The father turns 61 today, but he still thinks, believes and totally behaves like he’s my age. Amma had already told me he’s had a sleepless night and apparently he has a few of those every week now.
“He’s getting old!” we giggled.
When I called him to wish him a while later, I teased him about beginning his senior citizen years with trademark sleep deprivation, but he would have none of it. He quickly changed topics, segued into telling me a tale about his most recent trip to a piece of land he’s bought in the middle of a forest by a river. Solo, of course, as most of these trips end up being. He decides to go, he takes off, and that’s that. Although he is always happy to take those willing along on all his journeys, literal and figuratively speaking, he is not one to sit around waiting.
Said piece of land is the latest project in his life. Talking about it makes him sound like a little boy with a new toy. Off he goes every few weeks, to check on things, meet people who can help with the project, do a little research and most of the time I think its just his excuse to catch a break. The excitement in telling me he ventured off on a new track, taking a detour from the highway, entering a forest and approaching the plot of land from “another side”, only to discover that he had landed smack in front of his little piece of land, just on the opposite riverbank, was palpable. The glee in telling me he can now get to his future home by boat was infectious and I chuckled, because it reminded me of so many instances of this kind of happiness, unbridled joy at the simplest things, that I’ve seen in his eyes, so many times before. His cheeks get shiny from smiling, his eyes sparkle with a naughty glimmer and I can immediately feel the wheels of an idea-just-struck churn away wildly inside his head. It’s what happens when he has come upon a plan, worked it out and done it all himself.
Of all the things I’ve appreciated in my father, it is this ability to be happy all on your own. No need for company, hectic plans, large groups or elaborate and fancy preparations. He has this fundamental attitude to everything he does – want something? make it happen. All my life, I have watched him lead by example and be the silent go-getter that he is. Not one for blowing his trumpet or celebrating every little win, his happiness was always in being able to do whatever it is he wished. Whenever an idea strikes him, he acts on it. Quickly. Whether it was taking off on his numerous wildlife photography trips, buying a second and third car, planning family holidays or buying beautiful things for us. I’ve seen him in his element at work, deep in the throes of designing homes late into the night and early in the mornings, I’ve seen him engrossed in music, I’ve seen him be overcome by emotion in a touching TV moment or a tree that’s just burst into colourful blooms. I’ve seen the very same urgency whether he is being handy-man around the house, tending to his garden or making plans for a distant future.
He truly brings living in the moment, being present and loving it, to life. And I hope that someday I’ll be half as adventurous as he is. I hope that some day I’ll transfer into my own life a little bit of that zest and passion to make things happen. I hope that soon I will completely internalise the want something? make it happen! attitude that he taught us by simply living his life so.
Maybe then, I will truly begin to follow through on all the plans I imagine for myself. Because nothing else will say I’m my father’s daughter, like a life lived in the moment can. Happy Happy Happy, and may you have many many more, Anna <3