With my life taking new twists and turns everyday, I felt the need to stop, breathe and reboot. The unfamiliar and unique make up most of my time here in Israel, and you could say I’m getting a bit nostalgic for the good old days. The days where dance team practice dictated my days and my parents were the center of my world (whether I wanted them to or not).
At a time when I am the most independent I’ve ever been, I find myself constantly revisiting things that I learned as a child. When my little, round-faced body was surrounded by the comforts of a family home and a freshly made dinner every night. Thanks to my parents, I’ve got a nice little repertoire of “rules” that help guide me on a daily basis.
1. Everything in moderation.
This applies to almost everything in life but in a more practical sense, my mom associates this with eating and drinking. Have a burger, a glass of wine and maybe even a doughnut…but don’t make it a habit. Make the shit with zero or even negative health benefits a special treat and you’ll be happy and more importantly, healthy.
2. Take one day at a time.
For some reason, everything is due/happening/owed at the same time. There are always those weeks where deadlines have piled up along with your laundry, your friend’s birthday requires the best gift of all time and your toilet won’t seem to let go of that leaking issue. Those are the times when you have to be OK with what you’ve done in one day. No one is perfect, especially you.
3. Never spend more than you make.
I continue to be impressed with the way my dad made a wonderful life for my family. His success in life can be attributed to ingenuity, talent and creativity. In my opinion, it’s a type of success that doesn’t seem as commonplace coming from his generation. His vision kept the checks rolling in, but it was his responsibility and Jew-like saving tendencies that always kept us comfortable. I will always live by this, no matter what kind of lifestyle I have been living or may live in the future.
4. Remember to check your oil.
Yep, it’s just a good thing to do.
5. Remember the rule of thirds.
My dad, the amateur photographer, has this obsession with the rule of thirds. His fixation is warranted though, as it’s an important guiding principle in photography. As my interest in photography has grown, I continue to work on this important composition technique. In some weird way it relates to life. It’s all about balance and focusing on something, just one thing, when the rest of the world is going on around you. Guiding your eye and staying focused on one piece of the puzzle somehow makes everything more beautiful.
6. Everything seems worse at night.
The day has just shit all over you. A fight with your friend in the morning lead to a horrible presentation in the afternoon which made you forget about that movie that’s been due at the Red Box for almost two weeks. Well, fuck. Crying into my mom’s shoulder, I always remember her telling me that the morning would bring a new feeling. Depending on the severity of the day’s dilemmas, it is mostly true. So stop crying (because you’re going to get sick), drink some tea and go to bed.
7. Do unto others.
A collective thought my parents imparted on me early in life, though never directly stated. It was their actions, along with a few hypothetical conversations scattered among family dinners, that proved the importance of treating everyone equally and justly. I think of my dad taking me to work at soup kitchens when I was little and my mom helping me deliver food to the homeless shelters around town. They didn’t just talk the talk, they walked and they walked with me.
8. Never go to bed angry.
This one may have been something I acquired through late night fights and disagreements with my mom especially. We’re more alike than we are different, which can be difficult at times. Sitting and thinking, I literally can’t recall one particular fight we had but there were definitely some doozies. What do I remember? Slowly walking into my parent’s room, I would crawl over to my mom in a defeated, apologetic way and kiss her on the forehead. Her eyes said everything. We would wake up in the morning and start fresh.
Props go to my biological parents, but I’d really like to dedicate this post to Mr. Jones and the rest of my Jew-tastic family back in Greenville, South Carolina. The comfort and confidence I felt around these adults helped shape me in a ways that I am just beginning to discover. We’ve lost one of our own, and that will always be. But luckily, I have the memories and knowledge that I knew and cared for an extremely talented, warm and easy-going man that raised two amazing humans doing incredible things with their lives. Cheers to the parents in my life, for I would be lost without you.