Here’s something I rarely talk about. My dad died in a car accident when I was 10 years old.

This singular event did more to frame me as a person, I think, than anything else ever could, with obvious good reason. But I don’t usually think about my childhood with logical reason most of the time. Instead, I find myself reacting in primal spurts and sputters, or worse yet, closing up. Old habit.

Several mind-blowing things have been going on lately. First, I left my job and started a new one last week (actually, I went through a good week of inspirational training, but I’m not splitting hairs). I work in the city now and in a way I feel more like a Schindler than I ever have. Yesterday, I was the best man at my brother’s wedding. Today, Liz celebrated her first Mother’s Day. And Cole turns one in another week.

There’s a good amount of static going back and forth in my mind lately. And when the landscape changes this quickly it’s important to take stock and prioritize.

Here’s the crux of it. I have never felt more like a person, more humbled and blessed by my creator, than I do when I’m with my son and I feel like a father. That’s the biggy that I can keep going back to when things get weird. And it’s the same thing that makes setting my own priorities so much easier. Instead of endlessly asking myself if I’m making the right life decisions, I can simply turn down the opacity on my entire self-existence, and focus on what really matters.

That’s something I’ve never been able to do before and it’s been more freeing than I thought it would be. Life comes with its share of disappointment, its surprises, and its irreversible decision points for sure. But when we find the things that matter in the grand scheme of things aren’t really ourselves at all, we find a hidden gift—the ability to cope with the rest.