This past Sunday was Father’s Day in the U.S., and in the spirit of that, I wanted to share how my dad’s outlook on life has positively impacted me.
Anyone who knows my dad knows that his catchphrase is “livin’ the dream!” Anytime anyone asks him, “how are you doing today?” without fail – even if he’s having a bad day himself – he replies with those three simple words. He actually means it too, which is the best part. My parents have been married for almost 24 years, and he still looks at my mom like they’re newlyweds. He is an enthusiastic participant in our family and is the one we all look to when we need words of encouragement.
I realized in the last couple of years that it’s not that my dad isn’t affected when bad things happen, or that he doesn’t get sad or stressed from time to time, it’s that he is grateful to his core. He lives his life in a way that allows him to prioritize his own joy, not by way of blissful ignorance but instead by consciously choosing to focus on the good whenever possible. This may have to do with the fact that he grew up without a lot of money (but with a lot of love), that he started working when he was just 12 years old and put himself through UCLA, that he built a career and made something of himself – even though his greatest accomplishment, he will tell you, is his family.
Last year, my older brother Jacob and I both got “livin’ the dream,” tattooed as a reminder that even when we face hard things, we are still incredibly blessed and should be quicker to realize the amazing abundance in our lives rather than the things that we lack or may be struggling with.
My dad spent almost 30 years working in public education because he is passionate about helping people reach their full potential. He’s the dad who has welcomed every one of mine and my siblings’ friends as if they’re his own, and he does it because he cannot help but care deeply for everyone who walks through our front door. He is the person I call when I need to be reminded that bad days don’t last forever and that most problems can be fixed with a home-cooked meal (he is the best cook EVER), a walk on the beach, and a deep breath.
I think in life, a lot of us can forget that we get to choose what we give life to. We can’t control other people’s actions or opinions. We can’t say for certain what outcomes we will face or what cards we will be dealt. What we can count on, though, is that our attitude will inevitably shape our own realities. My dad’s attitude toward life is one I hope to emulate in my own, and my goal is to inspire others to live with more gratitude, humility, and joy the way my dad has inspired me.
I hope you all have someone like my dad in your lives. If not, lucky for you, he is the internet’s father now, lol. In all seriousness though, I know holidays that celebrate parents can be hard on those who may celebrate differently or not celebrate at all. I am sending you all so much love and light. Here’s to “livin’ the dream,” whatever that looks like for you. <3