The Tao Of Mark Gaston
JANUARY 11, 1951 - JUNE 22, 2015
The fact of the matter is that we're all going to die.
And you know what? It's going to hurt for the people who love us. None of us know when or how, so all we can do is just to try to be the best we can every day.
I've been holding it together pretty well most of this week. I imagine it's because when I think of dad, I just smile. But how great is that? I mean, this is Mark we're talking about, that's just as he'd want it. No tears, just laughs.
What a blessed existence to have lived a life that incites joy in others.
He was always spewing knowledge and opinions - and rather emphatically from time to time. I did some thinking about what big picture lessons I can take away from years of active listening and intellectual banter. Uncle Kevin mentioned these lessons to be the "Tao of Mark Gaston." That is, is the intuitive knowing of "life" that of which cannot be grasped full-heartedly as just a concept, but known nonetheless as the present living experience of one's everyday being.
So if you want to live as amazingly full a life as Mark -- Here are some key things to keep in mind:
- Tell the truth. Even if it's not what someone wants to hear.
- Be someone who makes the people around you smile!
- Laugh. Hard. Be as witty as you can, some people will get the joke, and others won't. Respect those who can keep up.
- Learn the rules, and play by them.
- Do what you can with what you have and use your skills to help out the people you care about. Give the shirt off your back, or the keys to your car.
- Do what you feel like doing. You don't have to do anything you don't want to do. Except work. Because everyone's got to work.
- If you're going to do a job, do it really really really well.
- There is the right way to do something. And then there's the wrong way to do something. Measure twice, cut once.
- Learn. Do your research, google it, compare your options. These things are not difficult. They just take a few minutes and it's time well spent.
- Don't half-ass it. Strive to be good at everything you do. You don't have to be the best at it, but try. You might surprise yourself.
- You can figure it out. Be inquisitive. Every problem has a solution + it's usually (ok, always) logical.
- Know your strengths. Build on them. And feel free to tell people about them.
- Explore. Get to know 50 ways to everywhere. Geography is not hard, the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. Every day. Pay attention.
- If you have the time, drive there. It's fun to see things from the road, and get off the interstates because they're boring.
- Give people nicknames. It makes them feel special.
- Your servers, bartenders, and even customer service reps have names. Use them.
- Look at the stars. Be in awe of the utter vastness of the universe and our tiny place in it.
- Turn down the promotion if it will keep your quality of life intact. Go to your girls' basketball games.
- Spoil your wife.
- Be prepared for anything. Roll with the punches. Keep a Chapstick in your pocket.
- Give all your possessions a home. Put things back where you found them. Knowing where things belong makes things go quicker.
- Make time for friends. Always.
- Get outside. Soak it in.
- Go fast, full throttle, let 'er rip. And "Yeeehaaaaa!" when the feeling strikes.
- LOVE with everything you've got.
We are all so lucky to have had as much time with Dad as we did. We have stories for years, memories that will never fade, and all learned so much from him.
Dad had a lot of successes in his life. None of them came without putting in the work. But to me, the mark of his true success is looking out at all of you here. We are so so blessed that you loved him as much as we did. He'd be blown away. But then again, of course you're all here -- this is Mark we're talking about!"
DON'T WANT NO SORROW
FOR THIS OLD BOY
I DON'T WANT NO CRYING
ONLY TEARS OF JOY
ALL MY KIN WHO LOVE ME
ALL MY FRIENDS WHO CARE
LOOK BEYOND THE DARK CLOUDS
WE'RE GONNA MEET UP THERE
AND I'LL BE BOUND FOR GLORY
IN THE MORNING
WHEN I GO AWAY
AND THEN THE SUN'S GONNA SHINE
THROUGH THE SHADOWS
WHEN I GO AWAY