STEP 5 today is in celebration of my father. He is a person who does…He does more in a week than most people do in a month, than some people do in a year. He is a person who does what he loves and loves what he does. He is a person who never is blue, or low, or unbalanced, or unsettled, and if he has ever been ANY of these things, then he is also the greatest actor in the world. He has never been lazy and never been lethargic, he has never been overweight, and has never been ill, and other than a cold every few winters and a hernia surgery once, he’s never been laid up or out of commission. He’s never been a drinker but he was a smoker when I was little, I’ve been told it was three packs a day, but I still can’t imagine it, but all the parents smoked, it was the 70’s, and then when he decided to quit, he just did that too. Just. Like. That.
Some of you might think of “doing” as traveling, or trying exotic foods, or having hobbies, or being involved with sports, or getting together with his friends…answers to a question during a phone call such as, “what are you doing?” He does none of these things. He has had a very small number of good friends during my entire life but he has never, as far as I know, gone out with them, ever, to do anything. Some people on the outside looking in would get the idea that my Dad is the most boring man on the planet, but that’s the funny thing…his lifestyle would not suit me, AT ALL, in that I think it would be very boring to eat the same thing every day for lunch, and the same thing every night for dinner, and never want to travel anywhere, or have friends over, but his lifestyle and his passion for “his life” suits him so perfectly, that he is always happy. It is not lost on me that my mother is right there in the same house as he, they are both now retired, and that his lifestyle suits them, as a couple, blows my mind…but my parents are still deeply in love with each other and as far as I can tell, are perfectly well suited for each other. It is bold to say that my dad is the greatest man I will ever know, but it is also true. It is also true that today is his birthday and it simply is a coincidence that it falls on the same day as STEP 5.
A lot goes into discovering something you love to do, or in my Dad’s case, everything he loves to do. My Dad for example LOVES to move heavy objects, piles of dirt from one place to another, giant tons of gravel or stones from point A to point B, he likes to dig holes or built berms, he calls it “tractoring” as in, “no Daddy can’t come to the phone, he is outside tractoring” and he probably loves his Kubota like some other men love their baseball mitt or dirt bike or favorite bar stool. He is a major audiophile and has the most amazing sound system in his garage, better than most people have in their houses. He likes to build things and fix things and tinker with things and create things and I don’t believe he has ever once taken a nap. I have never, when the sun was up, seen him on the sofa watching television. I have never, ever, not once-ever, heard him use the expression “I’m bored” or sad/depressed/angry/upset…NONE of those descriptions of a state of being has ever crossed his lips. He has, in that Iggy Pop way, a “Lust for Life.” He does not follow sports, watch sports, or play sports. That tonight is the Super Bowl means little to him, and the only television show I know for sure he does not miss is Q&A with Brian Lamb on C-Span…which happens to be on Sunday nights…at 8 o’clock…so while millions and millions of men will be watching the Super Bowl, my dad probably won’t because he is not interested in it…AND that is the key, at least from my observations, of this life, with this man as my Dad…the key is to be interested, deeply, in whatever interests you.
I don’t think there are any rules. I think Julia Child has it summed up perfectly…what makes you happy and excited and interested in doing or participating? OK!! Go, DO that. AND for any of you who have yet to find that magic, the desire to “DO” whatever it is that makes you feel alive and engrossed and passionate and interested…well then, STEP 5 is an invitation, isn’t it?