Change

They say that the only thing in life that is constant is change. Sometimes change occurs over a long period of time. Sometimes it’s instantaneous. Nevertheless, our lives are dynamic and ever-evolving, and if we’re smart we’ll know how to deal and handle these constant changes. In fact, one of my favorite quotes is, “A person’s ability to adapt is directly proportional to his/her intelligence.”

I don’t know how intelligent I have been the last several weeks, but I can tell you that so many things have and continue to change in my life. No, I’m not talking about new cars or the end of the college football season. I am referring to changes in my heart and in my soul that have me pondering and reflecting on deep and meaningful subjects. It’s like having the rug pulled out from underneath you, and being left to ponder what it truly means to stand up.

For me, the biggest conflict I have is reconciling memories of the recent past with the words and labels I gave to the feelings associated with those memories. I have no regrets about what happened and, consequentially, where I am today. Rather, I struggle to understand and I hesitate what to do with those memories of ‘absolute certainty’ that turned out to be not. Words like ‘soul mates’ and ‘destiny’. Concepts like ‘perfect love’ and ‘happy accidents’. These words and ideas made up the archetypal framework of my emotions. They were the roots that held up the oak tree of my soul.

I’m not going to sit hear and lie to you and say that my emotional skyscraper lies in ruins. I am not going to pretend that my majestic timber was felled and toppled. True, there was a painful process I underwent – and in a way am still going through – to realize and accept that what was once so certain is now no longer. But the real dilemma is the perplexing sense of just “Hmmmm. That sucks. Ok, now what?”

For example. You ever go to a theme park where there is a ride that is just ultra-hyped? “You gotta’ ride ‘The Cavern of Mystery’, dude! It’s totally awesome! You’ll never want to get off.” So you go and pay $85 dollars to get in, only to spend 4 hours in line in 110 degree weather. Then, when you finally get on the ride you realize the hype was just that, hype. So you’re left with a puzzled look on your face, shoulders all shrugged up, and your mind asking you, “Is that really all that was?” Makes you wonder if you’re friends really know the meaning of the word ‘awesome’.

That’s kinda’ where I find myself right now. What IS a soul mate? Was I right about what I thought it was? Was I right about WHO I thought it was? Am I still? Do I even care? It’s just a word after all, isn’t it? And destiny? Does that really exist? Are we all on some predetermined course of life, love and happiness? Do we have any control over anything?

For the record, those where all rhetorical questions. Furthermore, I think we all need to define and ‘label’ our feelings, experiences, and the people with whom we share them. Friend, buddy, girlfriend, lover, fuck-buddy, soul mate. It all needs to make sense to us, and when we find that it no longer makes sense, we get lost, scared and confused.

But not to worry, because life has a way of making things happen. And we owe it all to that little thing we like to call change. Friends become girlfriends. Buddies become brothers. Soul mates become memories. We can’t fight change. Change is going to happen. The only thing we can do is control how we react to it and how much we allow ourselves to accept it. If you’re lucky, you’ll be smart in how you go about accepting change in your life. If you’re really lucky, you’ll realize that change is exactly what you needed.

Sharing is Caring

I subscribe to a daily electronic newsletter from Beliefnet.com. It’s one of those things I do to fill my morning with positive thoughts and inspirtational ideas. I was reading an interesting article about motivation, and how not fulfilling personal needs can lead to depression and negative thoughts. Pretty much a no-brainer, and I casually copied the URL to the article and sent it to a friend via IM.

Why did I do that? Why did I feel compelled to pass that article along? Was it because my friend has issues with motivation? No. Was it because my friend is depressed and can use a little bit of a pick-me-up? Who isn’t? I’m not sure exactly why, but I felt compelled to forward that article just because I wanted to share it with someone else.

This got me to thinking about how we, as individuals, feel a need to share with others in just about everything we do. ‘Look at the pictures of my kids.’ ‘Here. Taste this. It’s incredible!’ ‘Want some of my popcorn?’ ‘Do me a favor. Read this e-mail and tell me what you think.’ It’s in almost everything we do. I am writing this entry knowing that I will post it to my blog and share it with the world. Ok, maybe not the entire world, but you know what I mean.

So why is sharing so important? Anyone who has kids will tell you that sharing is a learned behavior. Put two two-year-olds in a room and all you will hear is ‘Mine. Mine. Mine!’ Put a mommy in that same room and you will inevitably hear, ‘Now, boys, you need to learn to share.’ LEARN to share. Why do we do it? Why do we HAVE to share?

I’m no psychologist. In fact, I have not taken any type of science course since President Bush Senior, but I think if you apply basic common sense the answer is quite obvious. As children we are provided for. We are given everything we need. There is no incentive to share because we will get what we want, some kids more so than others, but you get my drift. As we start to grow up, both physically and emotionally, the burden of responsibility weighs heavier and heavier on our shoulders. The sense of providing for one’s self and valuing what you have sets in more and more. This translates to the realization that we will no longer be provided for, and thus the relationships we maintain become more out of desire and less out of necessity.

I believe we share because we feel compelled to make a connection with other people. To feel appreciated, recognized and loved. I ask people to look at pictures of my kids because I want them to know how special and beautiful I think my kids are are. I ask my friends to taste what I am having for dinner because I want them to share in the experience of really good food. I offer up snacks at the movies because I don’t want to be considered as selfish or rude. I ask for a second opinion on stuff I write because I want to make sure it makes sense and comes across correctly. I share to strenghten existing, or establish new, relationships.

And it is these relationships that get us through the hard times. They make the dark times less dark and the cold times just a bit warmer. Conversely, relationships make the highs higher and brights so much brighter. What would an Oscar acceptance speech be without all the thank you’s? I believe we all need people in our lives. People with whom we can share thoughts and experiences and emotions. Good or bad, right or wrong, we never want to feel alone. And although these relationships may change or disappear over time, the memories and the imprint of that relationship will always remain.

Don’t be afraid to share with others. Sharing is what allows us to define ourselves and be ourselves, and ultimately find happiness in our day to day.

What Really Matters

I’d be lying to you if I told you that I am sad to see Christmas come and go.  I remember as a kid, there was nothing better than Christmas.  The lights, the singing, the presents.  It was always a magical time of year.  Unfortunately for me, the last couple of Christmas seasons have been pretty …..well, blah.  Although I have had the chance to experience Christmas through the eyes of my kids, personally speaking, they have been kinda’ rough.

And I think about all the things that have made the holidays rough for me.  Some have been of my own making while others have been incidents well beyond the scope of my control.  Regardless of the hurdles, though, here I am facing a new day and a series of new tomorrows.  And I feel that I am finding the strength to get through it all as a result of someone else’s tragedy.

Last Thursday, as I was driving down to South Florida with my kids, I received a news alert on my cell phone.  The text message said the son of Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy had died.  I got on the phone and asked my friend to look up details on the incident.  I just couldn’t believe it.  I was shocked.  I have nothing but admiration for Coach Dungy stemming from his days as Head Coach of the Bucs and as a result of all his work in the Tampa Bay community.  Here is a man that founded AllProDad.com, has spoken out against dead-beat dads, and now his son has passed away.

As you may already know, the death of James Dungy has initially been ruled a suicide.  Evidence points to clinical depression in the eighteen year-old. It truly is a tragedy, and it really put things in perspective for me.  On the drive down, I was pretty upset thinking about my problems and my situation.  I was preoccupied with life after shattered dreams and broken hearts.  All of the sudden none of that mattered anymore.  The pain and persistent questions in my head were no longer relevant.  All that mattered was that my two kids, both of whom were sitting quietly in the back seat watching their respective DVD players, were safe and sound.

The death of James Dungy didn’t immediately make me a better parent.  I still found myself being just as hard on my kids as I always had been.  I still lost my temper with them just as I had before.  I made parental mistakes with them, as I am sure I will make again in the future.  What did change is that in the times I was with them, one on one, I was able to better appreciate the beauty of the moment.  I was able to consciously stop and thank God for the blessing He has given me in my two kids.

Friday was a long day and traffic in Miami seemed to make it longer.  Daniel had given me fits all afternoon, and my mother – yes, my mother – ranked a close second in the ‘aggravate Gil’ department for that day.  I dropped them both off at my brother’s house and proceeded to take Natalie out for ice cream as a reward for behaving so well.  It was just her, me and Oreo ice cream at Bennigan’s.  Another father-daughter moment I will always relish and one I hope she never forgets.

When we got back, Daniel and my nephews were playing in the back yard.  I went out to join the fun, and somehow ended up alone with Daniel on the hammock.  We were looking up into the sky, finding shapes in all the clouds.  We were being silly and playful and unabashed.  I would tickle him and make him laugh his sweet, 4 year-old, life is wonderful laugh.  It was a Hallmark moment for me.  I felt so blessed.

Perspective.  That’s all I needed to help me get through my issues.  I needed a reminder that even though it seems that my world was coming to an end, the real world was not.  I needed a swift kick in the ass that told me that nothing in this world is more important or precious to me than my kids.  I needed to find a reason to smile when I had convinced myself that all I could do was frown.

Don’t get me wrong.  I am still devastated.  I am still hurting inside, and probably will be for a long time.  But instead of allowing little things that remind me of my relationship with Kim to pull me down, I am resolved to turn that emotion from negative to positive.  I will try to not sit and ponder all the “What if’s” of the situation.  I will not dwell on missed opportunities and questions unresolved.  Instead, I will acknowledge that what we shared was great and wonderful and real.  And even though it is over, it happened and I am a better, stronger and more complete man as a result.

I could sit here and feel sorry for myself all I want.  But I have to remind myself that it could be worse.  I could be Tony Dungy right now.

My heart and my prayers go out to Tony and Lauren Dungy as well as the entire Dungy family.  May God give you the strength to persevere after such a terrible tragedy.

untitled

I know it’s not everyday that I post more than one entry to my blog, but then again it’s not everyday that my personal world comes to an end. It’s also not everyday that I find myself on the phone talking to the woman of my dreams and her husband at the same time.  Nevertheless, that is where I found myself this afternoon.

I don’t need to recap the story of my situation.  I’ve written about it before.  I’ve also written and implied about how long and drawn out the situation had become.  Well, as of this afternoon, the situation is finally resolved.  I never thought it would end the way it did.  I never thought I would hear the words she told me.  I never really believed it would be over this way.  But it is.

It started with her husband, Ed, calling me.  Talk about a surreal experience.  The two of us talking about everything going on and what we individually thought was in her, Kim’s, best interest.  It was civil and cordial and everything you don’t expect out of that type of situation.  The end result of our conversation being a pact, that whatever Kim decided, we would both support it with the ‘unchosen’ party agreeing to walk away.  I was certain in my heart that I would not be the one walking away.

But there I found myself about a half hour later, on the phone with both Kim and Ed.  Ironically, Ed and I were both saying the same thing.  We were both asking Kim to be honest with herself and to make a choice, one way or the other.  Ed and I were both supportive, and you could just feel that Kim was an emotional wreck.  I imagined Kim taking a deep breath and telling Ed that as much as she loves him, she’s simply not in love with him and knows that she can’t be truly happy with him.  This was it.  This was the moment of truth.

As you can see, that’s not what happened.

So I sit here writing this entry.  Me.  The unchosen one.  And I ask myself why am I writing?  The answers to that question are rattling in my head like beans in a maraca.  Part of it is to capture my feelings about it all.  To document that nauseating feeling in my stomach.  Part of it is to hurt Kim.  To forever remind her of the choice she made.  But the real reason is to galvanize her decision and to allow me to honor the pact I made with Ed.  <Yes, I know this is all F’d up on SO many levels!>

But it’s time to move on.  To really move on.  I know I have written that before.  Kim and I have had so many ups and downs, ons and offs.  We always managed to reach out to each other.  To reset.  To start over.  But this is different.  It has to be.  How can I ever take back the woman who told me plain and simple that she wants to be with her husband because she is in love with him, and because she knows she can be happy with him?  How can I be with someone who when given the chance to stand up for herself and proclaim her love for me, did not?

Part of me still doesn’t believe it.  Doesn’t believe her.  Maybe this is what she meant when she said that doing the right thing can be the wrong thing to do.  But it doesn’t matter now.  It’s done.  It is what it is, and I told Ed I would set her free and walk away.  And this entry is the first step of me doing just that.

Kim, you know I will always love you.  You know I will always be in love with you in my heart.  I do not think I was wrong and I still believe you are my true love.  I just believe that we missed it this time around.  Maybe in our next lifetime.

Ed, like we discussed, this was never a competition.  This was never about winning or losing.  Hold on to her tight and never let her go.  Love her with all that you’ve got and then love her some more.  Make her happy, now and forever.  That’s all I ever wanted for her, and I wish the two of you nothing but the best.

For What It’s Worth

One dirty little secret that no one likes to talk about is that for everything in life there is a cost.  Whether tangible or not, there is a cost for everything we do and everything we acquire.  It’s inevitable.  You may be asking yourself, “How so?”  Let me try to explain.

In economics, there is the concept of opportunity costs.  The cost of taking $1 million and investing it in an expansion to your restaurant, as an example, is what that money would have earned in interest had you just put it in the bank.  Similarly, the cost of me going out and riding my motorcycle on a Saturday afternoon is the time I could have shared with my kids or someone else close to me.  The reverse it also true.  Time spent on such things as family obligations and so forth comes at a cost of individual freedom, personal time, etc.

The difference is that everyone’s level of value with regards to time and money is different. Some people value their time alone, be it for reflection or productive activities, whereas some people just love being in the company of others.  Value is the key word here.  Value, in economics, is not a tangible amount or number.  Rather, it is the psychological equity we place on something.  A homeless person places more value on a coat that will protect him from the elements than does a billionaire.

So it really comes down to perspective.  As the cliché goes, all things are relative.  The question is, what level of cost are you willing to endure for a valued – or more appropriately, desired – return?  I have a friend who recently underwent a surgical procedure to correct a problem she was experiencing with her sinuses.  Going into the surgery, there was the usual anxiety and headaches that arise from making sure all things are in order.  Pre-op visits, blood work, etc.  Then, following the surgery there is the typical discomfort and restlessness that comes with the recovery process. The end result, she hopes, is a better day-to-day life.  No more issues with not being able to breathe properly or feeling like her throat is swollen.  I am confident it will all be as expected, and in the long run she will look back knowing the ‘cost’ was totally worth the ‘value’ she realized.

Although that example is very clear-cut, most decisions in life are not.  I believe the reason for this comes down to faith and believing the end result is worth the cost.  “I’m not sure if I should.  I don’t know if I can.”  We all hide behind those words at times, especially when pressed for a decision.  “I need more time.  I don’t want to ruin anything.”  It’s amazing how much more simple our lives could be if only we had more faith in ourselves, in our judgment, and in the people with whom we interact.

It’s not just about risk analysis or return on investments.  It’s also about belief.  That deep, strong, inner belief that lives in our gut and just tells us without equivocation, “You can do it.  It will all be okay.”  It’s the knowledge that although the initial ‘cost’ may be painful, it is temporary and will give way to the ‘value’ we seek.  It’s okay to think about it.  It’s okay to look at it five ways from Sunday.  It’s okay to be deliberate in an attempt to be certain.  But in the end, you still have to go through with it.

The funny thing is that value is not found so much in the result of the decision, but rather in making the decision in the first place.

Present Appreciation

I was watching a show this evening.  The main storyline dealt with a plane crash and the ensuing makeshift triage center that was established to treat the survivors.  Thankfully, the show was fiction.  Unfortunately for us, we know all too well these tragedies happen in real life.

And of course there was the one character who lost a loved one in the tragedy.  It just so happens this characters’ last words to her special someone were words of hate and anger.  10 minutes of the show are devoted to showing the character attempting to reconcile those harsh words with the burnt, dead body of her relative.  Words that fall on ears incapable of hearing.  Words that are uttered not for the benefit of the deceased, but rather for the comfort of the living.

And through it all, we see the same, old story lines.  We hear the same, old clichés  Shoulda’, coulda’, woulda’.  The moral of the story is that life’s greatest tragedies are not in what we do, but rather in what we don’t do.  In what we don’t say.  In what we keep to ourselves. We sit there and try to empathize with this person who is feeling sorry for themselves because they can’t take back what they said.  They can’t undo the past.  They can’t go back and do the right thing.

We’ve all been there.  No one is immune to these feelings.  And yet, we live our lives allowing ourselves to get caught up in petty disputes and headstrong tug-o-wars.  How quickly we forget the lessons of love, humility and compassion we felt in our hearts after September 11th.  The sense of global unity in which we all took part after the Tsunami in Asia.  The feelings of community and giving we experienced after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.  It’s as if we are all briefly enlightened and then brought back to the reality of every day life.

Why can’t those feelings of neighborly love and Samaritan-ism live in us every day?  I mean, why does it take something bad to make us all act so good?  Why can’t we live in a world where it’s okay to tell someone that you appreciate them?  And I don’t mean tell them because they recently did something for you and you feel obliged to do so.  No.  I mean tell them out of the blue and for no apparent reason.

I could rattle off a list hundreds of names long of people I appreciate for whom I have never taken the time to tell them so.  I think we all can.  And in typing this, I just realized the ability to make such a list is at the same time both good and bad.  It’s bad because I don’t take the time to stop and be sincere and tell people ‘Thank You’ for the little things they do that make my life better or easier or brighter.  The flip side of that coin is that I am blessed to know and be surrounded (and in most cases, loved) by so many people.

I thought about using this forum to mention a couple of individuals, but I figure that is a gesture best reserved for personal attention.  I know I can get preachy sometimes and come across as opinionated and difficult, but at the risk of sounding cheesy, I am hoping you will do me a favor.  I ask that when you finish reading this entry you take a moment to tell someone you know how much you appreciate them.  And don’t cop out and tell someone easy like your best friend or spouse (although sometimes a spouse is the last person with whom you want to share a moment).  Instead, pick someone who would least expect you to tell them something like that.  And if they asked you why, simply tell them ‘just because’.

Life is good not because good things happen, but rather because we make them happen.  I hope you have a great day today (and everyday for that matter), and I truly appreciate you reading!

Raw

A while ago now, Alex and I took our daughter to a counselor so that she could discuss her feelings about us splitting up.  For the record, I am very skeptical of the whole counseling thing, even though I have gone to counseling myself.  But I have to admit the sessions for Natalie were very helpful, both for her and for me.

One of the things that came up in the course of discussion was how I am very raw emotionally.  I am rarely in the ‘middle ground’ when it comes to my emotional state.  According to Alex, I am either on cloud nine or in the dumps.  Although my first impulse was to question why Alex was talking about me when we were there for Natalie, there is some truth to what she said.  I have been told on more than one occasion that I wear my heart on my sleeve.  Both personally and professionally, more often then not people will know where I stand on a given issue or topic.

What’s tricky is that it can be so good and at the same time so bad.  This blog is the best possible example of that.  I am writing right now because I just need to vent.  I am furious.  I am beside myself.  If I didn’t have an outlet for my emotions and frustrations, I would probably vomit blood every morning.  I love breakfast food, but I can’t eat in the morning because I wake up with my stomach in knots.  If I didn’t write, and consequently have the support of you, my friends, I wouldn’t even get up in the morning.

But the flip side is that in doing so I have made myself so vulnerable to just about everyone and everything.  It’s forced me to trust implicitly that no one out there will use what I write to hurt me or come after me.  This, in turn, has forced me to consider long and hard about my actions, and the potential consequences of those actions.  I’ll keep you posted on how that little life lesson turns out <wink>.

You all know my situation.  You all know my story.  What you don’t know is that I have 2 friends in similar circumstances.  I guess there is truth to the whole ‘misery loves company’ thing.  The biggest difference, however, is that in the case of both my friends, their ‘reason’ is far, far away.  If my ‘reason’ where in the Midwest as opposed to Seffner, I think all of this would be a little easier to deal with.  But she might as well be in Alaska because of the deliberate distance she keeps.  However, I can’t blame her.  You can’t move on until you force yourself to let go, and maybe this is her way of having an emotional change of scenery.

The problem with wearing your heart on your sleeve is that it tends to get smudgy at times.  You press on and press on, being yourself and speaking your mind.  The sad truth is that it doesn’t really matter if you’re Mr. Outspoken or the introvert in the back of the room, life is going to happen regardless.  To quote Billy Joel, “…I found that just surviving was a noble fight.  I once believed in causes, too.  I had my pointless point of view, but life went on no matter who was wrong or right.”

And that’s how I am feeling today.  Pointless. All of this…… all of the caring and the fighting and the logical argumentation.  All of the words and talks about commitment and standing up and resolution and absolute certainty.  It’s all pointless.  The thing I noticed is that just when you think you’ve turned the corner, you realize that you’re really just going around in circles.

Sneakie……thanks for listening and for being there.  You’ve been there for me from the start, and I appreciate every conversation and all your words of wisdom.  You are my Yoda.

Poker Face

Yesterday, a group of friends and I completed the first of what we hope to be an annual poker run.  For those of you who may not know, a poker run entails riding your motorcycle from location to location and drawing to card at each stop.   At the end of the run, the rider with the best hand wins a prize.

We ….. ok, I ….. decided to make each stop along the way a different Hooters location in the Tampa Bay area.  Why Hooters?  Partly because they were cooperative with donating give-aways for the poker run, but mostly because I possess a Y-chromosome. The ride was fun and, for all intensive purposes, very successful.  What started out as an idea turned into a fund raiser for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.  We raised $175 from entrance fees, which I know is not a lot, but every little bit helps.  The goal is to learn from this initial run and make next year’s run bigger and better.

I am very happy with how the whole event turned out.  From simple, fluky idea to a full-fledged event, the poker run was a great experience.  It wasn’t perfect, but for someone who has no real experience in event planning, all I can say is, “not too shabby.”  Still, I am reluctant to make a big deal of it all.  I pretty much spent the riding time from location to location thinking of what I could have done better.  I focused on the flaws and the mistakes and the incorrect assumptions I made in planning this run.  I couldn’t just enjoy it all because I was too busy planning on how to make next year’s run better.

So why is it that we do this?  I am sure that everyone has had moments where instead of being happy and taking in the sheer joy of the moment – in yesterday’s case the company of my friends – the focus is placed on what can be better.  Why do we as rational, human beings act so irrationally by not allowing ourselves to enjoy a job well done?  It’s a fine line, I think, between being obsessive and lackadaisical.

And we hear it all the time.  Professional football coaches who see only areas of improvement, so much so they miss out on the joy of winning the big game.  Spouses who are constantly critical of their partners.  Friends who just bring you down, no matter how hard you try to pick them up and help them see things positively.   It’s as if we sometimes forget that it’s okay to celebrate. That it’s okay to accept the minor flaws and errors because the appreciation of the bigger event, be it a win, a marriage or a great friendship, makes those flaws and errors virtually insignificant.

After all, nothing in life is perfect in whole.  There are snapshots of perfection, but anything done by human hands is, by definition, imperfect.  For as much as I have claimed to live the past year by my new life motto – to be intelligently immature – I still catch myself in that old ‘perfectionist’ mode.  Too concerned with whether or not what I am doing is absolutely perfect.  Too worried about what other may say or think.  Too consumed with an expectation of how things should be.

Yesterday was a reminder that life is about ebb and flow.  Both in the small picture of the poker run and the bigger picture of breast cancer and its victims, control is an illusion.  God’s will is the only perfect thing in life.  How we choose to accept that truth is what ultimately determines the level of inner peace and happiness we experience.

Funkalicious

There are several words in the English language that are just fun to say.  My personal favorite is arugula, but we’ll leave leafy vegetables for another entry.  The word I have in mind is ‘funk’, and if you don’t think it’s not a fun word to say, just say it around my mom.  She’ll shoot you that, “What did you say?”look.  <he he>

All this time, I thought funk was used in one of three ways.  The first to describe a type of music (music that combines traditional forms of black music (as blues, gospel, or soul) and is characterized by a strong backbeat*), a type of slump (I’m in a funk), or this year’s TPC winner.

But I did not know until today the true definition of funk, according to Merriam-Webster, is a state of paralyzing fear or a depressed state of mind.  It’s weird because I had never heard the word defined that way.  A state of paralyzing fear.  So when science books talk about fight or flight, they really should be saying fight or funk.  Kinda’ gives new meaning to the phrase, “Get the funk outta’ here!”

But I am going to stick with the ‘type of slump’ rendition of the word, because that’s where I feel I am.  I am rattled and confused because I know what I need to do in an effort to get out of this funk, but I just can’t.  Part of the problem is that I just don’t care anymore about much of anything.  Life is one big, perpetual “whatever” situation. <shrug>.  The other part of me does not want to let go of dreams and ideas and desires that I need to.  It’s like when you move in with that perfect girl and she makes you throw out your baseball cards.  You know you have to, but you really don’t want to.

So I am in one of those rare situations where I truly don’t know what to do.  I look forward, backwards and sideways and nothing makes sense to me.  I can’t escape the gravitational pull of the black hole left in my chest; however, I know that if I don’t try to press forward, I will just wallow in this funk for what may seem like a lifetime.  All I can say is this funking sucks!

So I fill my days and nights with distractions.  I go out with the guys and try to have a funkadelic good time, but it’s all for not.  It just doesn’t seem that there is anything of substance out there for me to find.  It’s as if everything meaningful is behind me. From conversations about repeating mistakes to keeping arms-distance to closing the door shut, I know I am looking at the road ahead of me with nothing but anxiety.

So will I accept the situation and move on, or will I sit here secretly waiting and wishing and hoping for some more?  I really don’t know, and right now I really don’t care.  And sometimes I wish I could escape it all.  Just get on a bus or plane and skip town.  Just bounce on out of this place.  That being said, does anyone know how to get to Funkytown?

Convictions

I was 15 years old when I first heard of Edward R. Murrow.  My teacher at the time told me that he always remembered how to spell the word ‘tomorrow’ – was it 2 M’s or 2 R’s? – because Murrow was spelled with 2 R’s.  I was quick to ask him, “Who is Ed Murrow?”, and of course the “OMG, I’m old” look on his face was priceless.

Yet part of me wishes I was old enough to have witnessed what Edward Murrow did in his fight against McCarthyism in the fifties.  It took real courage and conviction to stand up to the modern day witch hunt against communism.  A witch hunt in which association was enough evidence to prove you guilty of being un-American. One can only imagine what someone like Joseph McCarthy would think if he were alive today.

As you can tell by the intro to this blog entry, I recently saw the movie ‘Good Night, and Good Luck’.  I really enjoyed it.  I loved how it was filmed in black & white, and how Clooney used stock footage of the McCarthy hearings to make the film feel so real.   But more importantly, I loved the underlying message of the movie.

I do not think this film is a period peace about McCarthyism.  Rather, I think it’s a movie about having the courage to stand up for your beliefs.  Edward Murrow did just that, exposing what he felt were the injustices of the McCarthy hearings, and how the zealous fervor of protecting our lives as Americans ironically is what threatened it the most.  And I found myself relating so much to Murrow, as depicted in this film, for his ‘stick-to-your-guns’ attitude about reporting the truth.

I like to think my team at work thinks of me as the guy who will go to bat for them time and time again in order to get something we need accomplished.  I believe I am not afraid to push back or rock the boat.  And if I don’t succeed, it wasn’t because I didn’t try.  There is a sense of accomplishment, even in failure, when you know in your heart that you gave it your all.  That you tired your best.

Which leads me to this question.  How is it possible that people chose to live their lives in fear?  How is it that someone can just sit there and watch something bad happen and not so much raise a finger to stop it?  I believe the answer lies in fear itself. Fear of rocking the boat.  Fear of being persecuted or labeled.  Fear of being called out our scrutinized.  Fear of the unknown.  So instead of listening to their heart and going with their gut, they determine the safe road is better and decide to stay home with their heads buried in the sand.

I’ve written before that part of living is wanting to be great.  I believe greatness is not found in the routine of everyday.  Greatness does not exist in the safety of “that’s all I know”.  No, I believe that those who achieve greatness are the ones that are not afraid to fail.  The ones that are not afraid to stand up and stand out.  The ones that are not afraid to live.  After all, you can’t have conformity without comfort, and I can’t think of anyone who became great as a conformist.

Everyone has their own path to follow.  Everyone has their own lives to lead and decisions to make.  If you truly want to be great, if you truly want to be alive, and if you truly want to experience happiness and accomplishment; then allow yourself to follow your heart and not just do, but live what you believe in.  To quote another historical figure, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”