Thursday, March 06, 2008

Sage Advice

Today is my dad's birthday. I don't think he minds if people know his age, since it's right there on his Facebook profile. But just in case, I'll only give you a hint: it rhymes with nifty-date. I'll save you having to do the math and tell you that he was 22 when I was born, which seems ludicrously young to me. (Imagine it, I could have a teenager right now.)

When I was 22, I made the momentous decision to drop out of law school and move to Ireland to see if this guy I knew was The One. (It'll come as no surprise to you that he was The One and still is.) My parents were surprisingly cool about this, considering the fact that they'd never met the guy.

I took the Greyhound bus from Camden, NJ to Cleveland, OH to see my extended family before my trip. Then the plan was for my dad to drive me back to New Jersey to collect my stuff. We'd spend a couple of days at his parents' house, then he'd drop me at Newark airport for my big flight.

I was going out of my mind with excitement and fear, the two emotions battling each other in the pit of my stomach. My dad and I were playing pool at my grandparent's house in New Jersey. They had recently moved out of the house my dad grew up in and were living in a tiny house in the same town. It felt weird to be playing pool in a bedroom instead of in their basement. (I always liked their basement, even though it was dark and smelled like mothballs.)

Dad and I were chatting, as you do when you play pool and somehow, we ended up on the topic of my impending move. I confessed to being really scared, terrified that it wouldn't work out or that something bad would happen. Dad gave me the best advice in the history of dads. He said:

You're only 22. I promise you if you follow these three rules, you won't get into any serious trouble:
1 - Don't kill anyone.
2 - Don't get pregnant.
3 - Don't get a tattoo.
Everything else, any other mistake you might make or problem you might have, those are all undoable. It's these three big ones: murder, pregnancy, and tattoos, that you can't undo. Anything else, don't worry about it. You've got your whole life to figure out and fix anything else.


This advice was perfect. Not only did it give me a blueprint for living my life, it also made me laugh and put things into perspective. I was going on an amazing adventure and I was going to enjoy it. Everything would sort itself out in the end, so long as I managed not to kill anyone, get pregnant, or get a tattoo. So simple.

Happy Birthday, Dad-eye. Thanks for all the advice, support, and encouragement.

13 Comments:

At 5 March 2008 at 22:36, Blogger Kaycie said...

Happy birthday to Ann's dad!

I love the advice he gave you. Twenty-two is young. My parents were twenty and twenty-one when I was born (and they'd already been married a year and a half by the time I arrived). I was twenty-three when my lovely girl came along. It amazes me that our babies survive at all.

You were brave. I don't think I would have ever moved to another country at that age. You made the right choice, that's clear!

 
At 6 March 2008 at 01:45, Blogger laurie said...

so enlightened and cool, your dad.

my dad would have locked me in a closet and put tarpaper over the windows and nailed the door shut.

happy birthday, mr. 58!

 
At 6 March 2008 at 02:22, Blogger Sweet Irene said...

Your Dad is a very wise man. That's just the sort of advice I could have used when I was 22, or that I could have given my children at that age.

Why does wisdom come so late to some of us? When I was 22 I had two children. I could have used a very wise father.

 
At 6 March 2008 at 08:12, Blogger Babaloo said...

Happy Birthday to your Dad, Ann! He sounds really cool. Great advice.

 
At 6 March 2008 at 10:56, Blogger Aoj & The Lurchers said...

What very good advice.

I've never done any of them but I am tempted by No. 3 I have to say!

 
At 6 March 2008 at 19:26, Blogger wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

How great is your dad! I'll remember that advice for my daughter and son. Meanwhile, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ANN's DAD!!!

 
At 6 March 2008 at 20:39, Blogger Sauntering Soul said...

He's absolutely right!

Happy Birthday to Ann's dad who gives awesome advice.

Does he have any advice for a 39 year old single and childess woman?

 
At 7 March 2008 at 01:33, Blogger Sweet Irene said...

Oh yes, I forgot to wish your dad a Happy Birthday, so herewith!

 
At 7 March 2008 at 01:48, Blogger Jan said...

You've got a great Dad. I love the advise.

 
At 7 March 2008 at 02:04, Blogger Sandy said...

This is a great post. I think you should get a tattoo in honor of your dad's 60th in a couple of years.

 
At 7 March 2008 at 02:22, Blogger Career Guy said...

Thanks all, for the birthday wishes. For an account of how I spent this momentous day, you can find me at www.careerguy.blogspot.com.

 
At 7 March 2008 at 05:01, Blogger -Ann said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 7 March 2008 at 05:09, Blogger -Ann said...

Hey everybody, thanks for all the sweet birthday wishes for my dad!

Dad, I'm so glad you're back blogging. Maybe you could help Sauntering Soul out with a little advice. :) No pressure. :)

 

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