What I’ve Learned After 44 Years

No idea why I’m even writing this. Guess platitudes are waiting to burst out of my chest or something. But in any event…

A few things I’ve learned in 44 years of life on the planet.

  1. There is always a price. For everything. TANSTAAFL isn’t just a law of economics; it’s the law of nature.
  2. Difference between men and boys is the willingness to pay the price.
  3. The difference between wise and foolish men is the recognition of the real price.
  4. All of those inspirational “Follow Your Dreams” posters are bullshit, simply because they fail to take into account the issue of Ability and Talent.
  5. At the same time, if you would make money, do what you love.
  6. There is a fine line between being practical and being scared. Wisdom lies in knowing where that line is for you.
  7. As Alison Krauss sang, Love conquers few. The one area of your life where you must be as cold-blooded and hard-eyed as the banker for a drug cartel is romantic love.
  8. We may be spirits in the material world, but we’re also animals who do it like they do on the DIscovery Channel.
  9. Men and women have never been, are not, and never will be equal. Because biology and evolution.
  10. Equality and Respect are not mutually exclusive; indeed, respect may be possible only when inequality is recognized.
  11. Christianity is the best religion, because it is the easiest religion. That yoke is light.
  12. Youth is wasted on the young, but wisdom is wasted on the old. If only I knew then what I know now; if only I could dare now what I dared then.
  13. The two most useless emotions are guilt and regret.

Letter To My Boys #1: Because…

My sons,

It’s well after midnight, and you’re both sleeping the sleep of the innocents. This, despite the fact that both of you are hardly innocent of everything; those cookies did not eat themselves, after all. But on the whole, I love that your notion of guilt might revolve around the cookie jar, rather than around things you will find yourself feeling guilty about a few decades from now.

For example, you might find yourself feeling guilty about divorce. Purely hypothetical, of course, but you might find yourself watching over your sons — my grandsons — late at night feeling guilty that you could not, despite your best intentions, have provided them with a solid, stable, two-parent nuclear family with a dog and white picket fences. Then you might do things like write blogposts that no one may read, ever.

So that’s my excuse, boys, on why these pixels must suffer. There’s so much I wish I could transfer from my head to yours, largely because I wish you could avoid making the same mistakes I’ve made, in the hopes that you would make your own mistakes rather than revisiting the sins of the father. There’s the first “Because”. I write these words because I think that maybe, maybe, when you’re both old enough to have these apply to your lives, you might take something away from them.

The second “Because” is that I’m better at communicating this way, indirectly, somewhat impersonally, and quite possibly without effect. It has to do with being a man. Well, not just a man, I suppose, since the world is filled with great men who have no trouble expressing emotions and hopes and dreams and pride and love to their progeny. Maybe it has to do with being me: an immigrant product of Asian parents whose own father might charitably be called “emotionally stunted” by Western standards. Whatever the excuse, there’s the second “Because”.

The third “Because” is that tomorrow is not promised. And I’m not sure that I’ll ever have the chance to explain my reasons for some of the things I’m making you do, and some of the things I will be making you do in the future. I know the teenage years are around the corner, and you two may find none of my reasons worth a damn. I hope, I suppose, that because you’re both extremely intelligent boys, your teenage selves might read some of these things and at least understand the reasoning.

Anyhow… enough of excuse making and prefatory remarks. From the next post on, let’s get into some substance, shall we?

I love you guys. So much. You’re at least half of the reason why I do anything at all (I’ll explain that in a future post) and the purpose of my life.