‘Tis the Season

'Tis the Season

You’ve heard the cliche’, it is the time for giving.  The time for others.  Well, as important as that is, make sure you take care of yourself and your family too.  These are undoubtedly hard times.  But there is good all around us.

My favorite movie around this time is “Love Actually.”  It sums up this season in it’s opening monologue with the statement that “Love Actually is all around.”  I LOVE that statement.  It’s there, you just need to look for it.  If you’re open to it, if you look for it, you’ll find it.

If you’ve found it, try to share it.  Don’t force it, but put it out there.  Good vibes abound.  I know, I know…there is a lot of stress during the holiday season.  ALL the more reason to focus on the little things that make your life happy.  No matter how much people try to deny it, there ARE things worth living for….though through the stresses of the time and the memories that abound during this season, they can close themselves off.  If you know someone like this, be there to comfort.  If you ARE one of these people, realize that people have the best intentions when they try to approach you.

A friend of mine posted on Facebook “Can i just have a ‘do over’ today?!” to which I replied “Yep! Most of us call it ‘tomorrow’! :)”

Very simply….tomorrow is our chance to make right what went ‘wrong’ today.  Expand it….next year is our chance to make right what went ‘wrong’ today.  Okay, that’s a bit grandiose…how about, next year is our chance to improve upon our lives.  How?

Well, if you’ve been reading this blog, you know the answer to that….

Examine the Glass

Reactions

Reactions

Split second reactions.  Knee jerk reactions.  How many times do we do this?  How many times do we make a snap judgement about something we have seen or heard?  More times than we would like to admit, I’m sure.

Now, how many times have we looked back and said, “Gee, maybe I didn’t know the whole story” or “I wish I hadn’t reacted that way”.  Probably even more times!

With the fallout of the Sandusky grand jury report, the factual involvement of legendary coach Joe Paterno is a very sad thing to witness.  The facts are there.  He knew SOMETHING and did very little about it.  Subsequently he was fired.  What was the reaction of the students?  Look at the above picture.

They rioted.  They rioted because they were outraged at the firing of a man who knew another man was sexually assaulting young boys, and did not take the APPROPRIATE action.  Now, I know that if MY head coach was fired, and I didn’t know all of the facts, I would be pretty PO’d and ready to stand up for said coach.  That’s what the students did.  I would like to believe that they were just “not informed” enough to know the FULL story at the time of the riots.

I’m sure, in time they will look back at this and say, “Gosh, maybe I shouldn’t have tipped over that van.”  Students went to jail last night.  They will have a scar on their record and the regret of a mindless action for the rest of their lives…..all because they made a snap judgement and got caught up in the moment.

Again…this is something we all do.  Maybe this can serve as a wake-up call.  I’m taking NOTHING away from the victims in this scenario.  Rather, I’m looking at, and treating it as such, a separate incident.  The riots and the damage are a blaring example of a “worst case scenario” of snap judgement.

So, bring it home.  Take it down.  Examine your glass and see if there are times that you committed the same harsh judgement, maybe without cause.  When something happens, don’t judge…think.  Examine.  Once you’ve seen it from at least one other point of view, then react.  More and more, if that happens, mistakes won’t happen and regrets won’t be made.

The riots yesterday made me lose a bit of faith in humanity….until I realized that they just weren’t thinking.  It doesn’t excuse it, but it sort of explains it.  Hopefully this can serve as a reminder of what can happen.

Examine.

The Importance of Friends

The Importance of FriendsI grew up as an only child.  Furthermore, I grew up on a street with only one other kid my age.  Actually, only one other kid period.  Until 7th grade, when set of brothers moved in down the street.  One of those became by best friend.

But, being an only child, and not having a plethora of playmates, I was had two roads ahead of me…one of being a shy, solitary guy, the other being an extrovert, “take no prisoners” friend gatherer.

So, that’s what I did.  I made it my personal mission to either befriend or acquaint myself with as many people at school as possible.  Heck, I was elected class Treasurer in 8th grade.  Still not quite sure how that happened with my inability to correctly pronounce the letter “R” and stuttering, monotone speech, but I did.

I wasn’t part of the “popular” group in high school, nor was I a “jock.”  I guess I could have been a “nerd” but I really don’t think I was too far into that either.  I was a “floater”, and as such, I drifted through high school without any conflicts.  But I built a great friend base.  How did I do this?

Well, I threw parties!  Okay, so I made friends just being myself.  But I did throw parties!  Twice a year, I would have my friends over to my house which was on a lake.  We would play pool, play darts, play the latest Nintendo system or computer games.  We had a hot tub and a fire pit.  The party usually started at noon and ended at midnight.  I had Papa Murphy’s pizza and Costco soda!

In a word, they ROCKED!  I LOVED my parties….and I think my friends did too, as they showed up twice a year, like clockwork.  Mostly they were the same group, with an extra boyfriend or girlfriend added into the mix here or there.  But it was fun.

I would like to say that I stay in touch with many of those same friends.  And for the most part I do.  Thanks to Facebook, it’s very easy.  I check up on my buddies, I like to see how they’re doing.  Someday, I would like to throw another party, for old-time sakes….of course, now we have wives, kids and families in general to think about, so who knows what will happen.

The point is this.  I needed family, more family than just my mom and dad, because siblings weren’t in the picture.  My friends became THAT family.  So, if any of my old friends are reading this, THANK YOU for being there.

So…if this rings true to you, and even if it doesn’t, reach out to an old friend.  It’ll warm your heart and theirs.  A win-win if I’ve ever known it!

 

Friends, Real vs. Virtual

Friends, Real vs. VirtualHow many friends do YOU have?  How many of them have you actually met face-to-face?  If you’re reading this, it means you are somewhat web-savvy and probably have a Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, Blogger, blah blah blah….

Yep, I have most of those too…

In fact, I have 294 friends.  One request pending, two requests waiting approval from me….and out of all of those people, I would say I have only never actually met maybe 10 of them.

So, what’s the difference?  Well, let’s not get into physical science here, but let’s talk about the difference in support.  Social Networks are amazing tools and yes, they rule the world right now.  I can post something and immediately 294 people have access to that tidbit of information.  Luckily for my friends, I do not post every time I eat a snack or have a bowel movement, but more about my random thoughts that I like to share…such as this blog.

But let’s get back to support.  I have touted through this site that you need a good, solid support system to get you through this roller coaster we call life.  Is your support real?  Is it virtual?  Is one better than another?  I could make an argument for both….so here it goes.

Real:  If you need a hug, you can get a hug.  Virtual:  You can rant and rave and never see them roll their eyes.

Real:  They can bring you chicken soup when your sick.  Virtual:  They can help you pass the time while your home (time zone pending)

Real:  You can see the empathy in their eyes.  Virtual:  They’ll give it to you straight every time.

Yes, there are pros to each.  There are cons, but let’s not look at negativity today.  The point is, do you KNOW who your support is?  Who is there for you?  Is it your neighbor, best friend, sibling, or your favorite FarmVille neighbor?

Who ever it is, reach out to them today and thank them.  Just thank your friends for being your friends.  Let’s face it, without them where would you be.

Okay, so you may be thinking…I don’t have that.  I don’t have that person.  I don’t have support.  If that’s true…there is help out there.  If you want to rant/rave and just let loose, heck, hit that Contact Us button up in the right hand corner of your screen.  I’ll listen.  I can’t promise to solve all of your problems, but I’ll listen.  See if I can make you smile.  Because, sometimes that is all you need.  A smile.  And guess what.  That can come from a real person or a virtual person.

Find your support.  Fill your circle with greatness.  And thank them.  They are awesome…

YOU are awesome.

Everyone’s doing it

Everyone's doing itPeer pressure.  We all know it.  We all know what it can lead to.  Yet still, sometimes, we succumb to it.  Why?

In honor of all the kiddos out there going back to school, this one’s for you!

I remember back in grade school, I was at a sleep over.  At this sleep over, I had my favorite stuffed animal, Bob the bunny, with me.  Well, me and Bob, we were inseparable…unless that is, someone took Bob the bunny.  And someone took Bob the Bunny.  They took him and through circumstances that I can’t recall, I found myself on the second story of a barn.  Yep, a barn!  At a sleepover!  Where my favorite stuffed animal, Bob the bunny, was being held hostage.  Now, here is where the story gets fuzzy….but I got in my head that the only way I was ever going to see Bob was to jump off this barn.  I can’t remember if the kids who took Bob told me so, or if I just believed it, but that’s what happened.  I jumped.  Landed flat on my back.  Scared my mom half to death.  Ended up, walking away with a sore back and that’s it….oh, and Bob too.

Anyway, there’s a glimpse.  It may not have been DIRECT peer pressure, but it was still there in a ghostly form.  I could have tried to walk out the door….or I could have looked for another way out….or I could have called to help (heck, my mom was still on the property).  But no, I jumped.  I jumped because that was the way I was going to get Bob back from my “peers.”

How many times have you “jumped”?  I know you have…and I want you to know there is no shame in that.  As is the theme around here, the past is the past.  Don’t regret it too much or dwell on it, just recognize it.  Recognized the times you’ve fallen for peer pressure.  Try to find out why you did.  What was the result?

Today, as an adult, peer pressure is still around me.  But I feel that I have a clear enough head to look at my situation and determine if “what everyone else is doing” will benefit me, in the short-term or long.  If it does, then I consider it more deeply.  In the end, only do something “everyone else is doing” if you can find it reasonable for yourself.

Gut check time.  You’re faced with peer pressure.  Answer these few questions:  1)  Does it improve your station for the long-term?  2)  Does it achieve a short-term goal?  3)  Is it legal?  4)  Who’s asking you to do it and why are they important to you?

If #3 is a NO, then there’s your answer.  The other three questions have to be weighed by yourself and be true to yourself when answering them.  The impact must be significant.  Don’t sell yourself out simply for the sake of others.  Sell yourself out…to yourself.  You come first.

I mean really…if everyone was jumping off a barn, would you?

Oh….wait….

Do unto others

Do unto others...The Golden Rule.  We all know it, but do we follow it?  I know that there are times when I don’t.  I’ve cut people off on the freeway, then cursed the guy who cut me off 5 miles down the same stretch of road.  The double standard of life seems to be growing in our society, especially with the way the market is treating us.

So, today’s challenge is to actually follow the Golden Rule.  I know there are snarky people out there who want to say “I WANT people to be rude to me, so I can be rude back.”  WRONG.  People may say that, but it’s not true.

Remember that you CAN NOT change the way people think or act.  They must do that themselves.  Also remember that the person who cuts you off on the freeway (may be me!) or the person who is rude to you at the coffee stand may just have bigger things on their mind.  Maybe THEY need to examine their glass a bit, huh?  You just don’t know what’s going on, so don’t assume that you do.

I’ll tell you one thing, it never hurts to smile at someone.  You never know how it might affect them.  More times than not, they may just pass you by.  However, you can’t deny the fact that if you smiled at a stranger today….and they smiled back, that you wouldn’t feel a little better yourself.

Happiness begets happiness!  Spread the love, everyone!  Even if you don’t feel like you have any love or smiles to spread, try anyway.  You may be surprised to see how it affects you.

I write these things and I smile to myself.  I smile because I think, hey maybe this post is making someone smile.  Maybe a chuckle or too.  Maybe a full-out guffaw!  Well, okay, no guffaws, I haven’t even broken out my knock knock joke material yet….just you wait!  Anyway, my point is, I hope I’m making a difference with these posts, and I believe that I am.  That makes me smile.  Examining my own glass, if I can help others (perhaps you) then I am being successful, which makes me happy and leads me to where I want to go.

See how easy that is???

Knock, knock…