My Java Journal

What’s Your Takeaway? One Father’s Contemplation

Question. What’s your takeaway?

This week I am starting and finishing my post with this question.

This past Friday night, I once again hosted an open mic at Anabia Cupcakery Cafe. This time though, my daughter got up and sang with me (video here). I was, in a word, thrilled.

Over the years I have watched my kids overcome obstacles and fears. Each time representing, for me, one of those moments that reflect what can be most apt articulated as my ‘best memories’.

In Douglas Coupland’s book, Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture, he challenges the reader to identify their best memory of (life on) earth.

‘What one moment for you defines what it’s like to be alive on this planet . What’s your takeaway?’ – Coupland

I have pondered this question often and have come back to it several times over the years. For instance, I can say with great certainty now, that watching my children grow and challenge themselves; to witness them overcome fear and doubt, are, for me, the best examples of these moments. To have one singular moment would be difficult, so I will continue to reflect on this until I can, with conviction, declare that one moment. For now though, I will continue to ‘collect’ these moments.

I have taken great pleasure in watching my children try many things. Sometimes they succeed. Sometimes they fail. Most importantly, when they overcome something that held for them fear or doubt, they have, every time, beamed with pride and achievement. This is truly something to behold.

I can recall with crystal clarity, for example, their first times ‘running the line’, on a mountain bike trail. Likewise, the falls and the cut knees along the way. Above all though, I remember the huge smiles, and the aura of triumph and accomplishment.

The same happened when they first caught a wave on a surf board, as well as the first successful descent on alpine skis. In addition, their, respectively, first solo air travel and first on-stage dramatic performance. These are amazing moments to have born witness too.

My daughter was nervous on Friday. She was anxious and uncertain. But, she was awesome!

I accompanied on guitar, and she sang Arms by Christina Perry. I reiterate – she was awesome!

As soon as she finished you could see once again, the beaming sense of achievement and pride. She faced fear and stood tall. She owned that song. It was one more moment in considering ‘what it’s like to be alive on this planet.‘ One more takeaway to define this one life we are privileged to have.

I, and perhaps at risk of crowing a little, experience great contentment in these shared moments. Where a passion of mine has, maybe, influenced or rubbed off on my kids.

Pericles is quoted (in paraphrase) stating, “What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.”

It is moments like Friday night, that for me, let me feel very connected with my fellow sapiens as we navigate this mortal coil. Nights like Friday make it all worth it. They remind one that being alive on this planet is not something to be taken for granted, but rather something to be enjoyed and celebrated; even if only, or perhaps because, these moments are so few.

Thank you Bella. Who knew there was so much for me to draw from that shared 3 minutes on ‘stage,’ and the couple rehearsals leading to it. You were, again, awesome!

So, in conclusion then, I leave you with this question: What’s your takeaway?

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The next open mic is 1 February if you’d like to experience, first-hand, a little of this magic.