Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Yes Year

When I was younger, I was extremely stubborn. As many kids probably are, I was shy and probably afraid of things. While I don't think I was an extreme case, I was definitely far from adventurous or outgoing. I can't quite explain what prevented me from voluntarily doing many things, but I often had to be forced to participate in activities or experiences. I can remember a specific time when there was a church dance and I didn't want to go.  I was vehemently opposed to church but my parents forced me to go. That was probably part of the reason I didn't want to go, but I think the bigger reason was my confidence. I have no rhythm. I mean, absolutely none at all. I think I was afraid of going to the dance because I would be embarrassed. I would either just sit on the side while everyone else had a good time, or I would get out there on the dance floor and look like a fool.  And even though no one cared, I seemed to care.

But my dad was encouraging me to go. I can only guess what his reasons were. I'm sure he thought if I had fun at the dance, I might stat to enjoy church as well. Or maybe he was concerned about something else, I really can't say for sure. But I do remember what he did, he bribed me.  He literally bought me a video camera that I wanted just so that I would go to the dance. I thought I was getting the better end of the bargain so eventually I agreed.  I really can't tell you much about that dance. I'm sure I enjoyed myself a little, but I know I didn't get everything out of it that I could. My attitude was still negative even though I was getting something else for attending. I vaguely remember dancing some and spending plenty of time just hanging out. I meet some people that would end up being good friends later.  Almost 15 years later, I now realize I should have just had a better attitude in general about these kinds of activities. If I had approached all experiences with a more open mind and a more positive attitude, I would have enjoyed all of it more.

There is no doubt that many people have these same feelings and experiences. Who hasn't looked at their past, last week, last year or longer and thought about how they would do things differently? We all know the phrase, "Hind sight is 20/20."  But who is doing something to try and change that?  Who is trying to consciously make better decisions now?

I never really thought about where my personality traits come from, or why I was always so stubborn and difficult with social activities. But as I have aged and developed a better relationship with my dad, the answer is clear. I got it from him. He has been saying for years that he lives vicariously through his children. And it's true, he doesn't do anything himself. His activities include reading the drudge report, being an avid fan of Judge Judy and People's Court, and watching any movie that can be rented from Redbox. He does have a lot of kids and grandkids. I know he loves spending time with all of us and we spend plenty of time with him at his house. But it is extremely difficult to get him to leave the house for dinner, to go out on the boat with the family, to participate in family vacation, or anything else outside of the house.  He has fallen into a rut acting like his life is over outside of the house.  He's not depressed. He's not worried about it. But learning from my childhood, and knowing that we have the same personality. I know he needs a push to get out and have some fun. So that is why I came up with the concept of a Yes Year.  It's simple, he should say Yes to all the activities we invite him to participate in. Rather than an automatic no, he should just say yes. Yes, sure I'll go out and have a great time on the boat.  Or Yes, I'd love to go to the Chattanooga Aquarium with you.

I believe he will enjoy most of these activities. I know he won't enjoy them all.  At the end of the day, there is still stuff that he just doesn't like. But time isn't something that we can get any more of. Once time has passed, it's gone. And the older you get, the harder it is to do certain things.  So I am trying to me a more positive persona and take advantage of opportunities. I hope this Yes Year happens, its going to be hard to convince him.