It’s time for reflection.

Always around the 1st of July, I don’t know why, maybe because it’s the halfway point of the year, but I like to spend time in reflection.

For most of my life, July 1st was spent doing just that.

Though, when I was a kid it was a bit tougher to reflect.

You see, I spent most of 1st of July’s in summer camp.

My parents would take me out to dinner around the 26th or 27th or June and wish me a great summer.

And then I was off.

I remember the first few days of summer camp were always the hardest.  Even if you were a veteran of camp, it was still hard to leave your parents.

There was that feeling of loss, even though you had a feeling of freedom at the same time.  It was great to see your friends, but you still felt kind of strange because you were young.

Not only that, July 1st was always the mid-point of the year.  And that mid-point of the year always made me feel funky without my parents, because July 1st is actually my birthday.

I’m no longer at summer camp, though, for those of you who really know me personally, I truly believe life is camp.

So really, on this July 1st, I want to reflect a little bit on what my last year was like.

I’ve had a lot of growth—a lot of self-growth in the past year.

I learned about what I want.

I learned about myself.

You know, I don’t just give out advice; I actually work a lot on myself all the time.  I spend a lot of time reflecting, thinking, and trying to understand my motives; trying to figure out exactly how I want to formulate parts of my life; trying to work on things that will improve myself.

It was a tough year, had a lot of ups, and had a lot of downs, but as the new year approaches in my life, I realize that I have a lot to be grateful for.

I’ve got a beautiful daughter.  She’s alive, her life is all in front of her, and she’s got a beautiful spirit.

All I want for my daughter is to experience what she loves.  I don’t care what she becomes, I’m not living my life through my child, nor am I trying to make up for a lost childhood through her.

I just want my daughter to enjoy everything.

To assist that, I have three questions that I ask Layla all the time:

First, I look at her, and I ask, “Who’s the prettiest girl in the world?”

She raises her hand and says, “meeeeee”.

Then I ask, “Who’s the smartest girl in the world?”

She’ll raise her hand and say, “meeeeeeee” just a bit louder.

And then I’ll look at her and say, “Who can do whatever she want with her life?”

And she’ll raise her hand and say, “meeeeeeeeme.”

That’s all that matters.

She is the most beautiful girl in the world. She is the smartest girl in the world. And no matter she does, it’s all good—I’m going to support it and love it. I’ll never try to put my lost childhood or my wishes upon her.

Though I’m no longer with the mom of our daughter, I do respect and honor the amazing mom that she is for our daughter, and I love her for who she is as a person.

Even though I’m not with her anymore—as a man and woman—I still respect her as a human being and as a person. And I still wish her all the best in everything—especially because I share a beautiful daughter with her.

Maybe we were not able to get the relationship right, or we were not right for one another or could not figure one and other out, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t have love in my heart for the mother of my daughter.

. . .

It’s amazing being able to speak freely wherever you are and say what’s on your mind.

You guys remember Extreme Honesty Month? Well, that’s how I live every single day now.

When you speak honestly, it keeps you from going down paths that you weren’t meant to go down.

We all go down roads to learn a lesson, but eventually, there’s a point in your life where you’ve learned enough of that same lesson over and over again and you don’t need to learn it again.

Now, I’m straight as straight can be.

(That sounds like a funny term ‘I’m straight as straight can be’. Let me explain what I mean by that.)

I’m just going to lay it on the line every single day: honesty, truth, love, openness.

I was probably 99.9% last year and that 0.1% has held me back in a few different things.

So this next year, I’m going to regain that 0.1% and go all out.

It’s an amazing year, and now I’ve got another amazing year ahead of me.