by Dave Markwell

Last fall, my son told me he was thinking about joining his high school swim team. For the previous couple of years, he wrestled. I liked wrestling and was a little disappointed that he was considering jumping ship. I, also, being a typical dad somewhat protective of my boy’s fragile teenage ego, remembered the great line from the book, Sh#t My Dad Says:

“You can’t swim. Son, you’re a good athlete but I’ve seen what you call swimming. You look like a slow kid on his knees trying to smash ants.”

So, I had some concerns but supported whatever he wanted to do. I’m glad I did. He had a great time. He made some good friends and didn’t drown.

I’m proud of this kid. He is pretty fearless. He tries new stuff. These are good qualities that will serve him well. Life is not a script. It rarely follows a predictable path. It weaves and wanders with many unforeseeable events shifting the stream’s channel. Being able to adjust course and navigate new waters is vital to being happy.

Sometimes these things are circumstantial. Events happen that make us move. Sometimes, though, these things are just how we feel. They lack explanation and often understanding, but they drive us as powerfully as a hurricane. They are the storms that only we can feel. In these storms, we make choices. We choose to act or to stay put. I’m glad my son is willing to risk uncertainty and take on the challenge of new things. He does so with genuine effort and an interest in exploring different opportunities. Not everything works out awesome, but he is undeterred. He just changes course.

Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm. – Winston Churchill

Life rarely works out the way we plan it. We have control over many things, but not all. The single most defining characteristic of people that succeed in spite of circumstances is enthusiasm. Enthusiasm enrolls others in our journeys. Enthusiasm makes the necessary persistence possible. We infect others and ourselves with this contagion.

If you don’t like how things are, change it! You’re not a tree. – Jim Rohn

This is beautiful idea: the option of changing course is always available to us. We can change anything and everything, anytime we want. We can change our jobs, our homes and our minds. This awareness is liberating. We float this river for an undetermined length of time. Our days are our currency and frivolously wasting this precious tender on things we know aren’t serving us, bettering us or making us happy is silly and wrong. We have a single chance at life and with this in mind, exploring, thinking, caring and creating joy for ourselves and the world that surrounds us just seems right. With the absurd notion that we are truly free to do and be what we want, even the ridiculous makes sense…it’s fun when this happens…

[EDITOR’S NOTE:”Feel Good Friday” is a regular column written by Des Moines resident Dave Markwell, whose first book is called “A Feel Good Life” (buy it on Amazon here). Dave also extols to all neighbors: “Enjoy where we live. Put your feet on the pavement and truly feel how great it is to live here!” Also, you can “friend” Dave on Facebook here. Or work out with him at his exercise company Waterland Fitness]

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