To Thine Own Self Be True

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Sometimes I’m amazed at the insightful woman my daughter has become. To begin with, she consistently is a source of encouragement. I’m not sure she’s ever publically commented on any of my blogs, but she periodically will send me a note, “Nice job Dad”. Occasionally, she’ll read my summation of the structure provided me by you-know-who and she’ll comment: “Bless your heart!” That always puts a smile on my face. I know what you’re thinking, but you’re wrong. That is not the reason I think she’s insightful and encouraging.

 

She recently paid me the highest compliment by saying: “Your blogs are better when you limit the content to your writing. You write well and none of the other content you include captures the story the way you craft the story. Stick to your words. You don’t need any others.”

 

I say all of that to identify the insightful person she’s become. In doing so, I’m going to color outside the lines and borrow a quote from a book she recently suggested I read. The author makes the observation: “IT IS BETTER TO LIVE YOUR OWN LIFE IMPERFECTLY THAN TO IMITATE SOMEONE ELSE’S LIFE PERFECTLY”.

 

In a nutshell, that is the life lesson she’s figured out and she embraces life with the knowledge that it is a gift to be given away. In the process she has become one of the most thoughtful people I know. Andrea doesn’t advertise that she is thoughtful, caring and generous to a fault. In fact, she is a very private person and she’ll probably have my head when she reads today’s blog.

 

Do you remember the line from one of Shakespeare’s plays? I think it was Hamlet. Pontius says to his son:

 

This above all: to thine own self be true

And it must follow, as the night the day

Thou canst not then be false to any man

Farewell, my blessing season this in thee!”

 

The profound words spoken resonate with truth. Isn’t it true that one can better judge himself if he has done what he could or should have done? Obviously there is also an implied second meaning that one must be honest in his ways and relationships. Perhaps that always expresses itself when one attempts to do the right thing.

 

With the pride perhaps that only a father can experience, I really celebrate the person my daughter has become. She is her own person and she is genuine and authentic to herself. She doesn’t need me to tell her what to do. In fact, she’ll offer gentle redirection if and when I try.

 

For example, one of the problems is that I’m opinionated and/or old and set in my ways. When Andrea and Kevin were building their home, I offered an opinion or two related to her decision to use shelving instead of kitchen cabinets above the countertop. I also attempted to highlight the mistake she’d be making by mounting a television on the kitchen wall. Okay, so I was wrong. Her home turned out to be a showplace because she opted to do it her way instead of following my helpful suggestions.

 

A year and a half ago when she announced to me that she was going to quit her job later in the year, I thought she’d lost reason of her senses. For one thing, she had a prestigious position and incredibly high income. At the age of 34 she was making more than me at 68. It didn’t seem right to me either, but that’s just the way it rolled.

 

Her rationale for leaving her job related to time management. She like the work and she liked the people with whom she worked. The real difficulty is that all she did was work. She said, “I don’t want to live my life this way. I want time with my husband and I want time with my family. I don’t want to live just to work.” How do you argue with that? At the age of 34 she had more courage than I.

 

One of the ways Andrea expresses herself is through cooking. She and Kevin are hooked on the “food channel” and seldom do I walk in their home that the television mounted on the wall next to the kitchen cabinets isn’t turned on. Actually they both enjoy cooking and they do it in art form. Their world of culinary delight is often shared with others.

 

Having spent her high school years growing up in Midland, Andrea was exposed to a culture of “he who has the most toys wins” and “bigger is better”. I say that mostly tongue-in-cheek, but at some level it was a pretentious environment. Sometimes you were judged by whom you chose to decorate your home and whom you chose for a therapist. I never had the privilege from benefitting from either a professional decorator or a therapist. Consequently, that may explain a lot of things.

 

Today in the midst of young adulthood, Andrea doesn’t have a pretentious bone in her body. She doesn’t call attention to herself and she lives without the need for the approval of others. She knows who she is and she is living her own life. She is not content to settle for a perfect imitation of someone else’s life. Consequently, from my observation, she’s stepped it up a notch. I really like/love the person she’s become.

 

All My Best!

Don

 

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