Thursday, 20 June 2013

Five Things I've Learned from my Dad

They always say you are going to wake up one day and realize that you are just like your parents – whether you like it or not. They also say that as you age, you realize that your parents know a little more than you ever thought they did.

I didn’t have the best relationship with my Dad growing up – it wasn’t until about a year ago, when he was diagnosed with an aggressive, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma brain tumor that we were able to connect in healthy, loving, way. He was given three months to live. It is a year and half later, and he is living life to its fullest. By the grace of God, he was given a second chance at life.

I now appreciate more than ever who he is as a person.

These are just some of the things that I’ve learned from him (so far) throughout my life time:

1. Do not care what other people think of you.
It’s a waste of time. You will never make everyone happy, and someone is always going to judge you. All that matters is that you are happy with yourself. Let the social pressures go and Just Be.

2. Work hard for your money; spend it wisely, and save it.
Unlike me, my Dad has lived through some tight financial times, and because of this, he always made me work for every penny I earned. I appreciate everything I’ve worked for more than I think someone who hasn’t. I started a savings account when I was in college – just $50 a month at the time. I slowly increased that amount every chance I had. I graduated college at 25 years old, and paid off all of my student loans and bought my first house at 29. Moral of story: Every penny counts.

3. You can’t control life.
When my Dad decided not to take anymore chemotherapy or medication for his cancer, he told me: “I’ve lived a good life. I have a wonderful wife and two daughters that I am proud of. If it’s my time to go, it’s my time to go.” Like I said before, it’s now been over a year and he is probably the healthiest he has ever been - I’m not suggesting people don’t take any medicine, and I believe he is alive now because of a miracle – but I guess it just wasn’t his time to go, and I admired the acceptance he had of his fate. Life is not in our hands.

4. Don’t be afraid to ask.
Growing up, my Dad talked to everyone, and often, he embarrassed me. Sometimes, when we are out and about I still fear that he will. But one thing I admire is his ability to ask for what he wants. “You don’t know unless you ask” is something he would often say. I’m trying to get over my shyness and learn to speak up (when it’s appropriate, of course).

5. Enjoy the simple pleasures in life.
For better or worse, my Dad is a simple man. He likes being outside and spending time with people. Bike rides and drives in the countryside make his day.

Dad. Summer 2013.