For those of you who know him, my father, Big Neil, is a colorful character. He laughs a lot and swears a lot and tells a story like nobody else. The storytelling part of his Irish heritage stayed with him strong. Also, he has an internal rule book that I am pretty sure he wishes everyone would follow. Here’s a sampling from that book of the lessons that stayed with me strongest and helped me make some of my biggest life decisions – maybe they’ll help you too.


  1. “I’m not taking it with me when I go!” This translates into: spend the money while you’re alive because it doesn’t make any sense to pack it up with you in a casket. My sister and I grew up in the South end of a not so well to do city. We always had enough to eat and clothes to wear but there weren’t a lot of extras. Every once in awhile my dad would come across some money and then suddenly we’d be packing our bags for a trip to Cancun or going shoe shopping for the hell of it. The ability to enjoy money and have fun with life, even when you don’t have much money has stayed with me. At this stage, I know plenty of people that have loads of money that are afraid to spend it. They don’t even enjoy what they have – it seems like such a waste to me. Enjoy it while you got it, we are all headed to the same place.
  2. “You could get hit by a bus tomorrow” So far, I know, this sounds pretty morbid – but it makes sense so stay with me. Take chances when you have them, even when you are afraid. Ask yourself “If I got hit by a bus tomorrow, how much would this matter to me?”. It’s an amazing way to maintain perspective. Because of this question, I allowed myself to change schools to study Chinese medicine. Also because of this question, I allowed myself to take a semester off school and travel through South America. On that trip, I met my husband. So, yeah.
  3. “Golf is a game played with the 6 inches between your ears” I’m not sure he coined this one. It might have been Arnold Palmer who said it first, but I hear it often. One reason is that we play golf together and I’m terrible. The other reason is that it is a great way to remind yourself that most of life is in your head. The stories you tell yourself, the way you talk to yourself, the emotions you hold on to or let go of – they all have an effect on how you play the game – any game. So, when you’re f’ing up, check where your head is at. Are you in the game you’re playing? Are you distracted? Get those 6 inches between your ears right and the rest will fall into place.


What are you favorite lessons from your father?


Happy Father’s Day!




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