[ From the Archives of 365 ]
““If life were perfect, then everything would suck and there would be nothing to learn.”
I get into a sidewalk discussion with a couple of unknown neighbors. Denise (not pictured) loves the 365 project. “You should interview my sixteen-year-old son, he always has something to say.”
Five minutes later, I’m standing at the door meeting her the young and brilliantly outspoken Daniel.
I’ve often said the future is in good hands, and Daniel is at the front of the pack in supporting my claim. With a perfect 4.0 GPA, Daniel is not only intelligent; he is wise beyond his years.
Denise invites me into their home for a neighborly visit. I have to tell you it’s been cool getting to know not only the people of my city and wherever I travel, but also those that live so close to me. This alone forces me to challenge you to do the same.
You often hear me spout from my soapbox, “Say hello to the world!” And with the experience of this entry, I guess we all have to ask ourselves– Do we truly know our neighbors?
Back to Daniel.
“Look to tomorrow. Today’s problems are going to be gone.”
“Look to tomorrow. Today’s problems are going to be gone.” he proposes as he accelerates our conversation to a deeper level.
We dive into a lengthy chat, and to keep the word count down, I’ll simply summarize Daniel’s point. Too many people are caught up in the wants of the now, or distracted by the loudest influences that hit them, and us, every day. I’ve called it “The Storm Of Life” in past entries.
And at sixteen Daniel has found a secret many of us much older folks are still trying to master. The way I see it, he is living toward the future, not obsessing about the now. And as he does, he is letting go of what he can’t control by acting on what he can.
“Today’s problems are going to be gone,” Daniel advises. His council leaving us a palpable action point. Do what we can now, and ponder how our actions will affect the future.
Daniel talks of letting go and of his view of the world, “If everything was answered for us, or if life was perfect, there would be no point in living.
It’s hard being a teenager. There is peer pressure, insecurity, discovering emotions, feelings you don’t understand, bullying, and starting to notice girls – a big part of being a teenage guy. You start to get depressed because it’s too much to absorb. You think there is no way out, but eventually, you start to understand.”
Everyone is all about being the best at any cost. They focus on the me. The individual. Asking what makes me happy, and never looking at how they can help others.”
With a smile on his face, Daniel puts it into its plainest expression, “If life were perfect, then everything would suck and there would be nothing to learn. We need to find humanity. There is very little of it in our society. Everyone is all about being the best at any cost. They focus on the me. The individual. Asking what makes me happy, and never looking at how they can help others.”
In my mind, Daniel is discussing balance, and I am strikingly impressed that in speaking with such a young man, the topic has even arisen.
Daniel is proof the future just might be in good hands. Hands that are forward-thinking, compassionate in seeking a better world, and best of all– realistic.
“It’s going to get worse,” Daniel forecasts.
Yet with his prediction, he directs us to what we can do to counter his apprehensions of a worsening path. With youthful energy, “Live your life in a way that you feel is actually helpful. Don’t worry about what others are doing… just do what is right. But hey, I’m just a teenager. I don’t know everything.”
“Live your life in a way that you feel is actually helpful. Don’t worry about what others are doing… just do what is right. But hey, I’m just a teenager. I don’t know everything.”