Another Year, A Few More Things Learned

It’s funny, most people measure their years by the start of a new annual year or fiscal year. Some measure by birthdays (another year lived), some measure by years of sobriety… the last two years, I have measured by time since my dad passed away. 

“Who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed?” — Hunter S Thompson

I preach living life to the fullest and taking advantage of first chances because you only have so many tomorrows and might not get a second chance, but do I practice what I preach? Ehhhh not as much as I would like… Last year, I posted about the things I had learned since my pop passed… and I am wondering if on this yearly checkin, I have learned anything else… So here is what I think I have learned…

  1. You never have time for the living part of life unless you make time. There are always opportunities to push it off and excuses to be made, work to be done, etc. But the living part, you need to make time for and if you don’t, you WILL end up getting left on the sidelines.
  2. Eventually you get sick of your own sadness and find ways to throw yourself back into the mix. (Self explanatory)
  3. My kid brings me the most joy I have ever experienced in my entire life. There is no comparison. At All. Whether she is crying or smiling (although I prefer the smiling), she is still bringing me joy. Watching her hit milestones and targets, truly makes life a little sweeter.
  4. Family is important. Your blood relatives and you share more than just the same genes and they have a lot to offer you in terms of perspective. Friends are the people you choose to make family. You are never too old to appreciate family, old and new, blood or adopted. 
  5. You are never too old to make new, amazing friends who truly get you. In the past year or so, I have gained a few really good friends that I really can admit anything to — this is one of the things that make life worth living – the people.
  6. I may talk about hating people, but I don’t really hate people. I actually really like people, even the stupid ones. Everyone has something to teach us and we, in turn, have something we can impart to them. What I really don’t like about people: I hate the messiness that sometimes comes with people and situations that are created. 
  7. We tend to avoid the messy stuff. We shouldn’t. On the other side of that messiness is awesome town. It takes some work to get there, but the journey is worth the end reward. So deal with the messiness that life presents and let’s all go over to awesome town
  8. Writing can be cathartic BUT at some point, I realized I didn’t want to be stuck behind a computer, all of the time. I wanted to be out there trying to live (still working on the LIVING part)… this realization has caused the decrease in posting. Once I figure out how to do both, I will pick this up a little better.
  9. When you learn that you aren’t as different from some as you once thought. Example: In my dad’s later years, he read a lot. Most of what I saw him reading was either fantasy or nonfiction. My pop’s favorite quote in his later years was by Hunter S Thompson: “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!” (The Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman, 1955-1967) — But he also said the quote stated up above about living life. Funny about all of this. I came to worship Hunter S Thompson in college, as an English major with a serious wander lust, it’s no wonder. I thought I didn’t fit in with my family (all sciency people) so it would make sense… come to find out, posthumously, that my dad and I both enjoyed Hunter S Thompson. 

On that note, I will leave you with one final Thompson quote: 

“…A man must choose a path which will let his ABILITIES function at maximum efficiency toward the gratification of his DESIRES. In doing this, he is fulfilling a need (giving himself identity by functioning in a set pattern toward a set goal) he avoids frustrating his potential (choosing a path which puts no limit on his self-development), and he avoids the terror of seeing his goal wilt or lose its charm as he draws closer to it (rather than bending himself to meet the demands of that which he seeks, he has bent his goal to conform to his own abilities and desires).” — Hunter S Thompson

My father was not a stupid man. Knowing this, I imagine this is why he encouraged me to become a world renowned author that would support him in his old life, with a fabulous life that he would quickly become accustomed to… hehe. Life had other plans, but it is interesting to discover that my father and I are not as different as I once thought. 

July 4th is hard. I am not sure it will ever get a whole lot easier. But at least I know that it always comes with a year of lessons and reflections.

There are only so many tomorrows, so we should prolly start living them today!

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