Letter to My 14 Year Old Self

                               

Hey,      What’s up? It’s me! Hang in there. I know you’re scared and going through a lot. It gets better very soon. Trust me. I know what’s happening, and I’m here to help you get on the other side of it. Being 14 is not easy, especially with no guidance, discipline or person you can rely on, except Boppo. We only see him occasionally, but that changes very soon. I don’t want to spoil it for you, but if you can just hold on a little bit longer. 

      First things first. Stop being so angry all the time. Quit blaming others for your lot in life. Forget about stuff you can’t control. Use your influence to bring about change. You’re becoming a man. It’s time to get your act together. Only you can make you happy. Not stuff or other people. Just you. But, be honest with those who love you. It’s ok to be scared or angry or sad. They are just emotions that will pass. Don’t keep it inside. Talk to people you trust. Another thing, don’t pay any attention to what your peers say about you or how they treat you. If you’re doing what you love, doing it the right way, and are happy, then fuck ’em! Don’t be someone your not just to impress people that don’t give a shit, and won’t be around for long, anyway. Treat others as you wish to be treated. Keep those that treat you right, close, and trust in yourself and your intuition. 

      Next, as far as school goes, get after it! You’re a very bright kid. Enjoy the process of learning. Don’t worry so much about your grades. Do it how you’re supposed to do it. Don’t cut corners. Quit procrastinating. Be active and engaging throughout the entire process. Join clubs. Volunteer your time. Learn to play an instrument. We always liked the saxophone. Don’t fear trying something that scares you. You’re a great athlete! Push yourself to the limit. Strive everyday to get better at everything you enjoy doing. Make the next four years a time you’ll look back, and be able to say we gave it our all. Make lots of friends. Show them you care about them. Don’t make it all about you. Do not sell yourself short, though. It’s okay to let go of toxic people. Set yourself up for a happy life, and start today. Most of all, do not be in a hurry to get through it. Because on the day you graduate high school life gets much harder. 

     The most important piece of advice I can give is to work hard to keep your mind, body and soul in a healthy & happy state. There is so much we can’t control. The weather, traffic, other people, our governments decisions, or how our sports teams do. The list is long. You can control how you react to it. Learn techniques to help you overcome those bad emotions we get when something doesn’t go our way, or we lose, or we fail. When you fall down, get up, dust yourself off, smile, and tell yourself, “that didn’t go as expected, but I’m going to be fine.” Lower your expectations on how you think something is going to turn out. Plan the plan. Try to do your part to influence the result. But, don’t get so frustrated or affected if it didn’t go your way. It’s, also, so important to do the things necessary to stay fit and healthy. Get in a routine, and stay on it. Know your addictions, what triggers you to go into your shadow. Find ways to keep you from using up useless time and energy just to make you feel better. It’s true, a mind is a terrible thing to waste. Form habits that create a daily ritual of life fulfillment. 

     You’re a great kid! Be confident. Be courageous and adventurous. Make mistakes. Don’t get down on yourself. I know all you want is to be loved. To be happy. There will be plenty of people who love you. Let them. But, only you can make you happy. Don’t depend on others for your happiness. Quit trying to move from point A to point B, because you believe point B will make you happier. Expand your A by being present in the moment, and doing the things required to grow every day. Be happy where you are, but continue to move forward on your path. Modify your routine if you get stuck. It’s not the end result that matters. It’s the actual journey, the people and the experiences along the way that mean the most.  

     In closing, we’re only here for a short time. It’s up to us to forge ahead, and create a life worth living. Because, really, we are only here creating memories. It’s up to you to make those memories happy ones filled with joy, love, comfort, good food, great experiences and wonderful people. We will have struggles and sadness. Learn to deal with those setbacks, and come back stronger. We don’t want to be on our deathbed filled with regret about how it could’ve been so much better.   

Love always, ❤️(that’s called a heart emoji)😂😜✌🏼🙏🏼

Me

What I Like, and Don’t Like, About Myself or My Situation 

6 Things I Don’t Like About Myself
 My Addictions-my struggle to stay out of my shadow. I have the tools now to deal with it, but I just have to open the toolbox. We all have secrets. Things we don’t want others to know about us. It’s part of being human. We need to embrace, and recognize those things we’re ashamed of in order to grow. Then, we can work on separating from whatever emotion brought us into our shadow. What triggered us to go in that direction? We need to know that we are not our emotions. By recognizing and embracing the emotion, we can then let it flow through us until it passes. Then we can evaluate it to better understand how it affected us, and why it led us to that place. It’s a real hard process, and takes time. But, it’s so worth learning why we do what we do, and act the way we act. I’m still learning, and I still struggle. But, I don’t stay in that place for very long. I use some those valuable tools that I learned from some wise men to help me free myself from my shadow.  It’s been life changing, and I want to help as many people I can discover the keys to successfully breaking free. 

My Motivation-I talk a real good game, but I struggle to follow through sometimes. I need to be a man of my word in order to make things happen for myself and my family. I have integrity, but my follow through is lacking. I have some great ideas, and my expectations sometimes get the best of me. In the past, I would envision something turning out or going down a certain way. If it didn’t I would get disappointed, angry or depressed. I would plan for something to turn out a certain way, and expect it to be awesome. Most of the time it wouldn’t even be close, and I’d be devastated inside. It would send me into a spiral towards my shadow, and result in guilt and shame. But, now I try to let go of expectations. I can’t control the uncontrollable. Bad weather is going to happen. Traffic is going to suck. People will let you down. Others have expectations, too, and sometimes are in conflict with yours. Let the stuff you can’t control go! My dad always tells me to plan the plan not the outcome. By having expectations you set yourself up for disappointment. Free yourself from what you can’t control. 

 I’m Too Emotional Sometimes-Just gotta let it go, stay grounded, and not get caught up in it. Keep it in check. It’ll pass. Don’t get too high or too low. My voice tends to rise or fall with whatever emotion I’m experiencing. Need to monitor the volume, as well.  I’m a passionate guy. In the past I would get so worked up about certain things, especially my kids activities and traffic. It would affect me because I would try to control it, which I could not do. Then I would explode in anger. There would be a lot of collateral damage. It affected many relationships and my reputation. It hurt my wife and my kids. It made it hard for people to like me, much less love me or want to be around me. I recognized it, but I couldn’t reign it in. I would even show up to games telling myself to just enjoy it, but something would happen to trigger it. I would act like I didn’t care, but I knew it was not a good look for me. I’m a really good guy, but that part of me was insufferable. I knew it. I just couldn’t control it. Now, I’m getting better. I’m more able to recognize when I’m heading that direction. I, actually, meditate before every game and work on breathing and removing emotion from the event. I’ve turned the corner, but I still know it’s always just under the surface. 

 Financial Situation is very poor. Need to work harder, and have a little luck.  I know I create my own luck, but a little kiss wouldn’t hurt right now. I’ve made so many mistakes, and blown money on stupid, frivolous things that I thought would bring me happiness. My addictions were sometimes costly. We are in debt. The collectors call constantly. I want to pay them, and try my best to do so. But, if I don’t I have the money…  Last year I worked 31 days of overtime, approximately 700 hours, just to keep from drowning. It wasn’t easy, but very necessary. Now, I just need something to go my way, soon! I’m working hard, just need to work harder. 

 I’m not the best Husband. I need to be a better example to my sons. We’re both strong willed, committed people that love so much. We need to turn that love inwards. We start loving our selves more, and working on our issues it will spill all over the place. Love will be everywhere we are, and it will be beautiful! We’ve done some great things together, and I’ve done some shitty things to almost ruin what we have.  However, I see myself finding a way to make this a special and spectacular life for both of us. 

 Wish I had a more close knit family. I know I contributed to some of it, but families should stick together no matter what. We should always be here for one another. Lifting one another up is much easier than putting each other down. 

6 Things I Like About Myself

 My Personality- I’m a good person that cares about others, and I like to be happy & have fun! I’m not phony. I enjoy meeting and connecting with people. I’m not really into small talk. If we have a connection you may find out a lot about me in a short amount of time. What can I say, I love to show and tell. 
 Team Player-I want “Us” to succeed. I’m the guy you want on your side. You show me love, I show you loyalty. More than anything I want to be happy, and I want others around me to be happy, too. Society today is so full of a “me first” mentality. So many of us like to see people fail or get caught doing something wrong so we can feel better about ourselves.  There is something so wrong with that mentality. I try not to judge, because I don’t like being judged. If we all started to lift others up instead of putting them down, the world would be a better place. 

 I’m Real-I wear my emotions on my sleeve. I’m honest, trustworthy and try to be a good person/friend/husband/dad. But, I am who I am. I work hard to make myself better, and I have changed. But, I’m human, and I struggle at times. My dad calls it Situational Depression. I embrace those moments, and strive to find clarity & meaning from them. I try to tell my boys to always be the “Realest” in the room. It may not get you a lot of friends, but I do know a ton of people.😂Some don’t like me, but enough love me. That’s all that matters. 

 I’m a great Dad/Father. I’ve always been here for them, and have tried to give them everything. Believe me, I fuck up, a lot! But, the most important thing is they know that I love them so much. Hopefully, they are getting my good traits, and not the stuff from the first list. 

 5. Im a very proud person, and don’t mind showing my pride. I love my life! Some people may see it as bragging, or trying to show how good I think I have it. Couldn’t be further from the truth. I do tend to talk a lot, though. If I’m excited about something, and you could care less, that’s okay. Life has its moments, but overall I’m happy with where I am & what I’ve accomplished. Could be better, and I’ll work harder at making it so. But, it could also be so much worse. I’m healthy, employed, covered, and I can see, hear, touch, smell, taste, and experience everything life offers. I enjoy sharing things about myself & my life experiences in an emotional, prideful way. I know some see it as trying to one up, but I call it relating and connecting. 

 6. I love kids, animals, nature, space, family, friends, sunsets, sunrises, storms, mountains, beaches, rivers, peace, serenity, being loved, watching my kids grow, food, fitness, fruit, vegetables, good people, great stories, my wife, my life! Basically I’m a Lover, and I love to love! I love being loved. While I do have my issues & shortcomings, I recognize them and work hard to deal with them. I’m okay, and I look forward to whatever my future may hold. I’m ready to take it on one day at a time. All we have is today. I’ll strive to live in this moment, not dwelling on my past or worrying about my future. It’s all we have!

Other Things I’m grateful for:

I’m alive, breathing with a healthy body and heart. 

Kris Jackson and Carson are here with me and doing great. 

I have a great job that almost pays for our life😂. 

I have some good people in my life to lean on when I struggle. 

Roof over my head. 

Food in the pantry, fridge and freezer. 

A warm bed to crawl into at night.  

Vehicles to get us around. 

Internet to learn, connect, and enjoy. 

Being able to experience it all in living color!

 â—¦ 



This is Me, This is My First Blog

My story is 51 years long with even more chapters.  Where should I begin?  My past is filled with mostly wonderful, yet sometimes painful, stories. My future is bright with, hopefully, many chapters to still be written.  But, it’s a fearful future with so much in doubt.  I’ve always been an optimistic person.  I’m the guy that’s all about living in the moment!  It’s really all we have.    So, I’ll start with where I am today.  My name is Jeff Bodinson.  I’m 51 years old, and have lived in Kansas City, Missouri my entire life.  As I sit here at my kitchen table, looking out on the first sunny morning in more than two weeks, my heart is full.  I’ve had a good life.  It hasn’t been a walk in the park, but the struggles have led me to where I am right now.  

My wife, Krista, and I live near the town of Liberty with our teenage sons.  Jackson is 16, and Carson is 14.  They will both be at Liberty North High School next Fall.  We have a beautiful home in a Middle Class neighborhood called Benson Place with some good neighbors.  We have some incredible friends that are more like family.  Our lives revolve around our boys, and their activities.  We are regularly on the go, and usually have to divide and conquer in order for one of us to be there for each of them.  In order to make this all happen we work hard. 

Kris has been with the State of Missouri/Division of Youth Services for 25 years.  She is a Service Coordinator, and works diligently to help the troubled teens in our community.  She is awesome at what she does, but she doesn’t get the kudos or the pay she deserves.  October 27, 2017 will mark my 20th year with the Kansas City, Mo Fire Department.  It’s been a nice career.  I’ve had many memorable moments, and some devastating ones, as well.  Sadly, firefighters don’t receive the salary they deserve, either.  We work second and third jobs to make it all work.  I’ve had many side hustles in my 20 years.  Recently, I obtained my Real Estate license here in Missouri, and will be testing soon for my Kansas license.  I’m hopeful that it leads to success, and will be my last side job.  In the meantime, I am a Chauffeur for a local transportation company, and do a little Uber, too.

If I can keep this Blog going, and that is my goal, I will be writing about my life.  I will share my many joys, the highs.  I’ll divulge my darkest moments, the lows.  My expectation is to try to do it once a week, maybe more.  You’ll read true stories of my past experiences, and how they affected me and those around me.  Some may be shocking, many will be funny, but all will be real.  Don’t worry!  Names may be changed to protect us all.  My intent is to provide some insight into my thoughts, and maybe create a connection with many of you out there struggling.  You’ll know that you’re not alone.  It would be a cool thing to know that I helped somebody.  It’s what I strive to do every day, and has turned into my life’s purpose. 

I believe we, as human beings, have much more in common than we know.  We all have hearts that have been broken, but long to be filled with love.  We all have brains that are so intricate and can do amazing things.  But, we don’t use them like they were intended to be used.  We thrive to be educated & stimulated, to live a life of purpose, to be surrounded by the ones we love, and to be comfortable as we grow old.  We all have so many emotions that we feel about all things.  We have so much in common!  We all have fears and worries, but still live with hope.  We have faith that it will all work out, but it is regularly challenged.  We love deeply, live to have it reciprocated, and suffer when it is not. However, we tend to focus on what is wrong with another person instead of what is right.  The problem lies in our differences, and how those differences affect relationships.  It’s time we change the direction this world is heading.  We need to lift up, reach out, and lend a hand to our fellow man.  It would be epic to see more empathy in our society, instead of so much discord and hate.  This is something that is achievable.  By starting this blog I’m trying to do my part.