Column: a note to my son about this life

Dear Owen,

I spend a lot of time thinking about what’s important in life. I always have, but even more so since your birth. Before you came into my life, my natural curiosity drew me to this puzzle time and time again.

But now that I’m your dad and it’s my responsibility to set you up for a good life, this fascination has grown in intensity.

Life is bursting at the seams with possibilities. I am writing this column less than a week after your third birthday. General consensus would agree that your future is wide open at this point.

But I would like to offer that in reality, your future will always be wide open. That is one of the lessons I hope to teach you throughout life. Anything is reachable.

People often believe that dreams only come true for the lucky few — the best looking people or people with special abilities. After accepting an idea like this as true, it’s all too easy to focus on faults and then come to the conclusion that your wildest dreams are beyond you.

However, rock stars, poets and the rich and famous are just like the rest of us. The only special trait they all share is that they just keep going. I know this from experience.

Growing up, my walls were always plastered with stars. I also assumed that the people on my posters were larger than life.

As a kid, I wanted to talk to the stars. I was sure that they had some special knowledge. I thought that if I could just talk to them, I would find some sort of magical key that would unlock all doors.

Don’t worry, there is magic out there. But by and large, stars come into this world with the same standard equipment as everyone else. What makes them stand out is this: They all found things that caught their attention.

They found things that they wanted to do and they did them. They kept doing them. A person who keeps going down the road will eventually get there.

That leads me to my second piece of advice for you, which I believe is even more important than the first, and that is to find something you care about. That will certainly help you have a good life.

If there were a key to every door, that would surely be it. If you find something to care about, you will learn how to care, and learning to care for one thing leads to caring for another thing.

That’s how people are able to stay young at heart. It will make your life interesting and you will be interesting to others. That is how you’ll make friends, and your friends will make your life fun.

The posters on my walls as a kid were mostly of writers and musicians, and my job as a journalist has given me opportunities to talk with many of them. It’s from them that I got the information I’m sharing with you now. All I needed to make my dream come true was desire.

When you have the desire to do something, that means you have the ability to do it within you. You then just need to figure out how to unfold that desire, and that is not the hard part. That will happen step by step. The hardest part is finding that first thing to care about.

A quote from your grandpa might be useful here. One of my favorite pieces of advice that Grandpa Myers gave me when I was a boy was this: “There are many reasons in this world why you can’t do things. But if you can think of one reason why you can do something, do it.”

I offer you the same advice. If something catches your eye, check it out. It doesn’t matter what you’re interested in, as long as it makes you happy and it keeps you moving.

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About genemyers

Gene Myers is a New Jersey poet, music journalist and columnist who learned to walk twice. His weekly column is called The Joy of Life. He was awarded first place in Arts and Entertainment Writing by The New Jersey Press Association.
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