Boiling life down into bite-size bits and basic ideas we can learn and hold on to day-in, day-out? Might just be a superpower secret to living a good and happy life. These are concepts we should not only live by everyday, but pass along to those around us, especially our children, if we have them.
One of my favorite people and friend for more than 30 years lives by simple principles. He’s the father of five kids. He’s a successful business person, self-made.
These simple suggestions can make a big impact, if you remember to follow them, apply them each day.
“Life is easy,” he likes to say to his kids (and others)…
1/ Make a friend.
2/ Stand up for someone who needs it.
And then there are three more below from my kids’ elementary school. The ethos of the school might be summarized thus; it lists what should guide the students’ behavior everyday.
Lucky for the little things. Lucky to be married to a great human, smart and patient and beautiful and thoughtful. Eleven years married, a mark we just passed.
And so we’ve got a little gettaway planned. Nothing fancy, but it happens to be my favorite format: short escape to a place not far away, but quite different than the usual, all the same. In the shadows, to the north, looms gray-green San Pedro Mountain and inland hulks pristine Montara Mountain.
And it’s a chance to be just the two of us, rather than we five as we usually are, when we’re with our three kids too. Lucky to have this little escape.
An overnight on the coast, a couple hikes, a nice dinner, just the two of us, so fortunate, so blessed.
Just a couple days ago, I had a post entitled “What We Do.” Well, here a slightly different take — I’m revisiting that title again.
Busy weekend finished up with Sunday afternoon grocery run, and then between the wife and me, putting three new dishes together for dinner.
We worked well together in our little kitchen, she on her efforts, me with mine. Dishes cycled through the sink so we could keep our work areas clean. It was a pretty sweet dance, come to think of it.
As we were finishing up and the last two dishes were in the oven, she asked me how I was doing — I guess I seemed a little off. And in fact I was, pondering how the food was going to turn out, feeling a little pensive.
I replied, “Ok, given we’ve not made those dishes before…”, to which she commented, “Isn’t that what we do now all the time? Trying new things…”
And she was right. She is right. What she didn’t say, but implied, was that we do these things to keep our family going in the right direction, with their various food sensitivities / allergies, etc. And I might take it further still. When you’re raising kids, you’re trying new things all the time. And teaching them to do the same.
Don’t be afraid; just try it. We keep trying new things, we give this and that a try, we keep on keeping on, making new efforts, keeping it fresh.
So let’s do just that. Keep it fresh. It’s what we do.
And the two dishes? Not great, but they were ok. We’ll try them again.
What do we do when we’re married? What do we do when we’re parents? What do we do after a long day, a long week?
We take care of business, that’s what we do. We go to the practice, we wash the dishes, we’re sociable, even if maybe we’re not feeling it. Who knows, it might be a good conversation…
It’s how we act, the choices we make when we’re tired, when we’re done, when we’ve had enough, or maybe too much, when the decision’s hard, what do we do?
Sometimes we fail, maybe more often than not. We make the wrong choice, we’re lazy, we give in, we take the easy path, selfish and weak.
But maybe, just maybe, if we really dig in, we can make that tougher choice now and again. We can do the chore, talk the talk, walk the walk right down that ol’ path, the higher road waiting if we give it a chance.
If we make that tough call at the moment of truth, have the courage to face that fear from our youth, that thing we thought gone, but waiting instead, ready to blow up inside of our head…
If we face that fear, if we set in to do what we know we should do, we might just find then, that we can do it again. And again, and again, and again, AMEN.
Zero Dark Thirty, we rolled out. Regardless the hour, the excitement and anticipation were palpable. Over a great highway, southbound. And we chatted and the kids dozed and woke again.
After several hours we arrived. And immediately we set to work, “having fun.” We learned pretty quick from the kids’ reactions to various proposed rides, what their courage levels were, what they wanted to do. We made the most of the mixed bag of excitement and anxiety. Some rides we rode twice because we had the chance.
Lessons too learned along the way. There were some tears, along with the fears, and honest assessment of desires and drivers in our plan. A better plan there could have been, to balance a bit more and spread out the work of having fun. Funny the lessons that come from vacations, outside the box, fresh lessons about life and love and living together. Lesson learned, lesson learned.
In the end we did have fun, didn’t we? Was it the sparkly things or the magical place or the whoop-dee-do ? I hope it was a mix of it all stirred up in the Disney Bowl if so many options and shiny lights and loud sounds and smiling faces and story-book settings.
I hope they had fun. There were tasty treats and sparkly bling and a fuzzy new friend and keys of magic, all came together as we barreled along through three days at the Happiest Place on Earth.
Soon it would be time for shifting minds back to normal during the final long ride; sealing the memories in the pictures and souvenirs and fun we had.
Feeling thankful for the chance for this big adventure, mindful of all it took, grateful for all the planning, the efforts poured into it all for our family to have fun.
Yes, we had fun; “it’s all about the kids”, as the wise saying goes, seen in the back of a vacation shirt on Friday afternoon.
Then in a flash, or maybe a fade? It comes to an end. It’s time for the ride back home, down the long road north, through an autumn Sunday afternoon. As the sun fades in the west, and darkness settles in, as we ease back into normalcy, to the normal of home and the day to day, we think back with a smile.