What It’s Like to Adopt Kids

Advertisements

A Message to H.S. and College Graduates

What you do today determines your level of happiness tomorrow. I sure wish this was my graduation speech. View the full transcript below.

I’m going to tell you young men and women today that life sucks.

You may think it sucks now, but it gets worse. You are probably going to be unhappy in your life.

Here’s the thing. We’re all kind of bred into this society where we’re taught that if you work hard enough and believe enough, that you’ll become everything you want to be. That’s not true.

Something that all young people need to learn is that nobody cares about you. Your mom may, your dad might, maybe your brothers and sisters, but outside of that, no one cares for you. If my best friend were faced with the choice of his family getting blown up in a bomb, or me getting shot in the head, he’s going to choose me getting shot in the head. Because nobody cares about you. When you get a job, your boss is not going to give a crap about you.

Oh, and by the way, you’re going to be about 30 times smarter than your boss and much more educated. They’re going to make the dumbest decisions, and you’re going to scream and yell and say, “You know what? I can do a better job!” But nobody cares. Nobody cares! The only thing that’s important is that that comfy chair in the corner office is filled. Oh, and by the way, there’s a line of people waiting to be next, waiting to be next.

I hope you don’t end up like me, where you get into a company after company after company. You work hard and you set high expectations for yourself, and you run into the glass ceiling every time. Every time. Every time.

You know where I’m heading now? I’ve got this suit and this tie. I’m looking real nice and fancy. Well, I’m heading to a Sam’s Club to sell therapeutic back massagers. Yup, I’m that guy that’s gonna pull you aside and try to get you to buy something that you don’t want. Do you think I like that? Do you think I go to bed every night looking forward to another day of making hardly any sales?

You know what sucks most about life? We all have one chance. It’s crazy when you think about that. It’s like, you’ve got one chance to pick one career out of the millions that are out there. You have one chance to pick a place where you love to live. Pick a passion. One chance to set up a life for yourself that you love to live.

I wish… I don’t know. I wish I could do it over again. And maybe…. maybe you can. Don’t, don’t find yourself in this position where you’re sitting in a Sam’s Club waiting to go inside to be rejected time and time again because nobody wants to buy the product that you’re selling. Don’t. Don’t do that.

I guarantee you that you’re going to look back one day and you’re doing to wish beyond anything else that you can redo it. Consider this your redo.

Let’s just say you’ve already lived my life. Let’s just say you’ve already been on the streets. Let’s just say you’ve already struggled. You’ve already lived an unhappy life. Pretend that you’re already living your second chance!

Pretend that you are your future. That you don’t like what you do, that your job makes you miserable, that the glass ceiling has beat you black and blue! Pretend that you’ve been through it all. Pretend that you’ve been through the thick and the worst of it. And decide today at the start of summer vacation, that you are going to fix it!

You’re going to make a good life for yourself. You’re going to set up a life that you love! No matter how much hard work it takes. Start today. You’re going to have the rest of your life to do anything you want. But you’re not going to if you’re stuck at a 9-5 where you’re working for five different managers who don’t give a rip about you.

Guys, figure out what you want to do. And figure it out now. Now is your time to invest in what you love. Forget the sports cars, forget the money, forget the girls, for now. Take all the money you have and put it in what you love. What do you love to do? Get good at what you love! Don’t put yourself in a position where you’re working for five different bosses. Because you’re not going to get their seat. You’re not going to get their offices. It’s not going to happen.

No matter how good your intentions, no matter how honorable your ideas are, you’re always going to be told no. Well, this is the biggest yes you’re going to get in your life. Go for it. Go for whatever it is you want to do. Make it your life. Make it your passion, and do it. It’s going to take a lot of work, but I really think it’ll be worth it.

Now you probably need a laugh:

These Great Affects

okayokay

Do you like The Fault in Our Stars by John Green? I do. If you didn’t like it or don’t care to read it, this post isn’t for you.

Chances are, when you finished that book, you closed it and cried for an hour. Or your thoughts were, I … can’t … breathe … You may have tweeted something like, “If you text me I can’t talk. I’m too busy de-reddening my eyes.”

Want to know what I thought?

I thought: I’m going to do one better. 

So I began drafting a story idea for a teen book that I hope will be the next Fault in Our Stars.

I’ve got a ways to go, but I think you’re going to eat it up.

I want some help from my readers! I want to know if I’m going down the right road. I’m not ready to reveal all of it except that it’s about a girl who falls in love with a boy. But he’s dead, so…

Open up those floodgates and season John Green’s heart – he’s about to eat it.

Don’t get me wrong! I loved The Fault in Our Stars; John Green totally rocked it. But that’s what’s great about books – great stories begets great stories.

So! If you’re interested in following the progress of my teen book, These Great Affects, start by joining my author Facebook page and I’ll be posting hashtags (#TheseGreatAffects) and you can like or respond or help spread the word about this thing.

And let’s face it. I like the attention; it puts me at my writing best, thus you end up with the best book I can possibly write for my readers.

Okay?

How I’m Saving My Family

IMG_0228

When I tell people I’m on a diet, they’re usually like, “Huh? Really? You?”

I may not look like Buddha, and my Wii Fit may tell me I’m not obese, but there’s more to it than that.

For a long time, I’ve been an absolute butt head to my family. I’m working on a couple different books at once, I’m trying to survive in a competitive environment at work with looming changes ahead, trying to keep my two toddlers happy and marginally quiet… so I’ve been overly stressed. And stress breeds anger, and anger breeds an uptight and irritable father and husband.

Stressed Man With Baby Working From Home Using Laptop

I questioned why I had no energy to play with my kids. It couldn’t be work, because I sit at a desk all day. My writing career is about to take a turn for the better, but I looked at my lunch options, and realized I am a compulsive overeater.

On my lunch breaks I would go to get not one burger but two. Spicy chicken wings were a favorite. Shakes were a daily drink. I gained 20 pounds over the summer.

And my family was suffering because I was too stressed and tired to do anything. It was the careless calorie indulging and the major lack of exercise.

shutterstock_138061871

Went on vacation recently and discovered, low and behold, my family is really a great group of people. My kids are well-meaning, and my wife is hilarious and a total hero for putting up with me and my moodiness.

Since I started my diet, I’m losing a tad over a pound a day. I’m determined.

I’ve cut my lunches down to half a sandwich and water. I’m running on my days off. And guess what! Everything I’ve heard is true, gosh darnit! I have more energy to play with the kids, to stay up later and talk to my wife, and I’m even gaining a splash more momentum on my book projects.

So that’s why I’m dieting. It’s to save my family. There are enough angry and stressed fathers out there, and I refuse to be one of them.

Follow my videos and dieting tips at #AndrewsAwesomeAutumn

The Smaller Perspective: One Way to Parent Effectively

My wife surpasses me in bounds and leaps when it comes to parenting our kids. Not just because she’s home with them seven days a week all day and night, but she seems to really “get it” where it counts.

For my part, I’m naturally self-centered. Strip me down to my bare essentials and you’re left with a Scrooge anger-inside-outMcDuck/Grinch/Anger hybrid.

I hoard my belongings, I covet solitude, and my temper can flare at any given moment. If my kids could talk, they would tell you this is true.

But where I fail my wife excels. She doesn’t have one self-serving bone in her body. And as I observe her parenting style, I’ve noticed she does it in such a way that is unique and fresh and makes everyone around her happy.

She may not do it intentionally, but she parents with a keen sense that our kids are watching her. It’s as though she sees our kids as mini camcorders, so whenever they’re around, she’s all smiles, no matter how she’s really feeling or what she’s going through.

Whereas with me, if I’m in a bad mood, I have a tendency to make sure everyone around me knows it, including my kids.

I need to be more like my wife in this regard. Though our kids are too young to form memories, they are currently compiling opinions of us and the world in mini snapshots, like a camera on autopilot. Like in Wall-e when Eve shuts down. Everything Wall-e did in front of her was being recorded and stored in Eve’s internal database.

Perhaps some of us need to stop focusing so much on the “big” perspective of job frustrations, relationship issues, and getting bills paid, and start thinking of a much smaller perspective – a small perspective from our kids’ point of view, which leaves the largest impression in their world.

Join my Facebook Author Page for more stuff!

Thank You, Katherine

walle-otto02

We just watched Wall-e recently and one line stuck out to me. It’s when Captain B. McCre of the Axiom yells, “I don’t want to survive, I want to live!” What a statement.

Personally, I’m naturally more of a survivor than liver. (Or person who lives.)

A good time for me is staying in watching movies or reading a book and getting fat on pizza. Sarabeth is of the same mindset, though she does show more interest in going out and doing things and not overeating.

But thanks to our daughter Katherine, we can’t stay in as much as we used to. She is such a hub of energy and excitement that we would be doing her a disservice by keeping her inside. So we take her out. And that’s a big chore, because we have to constantly find new things to do. You can only go to the same three parks so many times!

Katherine has already taught me so much in the last twenty months. Because of her we go to the aquarium, the zoo, water parks, random drives to Starbucks in the evening, and last week we even visited our state capital and grabbed burgers and milkshakes!

I’m beginning to understand why having kids is a blessing. Hard work, sure, but my daughter Katherine is helping me learn to actually live and not just survive. And for that, I am forever grateful.

Join my Facebook Author Page. I personally recommend it!

The Value of Building Memories

IMG_0807

I don’t know about you, but when the daily routine gets to be too routine, I grow quite tired of it. In order for me not to grow cantankerous, I need to do things a little out of the ordinary. Fun things. Like take my family to the fair.

We went to the Kentucky State Fair last week. There, I watched my daughter’s eyes light up when she saw the goats and pigs and cows. She loved petting the lambs and just running around the farm animals in general.

Even our son, strapped in his stroller, was interested in his surroundings and took an interest in the dog shows and the flying motorcycles.

The food was way overpriced and tasted like crap, but it broke up the daily grind. It afforded the family quality time together outside of the house.

Something I’m learning is to always go out and do things with the family as much as you can. That way, when we look back on it all, we’ll know we really experienced life together with every opportunity offered.

Join my Facebook Author Page for more fun!