Before I had a girlfriend I was invited to give a speech titled “Dating, Engagement, Marriage and Sex”. When my wife and I got engaged, we started counseling married couples. After our wedding we started giving speeches in international congresses about raising children. Now, when our kids are 9, we are retiring from the presentations to teenager parents and getting ready for the launch of our newest book: “The nest is empty again”, focusing on couples whose children have left home.
The funny thing in this story is the realization that theory is way easier, simpler and safer than the actual practice. How would I be able to preach on how to do things when I see my flaws and many mistakes? It is fun to point out other people mistakes, but after being guilty of the same errors (or even worse ones), I found to be funny when childless people give me advice regarding my children education.
We try hard to get ready for the future. We read many books, attend to conferences, observe close families. Maybe that is the reason why the future looks easier than it is. The amount of information brings the feeling of security. Have you noticed that roller coasters seem harmless from a distance but get scarier as you get closer to the entrance gate?
As time goes I’ve been learning that I haven’t, in fact, the slightest clue of what I am supposed to do when the moment of truth comes. It is in the present that the difficulties show up. It is in the present that adrenalin speeds up our heart beat. It is in the present that I hit or miss the target. It is in the present that I define my future, my marriage future, my kids future. It is in the present that I realize that the books, advices, theories weren’t able to prepare myself for the emotions I now face, regardless of how good they are.
Bad days come and go. The fear of the uncertainty also comes and sometimes takes its time before leaving. Many doubts, many questions. News we wish we never got. Reactions we wish we haven’t had.
As I was being caught off guard by the present without having idea of what to do, or even worse, not being able to evaluate if my reaction was good or bad, I came to the conclusion that a new approach was in need. Instead of putting time in the preparation for the next phase of my life, why not try to intensely live the moment? Why not deep enjoy each and every moment, knowing that it will never came back?
Being who I am, it has been taking long time until I learn this simple lesson. Perhaps I can’t say I have learned but I keep going. It has been lighter and more enjoyable to live without having to pretend that I know what to do. Living the moment just for the sake of it, learning from my mistakes, celebrating the hits and finding pleasure over the family time have been the best adventure I’ve been through.
I wish I could say like my son Rafael “I don’t know what is a bad day. To me, all days are the same”.