Something that I’m currently working on…is putting everything I’ve got into providing opportunities and love and lessons to my child, while also balancing it with continuing to dream and wonder and strive for my own self. We all want the best for our children, or that’s what we say at least. What’s hard to focus on though, is the fact that they are watching what we’re doing, more than they’re hearing what we tell them.
Just like the best way to teach empathy to our children is to model empathy in front of them…the best way to teach doing is to actually model it. If you want your child to try hard and give their best effort, you can tell them how you want them to do that, and the benefits that come from it…or you can get 10x the results by exposing them to areas where you give your best effort…to show them how hard you really try in certain areas. Then, you can reflect on how maybe you were uncertain about how your work would pay off, how difficult it was at times, how you wanted to quit but didn’t for many reasons, how good you feel about yourself now, and how you can now be very proud about what you created through that hard work. Do you see the difference?
The modeling gives the child incredible context within the situation. It illustrates for them that ‘this is what we do’ as a family. It becomes contagious to do, to execute. It becomes an expectation to follow your dreams. But not in a negative ‘you better do this or else’ way…it comes across as a message of ‘mom and dad want the best for themselves and for you. Let’s together, try to get that for each other!’
Consider the child that is only told that ‘the world is yours, you can do anything you set your mind to’. It’s really meaningless and holds no weight. They need to taste it…see it in action. They need examples, but not only from seemingly enigmatic figures like Lebron James and Taylor Swift. Those models are awesome too. But they need it in house, smaller scale, everyday…from mom and dad.
‘i want to be different. If everyone is wearing black, I want to be wearing red’ –
A couple of months ago, I came to the realization that doing something you’ve never done…as consistently and often as possible…can be really healthy for you. It’s similar to my thinking around living ‘on the edge of comfort’. And it’s all about continually challenging ourselves, and putting ourselves in positions to earn grit, to try, to do…to learn.
As I was reading yesterday, I came to another realization. Yes, you can call it an ‘epiphany’ if that’s how you roll. The people that are getting the most out of life…that are the most fulfilled and content…are doing what most other people won’t do, or aren’t doing. The folks who are trendy, or first to the party. The ones that are different, but intriguing nonetheless (first time using ‘nonetheless’…nailed it!). There seems to be success and fulfillment in practicing the actions that most other people simply don’t. We should all be trying to be part of the 1% crowd!
e•piph•a•ny – a sudden, intuitive perception of, or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience.
Being a 1 percenter (financially) has it’s own inherent connotations. Some of us believe that those folks make too much money, and that they owe more of their fair share. Others of us think that they create opportunities for the 99 percenters, and that their trickle down effect is truly beneficial to us bottom dwellers.
But I’m not speaking on financial earnings. I’m talking about our actions…our choices and our experiences.
There isn’t much interest for me in playing in the middle…in doing what everyone else is doing…in doing ‘what I’m supposed to be doing’. It suffices to say that there is much more intrigue in living on the outer edges…the fringes. And I’d go as far to say that better health, contentment, ‘success’, fulfillment, and overall happiness are found in living in the 1%
Here is an image, full of generalities, that should help illustrate my feelings here:
Considering all of that, a 1%’er is a person who chooses to live life on their own terms. They will live and die on their own sword. Instead of life happening to them…they are making their life happen.
I challenge you to create your own 99% and 1% column chart. Right now…write down 5-10 things you do that most of the population does. Then, write down the things you do that only 1% does. Use it as your journal entry for the day. What can you take from your chart? What can you learn about yourself? Are you playing in the middle too much…where everyone else is? Or, are you hanging out within that extraordinary population enough of the time? And…what do you feel about your actions, considering what side their on? Do your 1% actions bring you joy, vibrancy, passion, and love? Do they put you around people that are good for you? I bet they do!
Please share your chart with me, or any feedback from this in the comments, or on my Facebook page. I’d love to hear some results, and learn more about this! Here are some of my own results:
Some of My 99% actions
watching too much tv – March Madness, Celtics basketball, and I’m currently binge watching Breaking Bad for the 3rd time…oops.
Last year…on my 37th birthday…I published a piece called 37. It was basically stating that I’d be starting the process of documenting all of my writing. And it was thanking all of you for affecting and influencing me…however you have. Click here to read it.
I also wrote a piece on Medium this past Fall called #roadto40 – a Midlife Manifesto, in which I basically stated my commitment to a more deliberate way of living, with hopes of documenting my journey along the way. Click here to read that!
Now that a year has gone by, and I’m further down that road to 40…I figure I better check in with myself to see how the trip is going.
In one way, that 37 year contained so much. The days and weeks and months felt very slow, filled up…fulfilling. On the other hand, now that the year is in the past and I’m looking back at it, the time went so fast. Along with that, I didn’t get done as much as I wanted; my to do list actually grew. By the way, that was the first time I’ve used a semi-colon in forever. I am an English major, but still have no idea how to use one correctly. Please advise in the comments.
But yeah…my list! It’s fascinating that as we age and grow, we become more exposed to potentialities and opportunities we never knew existed. In a way, when I was younger, I thought I knew my options. ‘I’ll go do that, that, and that when I’m older,’ is kind of how it went through my head as a naive young man. But after I got to the first ‘that’, I found 3 others that I was interested in. And those took energy away from the pursuit of my original ideas!
This may seem obvious to you. It’s just how life is. It usually doesn’t go exactly as planned. And, we think we know more than we really do. I now have advice and lessons that I could tell my 20 year old self. What’s more interesting, is realizing that my 60 year old self will have far more lessons for where I am now. My recent focus on writing, on self exploration, on living deliberately…has provided me a truly humble and grateful perspective. One that allows me to more effectively understand the road I travel on.
Before I challenge myself with what is next on my current ‘to do’ list, I feel it’s important to reflect on the experiences of my 37 year. I will now detail that reflection within an interpretive dance. Hmmm…the upload isn’t working for that dance video…so you’ll have to use your imagination.
In general, I’ve really been able to focus on appreciating others during this year. Realizing how significant my relationships are, and how grateful I am for anyone who’s influenced me (good or bad), I’ve opened myself up to new opportunities (like I spoke about above), and actually discovered a love for others…instead of a fear that I once had.
Unfortunately, my own insecurities held me back, starting in my teens and sticking around far too long. I developed a dislikedness (my own word) for other people, which really stemmed from that fear I had at the start. I’m sorry for that. I hope it didn’t affect you at all. I used to want you and everyone else to lose…and for me to win. It was sad, and lonely.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still an introvert at my core. I need a lot of ‘me’ time…selfish time…to charge up…to center. It’s not natural for me to be ‘out’ all of the time, socializing, partying, connecting. That’s not me…and you won’t see me doing a lot of that. Interestingly enough, my #roadto40, my self-exploration has been effective in letting me be selfish. By thinking through and identifying what it is I really want, and doing that as much as possible, I’ve ‘got myself good’. I’m honestly now in a very happy place…more than I’ve ever been. I feel content, fulfilled. And what’s been refreshing through all of that, is that now…all I want to do is connect with others. I want to hear what you’re up to. I want to know your story. What’s your #roadto40 like? What is in your manifesto? I want to learn from you!
By the way, I also feel that I have something very beneficial to offer others, whether it be through my writing, or simply connecting some other way. I so want you to win too now…just as much, if not more than I want to win! And boy do I want to win! If there’s any way I can help someone in that…I want to be there, and I’m very serious about that. Please let me know.
This year, I want to connect more. I’ll be starting new projects in hopes to bring people together. I can’t wait to celebrate and learn with you. Please come join me if you can! I’ll be in touch.
I’ve also started writing a book. It’s been both very rewarding and challenging. I haven’t identified a date yet for when I want to be done…but, it’s certainly on my list.
Thinking about that, I have a favor to ask of you. Please tune in. Please follow me. I’ll never take it for granted, and so appreciate it. It’s very humbling that someone would choose to read something I wrote…or listen to what I have to say. Thank you. Share me, or recommend me to anyone who might get value from anything I’m doing. I really want to connect with more beautiful people, and that starts with you shooting out your webs!
Here are some things I’m up to currently…and where you can find me:
Cork and Crush Wine Club – I started tasting a different wine every week. Once I get my palate more educated…just kidding…once I get organized, I’m going to invite you to come join me. Stay posted here!
Dads and Daughters – I’m still in the developing phase of this…but soon, I’ll be starting a group for dads and daughters to meet up and hang out. I want to provide an experience to strengthen that bond, and to help build a community for us Dads to all learn within. Please contact me to be part of this.
Snapchat – it’s just fun! Come find me there @thorpedojam
Instagram – some pics, hopefully some inspiration…I’m loving Instagram stories right now! Follow me @thorpe42
Music! — I’m trying to learn guitar and voice. It’s a work in progress. I’m ‘under construction’ for sure. But I use my YouTube channel to challenge myself to keep learning and post a new one. Come listen!
this week…we made calloused feet as we said ‘no’ to shoes in the cool mornings. That small decision would shape our day…shape our minds as we walked out into summer without lacing up and becoming leather tramps. A sense of freedom washes in with the tide, and then…draws us out toward the sea. We feel the vulnerability of vagabonds, releasing our ties and our ability to be held in the sway of a work week. This is summer. This is vacation. And now every step must be carefully selected, as the ‘souls’ of our feet finally have a chance to be part of the story. They have been waiting…and can now actually lead. But our gate and pace is halved, and a more mindful tale becomes etched in the sand.
our edges are also exposed, as the subtle curves of our shoulders seek the sun. Sleeves are considered low brow this week and the dresser drawers of our cottage bedroom are a mess of tank tops, sun dresses, jerseys, and cover ups. There are no neatly folded piles. No color matching consideration. No heavy cotton, or burdensome long-sleeves. Simply reach into the swirl of colors, and lift out the first least-restrictive piece your hand comes upon. Along with the lightness in our step, our arms find a wider range, and we reach to what we choose to hold with a new and more deliberate purpose.
there is no 9 to 5. No lunch break. No desktop computer. And a morning shower isn’t necessary. Deodorant is optional. It’s all coolers and ice packs, blueberry and apple fritters, hair ties and flip flops, cold, hard, sandy cottage floors, warm, soft, sun kissed skin, cherries and spf 50, pails, shovels, and skim boards, blue matted public ways opening to salty marshes, grassy dunes and piping plovers, drift wood and beach roses, sea weed, faulty umbrellas, billy’s chowder house, fish and chips and lobster rolls, everyday ice cream, Wells and Ogunquit and York, taffy stretched in store front windows, arguments over parking spots, coastal drives and Marginal Way walks, swim suits at dinner and wet car seats, arcades and beachcombers, jetty’s and a Perkin’s Cove, barnacles in tide pools, sunglasses after sunsets, salty kisses, sun burnt hugs, air conditioned naps and then hatching into humidity…it’s the song of summer…and I’m always ready to hear it again.
releasing ourselves from the career, the work week, the grind, and the frequent phone and email checks, we allow ourselves a recharge. Paradoxically, by unplugging…we become more plugged in to what matters most. A true vacation provides opportunities for an assessment of our home, work, and family balance from outside the box. A reevaluation in a sense. A fresh perspective. And a check in with ourselves to say…’hey, how ya doin?’
Do what you must to insert a getaway into your annual goals. Stop drinking Starbucks and put that money away for the next trip…start a micro business that will pay for one…cancel cable tv for the Spring and Summer. Whatever you have to do…do it! The experience of a vacation has such a valuable return on investment (click here for my post on r.o.i.) compared with buying tangible items.
‘fathers be good to your daughters, daughters will love like you do’ – john mayer
fäT͟Hər: a man in relation to his natural child or children
today is a celebration of you…of all the characteristics and actions you take on in your parental role. There is probably no greater responsibility in this world, so I hope you’ve taken the entire journey seriously. And even considering that I’m now 37 years old, your job isn’t done. You can’t retire from this one. I need more from you. I’m going to ask for more help and advice in the future…and your related position as a grandfather is just beginning.
Thinking of when you began the dad journey, I often wonder what you were thinking then…if you planned it out…how you anticipated the experience. Did you put money aside…try to work extra hours? Did you want a boy? Were you nervous as hell?
I know that when I found out I was going to become a dad, a sway of emotions overtook me. And I immediately came to, ‘ok, how the heck am I going to do this?’ I read some books, inquired with other parents, and planned out many ideas…like my daughter will only eat fully organic foods, mixed up in this trendy new blender, and…I will only put reusable diapers on my daughters bum, and…I need to open a bank account for Matilda’s college fund asap! However, I found that some of these efforts were unrealistic. Some too lofty. And some came from advice from parents who made a ton of mistakes themselves. In the end, we’re all ‘winging it’ as parents…doing the best we can…and practicing a lot of on-the-job training. No one knows all of the answers. And many of the answers work only for specific children, or at specific times. Therefore, we can all judge a little less harshly.
So dad, whatever you did during that time? It’s great. You probably made some tough decisions and came through with some great execution. I thank you so much for that! You probably made a ton of mistakes too…and you know what? I forgive you for all of them. I mean, look how I turned out!
I believe it’s easy for parents to get caught up in the details of what they must do in order for their kids to be the best on the block. I find myself wrapped up in that all too often. But if we step back and take a more general perspective, understanding that parents are more than the sum of all of their parts, we can cherish dearly the fact that our simple ‘presence’ within our children’s lives is what can contribute to a successful cultivation, an overall healthier society, and a fulfilled ‘next’ generation.
After all dad, I don’t remember you teaching me how to shave. I don’t think it was you who showed me how to tie a neck tie. And I’m not sure if you showed me how to tie my shoes with the one loop method or if that was someone else. But I can’t remember a time when you weren’t present in my life. You were always either there, or one simple thought away from being there. I’ve always known where you were…or at least thought I did. I can always think in my mind where you most likely are. That must be so significant! 37 years of that presence. That takes effort, and unconditional love, and careful attention. That describes effective communication, and respect, and integrity, and strong morals and values.
Sometimes I wonder how I became a certain way, or came to understand something, or why I believe in particular ideas, or practice parenting how I do. I have to conclude that your presence has greatly contributed to that. And again, many of these things seem to have been passed down with no direct speaking of, no detailed lesson taught (even though there were those too). No, this feels more like a security that I was afforded and a comfort that I was allowed…in which I was able to grow and learn and start holding things as my own. Thank you.
I honestly do hope to be as good of a dad to Matilda as you’ve been to me. There will be so many things I do differently though, and I know that’s ok. I am trying to use that ‘presence’ though…and will continue. Time will tell!
Music: I love this song…and it does have some ‘Dad’ connections within it. Enjoy!