6.15.2014

Five Things: Father's Day Edition

We've all learned valuable things from our fathers. Most of them, I would like to hope, are extraordinarily thoughtful, positive things. And, like with your mother for Mother's Day, you should always call and touch base with your old man on Father's Day. Especially in my own situation, where my parents live at the other end of the country as me (North / South, duh), I am basically required to call on every holiday.


I was lucky enough to have my dad in town this week - he was here with the church youth group, and as they were touring the city, I was viciously avoiding the terribly tourist-y things they were doing (SORRY - but not really, because Times Square is the seventh circle of hell). But, I did get to see him the night of his birthday, and yesterday, when we went to Central Park and I helped to guide a small group of them from Cedar Hill to the Conservatory Water, to the Boathouse, to Sheep Meadow and then back. While I may not like Times Square or WTC, I definitely do not hate Central Park, so seeing my dad while touring the park when the weather was so unbelievably gorgeous was beyond a pleasure.

Every time I end up posting something on social media to celebrate a person in my life (like on birthdays, Mother's Day, or Father's Day), I always end up feeling like I'm falling so short of the things that I really should be saying. There are very few times in everyday life that you feel like you can be unapologetically cheesy, and I treasure those instances (truly). I think everyone should know they're appreciated - and with today's day and age, it's hard to just let it come from the heart instead of keeping things light.

FIVE THINGS I LEARNED FROM MY DAD

1. Life is for adventuring. My father has always worked hard; he's been doing the same job for a crazy amount of years. I think part of the reason why he's so good at it is because he works so hard. But the other side of that is the skill of remembering that we're surrounded by beauty, and that we should go out and explore it. My dad always planned family trips to far-off places - I've been so blessed to have been to places like Hawaii, Alaska, the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone National Park, among countless others. I never consciously appreciated the annual family trips until I was out of high school, but these trips shaped my life (and the way I think about the world). Seeing my dad plan adventures for us inspired me to want to experience life outside of the everyday.

2. Learn to laugh. On top of hard work and adventuring, my made sure to teach all of us that life is first and foremost for enjoying. Sure, every day you might be faced with some hardship you have to overcome - being stressed out, having disagreements with friends and loved ones - but the most important thing you can do is to not take anything too seriously. When you're able to laugh at situations, and at yourself, life becomes a whole heck of a lot easier.

3. Be motivated to fix things. My dad probably doesn't realize this, but every time I call home with even the most minor of issues, he always tries to help me fix them. I don't always need for him to do that - most of the time I just need to vent. But, over the years, I learned that he does this because you can't dwell on things that go wrong; you just have to try your best to fix them and move forward. And, no use in waiting around and being upset about things that go wrong, because where is that going to get you?

4. Listen to good music. It doesn't have to be one kind of music over another - just listen and connect to it. I discovered that there's so much soul and life in the music that I was raised on as a kid; from Bobby Darin to Billie Holiday to The Who and beyond, there was always some genre of music to listen to when we were growing up. To this day, every single time I'm home with my parents, my dad can be found in between tasks putting on a new album or vinyl for the whole house to enjoy.

5. Appreciate your loved ones. I mean, I think this is a given, but my dad has always made it a point (as has my mom) to tell each of us how proud he is. It may seem cheesy, and on more than one occasion I may or may not have laughed it off, but how important is it to feel reinforced in life by the ones you love? Whether it's a phone call home because you haven't spoken in a week or a link being e-mailed in a chain between each other, my family's bond is one that's ever-present, which always makes me feel more confident in my choices as I get older.

Happy Father's Day, dad! Now, everyone go hug your father figure and tell them you love them.

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