When I became a parent, I wondered which memories, peak experiences, and profound life lessons I would bestow on my boys and which would actually stick in their psyches. Given that joy and peace are my favorite states of being, I can only hope that my boys remember the times when we laughed over a good film, took a quiet walk under the Sonoma moon, cooked a homemade meal together, saved a hummingbird from a cat’s jowls or snuggled ourselves to sleep after a long day of intense little league baseball games. I can only hope because Lord knows a great deal goes into a day besides peace and joy when nagging over homework, fighting over the remote and other such silly things.
Today, I naturally think of the good times I shared with my father–times, when I would watch my hero body surf the big waves of Huntington Beach, while I ate my favorite Winchells donut; times, when we would sit and read a book together in our music room while listening to Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata on the stereo; days, when we would walk miles and talk for hours through the back country roads of my childhood. At the dinner table, my father would help me through every problem I was having at the time.
But those memories and times mean something only, to me. Given that truth, I want to share a few of the lessons, (there are so many) I learned from my father about life that would mean something to everyone today.
1. Don’t hold onto anything. Learn from the experience, then let it go.
2. Step on a nail and it hurts. This holds true for most of life’s experiences. They hurt. You heal.
3. Stay curious, wonder, question. You’ll never grow bored or old.
4. Park your car in the shade. You and your car will be grateful for it.
5. Walk, walk, walk or your wife will be all over you.
6. Debate your ideas, learn from different points of view.
7. Go slow when you’re in a hurry.
8. Question everything. Don’t trust everyone. Don’t settle for mediocrity.
9. Go to the best. Learn from the best. They’ve worked hard to get there and they’ll help you get there too.
10. Waste not. Live simply and frugally. Life is hard enough with shelter, food, and heat. Imagine being without them.
11. Luck plays a big part in life.
12. Nature calls the shots and we are very much a part of the animal kingdom (low on the food chain).
13. Fight for your rights.
14. There isn’t anything you can’t do. Just do it.
15. In leadership, surround yourself with the best, and delegate, delegate, delegate.
16. Respect your parents. Respect yourself.
There are so many more words of wisdom I could share, but perhaps the words that stay with me is embedded in an expression my father would say to me in Spanish. He would often say, “No Somos Nada,” after a country has been hit by a tsunami or an earthquake, killing hundreds of thousands of people in a moment’s notice. “No Somos Nada,” which in English means, “We Are Nothing.”
I took this to mean, we are insignificant in the larger scheme of things. “Don’t take yourself too seriously. Yes, everything matters, everything; and nothing matters, nothing; so enjoy every drop while you can, drink with great thirst from the well of life.”
I love you, Dudes. (I call him Dudes).
And to all of you, May You Drink!
Happy Father’s Day!