Monday, May 30, 2011

"The first time I see a jogger smiling, I'll consider it"

I have a coworker that always talks about going on a "fun run". I told him I had no idea what he was talking about. I said running was like resetting your dislocated shoulder, or cleaning the toilets at a homeless shelter. Both are things that have to be done, but I wouldn't use the word fun to describe them. He laughed and shrugged it off, saying once you got your breathing right, it really was a lot of fun. Running does indeed make me want to breathe, but again, sucking in air like an asthmatic Hoover does not sound like fun.

Now don't get me wrong, I understand the need for physical fitness. I do my own fair share of puffing and wheezing, I just don't have to like it. Which brings me to my point. There are things out there that need to be done whether we like it or not. As they say, everything in life is not a bed of roses, or maybe it is if you count all the thorns. Find that task you've been putting off and push through it, you'll be glad you did when you're done.

I am working on the fourth draft of my novel and I can assure you it is no longer a whole lot of fun, but I will push through. Even if it stinks, I will have finished it in the best way I could, and that's all any of us can really ever hope for. Of course I would love to be the next gazillion dollar author, but either way I'll be happy that I accomplished what I set out to do. So the next time you see your buddy jogging along that path, all red faced, sucking in bugs and leaves, tell him to smile. It's a fun run. You'll be happy when you finish!

What have you pushed through recently. Would love to hear what you did and how you prevailed. Have a great week and keep on runnin!

Monday, May 23, 2011

“Wonder what life might be like if you could change one thing? DON’T”

I have often wondered what life would have been like if I could go back in time and change things.  What if I could have avoided this or stopped that tragedy from happening?  Wouldn’t it be nice if that someone was still around or if I had never lost that widget?  Wouldn’t life be grand?

All of that sounds great, but it donned on me the other day just how different life would really be. What we live through makes us who we are.  Sure we would all like to avoid that fire breathing demon we dated back in high school, but if we hadn’t been burned, we would never learn to avoid it the next time.  If we had never lost that friend or relative, we couldn’t grow from the experience.  I lost my father several years back, and frankly, I would still give anything to have him here today, but losing him shaped my life.  It played a big part in who I am, and without that horrible experience, better or for worse, my life would be much different today.

So don’t wish to hard for what might have been. Concentrate on what could be tomorrow.  Try to see life’s pot holes as an opportunity to strengthen your foundation. Look forward to life’s experiences and learn from them; and for those of us that married our fire breathing demons… well… God help us. Just kidding honey! Love ya!

Monday, May 16, 2011

"I couldn't repair your brakes, so I made your horn louder"

Every day problems arise in our lives and we are forced to deal with one way or another, but it’s how we deal with them that sets us apart from our neighbors. When I was a kid, my parents often packed us up and we would all go over to a family friend’s house for an evening of dinner and games. We would play with their kids and our parents would laugh and have a few cocktails. Fun would be had by all. One visit in particular stood out to me though, and the events that transpired were so profound, I have remembered them vividly to this day.

It was late, we were all tired, and it had come to that time of the evening when the kids argued about going home and the parents told them to put their toys away “or else!” We were in one of the bedrooms we had destroyed and I was watching Kenny, a boy slightly younger than I was, as he tried to shove his big sister’s doll into a dresser drawer. He pushed and turned, twisted and pulled but no matter what he did the doll just wouldn’t fit. Now at this point you or I may have given up and found another place to hide the doll, perhaps under the bed or in the closet, but not Kenny. Nope Kenny was one, even at that age, that was a fan of “thinking outside the box.”

After a short examination of the problem, Kenny pulled the legs off the doll then shoved it neatly into the drawer, tucking the broken stubs in behind it. I can still visualize the beating that followed when his sister realized her favorite toy had been destroyed, but when I was watching Kenny work his magic, one word passed through my mind, “genius”.

Creative solutions to complex problem can make a seemingly impossible task possible. Kenny found a way to get that square peg through the round hole. Sure he had been bludgeoned with a Tonka dump truck for the effort, but real genius is rarely understood anyway. We should all take a page out of Kenny’s book once in a while and see if we can’t pull the legs off of that proverbial doll. We should look for ways to solve our problems instead of throwing our hands up in defeat and maybe, just maybe, true genius will hit us like a Tonka dump truck. Do you have any stories of unsung heroism? Times when someone wowed you with simplicity or creativity? Let me hear it! Oh and by the way Kenny did regain sight in that left eye and his limp is barely noticeable… kidding!

Monday, May 9, 2011

"Those who live by the sword get shot by those who don't."

The world is ever changing and if we don’t strive to keep up, it will swallow us whole. We have all laughed about the flashing time on the stove or the VCR, for those of us old enough to remember them, but refusing to learn and evolve with today’s technology can have us spinning our wheels in a virtual sea of cassette tapes and typewriters.

Blogging, social networking, computers, ipads, you name it; they are all a signs of the times. If we don’t embrace them they will they will simply turn their noses up and march on, leaving us to play with our 8 track tapes and beta max recorders. OK, that might be a bit extreme, but technology is here to stay and few things can evolve as fast as the techie world of electronics.

Tapes turned to CDs, CDs turned to MP3s. Videos went to DVDs, then Blue ray, and now there is streaming video, 3D home movies and more. And yes, for the record, I believe books will be read largely on digital devices in the near future as well.

My point is not to debate where things are going or how they’re going to get there. My point is simply to say that the world is going to keep moving whether we like it or not, so we better get on that wagon before it pulls out of the station. I have met people penning novels on typewriters or with a pencil and paper. This in itself isn’t bad if you prefer that particular media but several do it because they don’t know how to use a word processing program or a spreadsheet! My 82 year old Aunt learned to use the internet and e-mail her family complete with digital photo attachments. If she can do that, anyone can learn to take advantage of social media networks, digital publishing Ipads, and the like.

If none of that has you eager to crack open that e-instruction manual then think about this. Teenagers will keep up with this fast paced world even if we don’t. Catching obligatory hand scrawled note in their dresser is a thing of the past. There are text messages, e-mails and any other of the endless ways they can and will communicate. If you don’t have the ability to educate and protect them from the digital world then who will? Besides, I for one can’t wait to post those darling baby pictures on Face Book just before she goes to her prom.

Technology is a tool to be used, but if that tool never makes it out of the box, it becomes an anchor, dragging us to the bottom of a vast technological ocean. What have you been shying away from? Do you lack the ability to program your DVR, are you afraid to step up to that smart phone. Get out there. Learn new things, play with all the new toys. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go program my VCR.

Monday, May 2, 2011

“You Can’t Take It With You, But You Can Send It On Ahead”

So what does your investment portfolio look like. Do you have your money in IRAs or mutual funds? Is your capital diversified like it should be? We all worry about the future and what’s going to happen to us when we get old. Can I retire comfortably? Can I retire at all? All of these questions are important but I wonder if that’s the only question we should be asking ourselves.

Two things are for sure, we are all going to die someday and no one knows when it’s going to happen. What if we spend our lives slaving away at our 60 hour a week careers only to find the gold at the end of the rainbow has turned to lead. We spend hours, days and weeks away from our families so we can retire but what if we never get there, what have we lost?

If we spend our lives hunched over staring at the ground looking for every penny we might pass, we miss life. If we hoard every dime and hide every dollar, we die with every last cent tucked safely in our pockets to rot in the ground along with our bodies and souls.

Too Heavy? Maybe, but it’s the truth. No matter how much money we have or accumulate, it will only serve us while our bodies do. When were in the grave money is as worthless as the ground were buried in. True value in life is found in god, in family, in our generosity to others and in their generosity to us. Invest heavily in those things and they will yield long term dividends more valuable than all the cash or gold in the world.

Have you found yourself driving hard to that finish line. Always reaching for that extra something only to find it just isn’t quite enough. I know I have, and I pay for it every time I do. What has blinded you, what have you done to take those blinders off, or maybe, what do you plan to do?