Last year, my younger siblings and I went to a wake with my Dad. It was for a man I had met maybe a handful of times in my entire life, but it was important for my Dad that Caitlyn, Heinrich, and I were there with him.
I was lucky that I knew other people at the wake that I felt comfortable around, because usually (especially at large group events) I don’t know how else to handle myself at social gatherings. I don’t know what to say or how to act, and my brain just kind of goes bonkers with a bunch of random, weird thoughts.
One of the people that I actually feel comfortable around is a good friend with my dad. I see him at family events, he’s always got a good story or joke to tell, and he always goes out of his way to make my siblings and I feel welcome. He turned to me at this wake, and said something like, “sad, huh?”
I probably nodded back, but because I don’t know how to act in these situations, I was aloof. I wasn’t comfortable being at that place, with a ton of people I didn’t know, in such a morbid environment.
And then he said, “You know: there are going to be things that you want to do, but can’t; and there will be things that you don’t want to do, but have to. This is kind of one of those things.” It sounds like common sense, right? It didn’t sound very words of wisdom-y at the time, but for some reason, I still think about what he said then.
That was one of those kind of situations I was in because I had to be, not because I wanted to be. I mean, if I’m going to be honest here, who ever really wants to be at a wake? I dealt with being at that place for the sake of my dad, and the other people that I knew and respected there.
And I still think about that little piece of advice every now and then, because those words would pop up in my head every time I found myself in one of those situations.
I found myself doing these things that were expected of me, instead of what I wanted, for the benefit of the people I love, a little more than I felt like I should have. And I still find myself not doing the things I want to because of certain limitations.
And, if I’m being totally honest, I really hate that I find myself in those kind of situations so often. Is that the cost that I must make in order to keep everyone around me happy? What about what I want—how much does that cost? And why does everything involve money?
Prompt: Talk about a piece of advice that you’ve been given that has stuck with you.