Dear E & V,
I was struggling with the topic for your first letter because I wanted it to be something memorable that would stick out. Something deep and philosophical. Like one of my favorite Yoda quotes:
“Do. Or do not. There is no try.”
A quote to live by, but not the point of this current letter for Yoda I am not.
So I thought I would start with the life philosophy that has had a greatest impact on who I am and the choices I make today:
Make your life so beautiful that you would want to live it over and over and over again.
As much as I’d like to convince you that your Big Pappa came up with that, it’s actually adapted from one of my favorite philosophers: Friedrich Nietzsche.
I’ve spent a lot of time chasing dead ends in an effort to find happiness, money, my passion, etc. But the one constant in my actions that has made me pleased with my life so far is my attempt to make it a work of art.
That may mean something different to you than it does to me.
To me, it means to embrace my wonder with the world and not pursue one thing, but many things. It’s one of the reasons I was so happy to have you in my life, because you bring enough joy and enough frustration (you’ll understand if you ever have kids) that you make my life exciting and interesting.
It’s why I embrace (and sometimes drop) so many hobbies. It’s why I embrace experiences that are uncomfortable and sometimes even painful.
When I studied philosophy, I always hated how vague and theoretical it was so here are some examples of things I’ve done to make my own life worth living over and over again:
Became a volunteer firefighter, studied Stoicism, fasted for 72 hours straight, traveled by myself to Spain for 10 days, tried whale meat (and constantly try new foods), studied Buddhism, whittled a wood duck, learned finances, learned computer programming, hiking everywhere, starting my own business(in progress at this time of writing), starting this blog, having you, playing with you, marrying your mom, nutrition, exercise, radio science, lock-picking, skateboarding, playing guitar, online dating, joining a public speaking club, getting my Masters in Philosophy, attempting financial independence, spending time with your Grandpa while he has cancer, taking walks around Baker Park with your Mimi, learned how to change electric sockets and install laminate flooring and install a garbage disposal and a new dishwasher and a counter-top, and the list goes on and on and on…
All those experiences are the paint that I use to create my life’s work of art.
The amazing thing about life is that YOU can pick the paints that you want to make it beautiful. Want to learn to dance? To go to Antarctica? To become a mechanic? To write a novel? To start your own business?
You can do all those things and anything else you want. You just have to be bold enough to take action and live with a little discomfort and pain. You have to be creative enough to realize the traditional path to your goal isn’t always the best path.
But I’m know you won’t have trouble with that. You’ve gotten this far in life, and despite all the hardships and obstacles you’ve faced so far you’ve accomplished so much even if you don’t think you have.
So go build your beautiful life. I will always be with you to guide you, even if it’s only in your heart.
I am a Father, Husband, Cowboy Philosopher, Volunteer Firefighter, and Professional Dilettante. I am nothing and I am everything. But when it comes to our relationship: I only wish you wonder and happiness.