I Travelled Through Time And Space To Get To You

May 13, 2014 at 8:29 pm , by

3 years, 5 months.

Dear Jack,

People are fascinated by the concept of time travel. I can understand why.

Only God is not limited by time or space.

However, we as human beings are stuck in the 70 year lifespan we are assigned. No such thing as a re-do for even just one day.

We can at least learn from our mistakes, but we can’t go back in time to change our past in order to ultimately change our future.

Still though, I think I keep secretly hoping that one day I can. It’s stupid to think that, I know.

I could have been a much more knowledgeable, helpful husband and father and son and brother and friend if only I knew then what I know now.

Not being able to time-travel puts us in an annoying situation where we have to make things right, ourselves- as people allow us, after the fact.

Saturday, Mommy picked up Frozen (more on that in the next letter) for you from Redbox and a movie called, About Time, for her and me.

When I saw the cover with Rachel McAdams, I assumed it was just another version of The Notebook.

I was wrong. It was more of a barely R-rated version of Marley And Me, without the dog, but with a plot line involving time travel.

It features the close relationship between a father and his adult son, as they both are able to time-travel to events in their own life in order to relive them for the better.

They eventually begin reliving each day, right after it happens, in an effort to catch all the subtleties they missed the first time.

There are those missed opportunities to smile at someone, to make someone laugh, or to just simply appreciate the otherwise uninteresting parts of life with the people they encounter.

The son begins realizing he no longer needs to go back and relive each day, as he sharpens his ability to truly appreciate those “lesser” moments. He begins enhancing the lives of his family, and strangers, in the process.

But I guess I don’t have to time-travel to learn that same lesson.

Actually, I feel that watching the movie twice over the weekend has actually helped changed my thinking for the better.

The movie points out that we are all travelling through time each day and it’s up to us how we manage that time the first and final time through it.

It just so happens, you and I are travelling through time together. You’re stuck with me, kid.

I loved that the theme song of the movie, which is featured throughout, is “The Luckiest” by Ben Folds. That was the song that Mommy and I had for “our song” at our wedding nearly 6 years ago.

“The Luckiest” points out how much it matters that two people are born in the same span in the history of the world so that they can know each other and be close.

Had I been born a hundred years ago and Mommy was born in 1981, as she truly was, then you wouldn’t exist. The three of us wouldn’t exist as a family.

But I believe we were meant to be together in this life in which we travel through time together.

This movie, About Time, helped remind me just how special and important  it is to be alive during the time I am… with the people I am here with.

 

Love,

Daddy

You’re Not Entitled To Much In This Life, Except…

October 27, 2013 at 11:15 pm , by 

2 years, 11 months.

Dear Jack,

Every once in a while, I try to take a break from narrating and bookmarking your life, and instead I like to share some advice on life, based on what I, as your dad, am experiencing.

Here is one of those things I especially want you to remember from me:

You’re not entitled to much in this life.

See, I am a child of the Eighties. Born in 1981, I am the firstborn of Generation Y.

Growing up, I was told by everyone, including every adult I knew, that I could do and become anything I dreamed of and put my heart into.

And I bought it. After all, I heard it all the time!

Yes, I do indeed believe that you, my son, can do and become anything you dream of.

But at the same time, I don’t want you taking that as simply as I did.

Because then there’s a chance your dreams will remain dreams, if you do. There’s a chance you may believe that making dreams come true is actually easier than it is.

It’s not easy.

I had to work very hard (and very smart) to get where I am in life.

But I admit, something that life has taught me, especially since joining the career world nearly a decade ago, is that basically, I’m entitled to… not a lot.

I used to believe I deserved certain things in life. I believed that because (at least in my own mind) I’m a “good person,” that meant I would be the automatic recipient of a somewhat easier path to my definition of success.

It has only been in recent years that I fully realized and accepted this is not so easily the case. Sure, I’m special, as every person is, but as far as being entitled to things in life because of it, I’ve found more of the opposite to be true.

Because if everyone is special, then it takes a lot more work to prove that you, as an individual, really are that special. (Hence the concept behind American Idol.)

So I had to lower my expectations on certain things in life. That happened by me nixing the belief that I am entitled to anything.

In fact, what exactly am I entitled to? That’s a deep thought- and right now, I honestly don’t know the answer.

Life is challenging. But as long as I am here in this life, you will have me not only rooting you on, but being that (sometimes annoying) person to also show you the fundamentals on how to make your dreams come true.

Based on what I know, it has a lot to do with capitalizing on what you’re already best at, while at the same time overcoming the challenges (and fears) of your weaknesses and not letting them be the reason you don’t get what you want in life.

I also know a lot of success in life has to do with money management, not simply making money: It’s crucial to become debt-free, then save and invest your money for the rest of your life.

You will always be hearing me preach this lesson to you because it was only this past July that our family worked our way out of over $58,000 of debt, now being able to save our money; and in the future, to be able to start investing it.

So that’s what you’ve got ahead of you, a life of hard (and smart) work.

You’re not entitled to much in this life, except… my direction and encouragement on how to work for dreams, not wait on or expect them.

You’re entitled to me passionately supporting your dreams, but you’re the one in the driver’s seat. I’m just reading the GPS to you.

You’re entitled to my love and support. I know that much.

 

Love,

Daddy

The Meaning Of Life Is To Give Life Meaning

September 24, 2012 at 9:54 pm , by 

22 months.

It would be most appropriate to begin by quoting the opening of the movie (500) Days of Summer:

“Most days of the year are unremarkable. They begin, and they end, with no lasting memories made in between. Most days have no impact on the course of a life.”

Knowing this, I always try to end each day by trying to figure out what made that day special compared to every day I’ve ever lived.

But not today, because I already know.

I want to bookmark this moment in my life, as if some major milestone has just been reached, or some great accomplishment has just been achieved.

Simply put, it really does come down to a 72 cent fire truck I bought for my son yesterday. That’s what makes today special.

I feel more alive today, not just because we finally made it to autumn, my favorite time of year. Instead, my state of euphoria exists because I know I made my son very happy by buying him that fire truck.

On this day, I do not feel overwhelmed as a husband and dad trying to provide for his family. I am not desperately in need of sleep or a boost in confidence in my abilities of what society expects of me or even what I expect of myself.

Nor I am worried about the end of the world; no, I’m not concerned that Communist China will take over America, or Communist Russia, or even religious extremist terrorists.

In fact, if the world as we know it came to an end right now, at least I would know I ceased to exist while in a state of accidental bliss.

It all goes back to my wife and I standing in the checkout aisle at the store and me telling my son, “You’ve been a really good boy today and we know you really want a fire truck, so we’re going to buy it for you.”

He didn’t even smile; he just kept a somber look on his face that somehow communicated gratitude even more than smile could.

It’s seeing him celebrate back at the house by making his fire truck the head of a parade with his other toy cars.

It’s knowing all day at work I was thinking about my son and how happy I made him by buying him some cheap toy.

In this moment I feel extremely needed by a little boy who is dependent on me for little surprises in life, like a toy fire truck.

The meaning of life is to give life meaning. I thoroughly believe that.

And right now, I am experiencing it.

In simplicity.

I Don’t Want to Die Right Now

September 8, 2011 at 10:59 pm , by 

Nine months.

I’ve only got about 50 years left to live, if that.

Most nights as I fall asleep, I can’t help but think how sleeping through the night is sort of like checking out of reality, reminding me of the lyrics to Tom Petty’s classic song, “Freefalling”: “I want to leave this world for a while.”

Though I’m overly aware that at any given second I could die of any random cause, like instantly turning into a pillar of salt, I’m never more aware of the inevitability of death than when I am fading and falling into the dream world.

Sleeping is the closest thing I know to having an understanding of what it’s like to be dead. It’s the closest concept I have of understanding what it’s not like to live in this world, confined to rules of practicality and common sense.

Sure, it’s an understatement to admit that I don’t want to die right now. But I’ve never been more caught up in life than I am at this very moment, so it’s really on my mind.

After all, I have made a covenant before God to love my wife for as long as we both shall live. Then the two of us brought another life into this world. That’s pretty dang epic. That’s deep.

So now that I have involved myself this drastically in the course of history (and therefore, the future), I’m just dying to stick around. It’s not simply that I want to see what happens next; not simply that I want to see how the story unfolds with my wife and son. But I want to literally be here, as part of their story.

Without a doubt, it’s sad to think that the story could go on without me. It’s sad to think that has been reality for so many people who “died before their time.”

I’m not afraid of death. I couldn’t be any more confident of what happens to me the second after I die. But while I’m not afraid of death, I am pretty fascinated by it.

It amazes me that millions of people alive today in this world could take life (and therefore, death) so nonchalantly: That despite all the miracles in their lives, they never see a need to think past this life, and to consider how the people they interact with each day can be affected eternally by their words and actions.

How can a person not think about eternity, or convince themselves it doesn’t exist? The irony: that life itself distracts a person from thinking about death.

I can’t imagine not taking enough time to pause and wonder about what happens when the lights finally go out for good and what this life was for. I do it on a daily basis.

So it’s not that I ever wanted to die, or wouldn’t mind dying, but now more than ever, if I have any say in the matter, it’s as simple as this:

I don’t want to die right now.

And if I shall continue waking up alive each day, as I have done for 30 years so far, then I shall continue to live to the best of my ability. I’m the kind of guy who takes life way too seriously, but in a good way, I would like to think.

Is Life in Black and White or in Color? Is It Real or Just a Dream? What was Before and What is Beyond the Vanilla Sky?

At point does “real” become imaginary?  Or does “real” never become imaginary, but instead, is “real” sometimes unseen and not yet understood?

What initially begins as blue skies which we can literally see above us does eventually become the dark, black, mysterious outer space where we assume God and the angels are.  And maybe even aliens and time traveling holes in the universe. While the past simply begins at one second ago, which we all can verify quite easily, if we continue going back in time, we eventually find ourselves in stitched-together memories of high school and even childhood.  Keep going, and we were not even born yet.  Travel further back in time, and we would see Abraham Lincoln, whom we all agree was a real person.  Go still further back to the life of Jesus, whom some proclaim is the Son of God, some proclaim was simply a great teacher, and some proclaim was never actually a real person. Go back to the days of Abraham, the earthly father of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.  Finally, we get to Adam and Eve and before that, the beginning of the Earth and the Universe.  But at what point in reverse time do you stop believing in reality?  At what point does it become hard to believe?

What started out as simple look around us ended up becoming one strange trip. It’s easy to recognize what exists right before us in our own time and space.  But very quickly as we extend the frame of perception, we have to admit we can not literally prove anything.  Faith is unavoidable, for every single person alive today and every single person who has died in the history of the world.

While I am definitely a self-proclaimed black and white kind of guy, as I love things to be simply laid out before me in a practical way I can follow and understand them, I am just as equally an abstract, neon colors kind of guy as well. I am a cross-breed.  I am a hybrid.  And I believe that life is as well.

We can not separate the mostly relatable first episode of the TV show LOST from its spiritual, heavenly series finale.  Our existence is both real and a dream.  It is both tangible and invisible.  It is both reality and a fairy tale.  Until we reach the limits of outer space, and until we travel completely back and forwards in time, life is something we can not truly begin to figure out or understand in the smallest degree.

Life is both black and white and color.  Life is both real and a dream.