – Joe Dico

It’s In The Love Of The Game – Message To My Sons

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9/27/17

“I love the winning, I can take the losing, but most of all I love to play.” – Boris Becker

Maximize the simplicity of the strengths and resources within you that can be controlled to structure and generate the basic power that moves you directly to what you see and need for YOU! It’s that simple and by doing that, the complexities of what may seem difficult situations and obstacles will slowly disappear and replaced by achievement, satisfaction, and joyfulness!!!

Cobblestones Along My Way

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9/17/17

Some don’t want to run in their bare feet on a gravel path towards the places they want to get to because they’re afraid of falling, the discomfort, the cuts, the bruises, etc.   For me, that’s not remotely a justifiable reason to not take the steps to get there; I honestly carry those bloodstains and scratches like symbols of honor because it means I didn’t give up even when things weren’t as smooth as I hoped for, and consequently it ended up making me more confident about the next journey ahead.

I guess it’s just not within my soul to sit idly by or secrester myself from the uncertainty of the unfamiliar when there’s something that I feel is worth obtaining if it’s within my reach, even if the effort initially seems demanding or the path too daunting.  What I find may not always be exactly what I imagined but, what I discover throughout the journey always rewards me with something that vindicates the percerverance accompanying those decisions.  And you?