Fatherly Advice From One Father to Another Father

My father lives about ten miles away. Yet I don’t get to see him as often as I would like to. We frequently contact each other; but most of those conversations are merely checking in and making sure whomever is on the receiving end of the phone is alright.

Every once in a while, a full-length conversation with my pops is needed. The older I get, the more I realize how much I am just like him. His insights on life from the perspective a similar paradigm with more life experience many times ensures me that I am not crazy.

I spoke to my dad a couple of nights ago. We had been playing phone tag between Monday afternoon and Wednesday night. We talked about life, women, and raising my child.

I told him that within her first three piano lessons, I think that Cydney is a natural. While it may be very early to tell, I think there is a chance that my daughter may have perfect pitch. If she does, that would be close to an anomaly; being that I possess the incredibly rare ability as well.

Dad was elated. “She’s a special one. You just need to keep her busy so that she finds her thing. She’s on level 10 all of the time because she’s just bursting with stuff inside; so she needs to talk all of the time,” he said.

I couldn’t help but laugh at what my father told me. I pictured the million and 17 questions my kid asks me daily and how she is constantly operating on level 10 from the moment she wakes up until she crashes at night.

The conversation became a segue towards a different path of dialog. I paused for a moment and said to the man I once called Trav Murdah: Sometimes I think about this. Cydney is such a special kid and we’ve been through so much, I wonder how things will be different with other ones. Knock-on-wood, one day I’ll get married and have more and she’s just something else.

My dad said “Look, when that day comes, neither one of you will remember these times. You’ll be in the present and it’ll be hard-if not impossible-for you to see the past. I don’t remember you or your sister being Cydney’s age. When I see you at 30, I see you only as you currently are. Unless they’re gone, you will only see her and whoever is around as just that.”

I paused and as much as I could, I related. He was very right. I told my dad “You know, that’s a lot like how I feel about everything that has happened. People often ask me how am I able to move on from Timile. Like, I remember living in Buffalo, and her being around; but that feels like a lifetime ago. I’m not even that same person. So it feels like flashes of thoughts and a distant memory.”

The secret sauce to my ability to constantly move forward is that I don’t look back. If I do, the only reason is to search for context to current problems or prepare for the future. Otherwise, it’s a nice story that I am no longer living.

If life is like a game of chess and your queen has been killed by a silly mistake; why would you constantly dwell about a piece that is no longer there? The smart decision would be to look at what you have on the board, assess and anticipate your opposition’s moves, and figure out a plan to advance without your most powerful piece; or make a way to turn one of your weakest pieces-pawns-into a new queen. You develop this line of thinking, and you can have multiple queens on the board.

The past becomes relative. Our brains move much of the older information into a part of our mind to make room for all that is occurring in the present. The missing pieces allow for logic to fill in, and creates something a little different than what actually happened. We begin to romanticize the past. Fairly fucked up times can become “the good ol’ days” and we miss them.

Constantly reliving distorted views of the past can have adverse effects. People become victims of arrested development like this; in which they’re stuck in a mindset in which trauma happened. Acknowledge that shit happened and do whatever to continue moving forward. Our brains purposefully forget the past so that we aren’t severely depressed. Try your best to keep it there because it is doing its part to protect us all.

Thanks, Dad

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