Guys,

As you get older and likely attend elite private schools, you will hear a lot about being “well-rounded.”  People will say it will be important to try this and that; to do many things.  Have extra-carricular activities.

I think well-rounded is important in some ways.

But borderline obsession can work too, in the right situation.  Charles Bukowski has a quote, “Find something you love and let it kill you.”  What I’m saying is: equally important as being well-rounded is eventually finding what you love and giving yourself to it.

This doesn’t mean one thing for all of your life.  None of us are prescient enough to see an entire lifetime.  And this world is changing so rapidly that something that seems a guaranteed part of everyday life may be gone just a decade later.  But finding something you love and letting that passion take over is a gift of this world.

Spending time in the thing is what’s crucial.  Getting to know the thing.  (It may not be a thing at all.  It might be a mere idea.)

Malcolm Gladwell makes a point that it takes 10,000 hours to master something.  That’s a lot of hours.  It’s 5 hours a day for 2000 days.  That’s more than 5 years.  And in that time, it’s important to focus on not just the part of your focus which you do well, but also on the part you do not do well.  It’s worth the fight.  It’s delayed glory.

I want you to read Ray Allen’s piece: Letter to My Younger Self.  Don’t focus on my words, focus on Ray’s message.

Don’t regret.  Put in the work so you don’t regret.  Give yourself to it.  Regret sucks.  I don’t have many regrets, but I’ve seen it eat people around me alive.

You have to work so hard to be good at something.  You have to work beyond hard to be great.  That’s why passion is important.  The less it’s dull work, and the more it’s YOUR WORK, the better off you will be.

The real world will humble you, there’s no doubt about that.  Your humbling is, in essence, the world around you’s job.  Sometimes it comes in the form of knocking you off your pedestal or showing you how much you don’t know.  More often, it comes in subtler ways.  Being in a boat with only water as far as the eye can see in all directions.  That humbles me.  The view from 35,000 feet in the pitch black when you see the lights of two different cities.  That humbles me.  Hearing my two little boys tell me they love me or that I’m their best friend.  That humbles me.

The world will humble you.  Hopefully, over time, you can learn to let it humble you gracefully.

Ray Allen, in his piece, will also tell you that he has been afraid.  He’ll tell you that standing on the big stage can be hard.  I can echo these sentiments.  It took me a long time before I didn’t want to run.  In sixth grade, I forgot my lines at the McD oratory contest.  I cried and cried.  I didn’t want to go back.  In eighth grade I won.  Not because I’m gifted.  Because I put in work and overcame my fear.

Showing up everyday is what life is about.  “We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence, therefore, is not a singular act, but a habit.” A Will Durant quote that I say everyday.  Those who are great have it in common – Habits.  Ray Allen talks about it as do numerous others.

What will all of this produce?  The showing up.  The getting humbled.  The putting in work.  The grind.  The obsession.  What kind of person will you be?

Ray Allen talks about being alone and sacrifice and putting the work before other things.  Then he asks the question: Is it worth it?  He tells his younger self that only you can answer that for you.

I love you guys!

Dad

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Having All of Me

by Byron on November 5, 2016

Decker and Gibson,

It’s bizarre to write this to you guys, but I need to.  I need to because it’s a truth of me, and anything I have experienced that can benefit you guys in any way needs to be shared.

I have wanted to kill myself before.  More than that, once, I was afraid I was going to.  I didn’t go so far as to make a plan, but I felt as though I was losing control over my ability to stop myself.

My first thoughts of suicide were in high school.  I was a ball of emotion and I was very unsure of myself.  I was unsure how to regulate my emotion.  I now believe it was an issue of brain chemicals.  I didn’t know that at the time.  I was really scared.  I tried to regulate myself with drugs, which sometimes worked and sometimes did not.  Regulating with drugs eventually led to a substance abuse problem I was unable to regulate.  Eventually, complete abstinence from drugs and alcohol was the only thing that worked for me.

The second time I contemplated suicide – and this was the time I was scared I would be unable to stop myself – was when I was about six years sober.  It was about three months before Mom and I found out we were going to have you, Decker.

I was terrified of something.  Myself?  My life?  My ability to succeed in life?  I don’t know.  To this day I don’t really know.  But I know that my body was having a horrendous reaction.  I was literally becoming physically ill and I think I had insane amounts of cortisol going through my body.  I was beyond unhappy.  I was gripped by fear.  Maybe clinical depression?  I have no idea.  But whatever it was gave me the gift of desperation.  I was either going to die or I was going to change.

I found transcendental mediation.  My initial thought of TM was that it was weird and “out-there.”  It turned out to be so much more normal than I thought.  It wasn’t weird at all.  Practicing TM for a relatively short period of time may have saved my life.

Shortly thereafter, we found out that we were going to have a baby – that’s you Deck – and, knock wood, thank God, I haven’t looked back since.  I have been so incredibly fortunate to have you Decker, and you Gibson, in my life.

This post isn’t a pitch for sobriety or TM.  The only advice I could ever give to anyone in this situation is that there is a solution for you.  Follow your instinct.  I was willing to abandon what I thought were decisions set in stone.  I was willing to abandon what I was sure was the only way for me.  I was willing to see if I needed to leave your Mom, the state, or my sense of self.  Turns out that I just needed to change careers and take a little more time for myself and self-care.

In 2011, outwardly, in my conscious day-to-day mind, I didn’t have what it took to be happy.  I was starting to lose what it took to be alive.  But inside, I had the answers.  Maybe that’s God or the Universe or just me, or something else.  I don’t know.  Still don’t know.  I only know that I’m happy and have been so incredibly fortunate to be married to your Mom and so incredibly fortunate to be your Dad.

I hope and pray you will never need these words for your own experience with similar thoughts.  But I felt the need to write these words and share this experience because it’s me and you guys should have all of me.  I love you both so much.

Dad

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4 Years Old

October 27, 2016

Decker, This past Sunday, you turned 4 years old.  Time always “flies” when you look at it in the rearview.  How can you possibly spend a second […]

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Wat Dat Guy Doin?

September 30, 2016

Gibson, One of my favorite things you say right now is “Wat dat guy doin?”  You call everyone “dat guy.”  Male.  Female.  Person.  Dog.  Frog.  Anyone or […]

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What You Guys Have Been Up To (Summer ’16)

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Here’s what’s going on… Guys- Last week, Gibson went pee-pee on the potty for the first time.  It was before bath, he sat down and went without […]

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No More Pacifiers

July 7, 2016

Dear Gibson, Last weekend, we sent your pacifiers to a new baby.  At least, that’s what we told you when we put all of the pacis in […]

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I Only See My Goals, I Don’t Believe in Failure

June 24, 2016

Guys, You guys really like a song called 7 Years by Lukas Graham.  Decker, you asked me if I got 61 too.  I said only 37 so […]

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Tomorrow is Father’s Day

June 18, 2016

Guys, I feel incredibly fortunate to be your Dad!  You guys are both really awesome people. Today, we went to the pool with Eliana your cousin, then […]

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Questions

May 23, 2016

Decker, we do questions almost every night, right before bed.  It started about a year ago when I would ask how your day was and you would […]

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Eternal Moments

May 13, 2016

Hey Guys-I watched the movie A.I.: Artificial Intelligence with Mom tonight.That movie is so intense.  Like many things, it made me think how much I love you […]

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