Happy Father's Day...

When I was younger, and I would go to my dad for advice or help with homework, he would joke about charging my tab. You see, a lot of people pay a sizable amount of money for my dad's wisdom; as a lawyer, dispensing legal advice is what he does all day long. But, as I've become older, I've come to recognize that some of his personal words of wisdom are quite valuable as well. So, on the occasion of Father's Day, I thought I would share with you a few of the lessons and advice that my dad has given me over the years, much of which I am constantly struggling to apply to my daily life.
  • "Have some fun!" -- These were the last words Dad uttered to me when he dropped me off at college (or so he says, I was too anxious to remember that particular moment with any clarity.) Whenever the sturm and drang of high school would bring me down, Dad would tell me to wait until college; those four years would be the best of my life. I never believed him; instead, I worried about meeting new people, making new friends, and succeeding in my classes. But he was correct -- college did turn out to be some of the best years of my life so far (although I hate to think that my best years are already behind me), and more importantly, I had fun. As I've gotten older, I've become far less pessimistic. I still struggle with worrying all the time, about something, but I generally believe that life is about having a good time, not being miserable. Life is short, and we have to grab and hold on to all the joy that we can.
  • "Try asserting yourself for once!" -- Of all the things that Dad has tried to teach me, this one is perhaps the most difficult for me. Dad is a man who knows what he wants, and he makes sure he gets it, whether it's going toe to toe with a civil servant, or making a slew of changes to a dish he's ordering at a restaurant. While I sometimes find these practices a little obnoxious, the lesson is still there. You have to fight for what you want, and not let people walk all over you. I'll probably be working on this one for the rest of my adult life, but I've been listening, Dad.
  • "You have to figure out what you love to do, and do it. Otherwise you'll end up living a life of quiet desperation." -- Dad gives this piece of career advice to anyone who approaches him about the subject, and truly, he couldn't be more right. Think about it: we spend at least half of our waking lives at work. If life is about being happy, and not merely existing, then you have to do what you love. My problem is that I'm still in the process of figuring out just what that is, but I'll get there eventually.
After all these years, I'd shudder to think what my "tab" would be, if Dad had been billing me for all his advice. That's the advantage to having him as a father -- I get to be the beneficiary of his wisdom for free! So thanks Dad, for all the lessons you've taught me. Actually applying them to my life will keep me busy for years to come, but it's certainly a worthy enterprise. Happy Father's Day!

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