Father to Son, Son to Father

These are words spoken from a son that is not yet a father. They are mere speculations of what the truth may be. They come from what I have lived and seen, from what I have been taught explicitly and implicitly. These words come from the reality I have lived.

Fathering a son seems to be a difficult task.

From the moment his child is born, a father must worry for the example he displays in addition to caring for his progeny. In other words, he must be wary of two different beings now. Two very distinct lives. How can a man ever hope to bare this weight? How can he keep himself and his child afloat in the maelstrom of life?


“For my father, this was simpler than you would think. He had always considered the lives surrounding him. He had always carried the weight of others drowning beside him. He had already built the strength needed to father a child.”


Inadvertently, your son will want to make you proud. He will crave for your attention and your approval. Ever seeking to inspire you, hoping to recreate the first smile you ever gave him; a smile sparked from the pride of creating life. How can a son ever measure up to such a feat?


“I am not proud to admit that I spent my entire childhood dedicated to this hunt. An eternal quest to please my father. To make him smile. To make him proud. He never knew, but he might have suspected it.
All my efforts and achievements were dedicated to him, yet all my failures were my own.”


A father will see his son grow. He will see his son live through experiences he has already faced. He will want to warn him of these dangers. But there comes a time when a child does not listen to his parents. A period in which the teenager thinks he is smarter and wiser than he actually is. During this phase, a father can only hope that he has prepared his son well enough to make his own choices.


“Teenage years are a dreadful period, for the child as well as for the father. Happily, I was a calm kid. My father had shown me that it was pointless to speak loudly to get my point across. He had taught me to pick my battles wisely for others might not be ready to listen. I treaded with caution and selected my friends wisely. I was distant but still I followed a good path.”


A father will see his son rise and fall, many times. What action should he take then? What will make him a good father?

Is it to prevent his child from failing? To prevent his sorrow? If so, how will his son ever learn? Our greatest lessons are taught from our own mistakes. Mistakes we never wish to recreate.

Is the solution to drive his ambitions then? Push him to achieve greatness? What happens then if he does not succeed? When he tries to reach for the stars thinking anything is within his grasp. How can it not be if his father tells him so? He falls, the stars too far from his reach. If it was possible, then why couldn’t he touch them? He thinks: “Does the problem lie within myself? Am I the only one that cannot achieve greatness? What will my father think of me?”

What is a father to do? There are benefits and drawbacks to both these methods. An exceptional father will know when to shelter his son, when to drive his ambitions and when to catch him when he falls.


“It might seem a complicated task, but my father had already mastered it. He had found the perfect amalgam of encouragement and support. He lurked in the shadows, praised me lightly, guided me gently, held me softly. I made my own path, but I always knew that if I needed his help he would be there. That if I ever fell, he would catch me. He would do all those things without any judgment. He knew that it was the best way for me to learn. He knew mistakes were an important part of growing up. He knew the price of wisdom. “


Wisdom is a hard trait to describe and it is not easily taught. It may appear in various ways. However, it is up to the beholder to acknowledge its existence. Therefore, it is up to the father to open his son’s eyes.

A child will mimic without understanding. As a father, you must show him how to think before copying. You must teach him how to judge right from wrong by himself. As a rule, you must always display wisdom to infer wisdom.


“I consider my father to be a wise man. He is not perfect forto strive for perfection is a fool’s quest. However, to always improve upon yourself is a sign of wisdom and courage. His wisdom his displayed in the fact that he knows that he is flawed. It is shown every time he tries to better himself. I have seen my father fail and accept defeat. I have seen him rise up to new challenges, fearful obstacles. But I have never seen my father give up. He prides himself in his failures as well as his accomplishments.
He is a true inspiration to behold.”


Most of us know how to love endlessly, but it takes more than endless love to father a son. Too much love and a child may grow to be dependant. Too little and he will be resentful. How then do you manage the amount of love you give? How can you even control love?

Unfortunately, here lies the true challenge of fatherhood. It dwells in the intricacies of love. It resides in the mystery of wisdom and culture… Abiding to the ever-changing rules of society and the flow of time. You must discover how to be a good father and strive to become one. Fortunately, there are many experienced teachers that will gladly help you in this endeavor.


“I confess, I do not know the truth of things. Trial and error have always been my chosen method of learning and I have not yet tried at fathering a son. However, I do not fret at the future task. I have a hidden tool you see. An experienced teacher that has always been there for me.
Here is to a special dad. A master of the art of fatherhood. A man that has always displayed wisdom in his actions. A great role model and a good teacher. A loving man with a heart of gold. He has shown me how to be a great father by being one.
I will be forever grateful for my upbringing. Here is my promise to you daddy: As you know, I will always love and cherish you. However, I will also strive to continue your legacy. To spread the wisdom and courage that you have taught me.

Thank you, daddy
From your loving son,David Turmel


 

Lifehack #1 One life

Listen up everyone! or better said, read up everyone! I am going to change the pacing and the style of this series. This guide should not be focused on my writing prowess or even on philosophical aspects of life. My goal here is to make you laugh (at me or with me), to make you understand my thoughts and enjoy yourself… to help you live a happier lifestyle. So no more fancy words and no more retrospective bullshit. Now, lets dive into this chapter!

Lifehack: how to live more with a one stock life!

Yup, you read correctly. I know a way for you to potentially live and experience an incredible amount of things that you could simply not accomplish in a single lifetime. It is pretty simple to do. Here is how:

Firstly, listen when people talk about stuff.

And that’s it. That’s all the steps you need to follow to live more with a limited amount of time. Pretty simple right? Wrong! It is harder than you might think. Now some of you probably think I’m stupid when I say that wasting your time listening to others is supposed to help you live more. In fact, it does sound contradictory… but it isn’t. Here is a concrete example of how it could help you:

You’re at your friends house and he keeps rambling on and on about this shitty situation that happened to him today. Now you have 2 options (if you’re a decent human being, there are a lot of other options if you are a bag of shit). First option: you listen intently (acting like the great friend he/she thinks you are); you even might try to console and help that person (but lets not go overboard here, most of us are not that nice). Second option: you ask yourself if you really need to listen to all this negativity while he/she talks and talks; you already have your own life to deal with. In this option, you will probably feign comprehension; nod your head once in a while (lets face it, you would probably lose your friend when he/she discovered how selfish you’ve been!). Now, both options have some merit and their own uses. Here’s the twist. A week later, you are confronted with the same shitty situation your friend was rambling about, only, this time, you are the victim. If you followed option numero uno, you’re good to go. You know exactly what to do because you’ve already solved the issue with your friend. In this scenario, you “wasted” time in a conversation with your friend that probably helped him out and ultimately saved you from all the anxiety and problems the same problem would have caused you. Win Win. Lets see how option 2 would pan out. Yeah, awesome, you did not waste an entire evening listening to your friend and letting his negativity affect your life. However, now you’re faced with a problem that you do not know how to deal with. You live through the consequences (plus some added regret; whispers in your head saying: you should’ve listened to him you egotistical bastard!).

I do understand that this might never happen. I do understand that this scenario is pretty specific. However, I find that there is no negative outcome of listening intently to your friends, family, coworkers, hell… people in general. You’re going to live so much more if you take the time to listen intently to others. If someone takes the time to talk to you. Hear them out and analyze what information they are offering you! Here is a list of all you will gain if you do.

  1. Solutions to problems that may arise in your own life (yes, like the example I just gave you, you’re so perceptive! Look at you already improving yourself). Here’s another example.
    • Ex: You’re talking to a friend again: Your relationship is awful, poor you dude. Wait, you left her? How did you do that? How did it work out for you? What would you have done differently? Any regrets? Oh wow, I just realized I’m in a toxic relationship too. Let me just apply everything I’ve learned from you so that I don’t suffer as you did. Thanks bro. What a happy coincidence! The first guy could talk about his problems and be listened (first win) and the second did not have to suffer as much when he applied everything he had learned (second win!).
  2. Experience things that you might have never lived
    • Ex: Wow! You went to Japan? How was it? What did you do there? Did you enjoy yourself? We both know you’ll probably never go to Japan. But, now, you’ve lived through a shadow of that awesome trip; a small experience of what it was like. In addition, you’ve made someone happy because, let’s face it, who doesn’t love talking about their amazing trips?
  3. Learning stuff
    • This one is kind of obvious for anyone who has had to suffer through North-American education. You can learn a lot by listening to people but not simply from teachers, tutors or mentors. Everyone around you has something to offer. You can also analyse people: Oh wow, that guy is so dumb! This other guy is so charismatic! Stop and consider what gave you this impression. Copy the things you’ve enjoyed seeing in others and try to avoid the things that you’ve disliked (odds are that if you like or don’t like certain mannerisms, you’re probably not the only one. Copy the ones you like and prevent yourself from doing the ones you despise!).
  4. Sharing happiness
    • I will probably talk about the contagiousness of happiness in later posts. However, here is a brief overview of the concept. We all know how fast smiles can spread. In fact, you don’t even need to know the cause of a smile to smile yourself. If you see a man laughing on the bus (or anywhere for that matter), you’re instinct is to smile or even laugh. You might appreciate the fact that this person is enjoying himself or you might simply be a dick and find him stupid for laughing in public. In both cases, you’re probably smiling or laughing (with him or at him) and then the happiness chain will continue with you.
    • We do not need a reason for smiling or to simply be happy, but, when we do, it will be more profound. It will be an earnest (synonym of sincere… sorry, I know I promised I would try to not use big words… but they are so pretty) happiness. If you know the cause of your conversation partner’s happiness, you might be more inclined to empathize with him and feel a portion of that person’s joy. It will be a greater and longer lasting happiness. Of course, this only works if you are capable of empathy/sympathy (sorry for all you robots reading this).

Ultimately, if you follow this lifehack, you will have lived part of everything everyone around you has experienced. You won’t have to suffer as much because you will be ready for certain problems before they ever happen to you. You will discover more and in a much faster way. Learning from your mistakes is a long process and implies that you will have to make many  mistakes yourself. What if you learn from the mistakes of everyone one around you instead? Isn’t that much better? No pain and all the gain, I say fuck yeah I’m in. Plus, there is the small but incredible bonus of sharing and spreading happiness! Stop living your own life your own way and take advantage of the fact that we live in a connected society. Lets share our progress and not simply our pain.

 

 

Rules

Image result for rules

Rules are important. You may feel as if they restrain your every decision. However, you should view them as guidelines towards a Utopian future. We need to follow some rules for everyone to have a chance at happiness. Keep in mind that this is my life’s philosophy and may not be as objective as I would hope! I am no Gandhi and do not pretend to be. Nevertheless, my goal is still to spread happiness across our world.

Rule #1 Consider the past, present and future.

People often say forget the past and don’t think of the future; Live in the present. As good as that saying may sound, it lacks a bit of depth! I agree that we should maybe stop worrying about our past. Yet, we should not forget it. We need to learn from our past mistakes to better ourselves, to never make the same errors. We need to experience things to know what we enjoy and what we dislike. We’ve all been sad… and, yes, it sucks… but we need sadness nonetheless. Without it, happiness would become boring, it would become normality. However, sad moments only need to be lived once. Do not let your past haunt you. If you recall a desolate moment, use it to your advantage. Remember the mistakes you’ve made and promise yourself that you will never make them again. Move forward; never backwards.

Other people may spend an excessive amount of time fretting about the future and all its mystery. Anxiety affects us all. What if I fail the test? What if they laugh at my presentation? What if I can’t succeed? What if… You should not worry about the future. I know it might seem impossible for some. Do not waste your time on uncontrollable outcomes. Do not stress about possible outcomes. When you project yourself in a possible future, simply think of what would make you happier; what you should reach for. Think of everything you have to do to achieve that happiness. Do not let things that have not yet come to pass negatively affect you. Negative emotions should only be lived in the present. They should only be lived once for every instance they occur.

Rule #2 Risk versus Reward

We all want everything right away! We want immediate happiness without considering subsequent consequences! Damn millennials right? We’ve been spoiled by technology and all it offers. Swift happiness and satisfaction is easy enough to find. Hell, we all have our guilty pleasures in life. Watching television, playing video games, eating, jogging… they can all help us feel better, but will these activities negatively impact our lives in the near future? If I eat this entire bag of chips, will my happiness outweigh the guilt that I will suffer through later on? If I spend the night playing video games or watching television and postpone all my other tasks, will I be penalized in any way?

Everyone’s happiness is singular and unique. You must evaluate the consequences of your choices before going through with them. The more you can consider the risk a reward may entail, the better your life will be. As you  master this skill, you will find that happiness will be easier to find. Remorse and anxiety will become rarities.

Rule #3 Others

Many people may forget this rule, yet I suspect it is the most important.  Humanity has always prospered as we came together and formed different societies. We strive for human contact. We thrive in groups and slowly decay when subjected to loneliness. This implies that your actions will probably affect the lives of others! We are all connected in some way. However, your happiness should never negatively affect others. Again, think about your actions and their consequences before moving forward. Example: Boasting about a promotion may make you feel good, but, if you keep bragging, people may get annoyed or they may even feel sad whilst considering their own meager accomplishments.

There is no finite amount of happiness. It is not first come, first served. Happiness is not taken from others, it is shared. Lets all think of others as we gather it!

*** These rules may seem ambiguous for now but they will become clearer as this series continues***

Intro

The Inumerable Questions

What is your goal in life?

  • Is it to be the best at everything?
  • Is it to have an insane amount of friends and followers?
  • Is it to find the answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything?
  • Is it to precede your every action with the famous phrase: YOLO?

Whatever you think your goal is, I believe it can be generalized to searching for happiness. We all strive for different things, but when it comes down to it, we all want to feel happy.

I have realized, over my few years of existence, that you may doubt everything in life; even your own existence! What if you are in fact a robot? What if you are a program and only follow a line of code without knowing it; living a life predetermined by somebody else? We can question everything we want, even if there exists an incredible amount of evidence that proves the contrary.

I am not saying that I disagree with Descartes who wrote: Cogito ergo sum – I think, therefore I am. What I am trying to say is: Who gives a shit? The real questions you should ask yourself are the following:

Can I feel happiness? Yes (hopefully)
Isn’t feeling happy the best? Yes (hopefully)
What brings me happiness? Eating ice cream
Should I maybe do that more often? No shit

Then put aside your unceasing doubts, your complete denial and your creeping depression and embark on the best journey of your life: Finding your own happiness.

***It may not be as simple as that and I will go into further detail about all these aspects in this series. For example, you should not eat an infinite amount of ice cream to gain an infinite amount of happiness because everything can have drawbacks. In this example, you would likely die and therefore not be happy anymore. You could also become obese and not like the way that you look anymore. Therefore, blaming ice cream for this newfound problem. Consequently, never enjoying the sugary cold taste of this dessert anymore. This is an example of how your quest for happiness may evolve over time and experience.***

My goal in this series of posts is to make you understand how simple it is to disregard all the negativity in your lives and focus on the things that make you happy.

***Note for all the naysayers out there. I generalize happiness. For me, happiness is found whenever you feel a small tingle inside, an excitement that was hidden from you. Happiness is found when a smile creeps up on your face and curls up the corners of your lips. It is uncontrollable. Love, accomplishment, pride, fun, passion… they are all things that make you feel happy. They are all the things we should strive for in our lives and they are unique for everyone.***