10 Life Lessons from My Dad on His 74th Birthday

Today is my father’s 74th birthday. I recognize how blessed I am to be able to share it with him, and I don’t want to wait until he’s gone to reflect on what I’ve learned from him. In no particular order:

  1. Give help without being asked.
  2. Hard work really does pay off.
  3. It is possible to create a new life in foreign land.
  4. You don’t have to hold a college degree to be intelligent and educated.
  5. Love is expressed by what you do, not what you say.
  6. Having someone you can count on is one of the greatest gifts in life.
  7. What’s inside is more important than what it looks like on the outside.
  8. A strong commitment will keep you going when the road gets rough.
  9. Don’t ever assume you know how a person will respond.
  10. Don’t take  your blessings for granted. Life can change in an instant.

Invest Where it Really Counts: Build Memories

Yesterday I enjoyed the most simple and loving day with the three people who mean the most to me—my mother, my father and my boyfriend. We took a 75-mile drive to pick olives. This outing was something I initiated after an evening viewing our family home movies with my parents a few weeks back. My dad had made a comment that will forever stay with me, “Those were the good old days. I don’t have much to live for anymore.” I cried most of the drive home that night, partly from hearing that he felt that way and partly realizing that my time with my parents is running low.

At the end of the day, does it really matter how much the stock market dipped or what’s the price of oil? You can lose everything you have, but nothing can take your memories away.

Building memories is easy and it doesn’t have to cost much money. It’s all a matter of making memories a higher priority. Here’s how:

  1. Ask yourself who are the people who are important to you.
  2. Determine how you might enjoy spending time with them.
  3. Check your calendar for available dates.
  4. Make the call to propose the time.
  5. Follow through with your commitment.
  6. Enjoy the time and the awareness that you are building what really counts in life.