8/18/18—For my kids.
You gotta look up. Look forward. At the sky. If you stare too much at the ground beneath your feet, you miss out. On smiling strangers. Monarchs bouncing through the air. Clouds that look like animals. Maybe something from last night’s dream.
It’s easy to miss out on opportunity, to put your tail between your legs and mosey along meekly if you are not observing, listening, open for more. Don’t be afraid of getting hurt, losing your way, or failing. Mistakes are for learning. Those that don’t understand that, those focused on perfection, are the most flawed of all. But don’t hold them in poor regard or avoid them. Embrace them. Empathize.
Saturday morning bells from the church down the street. It’s nine a.m. and counting. Seconds to minutes, minutes to hours, hours to weeks and months to…
Is there any time at all? What’s this insatiable desire we have with putting numbers to everything? Clocks and codes. Sizes and calorie count. Weight and height. Cell phone numbers, serial numbers, social security numbers, and those most wanted numbers of all—those that land on our paychecks. How did we get so brainwashed? So controlled.
Ever think about how hard it is to think for yourself? Probably not. Isn’t that part of our problem? We have this magnificent existence with heart and brain and gut and spirit, yet we give it up without much care if it means we will meet someone’s approval. Kind words. A compliment. Our name on a plaque, respected in meetings, or put down in black-and-white print. Shouldn’t the one thing we simply need be our own approval? A recognition earned when we finally find the way to live within the many fibers of this daily existence without losing our happiness.
Some people don’t understand that, and never will. But give them the benefit of the doubt.
It is possible to be a devoted husband and dad but speak honestly about the trials, oddities, and outright foolishness of marriage and family. It’s possible to be best friends if you accept each other’s ugliness. A person can be an excellent employee for a gas station, a non-profit, or a billion-dollar company day-in-and-day-out while questioning capitalism, the thirst for oil, and voting whatever way they damn well please. And a person can do these things while being an artist, an engineer, an entomologist, a doctor, a dreamer, or a drummer in a band. Don’t get caught up in the game the world plays at pitting one side against the other, and don’t look down on others. We are meant to be multidimensional. We are meant to question and learn and share and think and feel. We aren’t here for anybody else, but us. And the trick is that everybody else and everything we do helps make us…well, US.
You can be one thing to one person and another thing to another. And you can do both of them well. Don’t get pigeonholed. Don’t ever become someone’s bitch, even if you have to play the role for a while. That’s what this life is about. Playing roles. Doing what it takes through the art of compromise a little here and a little there without totally compromising the fiber of your being. Remember, it’s quite all right to bend—just never, ever break.
You gotta look up, kids. Look forward. At the sky. If you stare too much at the ground beneath your feet, you’ll miss out. On smiling strangers. Monarchs bouncing through the air. Clouds that look like animals. Maybe something from last night’s dream.