My dad likes to live on the edge, and he raised me to feel comfortable out on a limb, too.
My dad has always said, "Rules are meant to be broken." It drove my mom a little crazy, but I know what he meant. If someone tells you no, find another way. Think out of the box. Don't let others tell you something can't be done.
My dad has always said, "C students rule the world." That didn't go over well either with my mom. But I know what he meant. Be a well-rounded person who can carry herself in the real world. Meet people. Know people. Don't spend your life in a carrel at the library studying theories. Get out and experience life.
My dad has always said, "Do your own thing. Don't follow the crowd." That was a hard one for me. I wish I woud have followed this advice earlier in my life. But I wanted to fit in, while my dad urged me to stand out. As an adult, I have found it is a lot more exhilarating and fulfilling to forge a fresh path.
My dad has always said, "The early bird gets the worm." I still tune out that one. Never wanted a worm - not even laced with tequila.
My dad has always said, "Repel them, repel them, make them relinquish the ball." When he yells it at Packer games, we all pretend he's just some strange guy tagging along.
My dad has always said, "Speak up. You can change things." As a child, the two of us took walks together after dinner. He'd smoke a cigar and I'd catch snowflakes on my tongue. We'd walk through the tiny zoo a block from our house. We'd have the place to ourselves and say goodnight to the bear, the porcupine, and the wolf. When I was eight, the city closed the zoo. The animals were moved, the cages taken away, and grass planted to cover any hint a zoo had ever existed. However, the city erected a "Zoo Closed" sign and it stood in an empty field for two years. We still took our walks and one night I mentioned how much the "Zoo Closed" sign bothered me. He said, "Tell the mayor." As a ten year old, I remember thinking, yeah, right, the mayor is hardly going to listen to me. My dad said, "Seriously, if it bothers you, write a letter. Speak up." So I did. The mayor listened, and the city took down the sign. My dad taught me I had a voice and my opinion was important.
My dad has always said, "If money is your biggest problem, you don't have big problems. Loneliness is a far worse predicament." I never believed him until I was facing a divorce, starting life over in my 40's, and feeling very alone. But he has been there for me every step of the way.
At 45, a divorced, single mom trying to start a new career, I found I needed my dad more than ever. I'm out on a limb - speaking up, voicing my opinions, not following any crowd, and constantly trying to think outside the box. But I'm not alone, because just like every edge has a center, every limb has the support of a trunk.