Life Lessons from Papa Jon

Jonathan Janssen – Columnist

Iowa climate, am I right?  Welcome to the land where the weather is made up and the forecasts don’t matter.  Even low 70s are a danger to all grey shirt-wearers when the humidity is high.  I wake up shivering and am sweating through my skivvies by noon.  Put bluntly, Iowa conditions and I are not best friends.

Just a few days ago, a friend told me that the forecast was predicting low 60s for the next couple days.  I pumped my fist and got extremely excited.  Finally, a break in this upper-80s madness!  His revelation got my hate-train rolling as I went on to bash the extremely high temperatures of the past weeks.  I like to think our conversation went a little like this:

Me:  I hate shorts.

Friend:  I like them.

Me:  I hear your opinion, but I respectfully disagree.

Friend:  That’s alright, everyone is entitled to their own opinion.  Isn’t it great how people can say what they want to say without feeling threatened?  What a good idea the founding fathers had when they made freedom of speech, press, religion, assembly, and petition part of our code of conduct for the entire country!  When faced with the alternative of Orwellian societies, I feel great to live in a place where no one can censor what I have to say!  What do you think?

Me:  I don’t really like babies, Chipotle is horribly overrated, bacon is nothing special either, I’m really not a fan of the Beatles, Friends is honestly pretty predictable and boring, I like coffee but I don’t think it’s some sort of miracle drink, I didn’t like Breaking Bad or The Walking Dead, and I really don’t find Jennifer Lawrence that attractive, nor do I think she is a very good actress.

It actually went nothing like that, but if it did, the founding fathers would have had my back.

But I digress. I thought about our frigid winter last year and how I so desperately wanted to feel the heat of the sun without four layers in between it and me.  This got me thinking – maybe I, like all humans, want what I can’t have.  As the proverb says, “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.”  While this adage is normally applied to jealously wanting what one’s fellow man has, its application to my scenario is just as applicable.

And so, like any person seeking wise counsel, I turn to the wisest of all.  “The grass ain’t always greener on the other side, it’s green where you water it,” decrees Big Sean on the song “As Long As You Love Me.” Such wisdom is second to none.

But the quote still stands.  Maybe instead of seeking what we can’t have, we should fully invest ourselves in what we have.  The hot weather is perfect for many outdoor activities, and the cold weather brings many cozy opportunities to share with members of the opposite sex.  Devote yourselves entirely to the present, and you will reap much fruit from the grass you have watered.

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