Ahhh firsts. Her first haircut was in Raleigh, NC. Her first pony ride was in Columbia, SC at the Riverbanks Zoo. Her first trip to Hershey Park, this first, that first... I forget them all there have been so many. Kinda funny because - well - her firsts are all part of a lifetime worth of memories for me. God there are so many...
So, while she snores a bit and with 24 on DVR, I sit here in my house, aware of the very real little presence asleep in her room and things in this life feel pretty complete.
I said once that being a daddy was the greatest role I'd ever play in life. I was wrong.
Being a daddy is what I am most thankful for in life, and it's not a role, it's a life I live - a relationship I'm actively engaged in - every day. And it's very real. And there's a whole lot o' love.
I've been thinking a lot about life. About things I've screwed up at times and about things I've done right in this life which have made me who I am.
I've also thought about integrity. Defined, it is:
|1.||adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.|
|2.||the state of being whole, entire, or undiminished: to preserve the integrity of the empire.|
See, I think in life you can make mistakes and still maintain integrity. It's when you sacrifice your personal integrity - when you make choice to abandon any sort of moral compass you keep within, or you chose to compromise it - that you've tossed your self respect from the window.
Now - again - let me say this - mistakes happen. You're allowed to make them. You're allowed to even fail. Just do so with some honesty and - to me - you can maintain integrity.
It's never too late to do the right thing. It's the choice not to do what is right that is the measure of your character and integrity. At least to me.
There have been times I've failed. I've abandoned my personal morality and principles I knew to be right in the pursuit of the 'instant' gratification fix or whatever. But at the end of the day - and with the light of the new day that exposes these failures, I've been able to acknowledge my failures and the choices I made to be less than moral or whatnot.
And in that ultimate honesty - I've been able to maintain my integrity.
I'm thinking about this because I had a conversation over the weekend in which I was told "that I'm not perfect..."
No, I'm not. I've made choice after choice at times to take the easy way out which has cost me in ways I can't even begin to explain here personally.
But at least I've got my integrity. And at the end of the day I can look at myself and accept the truths that I've allowed to be real in my life due to my choices at times.
That's the difference.
At the end of the day, as I've found in the last week of working on some resolutions, integrity is the ability to say "you know what, I'm a fat ass and I need to do something about it, so let me go to work on it." (resolution one)
It's the ability to say "drinking this shit has made me retain weight, feel like ass and could be speeding me down the road to a real medical problem" and so I've cut it out so that I can see what the effects would be on my body. (resolution two)
It's what causes me to try my hardest to pay my bills, handle my business; handle my obligations, and my life, with an attention I didn't admittedly have in my mid-twenties.
You know, to do the stuff grown-ups do because, well, it's the right thing to do...
"When I was a child, I thought as a child...."
I'm not perfect, nope. Not at all. I've tried my best to make sure my mis-steps don't hurt anyone else - like friends or family and I think I've been okay at it now. I've certainly made some choices which have in the past, this is indeed true and I've tried to make my peace with these choices. And yes, I do act childish at times. I stir the pot at times. I do make choices even still which could be - after further review by life's replay official - made just a little bit better.
But for my daughter and for those closest to me I'm trying.
To paraphrase Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction, "I'm tryiiin reaaaaaaaal hard..." for the first time in years. And imma keep on tryin... because it's the right thing to do.
I'm doing so by clinging to the one thing - and finding strength there because I've never compromised it at the end of the day when it's just me alone with my thoughts looking at myself through the mirror if find that it's all I have in the end - and it's a thing called integrity.
At least to me.
Goodnight. Thanks for reading.
ps - john mayer/heartbreak warfare... another song which reminds me of relationships and life that I've been able to live. That and Lifehouse/Halfway Gone... Red wine and ambien... I'm halfway gone... download 'em on amazon or itunes and read the lyrics.
Let he or she who has ears to hear... LISTEN!