There are times to be tough and times to be sensitive. There are times for rough and times for gentle. Don’t allow yourself to get wrapped up in tough; in the idea that you can’t express feelings or pain. There are times in life when pain is appropriate – a breakup, a death, any kind of loss. Expressing it makes it easier, being tough just festers inside. There are times to be tough when it feels wrong. People will try to con you, try to manipulate you, try to get you to do things you know are wrong. No matter how much you like them, care about them or want to be liked, be tough. But always be gentle with those less able than yourself, your pets, the disabled, the bullied. Don’t be so tough that you think everyone is trying to con you or manipulate you. Try to be tough enough to stand up for what you know is right and sensitive enough to see when the wrong is happening. Don’t be too tough on yourself, but be tough in pursuing your dreams. Be a strong man with a sensitivity for other’s feelings. Hard and soft aren’t always about touch.
I know you would rather eat worms than have sex advice from your Grandmother, but its what she wanted you to know. And you never know…. you might learn something! So here goes:
Dear Jake, by this time you’re over eighteen and I’m sure know a great deal about sex from family, friends, and the great American entertainment business. That is to say, I’m sure the mechanics are perfectly clear and may have been put into practice. I’m sure you have also been advised about taking precautions not only for birth control, since having a baby at this stage in your life could ruin your future, but also making sure you know the medical history of anybody you take up with BEFORE you have sex. STDs are hard to get rid of and easy to catch.
When one is swept away by a moment of passion, it’s hard to exercise restraint and judgment, but there again remember that what you decide while under the stress of hormones could affect what is going to happen to you in the long run when there will be a lot of other things that are equally or perhaps even more important, believe it or not.
You’re probably tired of hearing all this. But what you may not have heard is that the best sex is an art, for it involves learning about the other through the body, yours and theirs, and how you approach that can and will influence your relations with that same other person when you’re not having sex.
Good sex is something that has to be learned and you’d be surprised, with all the talk of sex that goes on, how few men (and how few women) are willing and able to learn it as a skill. It seems like a relatively simple business but it’s not. People have simple physical sex just because it’s available or they just like somebody or are married to them. And you can do that too, but my guess is that about 98% of American men don’t know how to make a woman or man feel fulfilled and I don’t want you to be a part of that 98%. I want you to have a full and exciting sex life, because sex can be a wonderful event and an amazing phenomenon when both partners take the trouble to learn how to please each other with tact and persistence while taking advantage of sensual impulses. Ideally sex is not an act of power and dominance but an art practiced with a lot of affection and knowledge.
In other words, don’t be prudish or embarrassed but excited about learning and always think about the other person. And it’s okay to laugh a lot, because sex can be funny and dreamy as well as serious. And
always remember that it’s a waltz and not a fox trot.
As is obvious by the inconsistency in the time between these posts, life sometimes interferes with the things we would like to do. When you are young you believe there is all the time in the world. In middle age you are too busy to realize that time is precious. As you reach the back side of middle age you realize that you have less time left than you thought.
I wish I had spent less time working and more time going to the park; that’s a mistake you don’t have to make with your kids. Supporting your family, paying your bills is important, but you can never get time with your kids back. I wish I could have let go of the tidy house thing a little so we could have played Quiddler more; that’s a mistake you don’t have to make with your kids. The chores are important, but you can never get the time back.
When you find yoursellf saying “but I have things to do”, “but I have to finish this work, project, laundry, whatever”, put it down and go outside, play ball, sing. It is hard to find the balance between getting things done that help make your life better, more productive or financially stable, and the things that bring you happiness. To find a place between work and play, drudgery and joy, that is the trick in life! If you are lucky, you will find work you love and that will help, but you have to remember to put the work down and dance with your wife, laugh with your kids and enjoy a sunny day.
Life has a way of getting in the way of life. Don’t just forge ahead, choose. Don’t just put one foot in the front of the other, dance. You are given one life, don’t let life’s challenges and chores get so in the way that you forget to live it.
Ok, you may have noticed that our house has always been full of people. There are lots of reasons for this, some complicated, some not. You may also have noticed that we are a small family. Something you may not think about is that we are older than most parents of eighteen year olds. Unfortunately, there will come a time when we will be gone and you will probably be much younger than many when they lose their parents. This is not morbid, it is just a fact. Hopefully you will find a wonderful life partner that makes you happy. I dearly hope you will have children, you will be a wonderful father. That’s where your family will begin.
Make sure you cherish your relationship with your cousin Jax, you are close in age and you are the only ones. And your uncle Bev ~ with any luck he will be around a lot longer than we will. You have two little cousins that will need to know you; don’t forget them.
But in addition to those few family members that you will have, you must fill your life with people that make you happy, inspire you, challenge you to think, tell you the truth and are just plain available. Remember that none of us are perfect; if you strive to have perfect friends you will have none. But different people will fill different needs for you throughout your life.
Your partner will not fill all your needs and that’s ok. Your very best friends are the ones that will tell you when you are being an ass; and you are willing to listen. Some friends will be the best for lively conversation and challenging thought, some friends will just make you laugh and some will be there when things go to hell.
Build yourself a family, fill your life with people who love you and who you love back. Don’t waste time on high-maintenance people, they are not really friends and life is too short. Find family in your Temple community, at least you know you will fit in. Just build yourself a family however you can.
You will learn, soon enough, that one of the scariest days of your life will be the day you hand the car keys to your child and they drive off alone. Why this is scarier that riding with them when they have never driven at all, I can’t quite fathom; a parent is equally powerless either way, from the passenger seat or from the sofa.
Nevertheless, every time you drive away, my stomach turns over. So here you get a little practical advice that isn’t normally included in driver’s courses. You have hard some of it, but a reminder never hurts.
Learn to drive a standard shift, if you do you will never be stranded and you will understand how your car works a little more. This is a dying skill except amongst serious car aficionados. Remember when I reserved a moving truck and went to pick it up on a weekend, ready to load and leave only to discover that it was a standard shift truck (split shift at that) and the truck rental people had gone home for the weekend! Good thing I knew how to drive it.
When you feel sleepy, dizzy, lightheaded or generally weird, pull off the road. Don’t endanger yourself and others; no matter how much of a rush you are in. Late is better than dead every single time. Remember when Bob crushed his face.
Remember that if you count three seconds from the time the car in front of you passes a fixed point until you pass the same fixed point you will pretty much always be far enough back (relative speed). Nobody does this all the time but check it every once in a while to remind yourself of how much distance you need. When somebody cuts in front of you, reducing your space, make more space. Playing chicken is stupid and you don’t get there any faster.
Change your oil every 3,000 miles and generally do the maintenance on your car. Most cars will serve you well and much longer than the average American keeps a car if you just take care of them. It is nice to have a fancy new car, it is nicer to have no car payment! It is amazing how much money you can save when you don’t have to replace your car but can drive it past the end of the payments.
You have learned the hard way that when you don’t take care of things, you have to spend money to replace them. Imagine, if you took care of your stuff, how long it would last, how much money you could put in your pocket. This goes for your relationships as well. The more you care for them, the less energy you will spend and the longer they will last.