Posts Tagged ‘ meaning of life ’

Before I Met Your Mother: Flashback To 2005

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

3 years, 4 months.

Dear Jack,

Until last night, I had never seen a full episode of the popular TV show, How I Met Your Mother.

But after hearing all the hype about the final episode that aired this week, I decided to check out the first couple of episodes on Netflix.

It’s interesting because the first episode flashes back to the year 2005, when the protagonist and narrator was 27 years old and meets the woman he wants to marry… and sort of ultimately begins to chase for 9 seasons.

Seeing the show took me back to a place in my life when I was that single 20something year-old guy without a wife and child.

It’s such a different state of mind.

Yes, there was so much “freedom” back then, yet I clearly remember that deep yearning to meet the love of my life, who would in essence connect me to a universe in which the world made better sense to me.

For me, the year 2005 was when I moved to Nashville to truly “start my adult life” as a 24 year-old single guy.

A year later, I met Mommy. Less than two years later, she and I got married. About two and a half years after that, you were born.

To me, this current version of my life is the one I would pick every time.

I know it could be said that raising a 3 year-old boy is at times, chaotic.

But one of my roles in our small family (and in this world as a whole) is to help organize chaos.

It’s as if I find safety and security in the structure of chaos, because it brings meaning to my life.

There are so many things I can’t do well. And there are many obvious roles in our family that Mommy handles.

As for me, I’m here for “everything else.” That’s what I’m good at. I’m starting to fathom that now.

That includes getting rid of spiders for Mommy. That includes being the official disciplinarian for you. That includes me being consistently positive for the two of you even when I don’t feel like it.

I bet it’s hard to imagine me any other way though, right? Before I met your mother, I was a lost boy.

You and her changed that for me. I like 2014 a lot better than 2005.

 

 

Love,

Daddy

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This Christmas Felt More Like Thanksgiving (And Back To The Future)

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

3 years, 1 month.

Dear Jack,

Today is New Year’s Day, but it feels to me like we’re a week into 2014 already.

I think it’s because your 3rd birthday was about 2 weeks before Thanksgiving, and Thanksgiving was a week closer to Christmas than it normally is.

Maybe I’m sort of stuck in a time warp continuum. I don’t know if this more like being back to the future or back in the past.

Somehow, Christmas felt more like Thanksgiving to me.

But not just because of that time warp continuum thing. It’s because this Christmas, I actually did what I guess people are supposed to do at Christmas:

I turned off all the lights in my head except for one and realized: Hey, I’m grateful and thankful for all the blessings in my life.

While I’m disconnected from 99.9% people living on this planet, because I’ve never heard of them and they’ve never heard of me… plus 100% of those who already came and went before I ever ended up on planet Earth, I am connected to enough right now to make me feel alive; to remind me that life isn’t simply a grand scheme taking place inside of a computer chip in somebody’s brain; at least, I think that’s what the plot of The Matrix was about.

There’s something about the actual origin of Christmas that at least peripherally points to the meaning of life.

To me, I would simply say that the meaning of life is to give life meaning, which requires being involved in other peoples’ lives.

And that’s something I was very aware of this Christmas.

As a family, we are by default those people who influence each other, and bring meaning more than anyone else we know.

So to think that I’m really nobody that special or famous or great in relation to entire world, it is both rewarding and humbling to know that I am a VIP in your eyes.

I remember back a couple of months ago during my lunch break from work, scurrying back and forth between Target and Toys R Us, trying to figure out who had the better selection of Disney’s Planes toys.

Mommy had given me the task of picking one out for you. My instincts told me to pick El Chupacabra, based on my predictions of you liking how he looked and as a quirky way to celebrate our shared portion of Mexican blood.

After all, I’ve bought you enough toys now to have a decent idea of what impresses you.

Without any prompt, the day after Christmas, you discreetly sort of pulled me aside in a way that a 3 year-old boy does, and told me, “Daddy, I like that plane you got me.”

I don’t think you could have known that was one of the few gifts that I had complete creative decision in picking out; Mommy chose most everything else herself, from the gifts we got for you.

It may seem like a simple story or even just a fortunate coincidence, but the fact you made an effort to tell me how you felt about that $4 plane I got you… well, it made my day.

And my Christmas.

 

Love,

Daddy

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The Reward For A Job Well Done Is More Hard Work

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

October 30, 2013 at 10:45 pm , by 

2 years, 11 months.

Dear Jack,

I guess in a way you could say this is the accidental sequel to “You’re Not Entitled To Much In This Life, Except…” from a few days ago.

So this is something I meant to say, too:

The reward for a job well done is more hard work.

That’s definitely the case at my job in the office. I don’t assume I’ll get a raise simply because I’ve been employed there for a certain amount of time.

I see it more of an old school concept that you get a raise based on time. Instead, I work with the mindset that I need to daily show my employer that I’m one of the most proactive, diligent, and creative workers there.

Basically, as I prove myself more each day, I’m rewarded with new tasks and responsibilities- in other words, more hard work.

The concept is that I will eventually hold so many responsibilities and successly completed projects that a new pay grade will eventually be unavoidable.

Until then, I’m working hard and being rewarded with more hard work.

I wish I could tell you that life was easier than that. I don’t think it is.

The thought of ever retiring seems not only impossible for me, but it simply seems like a joke; not just because I have no faith in the Social Security program. It’s also that I can’t imagine not feeling the pressure of accomplishing tasks all the time.

I’m afraid I’m one of those people who would die within a year after retiring. I’ll sleep when I’m dead.

Therefore, I plan to stay moving and active.

As I write all this, I can’t help but think about how this mindset makes me think of being a parent. With each new phase I complete, like the get-no-sleep phase when you were a newborn, I graduate to a newer and more advanced job.

Nearly three years ago I was cleaning bottles, whereas these days I’m helping you potty train.

If the reward for a job well done is more hard work, then that means hard work is rewarding. Weird concept, but I get it. Actually, one of my favorite books in the world is Ecclesiastes, which is widely believed to be written by the wisest man who ever lived, King Solomon.

This sums it up for me in a way I can appreciate:

“5:18 This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given them—for this is their lot. 19 Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil—this is a gift of God. 20 They seldom reflect on the days of their life, because God keeps them occupied with gladness of heart.”

If that’s how I see the world, and how I see life, it would seem difficult to feel entitled to much.

Needless to say, I am your daddy. That means the reward for being your daddy is, being your daddy.

 

Love,

Daddy

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When Real Life Feels More Like Purgatory

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

Ten months.

Purgatory is the condition or process of purification or temporary punishment in which, it is believed, the souls of those who die in a state of grace are made ready for Heaven.” -Wikipedia’s definition of “purgatory”

I’ve never actually met anyone who truly believes in purgatory, yet I feel that the general population is familiar with the idea of it.

On the final episode of Lost, the people from the Island who had ultimately lived their lives for the goodwill of others instead of greed and selfishness, reunited and reminisced in purgatory before entering Heaven together.

For those who are not Lost fanatics but like the band Coldplay, in their song “42,” some of the most memorable lyrics include the refrain, “You thought you might be a ghost; you didn’t get to Heaven but you made it close.”

Most of us don’t believe in the actual place, but for me at least, there is something pretty fascinating about the concept. I think it’s so easy in this life, in this culture, in this country, to feel like we are lost, or at least that we don’t belong wherever “here” is. We want to think that we deserve to transcend this lowly and boring situation, asking the question:

“What am I supposed to learn from this? Why am I here?”

My life has been filled with stretches like that. Even right now, my wife and I are having to adjust back to the busyness of our full-time jobs in Nashville, this time with a kid; which is a completely new balancing act for us. We are having to figure out and work out our new lifestyles and schedules, making time not only for the three of us, but for the two of us, as well.

It’s a purification process that is not easy; but it is necessary. We can see how natural it can be to let your kid consume your leftover energy and thoughts, slacking on making conscious efforts to keep the marriage relationship fresh and engaging. But we don’t want our lives to end up like Everybody Loves Raymond.

Ultimately, we are being forced to mature our marriage relationship. This “forced maturity” is sort of the whole point of purgatory. You suffer until you overcome.

Not that I am constantly immature or naive, or maybe I am (?), but I am always needing to grow in a way that I never could have without entering my newest purgatory.

But really, the more I think of the literary device we know as purgatory, the more it just seems like a straight forward yet abstract way to describe life itself; the condition or process of purification or temporary punishment in which, we are made ready for Heaven, at best.

We may figuratively compare our lives to hell at times, but really, hell is an eternal end; it’s never-ending loneliness and destruction. Purgatory is temporary.

I don’t mind viewing life as purgatory. Until I pass on in to the afterlife, I will always have much more growing up to do, more necessary suffering, and one more level of maturity to reach- even if I live to be 80.

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Baby Boot Camp

Thursday, November 25th, 2010

Week 1.

Regarding immediate life in the home front and finding a method to the madness, my wife and I are starting to get things figured out.  When Jack needs a diaper change, I put in his pacifier, “shush” him, and place my right hand over his chest while my wife handles the dirty business, delicately cleaning around his healing circumcised penis and belly button (similar to playing the Operation board game by Milton Bradley).  Regarding sleep schedules, my wife has come up with this gracious plan: On weeknights, I sleep in the guest bedroom on a futon bed from midnight until 6 AM for 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep, then I get ready to leave for work.  When I arrive home 12 hours later, I do whatever my wife needs me to, including but not limited to rocking him, holding him, and helping with the feedings.  But during the weekends, I pretty much just take naps when I can.

Yes, this is my new normal.  I look at the situation for my wife and I as “baby boot camp”.  We are being broken down to the point now where we see two hour naps as a valuable prize, as sleep becomes the new currency in life.  Though so many people have told us the “sleep when the baby sleeps” rule, he inconveniently sleeps between 4:30 and 8:00 PM, a time slot where I am always widest awake and eating dinner.  Hopefully keeping him awake during this time will push back his schedule enough to ensure better sleep time for his parents.

I figure if we can make it through the difficulties of breastfeeding and learning to deal with sleep deprivation, we can officially handle all else that will come our way in raising him.  So I remind myself that every good and present father has been through this too.  I look at parenting as a necessary rite of passage for myself as a human being.  It’s something I was meant to do in order to fully serve my purpose here on Earth; never really knowing all the positive chain-reacting side-effects that my influence on him will cause in the world.  Deep.


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