Per Angusta Ad Augusta

It is much easier to become a father than to be one. — Kent Nerburn, Letters to My Son: Reflections on Becoming a Man, 1994

My father rarely offers sage advices, but I learned a lot from him — the most important thing I didn’t understand until later in my adult life. He is never the instructor, TELLING me what to do or how to do stuff… instead, he taught me by example, SHOWING me how to do things. He lived his life and just allowed me to watch and learn.

For instance, I never saw him eat a meal or have coffee while standing up or watching TV or while doing something, anything. Whenever we’re together, he would always invite me: “Sit down, Bags. This is gonna be a great meal.” or “Grab that stool over there and have coffee with me.” To which, he would add: Since you have to eat (or drink coffee), you might as well enjoy it.

Always the ‘multitasker’, I never understood the full import of the lesson he was trying to impart to me.

You see, I started working for the government at 17. By 1998 and nearing 30, I was all but ready to burn out! Nothing I did that time seemed to pan out for me. I was at the point where no matter how much I strive, I was heading nowhere. I cannot seem to find fulfillment in what I do. Frustrated, I paid him a visit one time, I dunno, to unload maybe… still fidgeting, I heard his droning voice command me: Grab a seat and let’s have coffee. Without question, I did.

Over coffee, he reveled me with stories about his ‘heydays’, switching from serious narratives to witty anecdotes, even outright hilarious tales. Seeing me at ease, he quipped: Now, you can think about what it is you want to do with your life.

I get it now. He was teaching me to slow down, take time to think, to relax, even if it’s for just a few minutes — enjoy a good cup of coffee (or a meal), even if it’s a quick one, while sitting at the table. Never hurry to make decisions. Haste makes waste.

Life is just too short to waste time worrying about little things that don’t really affect the big picture. This also applies very well in a relationship. If you communicate well, avoiding those “small” issues that don’t really influence your overall happiness, life becomes a little easier and those relationship “bumps” in the road seem to disappear.

Sherman made the terrible discovery that men make about their fathers sooner or later… that the man before him was not an aging father but a boy, a boy much like himself, a boy who grew up and had a child of his own and, as best he could, out of a sense of duty and, perhaps love, adopted a role called ‘Being a Father’ so that his child would have something mythical and infinitely important: a Protector, who would keep a lid on all the chaotic and catastrophic possibilities of life.  — Tom Wolfe, The Bonfire of the Vanities

To this day, I always refer to that fateful afternoon my father and I enjoyed a relaxing coffee time together whenever I am faced with big decisions to make. I have learned to sit back, relax and enjoy life from a less stressful perspective.

Maybe I should learn
to shut my mouth.
I am over twenty-five
and I can’t make a name for myself.

Some nights I break down and cry.
I’m lucky that my father’s still alive —
he’s been fighting all his life,
and if this is all I’ve ever know
then may his soul live on forever in my song.

— Fun, One Foot

Happy Father’s Day, ‘Tay!


About Seeing with Brahmin eyes
My sense of humor can be keen, sarcastic, silly or corny -- sometimes all at once. I enjoy meeting new people with no preconceived ideas about what or what is not possible. You get much more out of life by being open minded and willing. I'm an easy going, good-natured person who loves life and loves people. I'm both optimistic and realistic and pretty objective when it comes to assessing situations, events, etc. In general I am a very positive person and you'll usually find we with a smile on my face.

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