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Friday, March 28, 2014

Happy Birthday Dad

Tuesday, March 25th, was my Dad's birthday.  If he was still here he would have been 64 years old.

I spent a good chunk of the day thinking about and reflecting on my Dad - how he lived his life, what he believed in, what I learned from him both in life and in death.

Strangely, I realized I have learned so much more from my Dad in death than I did when he was alive.  Not because my Dad was not open to being a teacher, I think more so because I was resistant to being a student.

Death, loss, heartbreak, etc… they all have a way of shifting our priorities and make us stare life in the face and ask ourselves, "what really is important."  Not only that, but they call to attention just how important it is to treasure those important things while we have them.

Easier said than done, right?  I for one know that every day there are probably a ba-zillion things that I take for granted, or don't appreciate at the level I would like to.  Why?  Is it because I am selfish, is it because my attention is divided, is it because in the moment I don't acknowledge how much I care or have?  I think it is a combination of all of these and more, which sums up the reality that I am human.

As humans, we only have the ability to consciously process one or two things at a time.  At any given moment there are probably 100's of things that we can give our conscious attention to.  But, since we can only focus on a couple of those things, it means there are a whole lot of things failing to get the recognition and level of appreciation we may wish to give them.

As humans, when we have 100's of things to choose from to focus on, often we are going to miss focusing on the things that are most important because we have this assumption that they will always be there.  When we lose them we realize just how important they were.

I wanted to share with you all a few of the lessons I have learned from my Dad.  My hope is that some of them may resonate with you and that you use them to benefit your own life.

Also, I would love to hear any lessons you have learned from significant people in your life.  Please share them in the comments below or on the 1 Year 1000 Challenge page.

Lesson's learned from Dad:

1 - Make your priorities a priority while you can.  There were lots of things my Dad wanted to do and say, but he never got a chance to.  Time is of the essence for all of us.  We have to make our priorities a priority while we have the breath to do so.

2 - When you say it, make it count.  My Dad was not one of those people who called a lot or said I love you all the time.  Nor was he the best at cards, thank you notes, etc…  to some people this comes easily, my Dad was not one of those.  So when he did say I love you, when he did call, or he did take the time to make a card or send a note, he really meant it.  He did it because it was important enough for him to consciously work on doing and improving.

3 - Be grateful for what you got.  In life we are so quick to focus on what we don't have or what is wrong, that we don't stop to acknowledge all that we do have and all that is right.  We narrow our focus on one or two things that are bothering us and quickly turn a mole hill of a couple tiny problems into a mountain made up of the same tiny problems.  Much of the time I had with my Dad was squandered by focusing on lack vs focusing on abundance.  I didn't know any better and if I had, I would not be able to appreciate sharing this with you all like I can today.  In life, in relationships, in work, in health, there can always be "more," but in your pursuit of more, or better, remember to take a few moments to focus on what there is and what you do have.

4 - Don't leave things unsaid.  Communication is key in all relationships - parent/child, siblings, lovers, coworkers, friendships, families, etc… you name it and it can benefit from "saying" it.  Saying it means you make communication a priority.  You tell the people in your life what is going on and what they mean to you.  You say please and thank you, you talk about tragedies and triumphs, you let someone know that you appreciate their progress, you respect someone enough to tell them your concerns. My Dad and I could have added more depth to our relationship if we would have made communicating more of a priority.

5 - Treasure the little moments… In life we get so caught up in the rush for the "next big thing," that we often forget to stop and enjoy what we have right in front of us.  There will always be the temptation of the pursuit of something bigger and better.  I am all about charging forward to make your life the best you possibly can, but don't forget to recognize those components that exist in your life now, that add value and meaning to it.  It is those things that are in your life right now that make the "next big thing," so enjoyable.

Enjoy the pics,

Carpe Diem,


P.S. Dad, if you can read this - I love and miss you.


  1. Thank you for sharing, Jesse. Aloha

  2. After the death of my mother that I loved him very much and that was wonderful, I approached my father even more , I really cared for him and we talked every day. Dad was very old and it showed me that no matter our age, we can stay open-minded and tolerant of others . The most important thing I can give to all advice is not to keep for himself questions about the lives of our parents we would like to ask them , their dreams when they were young , what they are accomplishing more proud . Despite all the confidence that my father and I we got , the memories of his life he told me , I am still with issues that sometimes come to me and I can not get the answer. Enjoy your parents and everyone you love, you never know if it's the last time or not . This is the lesson I learned and I try not to forget . Jesse thank you for sharing this with us , I always appreciate your blogs , but this one more. :-)