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What My Teenage Daughter Taught Me About Simplicity

What My Teenage Daughter Taught Me About Simplicity

Mastering the Art of Simplicity

    My oldest daughter just turned 13 this week, which means my life, as I have known it, has now changed forever. She is no longer Daddy’s little girl and I am completely outmatched.

    The tide started to change at about age 11 1/2. I didn’t notice at first. I think a father’s brain (when focused on his daughter ) is always slow to adapt. Up until this point I had been her Superman and I felt it. I am not ashamed to admit that it is a feeling I will miss for the rest of my life.

    The changes were slow at first, built up speed, and now I just can’t keep up. We no longer speak the same language. She is much more concerned with her friends, and truth be told, she does not care to spend much time with me. I selfishly long for the days when she was 5 or 6 years old.

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    I do not blame her for any of these feelings. She is becoming a wonderful young lady, with a stutter step here and there, but doing the best she can.

    I am the one who cannot keep up – Do I get any points for at least knowing that?

    I want my daughter to grow and experience life, to have an opinion and stand up for her beliefs. I just don’t want that to have anything to do with me. At the same time, I want her to be 5 forever. It feels like a classic tale that I am an unwitting participant in and have absolutely no control over.

    Now, I realize that this is a common tale and that the role of Dad is now being played by me but has been shared by all fathers who have come before me. To those who made it out alive, I salute you.

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    Learning the Power of Simplicity

    This is not an article on the dynamics of fathers and daughters. This is about learning to be simple. My daughter just taught me that this week.

    Just a few days ago, her boyfriend broke up with her. Now, let’s set aside the fact that her even having a boyfriend is taking years off my life. My job here was to be compassionate. To let her know she should still come to me and we can get through anything together. I have no idea if any of this message gets through, but I try.

    She was upset, she cried. Then she taught me a huge lesson on thinking simply. She held my hand, looked into my eyes and said: “Dad, I just want someone who will hold my hand and listen to TwentyOne Pilots with me”

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      I have not stopped thinking about what she said since. For the last year I have been thinking of my daughter as a complicated puzzle, one for which I had no instructions. The truth is that she is not nearly as complicated as I thought, At least in this one area, she is thinking simply.
      We often speak about motivation but I am starting to wonder if we overcomplicate it. Could we not be more simple?

      What is important to you? Take that image and hit it with a tiny mental hammer. Not hard enough to break it, but perhaps hard enough to knock the dust and dirt off. Let’s focus on the core and not the surroundings.

      I want you to have a grand goal. I want you to believe that you can achieve anything. But why don’t we get to the core of your dream? What is it that you really want? What is your simple truth?
      When I write, I often write about myself. I do this because I know the subject so well and because I hope I can convince you of this: all the crazy emotions, weird thoughts, and irrational fears that you may have, we all have them.

      Is there a handbook on how to get through life? Sure, hundreds. There are religions, societal beliefs, manifestos, and the like. If these help you then I am all in favor. One thing most have in common is to slow down. Become more simple in your thoughts.
      We often get in the way of our own happiness by over-complicating the situation. Both the teachings of the west and the east share this idea:

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        and :

          So this is where we are. I as a crazy, heartsick father, lost in the woods of my daughter’s life, will learn from her. I will slow down and get simple. I am not meant to understand her right now, so I will let that go and love her just the same. I will be slow to speak and slow to anger, because the opposite does no one any good. This is what my teenage daughter taught me about simplicity.

          She just wants some one to hold hands with. I just want to know my daughter. What is the simple truth of what you want?

          Cheers,

          GK

          Featured photo credit: Alexis Brown via uplash.com

          More by this author

          Glenn Killey

          Author, Motivational Speaker, Mindset Coach

          What Is Your Defining Mental Picture? What My Teenage Daughter Taught Me About Simplicity What An 86 Year Old Man Can Teach Us About Procrastination The Randomness of Life: 3 Steps to Take Back Control The Law of Reversed Effort

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          Last Updated on July 8, 2020

          18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

          18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

          The act of writing in a journal often seems daunting or unnecessary to many people. Even authors who work on novels might shun the idea of daily diaries. What purpose does jotting down words on a regular basis do if not contributing to the next novel, play or song? I know from experience many benefits of journaling that I wish to share.

          1. Understand Yourself Better

          Though many people and even writers avoid keeping journals, I vow to do it more often. Not only do I desire to take up daily journaling but also I plan to do it with pen to paper.

          Some of the benefits I’ve found from my more active days include finding myself in the sense of understanding what matters to me and what I want out of life. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to find a spouse who is my best friend and advocate in raising children. I attribute this and much more to what I learned about myself in keeping journals for years.

          2. Keep Track of Small Changes

          I’ll admit that I never got very far with my guitar lessons, but in writing in a journal, I have seen the ability to track small changes like those that come when you practice anything.

          Those learning a musical instrument often fail to see the small improvements that come with regular practice. Writing won’t help you switch chords any faster, but it will help you to develop a better sense for language and grammar just by doing it.

          3. Become Aware of What Matters

          As you continue to write in a journal, following a stream-of-consciousness feel, you can look back on the topics that you chose to write about. Those issues and emotions that poured out of you will provide insight on to what matters most to you.

          You may not even realize that you’re job is depressing you or that you want to spend more time with your kids until you look over your thoughts that you weren’t really thinking about.

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          4. Boost Creativity

          The idea that the brain and its neural activity across hemispheres encourages learning also shows up in increased creativity. Just like with learning an instrument, your increased activity will inspire your thoughts to connect and reconnect in different ways.

          When I wrote in a journal, I often wrote poetry as well as just my thoughts as they came out. I started to hear poems more in my mind; so much so that I took to scrawling lines on napkins and finding metaphors in mundane activities.

          You really are what you do, so writing helps grow more than being a writer. Writing boosts the way you communicate and structure language, which really is a creative process.

          5. Represents Your Emotions in a Safe Environment

          A journal is as private as it gets. You can lock it in a safe or tuck it under a pillow and no one will accidentally share it on social media or have an opportunity to “leave a comment.”

          Write about your sorrow as much as your happiness and frustration and know that you don’t have to keep your emotions inside your body. You can put them on paper.

          6. Process Life Experiences

          When you take the time to look back over what you’ve written, be it a week or a year later, you will have the distance you need to more objectively interpret your raw feelings.

          Everything from losing a job to losing a loved one can emerge in a new light for a fresh perspective. Figuring out how the benefits of journaling affect your perspective on life will create connection and increase creativity.

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          7. Stress Relief

          In combining the exercise inherent in fine motor coordination that comes from the act of writing with the emotional release of self expression, those who maintain a journal relieve stress.

          Try it out. Go home and write about your day. Write about the traffic. Write about the coffee order the barista got wrong but you didn’t have time to change. See how you can physically purge some of that pent-up stress by putting it on paper.

          8. Provide Direction

          Though journaling is often conducted as an activity without much direction, it often provides direction.

          One of the biggest benefits of journaling is that your chaotic thoughts merge to show a direction in which to head. Asking the right questions is the only way to achieve the best solutions, so look to your journal to find your way toward your next goal.

          9. Solve Problems

          Just as in practicing math problems, we all get better at finding hidden solutions through the act of processing.

          Think of your next goal as X and solve your life problems by reading your journals as word problems. The benefit of journaling here is that you write, explore and process to recognize and then solve problems.

          When life is too in-your-face, you have to step back to see reality. Living in the moment allows us to write in the moment and use that expression to solve problems.

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          10. Find Relief From Fighting

          Solving your problems only comes after time to process, recognize and strategize. Just as in the benefit of journaling where relief comes from the act of writing, relief from fighting comes when you decide to “sit this one out” and communicate one-way.

          Fighting is only productive when the fighters care to communicate and find common ground. When the emotions are as high as the stress levels, writing will function as the best time out.

          11. Find Meaning in Life

          Journaling will show you why you are living, whether you are wallowing in things you wish to change or striving to make the changes. Your life will begin to take on new meaning and your own words will reveal the actions that got you where you are so that you can assess and pave a new path for your future.

          12. Allow Yourself to Focus

          Taking even a small amount of time out of every day will provide you with not only peace of mind but also increased focus. Taking a break to meditate in writing and journaling will sharpen your mental faculties.

          13. Sharpen Your Spirituality

          When we write, we allow all the energy and experiences to flow through us, which often provides further insight into our own spirituality. Even if your parents didn’t raise you to follow a specific religion, your thoughts will start to show you what you believe about the universe and your place in it.

          14. Let the Past Go

          I’ve mentioned a few examples where going back over your writing offers advice and direction, but the simply truth is that writing down our feelings can be the best way to let them go. We can choose to literally throw these pages away when they’re filled with negativity and hate.

          15. Allow Freedom

          Journaling is the perfect way to not only express yourself but to also experience the freedom of being who you are. Your books can stay private or you can publish them. Your freedom stems from your sense of self and your perception of your thoughts.

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          16. Enhance Your Career

          Again, the private act of pen-to-paper processing provides the benefits of journaling mentioned above, but you can also enhance your career when you take similar ideas and categorize, edit and publish them in an online blog.

          Your thoughts will often be personal and express emotions, but another benefit of journaling is uncovering fresh ideas about your work.

          17. Literally Explore Your Dreams

          All the benefits I’ve mentioned explore ideas, thoughts and emotions, which is also what our dreams and nightmares do. Through writing down your dreams from the previous night, you can enhance your creativity as well as connect some of the metaphorical dots from the rest of your journal.

          18. Catalog Your Life for Others

          No one wants to think about dying, but we all die. Leaving a journal will act as a way to reconnect with family and friends left behind. The ideas you wish to keep personal while you process the life you’re living will serve to rekindle and inspire those who loved you through the process.

          We consider our partners our life witnesses, but writing provides a tangible mark on the world.

          Now that you’ve learned all the benefits of journaling, it’s time to start writing a journal:

          Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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