Having divorced parents sucks. My mom and dad have been separated for years. My whole life my father has traveled back and forth from India (or wherever he’s lived) to wherever I am to see me. I’ve gotten to see him at least once or twice a year. We would always call and e-mail each other, ever since I can remember, and he always made an effort to be a part of my life. Now that I’m older, I’m able to travel by myself to see him. I’ve realized that he’s my favorite travel buddy and I’m getting closer to him now. These are some of the valuable lessons he’s taught me.
1. Tying a Tie and Fixing Cufflinks
He recently showed me how to tie a tie and fix cufflinks. He told me that one day, when I marry someone who’s worthy of being with me, he’d need help tying his tie. If I marry a man who never wears a tie when he wears a suit, I’ve married the wrong person. It’s important that I know how to fix my husband’s tie or bow tie. With practice, I’ve mastered this skill.
My taste in music comes from him. He’s made me a complete Sinatra fanatic. He’s gotten me hooked to artists like Engelbert Humperdinck, Tony Bennett, and Elvis Presley… everything from swing and jazz to rock and roll. He’s taught me the history of music and made me addicted to the 60s and 70s. I love and appreciate old music because of him. I can name songs by Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, and Billie Holiday because of him. Not a lot of girls of my age can do that.
3. Inviting Clients, or People Who Have Helped You, over for a Dinner
The way to someone’s heart is through a well-cooked meal. If you don’t have a place big enough to host, you should take your friends out to a good restaurant. It’s a way to show that you appreciate them. He’s always told me the importance of making connections and has taught me how to successfully mingle among a crowd. Every time my dad lands new clients, he invites them and their family over dinner. I find that people trust him more easily and it’s a nice gesture.
4. Consider Your Blessings
My father made sure that I know that there are people who are always worse off when I’m experiencing a low. There’s always someone with a bad situation, no matter what I’m going through, it’s important that I don’t make excuses. I should never complain.
5. Learn to Be Independent
My mother tells me this too. My father lives alone most of the time so he stresses it more. He says that you can have friends and surround yourself with however many people you want, but at the end of the day you must learn to take care and look out for yourself.
6. Travel the World Before You Get Married
My dad is always traveling. I think I get the travel bug from him. He says it’s important that I see the world and experience everything it has to offer before I settle down and start a family. I will do this.
7. Make You Own mistakes and Learn from Them
No parent wants their child to make mistakes. Unless it’s life threatening, my father has supported me in whatever I want to do and whatever makes me happy. He says that when he listened to other people and it went haywire, he’d blame other people. He’d rather I make my own mistakes and not blame anyone else for them. This way it’ll be instilled in me not to make the same mistake again.
8. Always Dress to Impress
My dad dresses like Gatsby every day. He frequently wears a suit, and a tie with a matching handkerchief on business days. On casual days, he dresses like he’s coming out of a GQ catalog. He has a unique style and likes vibrant colors. If there’s something you should spend a lot of money on, it’s clothes. However, buy few outfits that you find valuable and of good quality, which you can mix and match. I’m a fashionista because of him. He’s always taught me that first impressions matter. People read off your style and what you’re wearing says a lot about how you are.
9. It’s Important to Enjoy the Little Things
He hates technology. He constantly nags me when I’m on the phone or texting 24/7. As an alternative, he takes me fishing, teaches me how to fix cars, or horseback riding. I learned how to horseback ride from him. He taught me how to swim and ride a bike. I love to fish because of him. He’s also taken me on hikes. It’s important to have hobbies that don’t involve a phone or computer. He recently taught me to change a tire.
10. Good Cars vs. Bad Cars
I know a lot about cars because of him. He believes that old antique cars are more valuable than any Camaro SS. One of his favorites is an old Aston Martin from the 60s. He’s taught me the meaning of horsepower, the importance of a low mileage, and how to change the oil in my tank.
11. Textiles and Art
My dad is an expert in textiles. From him, I’ve learned the difference between silk on cotton carpets and silk on silk—how to tell the difference between Kilims, wool carpets, and chain-stitch rugs. He’s an artist and designs them himself. He’s really good at interior design and furnishings. I get my artistic sense from him.
12. Be Cautious of Over-thinking
If you have to over-think something, you probably shouldn’t do it. Whether it’s an answer on a test or saying yes to go with someone on a date, if you have to over think an answer, you shouldn’t do it. Consider the consequences and always follow your gut. Always ask yourself if it’s worth it.
13. Time is Money
Don’t waste your time and money if you’re not going to get anything out of an experience or person, except when someone needs your help.