Remembering to Cry
A few days ago I was watching you cry at the table, while I was trying to feed you dinner. It was nothing big, you were crying because I wouldn’t let you rip your little high-chair apart (imagine that). I told your mom that I was going to let you cry, because there wasn’t anything wrong with you and I knew you just needed to get it out.
So you did. You cried for about two or three minutes, and I just sat there waiting … and watching.
While I watched, I thought about how much of a release crying is. How relaxed we are once it ends. I remembered days when I was young, and I would cry about something, and then lay in my bed with this great sense of relief. How good I felt to get it all out. Usually I would get inspired afterwards and do something productive … like rearrange my room! (That’s about as productive a 10-year-old can be.)
But now I don’t cry anymore. Instead, I “tear up” like most adults. I hold it in, which actually feels way worse. It kind of sucks actually. And because I don’t cry over simple things like a child does, I don’t get many opportunities to do it. In fact, the few opportunities I do get, such as sad movies and inspiring commercials, I squander by holding it in. That’s what we do. It’s what we’re taught to do.
What a shame! Crying is emotionally satisfying, relaxing, and even inspiring. It’s a part of our biology. There’s something crying does to us physically that is meant to help us endure. I see proof of it every time you stop crying. You are relaxed, and you end up finishing what you started. Yesterday you just finished your dinner. But who knows? Maybe 30 years from now you’ll finish a plan to save your new business … or your marriage. My point is to not let your ego prevent the good cry that just may get you there.
The Best Protection From Common Criminals is a Big Dog
In order for me to make my point on this post, Charlie, I have to write it with two assumptions. Those assumptions are:
1) Common criminals come from bad neighborhoods, and …
2) Dogs in bad neighborhoods are usually poorly trained and unpredictable.
Are there exceptions? Absolutely, but there’s no point in considering those when it comes to this topic. We’re trying to stop a criminal, not publish a social science report.
So my opinion is take advantage of the likelihood that a criminal casing your house, your car or even you is going to be scared to follow through with his plan if there’s a large dog in his way. It’s really as simple as that.
Better yet, if you can train your dog off-leash, do it. Nothing scares people more than a dog with no leash! Play fetch and tug-of-war with your dog frequently around your house, and walk him around your neighborhood. Take rides with him in the car, and bring him along when you have to go somewhere late or alone. You never know when someone is thinking about committing a crime against you, so advertising your dog is the best way to prevent it from ever happening.
The best part is the dog doesn’t even have to be mean. In fact, it’s completely unnecessary. I personally would rather have a big friendly dog. No one knows the difference, and they definitely don’t know your dog as well as you do. The last thing they’ll do is risk it.
Instead, they’ll just move onto the next available target. The one who doesn’t have a dog.
Well son, it’s been about two weeks since I updated your blog and that is because for the last two weeks you and I have been hanging out all day (you’re actually bouncing around on top of me as I write this). I came back after being gone a while, and it was quite an experience meeting the son I only knew for two weeks.
You are big! I couldn’t believe it when I saw you.
You kind of recognized me from FaceTime and Skype, but I don’t think you were sure. It didn’t matter. Two weeks and we were best buddies. I think you were at a good age for me to return. Had I been away much longer, you probably wouldn’t have taken to me so well.
Now begs the question, “What to do with your blog?”
I think almost a year of daily advice is good enough, and right now I would be missing time with you to keep writing it daily. What would be the point of that?
So I’ll keep writing weekly, to keep up with things like “Top 100 Places to See…” and the other recurring topics, before I eventually bring it to an end.
One thing I never did was thank all your readers. My target audience was always you and I never addressed anyone else. I wanted you to know it was for you. However, they deserve to be thanked.
So for all the family, friends, and other readers, thank you.
I hope everyone has enjoyed “Charlie’s Dad” as much as I have enjoyed writing it.
It is difficult for me to talk about alcoholism, because I don’t think I have ever really experienced it first hand. There are probably better people out there to learn from. However, I am your dad and I figure the least I can do is try to relate a personal experience to help you understand how even you can become addicted to alcohol.
When I was stationed overseas on embassy duty, there was a culture of drinking that kind of dominated us. We had our own bar in our house, and we made a considerable amount of money compared to most economies where we served. Needless to say, we drank a lot. In fact, we encouraged the rest of the embassy community to drink with us during embassy parties, and they did. Most who have served overseas in diplomatic posts will tell you the “Marine House” s the place to be.
Anyway, during my second post (my last year or so on embassy duty) I started to go out and drink a lot. We worked shifts, so there wasn’t a lot of time to get out. But we managed. The hardest thing was to find someone to go out with. In a small detachment, it wasn’t uncommon to be the only guy who didn’t have to work in the next 8 hours or so.
This is where I noticed I was addicted to alcohol, because I remember getting frustrated when I couldn’t find someone to go out with. My goal became to find a partner every single night, and go out and drink. And when that didn’t happen, I started to get pissed. One day I thought to myself, “Why am I getting pissed about not going out to the bars?”
Up to that point I had convinced myself that it was because I wanted to have a good time, but the truth was I was craving a night of drinking. “Going out” was just what I called it. I was becoming addicted to alcohol.
That was the moment I realized just how addictive alcohol can be. Did I quit on the spot? No, I just calmed down a bit. Realizing what was happening to my body was enough to take a few steps back and prevent something worse from happening.
Make sure you do the same if you notice something similar to what happened to me. Don’t lie to yourself if you find you may be addicted to drinking. It is not beyond any one of us to become addicted to alcohol.
There are probably many ways to prevent it, but in my case I just had to be aware of the signs, and mitigate it before it became a problem.
Work Tip #85 - Preconceptions Stifle Achievement
During my first deployment to Afghanistan I served as the chief of a small team that was in support of a larger force. I took the job to heart, and did my best to prepare my team for what was to be a tough deployment. I also had a lieutenant that served as the team’s officer in charge, and I made sure to help him find his way through his own development as an officer. I had my own ideas of what an officer did, though, based on comments from other senior enlisted and the little I had seen in my career. Those preconceptions ended up biting me in the ass.
You see, when we deployed I quickly took to tending to the team’s matters. Supply, management, direction, were all things for which I felt a need to take responsibility. Meetings, headquarters, and liaising with the larger unit we supported was “officer” stuff. I made it a point to skip out on what I thought were “officer” meetings, “officer” conversations, etc.
It was a significant screw up as my lieutenant’s senior enlisted adviser.
Not only did I miss out on everything that was discussed at meetings, but I also was unable to effectively mentor and guide my lieutenant through his decisions … or at least provide him an experienced person he could trust to help with decisions. My understanding was that he led the team, and I made things work. That was a stupid understanding of what an officer/enlisted relationship is, and we could have done much better on that deployment had I deployed with a different mindset.
Son, my preconception of how I was “supposed” to act degraded my performance as a team chief. Had I deployed with a more open mind, more like my true self, someone who wants to help, participate and guide … I would have been a better chief. Had I not let the preconceptions I had of an officer and a chief control my behavior, I may have achieved something greater than a typical team chief. Instead, I perpetuated my own preconceptions.
Preconceptions are nothing more than road blocks on the path to better decisions son. You mustn’t act them out to be great, you must shed them to be great.
Learn to do that and you will undoubtedly be great at everything you do.
Life Tip #76 - Create an E-mail Trap for Marketers
Who knows what or how they will send you advertisements when you read this Charlie. In my lifetime, marketers have gone from post mail, to telephone, to E-mail and managed to stay annoying throughout it all.
When it comes to post mail or telephone, that’s easy. All you have to do is give fake info. However, E-mail is a little tougher, because often times to log in you have to receive the E-mail from the crappy site you are trying to gain access to. Not a problem.
Just create another e-mail address that you use for all the worthless Internet sites you want to gain access to. Use it for the sites you know are going to inundate you with E-mail even though you only used their site once. I started to do this about two years ago, and my junk E-mail has gone down to zero.
I logged into the e-mail once to see how it looked and it was crazy in there! Like some kind of cesspool of premature balding, sex-crazed, get-rich-quick lunatics. Actually, that kind of makes the sites your old man is going to a little suspicious. ;)