Hard Truth

The hardest truth I’ve learned in the past two months is this:  life goes on.  I never understood the brutality of that statement until I lost my very best friend, my father, to cancer.  Sure, I’ve heard “life goes on” uttered at least a million times throughout my life.  Someone I know lost a job?  “Life goes on.”  A relationship ended?  “Life goes on.”  Your car broke down and you don’t have the money to repair it?  “Life goes on.”  Life does, in fact, “go on.”  During happy times, sad times, all emotions in between times:  Life goes on.

After losing my dad I wanted life to stop, if even for a minute.  I wanted to find the pause button and just take a second but that isn’t how life works. Minutes keep ticking by whether you’re ready or not.  The world remains unaffected by whatever personal crisis we find ourselves in.

You know the feeling of having the wind knocked out of you?  You can’t breathe for seconds but it feels like hours.  You panic and your chest starts to hurt.  That’s what “life goes on” feels like for me now.  I am completely aware that life has to go on.  I still have to wake up every morning, drag myself out of bed, take care of the dogs, go to work, function throughout the day, contribute to maintaining the household, eat, sleep, and drink.  I get it but that doesn’t mean I like it.  What I like even less is when people remind me that life goes on.  I know, they think they’re being supportive and encouraging by reminding me I can’t dig an underground bunker and live in there by myself.  They think the three magic words, life goes on, flips a magic switch that makes everything magically better.  It doesn’t.

Life goes on.  I’m going on.  But every step I take means I’m leaving a piece of me behind in a time when I didn’t have to try to be happy.

Goodbye, Year

The year is quickly coming to an end.  I find myself wondering where the time has gone.  The past year has given me the highest highs of my life as well as the lowest lows.  I’ve learned more in the past 365 days than I have in the rest of my short time on Earth.  

A list of things I’ve learned:

  1. Happiness begins with me.  My perspective, my attitude, my sense of self dictates my outcome.
  2. People you do expect to be there for you won’t be and people you don’t expect to be will.  It’s okay to lose faith in people.  It’s okay to be disappointed in others.  It’s also okay to recognize when someone’s season in your life has come to pass and to simply move on.  
  3. Life is short.  I have stopped believing that time is infinite – it is not.  Time is the most impatient and insensitive concept we face.
  4. In the midst of any negative emotion experienced, there is goodness to be found.  Life is inherently good.  Sure, bad things happen to the best of people but I whole-heartedly believe that the good always outweighs the bad.  Again, perspective.
  5. People are going to complain about every little thing they possibly can because they are actually unhappy with themselves.  I won’t surround myself with these people anymore.  
  6. Social media is a circus and the “hide from timeline” feature on Facebook is my best technological friend.
  7. If someone is going to speak negatively to me about someone they will speak negatively about me to someone else.  Keep these people at an arms length – they aren’t worth the aggravation.
  8. I have to take more time to be present in the here and now.  I recently began writing in a private journal.  It’s amazing what I have to say when it’s only my mind and a pen doing the talking.
  9. Mend old bridges and fix old relationships that mean something to you.  Phase out the time-killers in your life to make room for what truly matters.
  10. Don’t be afraid to love life.  You will get knocked down, dragged around, and kicked but for the love of all things holy, don’t let fear prevent you from loving the life that you create for yourself.

Here’s to what waits ahead.

 

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The Day I Felt the Earth Stop

Life is a funny thing.  You go on minding your own business and then one day the world as you know it just changes.  Changes.  Things you see everyday suddenly become unfamiliar.  People you knew so well suddenly become strangers.  Things you did with no effort at all suddenly require all the energy you have.  Daily living becomes taxing.  People want to ask you if you’re okay but, of course, you’re not.  They want to tell you they are there for you if you ever need anything and the truth is, you do need something but you don’t know what it is.  You want to talk about it until your throat is raw and your eyes are dry but you fear speaking the truth because once it’s said you can’t take it back.  Words in your head finally become real when you spill them out to the universe.  

The hardest part of the day is always the morning.  You wake up and the first realization you have is that the nightmare followed you.  You would like to have left it somewhere in the place you go when you sleep but no – The Nightmare is standing there staring at you.  The Nightmare latches on to you as soon as you wake up and sits on your shoulder all day and just as soon as you get distracted with something The Nightmare weighs you down again.  Just to remind you it doesn’t like to be forgotten.  Just to remind you this is your life now.  Just to tell you that you were only fooling yourself when you were making other plans.

 

I’m sad today.  Not the slightly down but can still force a smile sad, but the weight of the world on your shoulders, can’t focus on anything, feel like I can just break down and cry kind of sad.

I’m sad for people I will never meet.  I’m sad for strangers who are forever changed because of a shared tragedy.  I’m sad for people who are so broken inside that they feel a need to pulverize human life.  I’m sad for the city that will never be the same.  I’m sad for the athletes who train for months, years even, to participate in a piece of history; only to make history for the wrong reason.  I’m sad for the world that is crumbling.  I’m sad for a country that is no better off than every other nation that is riddled with violence.  Violence toward one another as if we are all the enemy.  I’m sad for a planet that has lost its way and is too delirious to ask for directions.

I’m not the praying type but I find myself asking, begging, for peace for every lost soul.  We are individuals that must band together and spread love.  Spread compassion.  Spread well-being.  Spread an open heart.  The actions of April 15, 2013 in Boston show that we are a puzzle missing half of the pieces.

I hope for a better world.  I’ll hold onto that dream forever.

Sad

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The Grossly Uninformed

Social media.  You love it, you hate it.  What did everyone do before Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Myspace, Google+, LinkedIn, and every other social media platform available on the world wide web?  We talked face-to-face, picked up the phone to make a call, and actually had to buy stamps to send correspondence through the mail.  It was much more difficult to demonstrate social impairment when we didn’t have a keyboard and a captive audience.  It is easier than ever to find out what makes acquaintances tick, but I’m not sure this is a good thing.  I find myself scanning my news feed and shaking my head at least once a day and not in a good way.

Debates over topics in which people are obviously uniformed, pictures that are meant to “inspire” the masses but do the exact opposite, and videos that show people doing things that in 10 years they will realize were idiotic and not nearly as funny as they thought.  Welcome to Social Media.

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Observations

This is going to be short and sweet:

If you want to learn the true character of a person observe their reactions to the following:

  1. Their favorite sports team losing an important game
  2. Discussions of money
  3. Feelings toward materialistic possessions
  4. Politics
  5. How they treat strangers
  6. Relationships with friends and family
  7. Adversity

Be forewarned:  You might not like what you discover about others and maybe even yourself.

Broken Compass

This week has shaken many of us.  Newtown is now a word used in daily conversation in the most unimaginable way.  I haven’t been able to stop thinking about the family, friends, and acquaintances of those involved affected by this tragedy.  What I find equally disturbing throughout this heartbreaking ordeal is how politicized this has become.  The discussion on how something like this happened because “God has been removed from schools” and there is not enough gun control, and the man elected President is the anti-Christ, and so on.  Are people seriously inserting their own personal beliefs and values into something that is devastating on a global scale and that involves children?  If you believe in God or not, good for you.  If you believe that gun control is too liberal or conservative, fine.  If you despise the President, that’s your prerogative.  But for the love of whomever you believe in, KEEP YOUR POLITICAL NONSENSE TO YOURSELF.  

There are lives of beautiful humans that have been taken due to the actions of a seriously sick man.  There are parents with empty homes.  Homes void of the laughter, love, and joy that they knew on Friday morning.  There are children who were robbed of the safety and security they so deserve.  There are first responders who will never be able to erase the visions from their minds of what they saw inside that school.  There are human beings who need the rest of us to support them, without the social and political implications that we are too selfish to leave behind for now.

There will be an opportunity to have discussions about whatever people feel needs to be done about the 2nd Amendment or God or whatever else people want to blame.  For now, try to mourn as loudly as you need with just your heart and not with the side of the fence your politics reside.

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Success vs. Luck

Success is meeting a goal after working hard; persevering until the end.  Luck is picking up a scratch ticket at the gas station and hitting for 50 bucks.  

Now that we cleared that up, why do people respond with saying “you’re so lucky” when you are successful in something?  I don’t forge a relationship between success and luck because I don’t think one has anything to do with the other.  Let’s say you worked tirelessly toward something by really putting in a gratuitous effort and some time later you succeeded, would you call that luck?  I would say you earned that success.  You put in the effort and traveled the road you needed to in order to achieve the result you were, hopefully, looking for.  Now if you took every shortcut you could, did the minimum amount of work necessary and are still successful then that is lucky.  

Before you offer a response to someone’s success, make sure you know which route the person took to get to the achievement and choose the appropriate reply…and then go buy a scratch ticket to see what it really means to be lucky.

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Onward and Upward

Today is a lovely day.  I’m enjoying the first of many Sundays at home as I prepare to start my career tomorrow.  I am leaving the repetitive world of retail sales and entering the exciting world of the non-profit sector.  

This adventure began in August of 2011 when I stumbled upon an online job posting for a job that I was sure was custom fit for me.  I applied for the job and, before I knew it, I was going through a series of interviews.  I was sure the job was mine.  I wowed the hiring managers, left each interview with a little more confidence than I walked in with, and felt certain that I fit the bill for what the organization was looking for.  Fast forward a couple months to when I received a phone call that I was not going to be offered the job at that time.  I was devastated.  Shattered.  How could this be?  I was positive, mostly, that I was the person they were looking for.  I broke the news to several family members and friends that I wasn’t going to get my dream job after all.  I took the hit on the chin and moved forward.

I accepted my failure but never forgot about how badly I wanted an opportunity to work for the organization that initially turned me down.  All I wanted was an opportunity to do good and honest work.  I wanted to go home at the end of the day feeling like I really made a difference and I wanted to make a difference with an organization that I am passionate about.  I wanted to be proud of what I did for work and I knew this employer would deliver all of those things.

Through an ironic stroke of luck, another position opened up and I was reconsidered for it.  Eleven months after my first interview and after a couple emails, I was sitting in front of a Director for the organization having another interview.  I had nothing to lose at this point.  I’d been through this rodeo before. My expectations were low and I was beyond thrilled to be in the office again.  Second chances are rare and I thought if it doesn’t work out this time, it’s time to hang my hat.  

Now as i write this, I am the newest employee of the organization that was the ultra-exclusive club that I just HAD to be a part of.  I am a part of a family.  A network of people who aren’t strangers but members of a team.  I am going to work with, for, and alongside true heroes.  True fighters.  True pioneers for an unselfish and relevant cause.  And so begins what I know is the start of a rewarding, successful, and fulfilling career.  All things that are worth it take effort and persistence.  This is a new venture that I will nurture and care for because I already know what it feels like to lose it.  

I can’t wait to walk into the office tomorrow at 9am to begin fulfilling my commitment to my new employer’s mission.

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An Apple a Day

I posted a blog about my decision to switch from iOS to Android not too long ago.  I’m still a fan of Apple.  As a matter of fact, the household is still dominated by mostly iOS operated devices.  

I’m not surprised to read about the iPhone 5 topping 2 million devices in the first 24 hours of pre-order availability.  A little over a month ago, I would have been one of 2 million people staying up late or waking up early to get my hands on a coveted iPhone 5.  

The release of the iPhone 5 is a little depressing.  It’s the last project that Steve Jobs personally worked on.  It’s the last creative input he had.  What’s going to happen now?  Am I still going to get excited when Apple announces a new device knowing that my business idol didn’t have a hand in it?  We shall see but I’m pretty sure I won’t.  Regardless of who designed the phone, 2 million devices is incredibly impressive.  Imagine everyone in Cupertino, CA fist-pumping all the way to the bank reaping the benefits of a phone that is closely similar to the one before it only with a new phone smell.

Kudos Apple! 

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