20 Jun The Good Things in Life, Passed Down From My Pops
NOBODY CAN TAKE AWAY OUR AUTHENTIC, INNATE JOYS. They’re attainable no matter where we find ourselves in the world. They’re attainable right now.
My dad has always told my brothers and me that the most beautiful way to see a city is by running through it.
I believe he’s right.
I think of my dad and the perspective he’s instilled in me. It makes me who I am.
My appreciation for the subtle charm of a park, the invigorating feeling of the ocean, the timeless smell of a fresh red clay tennis court — no matter where we are, together or apart, this unique admiration for the world is binding.
I see a part of my essence in him where the older I get, the clearer it becomes.
When I travel, a hunger stirs within me to rise at the crack of dawn, when the stars remain sleeping over the foreign land I’m in.
I’m free to explore and let my mind and spirit drift through the fresh morning streets.
I savor each breath of tranquility; I embrace the rain falling from the fleeting darkness.
A clear day is a gift of its own. But when I’m able to look out the window and listen to the calming dullness of steady rain, my soul is nourished.
As a son, I look to my father for guidance. I’m blessed to see my dad as successful, knowing whatever trials I’m enduring he has been through his own and has come out stronger.
I consider him successful because he lives to share his blessings: he’s happy.
Our parents communicate to us the qualities that they believe will serve some greater good in our lives. They raise us, and then we’re set free to discover our purpose, taking along what we’ve learned and preserved.
Those lessons will always be there. That love will always be there. More than what our parents deliberately instill in us, it’s the observation of growing with them and subconsciously watching how they react to the world.
We, as kids, make our judgments as to what’s right or wrong. We can be harsh, but parents are doing the best they can with what they know — we all are.
Eventually, I became mature enough to see that my parents learn from me just as much as I learn from them. Self-discovery can take place at any point in our journey, at any moment we decide.
As I shifted from the mindset of being a kid, something changed fundamentally in my character, thankfully, among many things.
I began to live not for myself alone but for others.
Life derives meaning when experienced with the ones we love. I think about my greatest joys, and it’s evident they stem from my dad.
When I travel, I hear his voice saying “no have-to’s!” forever in the back of my mind. This motto served as the backbone of many childhood journeys and continues to pilot my trips today.
It means nobody has to do anything they don’t want to do.
Yet, when with my dad, there is usually one have-to which anchors the day: the morning exercise.
I’m truly blessed to have traveled as much as I have with my dad. As a kid on trips together, it didn’t matter where we were — Italy, New York, France, Miami, or just cruising through our favorite towns in our home state of California.
We’d always visit the local park or tennis courts, or if accessible, a dip in the ocean as the day’s first event.
I was young and often grumpy and would have rather stayed in the hotel room. But I’m grateful my dad always encouraged me to come, with a coffee in hand and a smile on his face.
He planted a seed in my character not to seek what was easy, but to get up and attem, and take advantage of our time on this earth.
The happiness that makes life worth living doesn’t come from money or a gym membership.
It comes from the moments we can appreciate right now, as the world has momentarily stepped off the hamster wheel.
To me, happiness comes from running through a small charming town and watching night turn into day, or in awe below the towering skyscrapers of a modern metropolis.
It comes from the repetitive satisfaction of hitting tennis balls against a wooden backboard, clearly something passed down from my dad.
He shows my brothers and me through his actions that these freedoms are the good things in life.
Nobody can take them away.
I share my dad’s appreciation for life because that’s how his father lived, and my great-grandfather before him.
When I jump in the ocean and feel the ice-cold water rejuvenate my spirit, I don’t only think of my dad.
I think of my entire family, as we together share this passion for living. This trait is in our DNA; the cold ocean water is in our blood.
Like planting a seed in the sodden earth — of fruit to nourish others, of flowers to lend beauty to the world, of a tree which will one day be strong and provide shade to the weary — we must live to plant seeds of joy.
To share the gift of life and the healing that the earth brings is to impart a piece of our soul, the only part of us which eternally remains.