When I was 19, and a young US Coast Guardsman, I married the widow of a fisherman I had found drowned. Six weeks after our daughter Jessica was born, my wife died. It was a blood clot that had formed in labor, and had gone undetected until it reached her lungs. To say I was devastated would be an understatement, but actually I was probably very much in shock, and with a newborn to tend to, as well as a six-year-old stepdaughter, and a two-year-old stepson, I was just too busy to mourn. (Six months later Angie and Jason went to live with their mother’s family while Jessica and I continued on our path as Dad and daughter).
Jessica and I had a mostly fun journey together through her youth – spending the first 9 years in California while I worked in the music business in L. A., and then we both went to school in Northern California. After I graduated we moved to Maui. Jessica, (who will be 30 this year), has two new younger brothers Dylan, and Eli, not to mention her own son – my Grandson – Logan!
We’ve seen a lot over the years, had a lot of laughs, and many cries – but most importantly – there has always been a lot of love between us. Drawing from this experience I wrote 15 things that I believe in.
1. Love yourself – You are more than you think you are. This you, is just a phase. It will all make sense in a hundred years from now.
2. Love your children – You gave them your commitment. You can help them accelerate their growth. They need your best effort.
3. Learn to play – Being on this Earth is a gift. Enjoy it as much as possible. Have fun!
4. Find your passion – It’s what you really want to do. Who cares what others think. You’ll forget about time.
5. Be a safe driver – Too much wasted humanity! There are kids in those cars. What’s your hurry?
6. Contemplate the opposite – You may be wrong. They may need your help learning. We all win.
7. Think before you speak – It’s hard to get those words back. Does it matter- really? There can be consequences.
8. Don’t be afraid of animals – They’re only being themselves. They won’t hurt you, unless they have to. They were here first.
9. Don’t cheat – You’ll only beat yourself. A pure win is the sweetest. You’ll enjoy the challenge.
10. Really listen to a Mozart Symphony – Because you can. He was chosen to bring it to us. It’s the vibration of our universe.
11. Try something different – There’s more than 31 flavors. Your world will expand. My world will expand.
12. Stop counting – You’ll never stop. One step at a time. The most important thing is this one.
13. It’s not all about you / me – We’re all in this together. Doing what is best for you is best for me. I don’t really need all this anyway.
14. Be gentle with yourself – You don’t really know what you’re doing anyway. You’re doing exactly what you’re supposed to be doing.
15. Keep on keeping on – You do know which direction is the right one. There is no finish line. It’s really just a big circle.
Image Credit: Caprice Nicole Photography