Curious where Gingrich and Romney stand on the issues? Watch this video and judge for yourself:
It seems as you grow older, the days zoom by. In the following video, I reflect on my recent thirty-first birthday, life and our dreams.
(Video originally recorded on September, 10, 2010 in San Francisco, California)
Today, I created my first ever lifestyle manual for 2009. Essentially, it’s a personal road map that I’ll use to improve my life and sharpen my focus on core interests over the course of the year. Currently, it’s five pages long, but will expand as I add more content to the document. Because it’s hosted by Scribd, the latest version will always be available here — All you’ll need to do is download it and read.
Why share this personal document with the public? It’s not really that private of a document. It’s really a framework for how I’ll live and advance my life in 2009. I hope it will inspire someone else who’s seeking ideas to improve their personal and professional life.
(To download or email the PDF, click on the “iPaper” drop-down arrow to expose a list of functions)
This morning, I got up feeling refreshed and overly happy. Last night, I wasn’t happy at all. You see, I could choose to focus on just the happy times in life here, but let’s be realistic: There isn’t such a thing as someone who’s happy ALL THE TIME.
It is no secret here that I’ve had bouts with depression and stress over the years. There are times where I’ve felt completely hopeless about the state of my country and the world. At least here, I can do my part by exposing the issues and encouraging people to make the changes in their lives which can make life on Earth better for everyone.
One thing I’ve realized about happiness is this: It’s a choice. So, today, I’m choosing to pass along an abundance of happiness today to you and I hope you’ll pass it along to someone else. . Things might be tough right now, but together, we can emerge to overcome any obstacle we encounter in life. Stand in unison with a stranger, friend or loved one today. Help them realize that their struggles are not permanent, but only temporary obstacles.
Now that I think of it, I can’t believe I’m 29 years old. It seems like a big number, but I don’t feel like an older guy. I feel young as ever, still vibrant and excited as ever about the possibilities in my life. I don’t have any major plans today, but I have been in Michigan attending to some family matters and visiting with friends.
I’m not sure if there’s anything that should be ‘different’ at this point in my life. I think I’ve lived an amazing life thus far, which has been filled with great memories, achievements and experiences. Despite the rough patches “here and there”, I’ve always been able to recover and move ahead.
Of course, there are always things we wish to approach differently. In another decade, I’ll be 39 years old. That isn’t far away. I don’t know what my life will be like then, but so far, I’ve been doing OKAY. I do know that I want to live a richer and happier life. Regardless, I’ve come a long way. I’ve navigated several storms and I’m still standing.
One of the great lessons I’ve learned in life is to not be broken by any woman. I’ve had my fair share of being taking for granted by women and those moments were some of the most hurtful experiences ever. I have a pretty cold heart when it comes to women these days, but underneath it all, there’s still a faint desire to meet a meaningful person who’s trustworthy, kind, selfless, etc.
At this point in my life, I’ve already settled on a solo lifestyle. I don’t think much anymore about someone else being part of it, because my experiences to date with women have been so shitty that it’s pointless to even wonder what’s out there. I refuse to be the guy who isn’t living a fulfilled life because society says you need a woman to enjoy it. I think I spent one too many years dreaming and hoping for the right woman to come along and these days, I’m just living life for myself.
Looking ahead, I believe there are great things on the horizon. It will take some time to figure some things out, while other things will simply happen on their own. What I want to focus on right now is greater happiness in my life going forward. There’s been a lot of sadness in my life due to many things and I want to change that.
Anyway, there’s a sample of my thoughts. I hope all is well with you.
(Pardon the typos in this entry — The ‘moment’ struck me to write this entry over a few glasses of wine, and so, this is a ‘rush’ copy of my thoughts. I’ll fix the errors later. The ‘perfectionist’ within is definitely on vacation on this one!)
Let’s get right to it: Without dreams, heroes and mentors, I probably wouldn’t be typing this entry right now. There were many times in my life where I wanted to call it quits and move on throughout the cosmos and (hopefully) be rebirthed into a new existence. While I’ve never had a ‘hard’ life, it certainly hasn’t been easy, either.
When I look back on my life, the one thing I wanted more than anything was a stable household filled with two loving parents. I struggled for years to deal with the absence of my father, yet I understood that part of his absence was due to matters beyond his control. Craving male influence, I sought out male figures early on in my life.
In this post, I salute the many men who have influenced and shaped my life over the years — Even to this day:
1. Uncle Rufus — In many ways, Uncle Rufus became the father I always needed. We spent time fishing together, talking about life, and doing things any father and son would do. I can vividly recall the moments we shared together, the fish we caught and the many conversations we had. Uncle Rufus was an amazing man, one filled with love, lots of heart and soul, and a love for family. Unfortunately, he was taken away in the early 90s during a hunting trip in Mississippi.
Uncle, thank you for your inspiration and guidance. You’ll always be in my heart.
2. Michael McDonald — Michael’s music was in my blood — Probably since the time I was born. Through my father, I was somehow became hooked on the Doobie Brothers, and after hearing ‘On My Own’ and ‘Sweet Freedom’ one too many times, I sought out Michael’s solo albums for my pure indulgence at the tender age of 15. My first Michael McDonald tape was ‘Take It To Heart’. Through Michael’s music, I learned even more the meaning of love, life and sacrifice.
I am thankful for our friendship. Michael’s music has been a guiding light for me.
3. Ken Reed — In 1995, I took my first tour of J.B. Hunt’s Detroit Terminal. There, I met their then Terminal Manager, Kenneth J. Reed. He was expecting some ‘rich kid’ from the suburbs when he received orders from headquarters to give me a tour; Instead, he met me, a product of a single-parent household who was craving positive male influence and direction. I adopted him as my ‘Godfather’.
Ken, who’s almost 60 years old, has been an amazing and strong figure in my life. I am indebted to him for all he’s instilled in my life.
4. J.B. Hunt — In 1993, I wrote Johnnie Bryan Hunt, Chairman of J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc, at the young age of 13. I’d grown accustom to seeing his trucks on the highway, and given my love for big trucks, I was inspired to personally write him. That one letter sparked an amazing relationship with a multi-billion dollar corporation, many friendships and a lot of invaluable knowledge over the years.
5. Donald Schneider — In 1993, soon after writing J.B. Hunt, I reached out to Donald Schneider, President of Schneider National Carriers, Inc., to learn more about the trucking industry and principles to lead a successful life in business. Donald was kind enough to personally respond with a lot of company information and we’d remain in touch over the years about his company, life and other things.
6. Bill Gates — In 1995, I was determined to make contact with Bill Gates and add another inspiration figure to my roster. Bill’s first e-mail to me was to wish me a happy 15th birthday. When I received his response, I smiled, but I also felt pretty stupid that he even responded to such a request. Regardless, Bill taught me that anything was possible in life, and through his accessibility, I was able to learn a lot about Microsoft and what it took to succeed in life.
7. Dave Taylor — I first met Dave in 2005 here in Denver. I thought he was an interesting fellow, but our friendship wouldn’t solidify until two years later. Dave is interesting in that, like everyone else on this list, he’s a very low-key guy, despite his enormous success over the years. Dave has been a great and welcomed figure in my life. He’s a great individual and a wonderful human being. I respect him greatly.
8. Stephen Hultquist — I met Stephen via a Yahoo! Internet group. He was ‘sitting’ on one of the e-mails I sent to the group. We eventually met and the rest is history. Stephen is a renowned book author, life coach, Virtual CIO and entrepreneur. He also writes for InfoWorld, which is a very cool technology magazine. Stephen has shared a lot of wisdom and business intelligence with me over the past two years. Stephen doesn’t yet know it, but he’s been an instrumental part in my growth. I am indebted to him for his generosity, friendship and kindness.
9. Collie Cook — Collie is 19 years my senior. This isn’t really a big deal, because most of my friends are almost twice my age (I seem to attract very wise, accomplished and wise, influential men to my life). Collie has been an amazing friend and mentor in my life. We’ve shared many laughs over the years and even at 47 today, he’s still a riot!
There was a time when his Mom questioned why he was hanging around a young guy like myself. At the time, I guess she was incapable of realizing our relationship and the profound and great impact he was having upon my life. Collie is a great guy and a wonderful friend. He’s definitely a well-respected individual in my life.
10. All the other great male heroes and mentors in my life. There isn’t enough room to list everyone! You know who you are and you’re all special to me! All of these great and wonderful men have made an amazing impact on my life. I seriously don’t know where I’d be without them. They’ve been an instrumental part in my growth and learning in life.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Incest and suicide. It’s two topics we tend to shy away from, but I want to hit them head on right here on my blog. These are topics I’ve never discussed openly here — Only in private with a select group of friends and family. As I’ve mentioned on many occasions, I believe this is the only place in the world where I can come and truly be myself. This is a very special place to me.
What came to mind when you read the word above? How do you feel? Does it make you angry? Sad? Indifferent?
Incest is something many American families do not talk about. For many, it’s a secret which goes to the grave. Over the years, I’ve sought in-depth knowledge of this perplexing issue which affects many families not only in America, but around the world. Is it an act of power? An attraction to one’s vulnerability and lack of defense? Is it psychological? Incest is, I believe, a common reality for many families.
As a child, I experienced incest with a family member. The episodes would begin well after everyone was asleep. He would awaken me late in the night, manipulating me to perform various acts with him. At the time, I was too young to comprehend the significance of these events, but after they ended and I grew older, I realized the horror of what I experienced.
Due to the frequency of these ‘episodes’, I never bothered to question what was occurring. It was something routine and with a family member I trusted. For many years, I never uttered a word about this secret. I didn’t want to harm the innocence of him or the health of my family.
At the age of 17, I broke my silence and told a friend. She was someone I felt would understand and much to my surprise, she shared a secret in return. It was a relief to finally tell someone! Soon after, I also told my Mom. She instinctively knew which family member I spoke of, and when she pressed for confirmation, I declined to reveal his identity for the sake of protecting him. I believe this experience was the primary contributor to my lack of self-esteem on occasion as a child and adolescent.
The weight of incest is a heavy burden for any child, adolescent or adult to carry. It truly saddens me to know that so many people are suffering in silence due to fear, shame or guilt. Their morale and confidence are at an all-time low. They question their identity, who they are and why they were chosen. It’s an unfortunate battle to fight alone and some never win.
I chose to further embrace my values of love and respect. I challenged myself to overcome this experience. I won the battle.
Few people are aware that I’ve ever considered taking my own life. Well, it’s true. When my Dad died 17 years ago, I couldn’t accept the fact that he was gone. I wanted to be with him, because there was so much left for us to share and experience. I was highly distraught, regardless of the fact that my Dad wasn’t an instrumental part of my life. I wanted to leave with him so that we could rejoice in heaven.
Shortly after his funeral, I started a series of counseling sessions with a great therapist. With each session, the urge to commit suicide lessened. I also started the slow process of accepting my Dad’s death and continuing with my own life. It wasn’t easy. Even today, I still have thoughts of my Dad and what could have been if he were still alive.
Beyond the death of my Dad, the thought of suicide has occurred on several occasions. One thing I’ve struggled with is understanding my purpose here on Earth. Given all that I’ve achieved in my young life, why would I question my purpose? Well, there are a lot of unanswered questions. Deep within my existence, I’ve long known that there was something special and unique about myself. It’s evident in the history of my life to this present day.
The burden that I carry today is unfair to myself. I want to be all things that is great change in life. I want to see an end to things which have long complicated my existence in this world. Sometimes, suicide seems to be such an attractive solution. I wouldn’t have to burden myself with figuring out how to change the world. I wouldn’t have to worry about how people perceive me. I wouldn’t have to spend another day depressed about all of the world’s problems and how to fix them.
For some, suicide is freedom. It’s a liberating act which frees one’s soul to move beyond the sphere of a controlled and distorted reality that most are oblivious to. This fact has been the root of my unhappiness and disdain for humanity for many years. This altered reality and facade we call ‘life’ has long inspired what life could be like elsewhere in the universe. I long for a reality that isn’t manipulated and shifted by the greed for control of the mind and humanity.
There are no guarantees. I can only do my best to focus less on the world’s issues and more on living a balanced and happier life, because in this era, the change I desire will not occur in my lifetime.
Chris McCandless (Credit: Chris McCandless)
Late this morning, I watched with much interest a great film: ‘Into The Wild’. Released last September, it was a film I really wanted to see and I’m glad I finally had the pleasure to do so. I was attracted to the basis of the movie, which is based on the true life story of Chris McCandless.
Frustrated with the ways of a material world and people, Chris began a journey of truth after graduating from college: He left his family, donated most of his life savings and hitchhiked across North America to explore the real true meaning of life. His journey and life would all end in Alaska, where he spent months in the wilderness with little gear, food or preparation.
Chris and ‘Into The Wild’ calls to mind what really should matter in life. As one who’s obsessed with the truth and meaning of life, Chris’ story hit home. At times, there were emotional moments during the film, because Chris reminded me much of myself: The highly conflicted young guy living in a world of fables, titles and numbers.
While I don’t think I’ll ever approach my journey in the way Chris did, I do intend to spend much time traveling this planet in search of many answers and experiences. If you haven’t seen this movie, please do. It’s not only enlightening, but also a chilling reality about who we are as people today.
There are many of people today living soulless lives: They cannot realize true freedom, success and happiness in life. They have been told all their lives that they’d amount to nothing, have little success or ever be truly happy with themselves and life in general. They’ve been deprogrammed by family, strangers and friends alike to remain uninspired and unable to harness any real passion for life and their existence.
My heart truly goes out to these individuals, for life ultimately becomes a chore rather than a mission. They cannot see beyond the confines of the boundaries they’ve established for themselves. They are unable to dream, imagine and grasp life in ways which empowers them with new and unknown capabilities.
How can any human being deny another the ability to prosper in life? To taste freedom and happiness? What are THEY afraid of? What do THEY fear?
If you are one these individuals, I’d like to ask that you take a moment and dream. Seclude yourself. Revisit your childhood. Imagine the days of when you saw yourself as a super hero, an amazing public figure or famed CEO. You can do it. Don’t deny yourself the possibilities that only you can realize and nurture.
I was twelve years old when I got the news that my Father passed on. I was in a state of disbelief, numbed and confused. At his funeral, the tears fell like an April rain. Looking back, I’m amazed that so much time has passed since his death. I think there will always be a part of my life that’s unresolved, for even today, I still have the occasional moment of shedding a tear.
There are many life lessons and death is one of them. It cannot be avoided. It’s a fact of life. Unfortunately for my Father, his departure was just too soon. However, he made choices which shortened his potential here on Earth (although I am sometimes angered by the post-effects of Vietnam and its impact on families).
Eventually, I’ll leave the dreamy state of seeing my father’s smile, enjoying a walk together or talking about life in general. Yes, even today, I still wish the outcome was different, but life goes on. You learn to adapt, grow and prosper all on your own.
Despite my Father being gone, I am thankful for my Mom and her unwavering love. It just would have been great to have it from my Father as well. I often envy those with both of their parents. It seems like the greatest gift ever.