Thanks to COVID-19, we’ve all had a lot more time to… think. At least, that’s the case if you’ve been living in a “shelter in place” / don’t leave home situation — thinking is the one thing you’ve probably had too much time for. That said, I wrote this list before the outbreak… and, today’s post is really more of just that: A list of short thoughts.
They Were Wrong About…
1. Pens vs. Pencils
“When you grow up, adults use pens… not pencils.” WRONG… And, NEITHER. The most common way we write… is with our fingers… in the sand — I mean, on a screen.
2. “When you grow up, you won’t be carrying a calculator everywhere you go.”
3. “Video games will melt your brain.”
Playing Video Games Really Does Make You Smarter, Study Finds. Not to mention, most of our learning software and e-learning platforms are essentially video game platforms in their own way… they may not exactly look like a real time strategy game or a scrolling game like Super Mario — but, it IS a digital interface with rules, goals, and aims.
The thing is, you aren’t going for coins or points — your gaming for grades and degrees.
4. Cartoons Distort Your Sense of Reality.
There are waaaay too many examples — but, I have to say that productions in the 90s were WAY ahead of their time. My example of the day: X-Men, with great social lessons on discrimination, women in leadership; “different yet same” as with the character Master Mold, stating that there are humans that hate mutants — this is an oxymoron as mutants ARE human.
“So often in our history, unhappy misguided people have created scapes goats — blaming those that are different for the problems in their own lives.
Professor X, X-Men The Animated Series
5. Sci-Fi is Pure Fantasy.
First off… in Star Trek, everything became real or is becoming real… and, very likely will otherwise be as such in due time… mostly. Maybe not Q… maybe? Who knows! But, here’s something for consideration:
ALSO: The Next Generation (TNG), Deep Space Nine (DS9) and Voyager also had some of the best “early” examples of inclusivity; strong female characters, women in leadership/career paths, diversity driven story arcs, females in story arcs that don’t necessarily involve a romantic interest, etc.
So yeah… They were wrong 😉
Just because something worked for one generation doesn’t mean that such success will transplant across to the next.
We were supposed to go on a two week vacation — well 10 days. Something like this not to unlike this…?
Then… this happened…
And then, sadly… all of this:
Social Distancing Began…
Where… if you got lucky, the aforementioned achievement now became a game of…
Nevertheless… while disappointed, we were determined not to be defeated by the happenings. So, this is how it all went down.
1. My First True Straight Razor Shave
Why not? I had been shaving with a straight razor shavette for a while; and, felt it was appropriate to be cleanly shaven for my anniversary. Wifey likes. Hint to the wise, be what wifey likes 😉
In any case, having been shaving with a shavette for about a year and half, I felt it was high time to invest in a high quality straight razor and all the accoutrements — brush, bowl, canvas and leather strops, and pyramid of whetstone grits… after all, I wasn’t going to send in the razor… I was going to be my own honemeister — especially having a side hobby of sharpening knives and axeheads, why not???
2. Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse… I mean, Take House… I mean, Take OUT
We WERE going to have Teppan in Japan, ECPOT, Disney World. But yeah… NOPE! So, we did the next best thing which had become a micro-tradition for us: Ruth’s Chris.
And, truth be told: We were in it for the Creme Brûlée.
As I ordered everything over the phone, stuff was ridiculously half off for most orders. In retrospect, that was because 1/2 the experience at the restaurant is truly the plating. So, Chilean Sea Bass… 1/2 off — and also really made realize I just prefer fish raw. Sushi is my kind of seafood.
A bunch of sides… 1/2 off. Bone in Filet Mignon. THEN, two orders of Creme Brûlée. Half Off. Weird, right?
Well… that’s because they don’t have any plating or containers for the dessert… so it was 50% OFF…… served as a “bless their hearts” trying Creme Brûlée in a Cup… well, takeout box… all smashed up .. LOL. meh. what are you doing to do?
3. “We did nothing, we did NOTHING!”
A hilarious bit by John Mulaney… we did nothing. Life has been so ridiculously busy. It was actually a spiritual reprieve to just be… to rest… to be still.
4. Play with Nathan for hours.
I’m not even kidding on this one. We’ve been playing for HOURS. I’ve been exhausted lol… it’s striking how much energy children have, how vibrant their imagination is, and how genius they can be in their thought.
I was also reminded of this one meme I came across… and, has since changed my ideation of “PLAY” forever. And so… we played. For hours 🙂
5. No Disney, No Cry!
Because… we have Disney+. LOL, but really… I have been quite up and down since coming to terms with the fact that our epic 10 year anniversary trip is dashed… ours and everyone else. And yeah… I’ve seen that Canadian kid. But, I’m not Canadian (and unlike popular opinion)… I’m not that nice! hah.
But, one night, I was browsing Disney+ content and found this “Melody Time” medley and stumbled across a wonderful bit that I had plum forgotten — Johnny Appleseed.
I cried. No seriously… it made me cry and remember how much I truly have to be thankful for.
Then… it reminded me of the other day, watching X-Men The Animated Series… content which was DECADES ahead of its time. That and Star Trek TNG. Trust me on that one, I think it’s still on Amazon Prime.
Oh, and… I hadn’t really known it but I was honored and pleasantly surprised to be named a Top Dad Blogger 2020. I know, right?!
Down for some lessons learned? Down?? DOWN!!!
1. Wait For Nothing
I am so blessed — even relieved… that we took that spur of the moment trip to Disney World as a family, and, that we recently had gone to Disneyland AND was able to (through a very generous series of events) experience Rise of the Resistance. Yeah… we did, it happened, and it was amazing. #SorryNotSorry
This even ties in with getting my straight razor. With the COVID-19 situation, shipping has gone to putt… unless it’s deemed essential, you won’t be getting your purchases for WEEKS…. not the usual 24-48 hours you’re accustomed to.
Want swag? Get it. It’ll be gone. They won’t make any more. We see this happen all the time at Disney Parks.
Want to achieve something, work up to something, try something out? Start now… RIGHT NOW. If anything, write it down in a piece of paper and tape it to your refrigerator.
If you write it down, you’ll be that much more likely to do it.
2. It Takes Strength To Be Kind
For reference, click here to view this Instagram story I posted. TLDR…er. Watch..??… it was about me buying a basket of food for someone who needed it. The amount of shock to kindness received was reward enough. It was my turn to be kind.
I can only imagine how the world would benefit in this outbreak of COVID-19 in such a time when fear is running amok, kindness would be that much more wonderful.
During this time when we all seemed to be shelter in place…
ONE: I was thinking of doing a regular dad hour…. eh… dad 10 minutes broadcast/video-podcast/raw thoughts. Daddy In The Raw Food For Thought? LOL… yeah it’s late and it’s been a week… we’ll come up with a better name for this hair-brained-idea.
And, TWO: I was thinking about taking up comedy. I realized in all my public speaking, I tend to embed quite a bit of humor… dad jokes…… I got a great one regarding body chills, but, I’m not allowed to tell it (yet).
So, in an incredible round about way, I was invited out to the Michigan Physical Therapy Association for their Student Conclave 2018 conference to speak on career development and job market readiness. It also so happens to be where I’m from (which is a hilarious gag when people ask me “Hey, where you from?” And, I say the heart of automotive America… and, they kinda go “Huh?”); and, where much of my paternal in-laws family hails from (literally, Ann Arbor, #HailToTheVictors #GoBlue #MichiganWolverines). And, if you know my academic past, you also know that I got my MBA from the University of Michigan. AND… despite the loss, I’m still proud of my team for their run in #MarchMadness2018.
The real reason for this post was that this trip offered me some concentrated family time and helped me recenter on this very path of working at home… creating now two businesses and supporting the vision of growth using the technological levers we now have that allow for such a lifestyle.
Was was remarkable was the amount of reflection time I had on the severely delayed flight out to Michigan… all the driving we had to do around the state… and, the joy of juggling the time change. PS… Michigan is seriously more East that West, LOL! #PSTissues…
When it all became said and done, I realized some life lessons (both core centric and just for fun’sies) I wanted to better grasp for myself and pass on to Nathan as his father. I want my son to learn:
To be mentally tough.
To be physically tough.
To be emotionally perceptive.
To learn how to cook using cast iron.
To experience martial arts, team sports, and the glory of suffering a hard won task.
Survival skills, urban, oceanic, bushcraft, etc…
First aid, CPR, and emergency response.
To find a passion he can geek out on.
To fail, miserably… and, learn from that failure.
To pick himself back up.
To work under the authority and command of others.
To sell — an idea, a product, a service… to learn the art of meaningful communication.
While in Michigan, it was peaceful. There was a countryside… something you don’t get in the urban environments of big cities, especially in SoCal.
There was open country, minutes from downtown Ann Arbor.
I was reminded the balance in life is dynamic — you have to keep moving if you are to keep up.
I remembered my thoughts about “Physicist” Steven Hawking’s passing… and, I thought to myself how I’d want to be remembered? And, that I must work toward that goal. Ultimately, I think it comes down to philanthropist and/or inspirationalist (regardless of what prior meaning it may have had in the past) — essentially, if I am to be known… I wish to be known for the positive impact I’ve had in the lives of others.
It was fun to be in a town where people could live off the land — free range chickens and all… it’s something I’ve always had an interest in.
Ann Arbor, being an older town… it has history, charm, personality… a romance, even.
Talking to some family and seeing just that different approach in life of the MidWest, one can appreciate that college grads are truly adults, ready to contribute to society… rather than what I fear more and more college graduates are becoming… over educated children still trying to find their way… a cost of a failing-phobic culture and stressed out system of education producing a generally economic welfare that has more uncertainty than it does stability. But, hey… when was human history really that stable??? LOL.. so much for ending this list on a positive note.
I was pleasantly reminded that life isn’t about the “whats”… the achievements. It’s about pursuits… HOW you live your life and WHY. And, to be honest, I was very much attracted to the possibility of living life, honestly and off the land. It’s always been a romance for me — the reality is probably way different 😉
All together, I was thinking a lot on this trip… soul searching… not that I was lost or had something to find. I was merely taking the available time that I had hustled to earn to take time, appreciate, and reflect.
It’s an amazing time.
People can work for companies, miles and miles away. The need for a brick and mortar situation is become less and less a requirement of business and general commerce. Information asymmetry has become less so a thing… so much so that organizations that try to safeguard their secrets actually get punished in the marketplace for doing so… being seen as devious or maliciously trying to hide things.
I guess the other crazy thing is that we’re coming up on three years of me doing this from home. It hasn’t been easy… not in any way. But, has it been worth it? Immeasurably. I can’t even imagine giving my son or my family the type of lifestyle we’ve been having in any other way. Can it, could it, would it come crashing down… I’d still say its worth it. In these formative years, I’m seeing that my son has become a sweet, caring, positive minded kid. He’s not afraid to tussle with me and fight like a crazy person to get out of controlled Jiu Jitsu positions… or, to slam on my focus mitts as if he was training Muay Thai… all before the age of 5 😉
He loves music, spontaneously dances… and, regularly tells my wife and myself that he loves us — all without prompting and just out of the joy of his little heart.
All to say… I think we’re doing something right.
It’s easy to be in negative moments… wondering if the path you are on is any good, or perhaps was a terrible mistake. I’d advise you to take a step back and consider those who are most dear to you… how are they? And, how are they to you, and you to they? If you and yours ultimately have joy and joy abundantly… then, I’d say you’re doing pretty good. And, if there’s room for more, whether by improvement, by growing the capacity you have to love on them… anything of that nature… then chase it, pursue it, and don’t let it go until you have it!
So much for random musings, thoughts, and straight typing… Have a good one!
Well… due to life in general, looks like my poor dad blog has turned into a quarterly’ish thing. Nevertheless, I must confess I think about writing here a lot. So, I decided to turn thinking into action. FIRST, a sidetrack — Check out this One Wave Surf Video I made with my GoPro!
But, now… on to the actual topic. I was thinking earlier about what I wanted Nathan to know… what I wish *I* knew before I turned twenty years old. It’s so funny, before… I’d even say, early 30s, people tend to be so in their own brains they lose perspective of life, entirely… everything is inflammed, high tension, out of control… everything matters waaaaay too much. So, I sat down to think of what I wanted my kid to know via what I wish I knew before I turned 20… written as a letter to my son.
10 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Turned 20
1. Dance more.
Dancing was something that wasn’t much part of my childhood until a transformative arcade (yes, I hail from those days) game came out — Dance Dance Revolution (DDR). This was the machine I fell in love with:
I got really good at it… was able to do break dance tricks, jump on and over the rails, ninja run up the screen… I even got invited to a DDR tournament, LOL! Sadly, I wigged out at the end… but, what I learned from all this and my own dance revolution is that I love to dance. It’s one of the most joyous and ridiculous ways of self expression. It’s a great way to let loose, it’s wonderful exercise, and it’s a perfect way of gaining self confidence.
The best thing about this: Nathan, you love to dance! You’ve always loved to dance and we still dance like sillies when we put on any type of music — period.
Life lesson #1: Dance more. You’ll be happier for it!
2. Be confident; everyone is just as insecure.
It’s funny how insecure people are, period — especially before the age of 20, people mask insecurities through overcompensating, hiding, acting certain ways, trying to fit in with certain groups, creating their own groups… the list goes on and on. The thing of it is, everyone is trying to figure themselves out — and, this doesn’t end. There’s thing thing called Imposter Syndrome where even the most achieving individuals tend to see themselves as a fraud — I definitely suffer from this… from time to time… the good thing is, your mother is there to smack sense back into me 😉
In any case, be confident. You do you, and anyone who thinks otherwise is merely projecting their own insecurities. Confidence will catapult you above and beyond the ordinary into the extraordinary.
3. Pursue what you love.
For too many generations, people have followed what they thought “should be done,” or “is the way things are,” or “is the thing to do” — and, so, they turn this into their life guiding mantra — pure foolishness.
Doing things for the sake of doing them, with no clear personal reason but for historical repetitiveness dooms you to the same fates of those before you.
If you wish to have more in life, pursue what you love. Pursue what impassions you, drives you to be more of a person — day in, day out. This can be on a professional level, personal level, emotional level, intellectual level, physical level, and spiritual level. Regardless of the dimension, just pursue the things you love. I promise you, this will lead to much success in life.
4. Grow in self awareness… and, acceptance.
It’s easy for people under 20 to chase all sorts of things in some self hidden effort to find ways to be more accepting of themselves. First, most people under 20 just aren’t self aware — I certainly wasn’t, though probably the extreme of this case. For me, young kid… I was really into girls and pursued any semblance of a relationship, regardless of health or outcome. That was dumb.
I felt, at the time, that relationships were the answer to my life — if someone would accept me, then I could accept myself. Again… foolishness.
Rather, what I should’ve been doing was working on my self awareness… understanding myself, what motivates me, what detracts me… and, most importantly, growing in self worth through self acceptance.
5. Work on doing you, not on what others expect you to do.
So often, we try to please others in a related way to being accepting of ourselves. Though, this piece of wisdom is less about introspection and more about external motivation.
If you center your life on the expectations of others, you’ll find that your life becomes meaningful to others… and, meaningless to yourself. Nothing could be more tragic.
Nathan, I want you to work on doing you — be who you are and be better, every single day. Don’t work on other people’s expectations; not to reject their advice or wisdom, but expect more of yourself and use other people’s expectations as guidelines of options in your life. This is how you travel that road of becoming who you are meant to be.
6. Be mentally tough.
Being mentally tough is something I feel I was never good at. I always felt I gave up too early when I was younger… frustration came easy, perseverance was never in close grasp. This thing called grit — it allows you to sustain, to power through, to endure what most would never consider subjecting themselves to.
I want you to learn this: If your mind is tough, your struggles will become easier.
7. Be physically tough.
Sports, fitness, and intestinal fortitude… while in parallel with being mentally tough, there’s an element of being physically tough, beyond strong — that helps with life in general. I was always the slowest runner, the first to give up on pull ups, crunches, and push ups… while much of this still relates to being mentally tough, there is a science to being physically tough.
I want you to train. I want you to exercise. I want you to compete, not with a championship or trophy in mind — I want you to push yourself because that is how you become a better man.
So, whether you choose to express this via martial arts, surfing, sports, athleticism, running, climbing… whatever the case may be, do it with intentional excellence. Your health will benefit from this immensely throughout your life and things that seem difficult for others will seem easy for you.
8. Learn to serve.
Son — be the first in, last out; first to offer food to others, last to partake and eat. Being a servant leader means that your actions speak louder than your words; it means that your words commit to action; it means that you do what you say, say what you do, and seek to fulfill the needs of others before they know they even exist.
Learning to serve prepares you for leadership. It prepares you because you first must learn to follow, if you are to lead. Now, I’m not saying you have to become a leader. What I am saying is that I want you to learn about what it means to be a leader — this is how you can decide upon taking up the mantle, should the time and opportunity come to pass.
Most importantly, learning to serve will make you a better teammate. Individuals may play, but teams win.
9. Pursue learning, not schooling.
Schooling doesn’t always equate to learning; the accumulation of knowledge doesn’t yield the formation of successful action in life.
A good education and the educational system are not the same thing. I grew up in a time when there were a lot of cross-cultural muddied waters when it came to the pursuit of academics, career, degrees, credentialing, etc. The problem was this: none of the prior makes you special. The value systems I was guided by was crafted during a time when completing secondary education was still considered a competitive achievement; therefore, a college degree was even better — a master, yet even better — a doctorate, the best.
By the time you reach eligibility for the workforce, it’s likely that having a double or even triple doctorate may be the same job market value equivalency as having a single doctorate “back in my day.”
I don’t want you to focus on the schooling. I want you to focus on LEARNING — acquiring, analyzing, and acting with intentional precision based on valid information, resources, knowledge, and wisdom.
If this pursuit takes you down academic pathways… excellent! If it goes down some other path, pursue it freely. It’s not about the schooling, it’s about true learning… learning to discern.
10. It’s not about you.
This, is one of life’s greatest lessons. I want you to live life as if it’s not about you, because it isn’t. While you are responsible for your own actions, your own pursuits, your own intentional excellence in what you achieve… the goal of life isn’t about you.
It’s about others.
Live life in a way that blesses others through you… be a conduit of joy, compassion, love, kindness, respect, patience, and peace. My hope is that you’ll learn this through a living faith in Christ; this is something your mother and I hope we are doing a good job teaching you. In contemporary times, even the previous sentence may be offensive to some folks… that’s okay. It’s about how you regard others that matters.
There is a wonderful phrase I’ve recently picked up regarding such faith: “No perfect people.” There are none, so we must not require it of ourselves, or others… we can only require of ourselves as close of a parallel pursuit as we can… of ourself and only ourself. As for others, it is their own choice in path… it is for them to navigate as it is not for us to pass judgment… only to share blessings.
Be about others.
Learn to discern.
Become physically tough.
Become mentally strong.
Refine yourself in excellence.
Become self aware, and self accepting.
Craft your life to chase what you love.
And, be sure to dance more… celebrate life!
Nathan, if you’re reading this, I hope I’ve done a good job imparting, and more importantly, teaching through example. Your mom and I love you very, very much and you are the joy of our lives.