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
“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.
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!
“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
“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!!!
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?
While striving for the most optimal changes in my life as I get older, it’s valuable to remind myself of simply doing the following each day:
So in the end, I’ll “let the beauty that I love be what I do”, because you know, I’m just never too old to have it so!
(Reposting of thoughts that carry as much, if not more, meaning today than the day I wrote it.)
“Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life.” – Dr. David M. Burns
Perfection is the ideal but the perfect result may be entirely different. The fabric of our identity is not defined by what we originally envision for ourselves but the difficulties that we ultimately have to confront to get to where we eventually end up.
We struggle too often with our expectations and what we feel we deserve which sometimes is masked behind feelings of entitlement. Quoting a line from an old movie, “deserving has got nothing to do with it” or at least our perception of it. Do you really think that God has children born into starving countries or impoverished communities because they deserve it? That doesn’t make sense and the simple answers as to why it happens is that “I don’t know”, and “it’s not for me to know”. Thinking about “why them”, and “why not me”, is as perplexing when things are not going well for us and we form the questions “why me” and “why not them?” Same simple answers.
Ask any adult with some years behind them if everything has turned out the way they dreamed whether you want to pin it down on a personal, professional, family, social, physical, creative, or emotional level. The initial goals and aspirations were based on an ideal yet inexperienced vision of perfection. The better question is to ask them to compare those dreams to what turned out “perfect” and why. I’m pretty sure it will be different yet harder to define.
Here’s anothet perfect example. Ask this other question to any adult who’s ever faced the challenge of raising a child well, or been married an extended period of time if this reality ever set in: I knew this wasn’t going to be easy but I didn’t know it was going to be this hard!
We understand the basic reasons as to “why” but figuring out the intricate causes that separated our results from another’s with similar circumstance is perplexing. I mean why did Brian Piccolo (“Brian’s Song) die in his 20’s from lung cancer after never smoking, and others live into their 90’s after smoking a pack a day? Why did my best friend’s car get struck by a drunk driver and he was the one who died? How does a younger, healthier person suffer a head injury/bleed, seizure, and die or end up incapacitated, and I survive with a better than expected recovery? It troubles me but its better off left to “I don’t know”, and “it’s not important for me to know” since I guess “deserving has got nothing to do with it.”
All unfortunate things happen for a reason whether we may not always understand why at the time. Sometimes the weight that drags our hearts down takes us to where we need to be. By being there, we may not find what we want but we can better identify what we don’t want, what we don’t need, what we don’t want to happen, and where we don’t want to be again. We have a better understanding of our large and small successes in the past, and how misguided we were to think we were entitled to more. Most importantly, we learn how to measure success differently so that the fruits of our efforts are hopefully better appreciated when we see them again.
Trust me, something does come from what may seem like “nothing” at the time. It’s only temporary even though we may feel like we’re wasting away under the fatigue. I’ve accepted that our lives, when stripped to their basics, can make the solutions less complex than they need to be and only complicated by what we feel we are owed from how much we despaired.
Don’t lose hope because success begins from any amount of optimism. Feeling alone is only a condition of the situation, not a product of our overall circumstances. Beyond those near us, there are 7 billion people on this planet that should convince us that we’ll never be alone. Chances are that we’re closer than we know to where we want and “deserve” to be, so slow down, breathe, and take better steps based on what we’ve learned and where we’ve been!