Sunday, June 17, 2012

For Dad on Father's Day

When I started my blog a few years back, Dad requested that I respect his privacy and not talk about him on it. I have mentioned him from time to time, but I have consciously left him out of most of my musings. Today he will have to suffer being the subject of my blog entry of the week. After all, he’s 83 years old, and although he’s going strong, I treasure every Father’s Day that I still have him around. If I want to take a minute to appreciate my dad, then I will. I think he can handle it.

One of the greatest gifts that Dad has given to me, his only daughter, is the ability to have a positive attitude. I have received this from him as a result of genetics, of having a get-up-and-go Daddy as a girl growing up, and of watching how he continues to maintain his positive approach as he has aged.

Life is not easy; and it becomes more and more difficult as the years go by and we must assimilate the inevitable challenges, losses, and disappointments that accompany aging. Loved ones pass on. Our bodies don’t work so well anymore. We must reconcile ourselves with the differences between the life we imagined for ourselves in our youth and the life we actually lived and are living. Dad has never been one to dwell on the negative. He wakes up every morning ready for an adventure and eager for a new discovery. He works at not letting things get him down. He looks for the good in other people, delights in the wonders of the natural world, makes opportunities to enjoy the creative efforts of others (in art, writing, song, dance, etc.), uses his extraordinary gift of mathematical ability to contribute to the advancement of his field of inquiry, and generally explores the world. He loves to travel, to meet new people and try new things. He is always hungry to learn. The entire world is his playground. Nothing is beyond the potential realm of his vastly inquisitive mind.

Although I may not be quite as adventurous as my globetrotting father, I share his enthusiasm for life and his desire to make good use of my time here, not to squander my gifts or fail to notice the miracles of everyday. Having a positive attitude has made me resilient. I have been able to cope with worries great and small, obstacles, those losses and disappointments I mentioned already. It is my positive attitude that has made it possible for me to persevere as a writer, recover again and again from rejection, and eventually achieve publication. I try not to have regrets. I try not to hold grudges. I try to let go of anxiety, frustrations, and anger. I try to appreciate the beauty and the wonder. I try to be creative, to find humor, to act from love, and to listen to others when they speak their truest selves.

In some ways, my most fundamental philosophy about life, my way of being in the world, came to me through Dad. I believe that our purpose as human beings is to promote positive energy and that when we engage in positive acts, acts of kindness and compassion, acts of creativity and preservation, we have a positive impact on the universe. Through the gift of a positive attitude, Dad has given me abundant joy. What greater gift from a dad to his daughter? Happy Father’s Day, Dad. Love you.

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