(This was written in 2012 Oro Valley, AZ. It is advice for my two daughters whom were 14 and 17 years of age at the time. The are both doing fine to date. It’s very personal)
To my daughters Alyson and Alexa,
Due to recent events and my feeling particularly depressed of late, I’ve decided I should give you a gift that hopefully you will find of some use before anything else can happen to us. I know both of you feel that life with me has been an adventure or maybe a bit of a rollercoaster ride might be more accurate. When growing up, you lacked for nothing as I was blessed with good business acumen and some luck. Today, life, as both of you are painfully aware, is much different. We are all in agreement that living on Struggle Street is not our preferred address. I still beat myself up every day trying to figure out why things went the way they did. I also constantly struggle with trying to come up with a way to “right the ship.” My being unemployable for so long has been pure torture for me and has been deeply unappreciated by you, I’m sure. I will eventually find my way but, in the interim, please accept this doctrine which I have prepared for both of you. The information is not weighted one way or the other. Every word was meant for both of you equally so don’t argue about that. You will have two different interpretations of the material, but know that you can read it together or separately; it matters not. What’s critical is to read it carefully. There is a lot of information that’s beyond surface thinking. Both of you are very capable of thinking past your nose, so I am not worried there. Please read it several times. This is one of those writings that will present something new with each subsequent reading. I did not mention your mother, because I wanted this to be strictly a father/daughter project. If you would like to share some of this information with others, feel free. I love you both with all my heart; be well and do well.
I did the best I could with what I knew.
I wondered if it was enough to see you through.
May the choices you make be truly your own.
Since you are responsible for the seeds you have sown.
So my daughter, you have elected to take a path that you have been cautioned about. The reasons for your choices are not important right now. These types of reasons have and will be around for many life times. There’s nothing new under the sun. There will be plenty of time for their examination later. What must be addressed are the choices you have made and the ramifications they may hold.
Your teenage wisdom tells you the path you have taken is an acceptable way to make you feel better or to help you cope with life’s problems. My wisdom tells me differently and, therein, provides a significant opportunity for us both to grow.
From an elder’s point-of-view, it is easy to see the error of your ways. But this is not the view either one of us should be concerned with. It is your perspective that is important, because if you lack the correct understanding, then nothing can be learned.
A parent’s credibility is always in question in the minds of their children, and my credibility is especially so, as I have not set the best example when it comes to coping skills with my numerous missteps. We all have choice to make, and some of mine have not been in our best interest. But that doesn’t mean that you are allowed to make the same mistakes I did. There will be no free pass here. We are different people, and if you are to benefit, we must use my questionable choices as a learning tool.
I can honestly say the majority of my life has been spent learning how not to do things. Though I was told, several times, what the right path should be, I was too headstrong, stubborn, and/or hateful to listen. That would have been too easy. I first had to suffer the consequences of a wrong choice and then use the adversity as a wakeup call, so I would not repeat the error. Sometimes I did this, sometimes I didn’t.
I have never told you straight up how to do things unless you have asked, and I’m not going to start now. Anyway, giving advice without it being asked for is a strategy that only leads to trouble. Like me, you have your own minds and have to make your own decisions in order to learn. I have to be big enough to stand back and let you make your own mistakes. You have to realize holding back is very difficult for a parent to do, but one must.
For now, let’s forget about the immediate dangers involved with your chosen path and get to the examination of making a choice. Dr. Wayne Dyer said, “Our lives are a sum total of the choices we have mad.” In other words, your current predicament in life is due to the choices you have made up to this point; be they right or wrong. Dr. Dyer’s quote harbors some real weight. It translates to this; barring mental illness or head injury, you are solely responsible for your actions and their outcome. So you had better take special care in how you choose. Just because someone throws you a ball doesn’t mean you have to catch it. Once again, take special care in making your choices in life. I wish I would have known this when I was your age.
I have always found that any choice is wrong if you don’t know the potential consequences. So, it would be wise to educate yourself about the potential consequences well before the choice is made. Most people call this an informed decision, and it usually is the best way to proceed when possible.
Let’s investigate what your friends have to do with your choices. The following question is one every parent will eventually ask. Do your friends influence any of the choices you make? The answer, of course, is hell yes. Peer pressure is absolutely real, and has been used as an excuse for bad behavior ever since man first populated this earth. Peer pressure and ignorance of the consequences have been two of the most often used answers anytime a parent asks, “Why the hell did you do that?” The tried and true response is, “Because so and so did it.” Know that the onus is always on the one making the choice and taking the action. Any police officer will tell you that ignorance of the law is no excuse. Do not use either of these excuses; I won’t be buying.
When you’re confronted with a friend’s strong persuasion, the best action to take is to help them understand the consequences of the potential choice they are trying to goad you into making. Furthermore, if you are unaware of the consequences, then education yourself before making the choice. Believe me you will not regret taking the time to find out, especially if it’s a potential life altering choice. Always take the high road, you will never regret it.
I would like to offer this, when friends fail to listen to reason, get new friends. Toxic relationships should be done away with immediately, even if it’s a family member. Don’t feel bad about cutting those losses. The short-term pain is easier to take than the long-term energy drain you’ll endure trying to make something wrong work. Life is hard enough without the aggravation of a faux friend dragging you down, be they male or female.
White it’s true that not all bad choices lead to harmful consequences, the numbers certainly are not in your favor. Making bad choices and hoping they will end well is not a gamble worth taking, though many of us do just that. The bottom line is that eventually all choices will affect you either mentally or physically, depending on the nature of the choice. An example of this would be smoking. One cigarette probably won’t hurt you, but the choice of long-term exposure does have its consequences.
I would like to talk more about influence. Not influence on you, but your influence on others. This topic most generally does not enter into the decision-making process when you’re with friends, but maybe it should. I am here to tell you that we as humans haven’t any idea how many people we influence with our actions over a lifetime. And, that influence spreads to people of all ages. I won’t tell you how I know this, but I do; anyway, this writing isn’t about me, so pay attention.
Let’s use an example from the karmic universe. Say you make several poor choices. Then someone who may admire you from afar follows your lead making the same poor choices. Wouldn’t the karmic wheel roll over you a few times, based on how many people you led astray with your erroneous actions? I would say, yes, whether you were aware of them or not. The point again is to be very mindful of the choices you make because more people are watching than you will ever know.
Now, I would like to include some “Information for Life” that I have gathered over the years from various sources, including myself, I hope the information will help you to get through. Feel free to use the information as you wish. You can either take it to heart or ignore it; it’s your choice.
The voice in your head tells you one thing, but you do another.
That voice in your head is right you know; it’s a voice like no other.
Forget the damn emotion and begin to listen and learn.
If you don’t, you may regret it, and may find the end to be a living Hell.
Information for Life
- At times, life will seem ridiculous, funny, hard, unbearable, and not worth living. Ignore all of that, you are here to learn and teach. Women are the glue that hold this world together. Do not be scared of this, but do not let it go to your head.
- If you have a sense of entitlement, get rid of it. I can understand how it would come about given the circumstances during your formative years, but the world does not owe you a thing. If you want something, go get it.
- Develop goals and document them. Think of them daily and cross them off when you complete them. The important thing about goals is that they help guide the choices you make.
- The internet is a good communication and learning tool. But, if you are not careful, it can be a dangerous liability. Beware of slick talkers/stalkers. Look for the red flags when communicating and warn friends.
- Know the difference between love and lust.
- Know a bad situation when you or your friends are in one and get out, even if you have to call me or 911.
- Karmic justice has multiple levels; the lowest one is salient in most minds, “What goes around comes around.” The higher the levels go, the less we understand them. They involve good and evil at an incomprehensible level. Humans haven’t any insight into this area; this is God territory.
- Work is a very necessary part of life. But, do not confuse career with employment. It is best to find fulfilling career with good compensation, but this is difficult to do. It’s fine to let your work ethic define who you are, but don’t let your job title; there are too many potential pitfalls.
- Religion – Do not take away a person’s belief system unless you are prepared to replace it. Everyone is searching; faith in God is OK. Do not be too much in this world.
- Money should not be the measure of any man, but it is. If you have it, be helpful to others and do not flaunt it.
- If you become lost, you need not find yourself, just be yourself. All the information you were taught in your formative years is most of what you need.
- Don’t take unnecessary health risks like holding a cell phone directly to your ear, microwave in plastic, etc.
- Respect, if earned, is more important to people in their autumn years of life. Show the proper respect accordingly.
- The Hegelian dialectic: Thesis + Antithesis = Synthesis. You have seen this before; if it is confusing now, don’t worry. You will gain understanding through living. My explaining it will not do you well, but do keep thinking about it.
- There are ten dimensions plus time. Try to know them all. Three dimensions you have now are child’s play.
- Only write what you want other people to know. There is no such thing as Privacy anymore; some things just need to be taken to the grave, and that’s ok.
- Don’t let the thinking of the “times” influence your true thoughts.
- Know that someone was placed in this world to be your antagonist. Be aware of this and deal with it.
- Protect Children.
- Learn to listen. Listening is hard to do when you have a bad attitude.
- Take responsibility when you are wrong.
- Everything in this universe seems to be connected.
- Communication through telepathy will be a standard practice.
- The day will come when you can no longer “drink wine and piss milk.” You will be very aware when this happens. Don’t push it!
- If you are ever involved in a scandal, remember that the cover-up is always worse than the crime.
- Reaching is ok, but the truth lies among us, if you wish to look for it.
- From the Gestalt Theorists, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”
- Though I’m disinclined to touching, all hugs matter.
- Think before you wish, please.
- Stop once in a while to enjoy life. It doesn’t have to be a grind all the time.
- Volunteer often, and give money and time to charities.
- Develop a passion for your work and a hobby.
- Don’t become fanatical about anything. The best way to be in life is normal.
- When you communicate, know your audience, formal English is used as a tool for judgement, like it or not. Use it for everything except social media, of course.
- Forgive but don’t forget. It’s ok to scream and cuss in the right setting.
- Choose a conservative wardrobe. If you look like a “good time” expectations will be very low.
- Sometimes, we all have to eat a shit sandwich. Don’t nibble.
- It’s inevitable, not all people will like you. That is just the way it is, do not take it personally. You cannot please everyone and will go crazy trying.
- Never act like you know everything, even if you do, do not act like it. Feigning stupidity can sometimes be an asset.
- Know the difference between a true emergency and manufactured drama. Then, act accordingly.
- From Shakespeare, “to thine own self be true.” Shakespeare was inspired by Socrates (Know thyself). This was one of my biggest mistakes in life. I’ll have more from Socrates later.
- Technology is your friend, use it.
- Ownership should be in all of your business contracts. It’s important.
- Don’t confuse money with success.
- Money, in excess cuts both ways. I certainly enjoyed having money, but was not prepared for the resentment it brought. Know that personalities change around money, so be conservative and discreet.
- Find a good Doctor: get to know, trust and stay with him or her.
- Don’t use gender as an excuse. Glass ceilings should not exist for you.
- Find your God-given talents and perfect them.
- Do not ignore things that don’t make sense.
- It’s ok to play your music loud, if you don’t disturb others. It is a good investment to buy quality sound equipment.
- Enjoy a slice of pizza every week.
- Do not tolerate living where you don’t want to.
- Act your age until you get old
- Pets make a mess; make sure they are worth it.
- You will have bad days, but things always seem better the next morning.
- Don’t believe everything you hear and read.
Once again, I love you both with all my heart; be well and do well.