(Before game time at Angel Stadium – Turned out to be one of the best days of Jason’s young life)
“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.”
— Jawaharlal Nehru
There is no justification to not slow down when we have either lost the ability to communicate with our soul or control it’s elaborations. The thoughts that instinctively and impulsively arise in our head in response to even the most trivial situations do not always accurately present themselves to our soul so that they can be precisely recorded, evaluated, and appreciated. As a result, our responses and reactions may not be in accordance with the circumstances that may be viewed as catastrophic storms when really, they are only ripples in the water when measured from a larger spectrum.
So I had what I hope was a meaningful conversation with Jason yesterday from what was a rare occasion when it was just the two of us and I’m pretty sure I had most of his attention. It involved different topics but there were some underlying points I wanted to get across that I hoped he would carry with him regarding whatever lasting influence I potentially have had on him, separating myself from others he has and may come across. There is more background to this conversation but that’s between him and I, and it’s part of a story that only adds color, not substance to what I’m authoring here.
Basically, I wanted to remind him that no matter how he measures his remote and recent past, so far he has had a GREAT life and accomplished so much in the short 17 years of his life. From whatever vantage point he views it from, all that really has mattered of his own creation has generally counted for something subjectively remarkable and amounted to a wonderful life if measured objectively. And it’s not because how it stacks up against anyone else’s life – it’s just because what it IS and no temporary, seemingly, dramatic setback(s) can change that perception when he steps back and silently evaluates it, giving everything it’s due accord.
Next I wanted him to view the rest of his life with a consistent amount of optimism because in the end, there is always the potential, until our dying day, that EVERYTHING WILL WORK OUT! I assign responsibility to my view in this regard due to the fact that I was raised on Disney movies (Pollyanna), musicals (The Sound of Music), old message movies (Penny Serenade – Deb remember?), fairy tales, etc., by my Mom, Aunt Irma, uncle Sam, and others while growing up where no matter how tragic the story progressed, a happy ending awaited and the characters, including sometimes the villains, learned that there was a better life ahead of them than what happened behind them. I told Jason that it was probably that mindset that kept me believing that things weren’t always going to be as unfortunate growing up despite my parents painful divorce, anguishing as I watched my mom raise four children primarily on her own with marginal financial resources, and then the results of my choices that could not be altered. But in the end I said, things did work out because I believed they would and could if I made the choices to do the things that optimized the hope that was instilled in me that EVERYTHING WOULD WORK OUT and as illustrated by the mere fact I was sitting with my oldest son at that moment, they did!
Along that vein, I wanted to impress one of the most important bits of advice that I could give him for any future happiness he will achieve, coupled with the optimism I personally carry. Part of it is the recognition that there are tragic events and moments in this world that way too many people trumpet and there is the temptation to dwell on and suffer with them while magnifying our own but here’s where the trigger must be pulled to generate the power we need to escape and be free from them. We just have to make a concerted effort to figuratively separate ourselves from them to a plausible degree and let some of them go! It’s not about ignoring or failing to care about them anymore because that’s technically inhuman. It’s more about acknowledging that although they exist, we exercise the choice to not carry them from where they should remain so that they don’t continually infiltrate the dynamics of the future to where it’s no longer completely and positively defined by us. It’s important that he understand that what is meant to be part of him was not designed to weigh him down and any independence and freedom can only occur when he releases, or at least can marginalize, the negative and pessimistic components of those parts along with the influence of those elements that perpetuate them!
So finally here’s the more basic and generic message I wanted him to live with and by. Until his final moment ends, the tomorrows of his life carry the potential to turn out to be the best days of them all, and it matters not whether it does or doesn’t turn out that way! Importantly, what he does or does not do will have an incremental impact on the chances of them occurring and if he proceeds with “optimism” as I suggest, then he will likely avoid the indecision to do things that ultimately just might work out a lot better for him had he done otherwise. Moreover he will start to disregard relying on the easy justification of doing nothing based on the mindset that “nothing will probably come of it”, “there’s not much of a point”, or “it probably won’t matter”, because the way I see it, everything CAN MATTER, since I believe EVERYTHING WORKS OUT one way or another if we just nudge, or downright shove, things along in the right direction! Oh and when things aren’t going so well at the time, that just means that there is a greater margin for improvement and potential that the next day will feel like ONE OF THE BEST DAYS OF HIS LIFE just by the nature of comparison. At a minimum, it will likely turn out a hell of a lot better than the one before if he releases and let’s go of what did or didn’t happen because then, there will exist a fresh potential and perspective for successful and wonderful new days.
Just for the record, I’m sure I didn’t articulate this message as clearly yesterday in my conversation since you only have so much of a teenagers attention. In addition, there’s always the influence of the emotional particles that course though such discussions but here is a recordation of the elements of what I was trying to get across for Jason, Christian, and Cole to absorb for their eternity, and to hold me accountable for the duration of mine should I see more negative than positive in my life.
All I want is for my boys is that they never be so hard on themselves that they forget that the vast majority of their life, from this moment and well beyond, has the potential to be authentically magical predicated on the hope and optimism that they need to carry with them and then acting according with that belief. Anything less is an unnecessary exercise that detracts from the following tenet: EVERYTHING WILL WORK OUT FOR THE BEST, EVEN WHEN IT MAY SEEM LIKE THE WORST, BECAUSE EACH NEW DAY HAS THE POTENTIAL TO BE THE BEST DAY OF THEIR LIFES that will be “full of beauty, charm, and adventure” if they hold onto and continue to move forward in those lives with an abundance of hope and and a foundation of optimism.
And at the end of each day I ask them to do the following because with clarity, they will find their sanctuary so that happiness will never be fully displaced: “You will never speak to anyone more than you speak to yourself in your head, so be kind to yourself.”