The Right Attitude

I remember something Tintin said at the end of a story: All’s well that ends well.  It’s simple, and doesnt really have a deeper meaning I think.  But it’s appropriate for the trip that I just recently completed.

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I had misgivings about the trip ahead of time.  I was responsible for the safety, security, enjoyment, and general flow of the schedule for two people.  There were financial issues, and legal concerns, as well as miscommunication slip-ups that created a slightly uncomfortable and uneasy agreement between myself and the clients and almost threatened to derail the whole trip.  Nevertheless, I decided to continue through with the plan and I can point to the moment where I made that decision.

I sat down and thought about why I had planned the trip, and what factors contributed to me agreeing to do so.  I realized that all my anxiety and negativity concerning the trip could only result in something undesirable.  So I made a decision to think about the trip in terms of positive outcomes only.  I put aside all the what-ifs, and focused on the pluses that surrounded the trip; the reasons I decided to do it in the first place.  My mind had tricked me into thinking there were too many negatives for the trip to succeed; I merely had to revert back to my original mindset in order for everything to be right again.  If the trip had any chance of succeeding, then I needed to believe that it would.  Thinking the opposite was counterproductive.  So I flipped the mental switch and once again began imagining the best results.

I am what I think I am.  I become what I think I will become.

Thus the trip was a huge success.  It was a great learning experience in so many ways, and it started from the beginning with the correct attitude.

 

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Learning Never Stops

I’ve learned a few lessons in the past couple of weeks.  I have irritated myself with mistakes.  I have been disappointed by how I react to people or situations.  But in the end I have learned various lessons.  I observe myself during situations, realizing I am acting in specific ways – in ways that I wish I didn’t, but didn’t have the courage to act otherwise.  Afterwards, I looked back, and knew the mistakes I had made.  They were very clear.  I thought about how I would react the next time something similar happens, and I hope that I am able to react in a way that I would be happy with.

Most fears come from how I think people will think about me.  It happens everyday.  How will they look at me when I pick my son up from school?  I have visible tattoos in a society that doesn’t accept them.  What will that person think when I remind them of something they owe me?  Will they think I am a greedy person?  Even if they did, why should I care?  I know in my mind, what is right for me.  What other people think – or more specifically, what I think other people think – about me should really have no bearing on my own life.  BUT, yet it does.  It prevents from being me.  Actually, it is just me that is preventing myself.

Stuff happens in life, but it’s not the stuff that happens, but how we react to it that is most important.  The things that have happened to me in recent weeks are like signals from myself to indicate that I am unhappy with an aspect of myself.  The occurrences are indications that I need to change something, I need to learn something, I have some of deficiency, or some kind of ignorance.  Feelings of pain, anger, irritation, annoyance, bitterness, stubbornness are the feelings of growth.  The old cliche, no pain, no gain is literally true.  Without some kind of death, there is no life.

Every time some challenge occurs, something that I struggle with, something that bugs the hell out of me; these are little deaths.  The death of some kind of innocence, something I did not forsee, something that had to die in order for me to grow.  The thing is, there will always be these kind of deaths, some larger and more destructive than others.  I will learn to keep dying.

Months ago, I told myself that I need to make mistakes in order to learn.  And now, the fruits of my labour are being born.  Mistakes have been made, lessons learned, growth achieved.  These things are part of what makes me an adventurer.  What makes me feel uncomfortable will surely help me grow.  I don’t think I have ever achieved anything useful in a zone of comfort.  And I could point to times of discomfort where I learned the most about myself.

And that’s kind of what it’s all about: learning about myself.  learning what I am capable of.  Yes, it really is a hero’s journey, and I wouldn’t change it for anything else.

Paradise Island

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Yes.  Hawaii is literally paradise.

After roughly 6 days on Oahu, I can say with a certain degree of certainty that paradise is real.  It doesn’t come cheap, and you have to compete with thousands of other paradise-seekers, but paradise can indeed be found there.

I never considered myself the type that would stay in a resort. But age, fatherhood, and marriage can change one’s perspectives on many things, including the preferred type of accommodation for a family with a two-year old, and a wife who enjoys the finer things that backpacking doesn’t include.  I have nothing against backpacking nor anything against my wife.  My tastes have simply changed over time.

‘Did you go surfing?’

‘No.’

‘Well, you missed a great opportunity.’

That was the brief conversation I had with someone today.

I like surfing, even though I have only tried it twice in my life.  But I also love my son, who can’t surf yet, and is just trying not to drown while wading around in the kiddie pool with water wings. And I love my wife who would prefer other things to surfing.

So getting some surf lessons wasn’t high on my priority list, and I’m totally fine with that.  In short, I wouldn’t consider any time in Hawaii a missed opportunity of any kind, but rather, a fortunate experience just to be there.

I ate too much.

I applied plenty of sunscreen to my white skin.

I enjoyed discounted shopping.

I went to the popular touristy spots.

I had a bloody fantastic time.

So there, mister missed opportunity.