Contributor Life Lessons:
Dave Manoucheri (Author of Our Story Begins)
*Are you happy at the moment?
Yes! Happier than I’ve been in a very long while. I have one kid in college, three at home, I’m dating and I’m going into the recording studio in 2016 – God Willing – to finish a solo album.
*If you could go back and say anything to your 16-year-old self now – what would it be?
Be yourself. You worry so much about why you don’t fit in and don’t do what everyone else does. What you’ll realize much later is those are the very things that those same people actually admire about you!
*What’s the most important thing you’ve learned this year?
There is kindness in others. I asked a simple question – could I bring my son, whose love of stop-frame movies like The Boxtrolls helped him heal after losing his mom – to visit their studios. They not only said yes, they gave us a tour and showed us the entire set of their upcoming movie. They were kind, sweet, creative, and indulgent and they were just one of many examples of people who were nice and helpful just to be nice and helpful!
*What do you most want to achieve in the next 12 months?
I plan on having recorded an entire solo record, most of it written in the wake of my wife’s passing. Some is sad, some melancholy, some upbeat, and some romantic after I found I could move on in my life. I go into the studio in April with some amazing musicians.
*What’s your secret to happiness?
Music. There is rhythm and harmony in the world. I have music in my head, in the room, on the stereo, and I play it. My son and daughter both play guitar as well. It’s a musical household.
*What one ritual or practice keeps you grounded?
Dinner. I cook something for the kids every night. No, I don’t get a break, but I do it. It helps me talk to the kids and know what’s going on in their world.
*What’s your biggest regret?
This year?! Or totally?! I didn’t get to say goodbye to my wife. It was too quick and I wish I’d done that. Kissed her one last time. But I can’t change that, just live by the example it gives and that is to grab your opportunities when they exist.
*What’s the most important lesson you’ve taught your kid(s)?
Honesty. They all know they can talk to me and they all know to tell the truth. I’ve told them I’d never lie and that included telling them I had started dating again. It makes life a lot easier for all of us.
*What bad habit would you most like to change about yourself?
Can I answer that later? I’m procrastinating again.
*Aside from motherhood/fatherhood and marriage what are you most proud of in your life?
The example I’ve given my kids. When I mentioned going into the studio – I’m not a full-time musician. I told my kids that they need to go for their dreams, reach for them, do what they love. They turned around and asked me when I was going to do that . . . when was I going to record that record since I had all the material. I have to say, it made me proud they used my own words against me . . . and it worked! Updates will come, I promise you!
*When were you happiest?
Oh…I’m not there yet. I know, I should answer my wedding or my kids’ births, all that. Realistically? I think I have so much time in front of me I may end up happiest in the near future.
*What ten words best describe you?
Dad, goofy, creative, romantic, funny, loving, baker, chef, launderer, leader.
Dave Manoucheri is a journalist, writer and musician based in Sacramento of California. A father of four: two daughters and twin sons, his blog, Our Story Begins is a chronicle of their lives after the loss of his wife in March of 2011. Follow him on Twitter at @InvProducerMan.