Lessons From My Father
1. Never throw away money.
Cleaning out my car meant my teenage self threw away a few pennies stricken with drink holder sludge. His riot act of truth did not fall on deaf ears.
2. Your health is all you have.
I guess this means that life itself can not be purchased and no matter your background or resources, your health is a gift of which to be thankful for each and every day.
3. Your brother is your best friend.
I weep with the loss of joy of having him today. He was mine for 15 years and for the last 10, I’ve thought of that golden boy as I’ve echoed those poignant words to my own children.
4. Life is not fair.
No, it’s not. It never was and never will be.
5. Life is fair.
This one came later. I think after my brother died, he recalculated and this is what he began to say: Life is fair, it hurts everyone.
6. Don’t wait.
I think we were hesitating to have children, law school, the bar exam, finishing my doctorate, no money, a long list of reasons. Don’t wait for the good things in life, he said.
7. Money doesn’t buy happiness.
Health or happiness evidently. You marry for money and you’ll spend the rest of your life working for it, find a nice one. I’ve thought of that so often, choosing wisely.
8. Get an education.
You need to have something that you can always do, even if you don’t want to. There’s value in a degree and you don’t want to have to count on anyone but yourself.
9. Say yes.
He didn’t say this, but he did it. A kettle full of memories linked to saying yes: sleds dragging behind our old VW bug, tie dying t-shirts in the kitchen with a friend and her dad, winning a gigantic stuffed animal at the state fair, playing tennis, and letting me always order a shrimp cocktail.
10. Have fun.
A shout from the deck to the parking lot below, me on roller skates, hopping in the car to head back to school, heading out to the Beach Tavern late on a Friday night, have fun, he would say. Perhaps it is him who’s spawned my need to seek joy.