Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Whatever Will Be Will Be and You Can Dream It Into Reality

On one hand, the title of this post tells the whole story.  On the other hand, I’ll expand on it a bit.

New Year’s Day is my favorite day of the year.  For me, January 1st is the beginning of a new chapter of life, a day to visualize the coming 365 days (or 366 in the case of 2016).  It is a day to take stock of where one has been during the past year, how much of the year worked out as planned twelve months earlier, how much didn’t.  New Year’s Day can open the door to new possibilities, new dreams, new accomplishments and more.
Every year I write about my ‘process’, which basically involves thinking through what I want for the coming year.  I do this through the whole month of January, from New Year’s Day at the beginning to my birthday at the end.  I look into the coming year and map out what I want to do and accomplish.  It’s like goal setting and New Year’s resolutions but a bit more involved.  I also pick a keyword that symbolizes my goals for the year, a word triggers or reminds me of the whole plan.

Like most people who make and break New Year’s resolutions, I often forget my keyword a few months into the year.  In fact, I don’t remember what word I chose for 2015.  However, I do know that I carry over some of my keyword choices and continue to use them.  Previous words include simplify, focus, renew and balance.  If you know me in person, you know that those four happen to guide many aspects of my life year after year, especially balance.
Hold on a second while I look something up.  Look at this picture for a moment.  I’ll be right back.

 


OK, I just looked up last year’s word.  It was discipline.  Wow, I surely messed that one up.  I’ve had very little discipline this year, especially with my finances.  Maybe I’ll focus on that one again.  I also realized that I picked ‘fun’ as a keyword a year or two ago and I did live up to that one.
So my ‘process’ will begin in earnest in 48 hours.  Whatever will be during the coming year will just be, but I believe that visualizing and thinking things through can have a profound influence on what really does happen.  Goal setting, both conscious and subconscious, has served me well for decades.  Remember that movie quote “if you build it, they will come”?  For me, if you dream it, it will happen.

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 28, 2015

To Be Or Not To Be

I recently took one of those silly quizzes on Facebook.  The challenge they posed was that they could tell my highest level of education by my answers to 25 questions.  I do not believe those quizzes amount to much, other than to funnel targeted advertising to the participants.  That was certainly true for this one: every question was surrounded by ads for educational entities.

Of course I can’t resist the urge to take a quiz like that.  I seem to know a lot about a little. 
How did I do?

I scored a 71%.  Actually it should have been slightly higher because I accidentally clicked the wrong answer on one of them.  Most of the questions were easy for me, such as ‘in what year did WW1 end’?  There were 4 choices and only two of them were even close, although I did happen to know the answer is 1918.  Some of my other answers were totally good guesses.  And there were a few in which I had no clue.  In fact, I missed the very first one, which was about a Shakespeare character.
The commentary that goes with scoring 71% says they think I have a PhD and spent many years in Grad school.  I’m still laughing at that one.  I didn’t even finish college.  No graduate degree, no masters, no doctorate.

However I am very curious and I read a lot.  I know a lot about a little.  In some ways that serves me well and qualifies me as a fairly well educated man.  But I do wish I had finished college; it remains a bucket list item for me.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Wow I Must Be Very Popular

Apparently I am very popular.  How do I know this?  Because I receive dozens of email a day on both of my personal email accounts.  It appears the volume of email has grown exponentially during the past two months, which must mean my popularity is growing.

Or maybe I get more email because it was Christmas shopping season.  Naw, that can’t be it.
Email is a blessing and a curse.  The speed and convenience of email communication is undeniable.  Letters take a day or more, email is instant.  That also means junk mail is instant.  Of course, I still get junk mail in my physical mailbox. 

Some people measure their personal popularity by the number of Facebook friends they have.  Some people don’t even know their Facebook friends but that high number makes them feel good.  And connected.  I have ‘only’ two or three hundred FB ‘friends’ but I know all of them on some level, either personally or professionally.  I’ve met most but some I know via email.
Does being popular even matter?  I’m thinking it is more important to have a network of friends and family that serve as a support system.  It doesn’t really matter how many are in that network, does it?  Who can you really count on when you need help?  Your Facebook friends?  Who among your friends can count on you when you need help and emotional support?

Being popular doesn’t really matter much to me.  But it is kind of cool to have 65 people ‘like’ a Facebook post.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Is That the Best We Have To Choose From

President of the United States is one of the most important and most thankless jobs on the planet.  The pay and benefits are good ($450,000 annual salary for life, free transportation everywhere, 24-hour security, a personal staff and a rent-free 54,000 square foot residence, just to name a few).  But the responsibility is frightening.  A President’s decisions and power affects hundreds of thousands of military personnel, millions of citizens and world history.

The job application is relatively easy and the minimum requirements mostly involve age and citizenship, but successfully candidates for the position spend millions of dollars to impress the ‘boss’ … we the people.  Whoever gets the job knows the exact start and end date, accepts that it will last four years initially and there is the possibility for a four-year renewal, after which they can never hold that job again.
Who’d want a job like that?

At this point, with about eleven months remaining before the hiring decision is made, at least a dozen applicants have announced their desire to get that job.  Many of them already make more per year than the job’s starting salary, so money is not their goal.  Power, fame, legacy, ego?  A desire to make our great country greater?
Are any of them qualified?

The leading Republican contender is a narcissistic, pathological liar, followed until recently by a delusional doctor.  The leading Democrat is someone many don’t trust, followed by someone who is probably too liberal to get elected. 
Is this the best these parties have to offer?  Most voters are moderates.  We might lean left or right, but most of us are somewhere in the middle.

Where is OUR candidate?

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Time

Time is our best friend and worst enemy.  We have twenty four hours each day to get things done but sometimes that’s not enough.

Time flies.  Where does the time go?  It’s bed time; wake up time.  Time to make the donuts.  Hammer time.  Time is on our side, yes it is.  Time marches on.  Time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’ into the future.
“Lost time is never found again.”  Benjamin Franklin

“To everything there is a season, a time to every purpose under the heaven: a time to be born, a time to die, etc.”  Ecclesiastes
“Time is money.”  Benjamin Franklin
“Lost time is never found again.”  Benjamin Franklin

Wow, Ben must have had plenty of time on his hands; so many time quotes are attributed to him.
I apparently do not have time on my hands.  There is so much I want to do in life, even on a daily basis, yet I never seem to have the time to do it.  Or I just don’t make the time.  How did we (or I) get so busy?  Three years ago I cut my daily commute time in half and some days I can work from home, thus cutting my commute time to zero.  But it seems I still don’t have time to pursue two of my biggest passions, writing and photography. 

Writing?  A dear friend and fellow blogger pointed out this week that she has posted roughly twice as many times as I have this year.  Our friendly competition reminded me that I haven’t devoted much time to this passion.  Photography?  I had to search through piles of stuff in my guest room just to find my camera to take some new photographs for a neighborhood contest a few months ago.  Ironically, the one photo out of my five submissions that won something (Honorable Mention) was taken three years ago, when it seems I had more time.

I love music too and started taking guitar lessons a couple of years ago but I don’t seem to have time to practice.  The afore-mentioned guest room is so cluttered right now that it has been renamed ‘the scary room’.  I’m off work this week and actually found time yesterday to start decluttering the scary room.  I opened some boxes that had been unopened in the closet since I moved here three years ago.  Last week I unearthed a few boxes of family relics that survived the Hurricane Katrina floods, boxes that hadn’t been opened since my sister sent them to me in 2005.
 Well, I decided when I woke up this morning that I would find time to write at least one little blog essay.  Wish me luck finding time to write more.

Time’s up.  Time to end this and post it.  See ya next time.