Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Breaking Free by Letting Go

It’s not worth it to go back and forth picking lines at the supermarket because most of the time you’ll pick the wrong one anyway

It’s not worth it to get on someone’s case incessantly about something you want them to change because when you think about it how many people really ever respond to nagging?

It’s not worth it to keep on arguing or debating when tempers start flaring because that’s usually when empathy and understanding and even listening pretty much are a lost cause.

It’s not worth it to curse out bad drivers or engage in other forms of road rage because how often does the person you are screaming at really ever drive away learning a lesson anyway?

It’s not worth it to demand or expect that someone who you know is mentally or emotionally sick or unstable to consistently make emotionally healthy decisions – It could be similar to insisting that someone with a broken leg get up and run.

It’s not worth it to expect that people that you care about will never hurt you, disappoint you or let you down, because the truth is that they will, just as you will do the same to them from time to time.

It’s not worth it to get overly angry at kids for being kids because you were a kid once and you did the same kinds of things to your parents and teachers whether you remember it or not

It’s not worth it to allow yourself to be quick to take offense because you will most assuredly find yourself wasting a lot of time feeling annoyed over little things you could have just as easily ignored

It’s not worth it to keep holding onto a grudge because sooner or later you will feel the squeeze of the grudge holding onto you

It’s not worth it to keep on perseverating anxiously on a matter that is beyond your control because the amount of time that you spend ruminating about about an issue usually has no actual effect on the outcome

It’s not worth it to be overly critical because sooner or later people will just tune you out or just avoid your opinion altogether if you have nothing positive to say.

It’s not worth it to allow money to be your primary concern because you may never end up feeling like you have enough anyway

It’s not worth it to give up trying to manage difficult emotions because if not you will allow your difficult emotions to manage you

It’s not worth it to quit the fight against an addiction or any other self-destructive behavior because no one ever regrets breaking free once they get there.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Tales from a Colonoscopy

I apologize if this blog entry is a little gross but bear with me because there is a point to it. Millions today, especially in more developed countries have had the experience of having a colonoscopy. For any younger people reading this maybe you have not had one yet but at some point, just for safe-keeping your doctor sooner or later will recommend you for one by the time you are middle-aged. Most people reading this know what a colonoscopy entails so I won’t get into the details about what it’s all about but let’s just say it’s a necessary medical procedure for everyone at some point.

So I was laying in my hospital bed waiting for my turn on the doctor’s table for a colonoscopy one fine day. There was a guy next to me who I never got to see, but because we were only separated by a curtain I could hear him on his cell phone making all kinds of big plans and important decisions. I could tell he had some kind of high level position someplace impressive based on the way he was barking out commands and negotiating critical deals. All the while, he was being arrogant and rude with the nurses and other staff and he definitely didn’t care enough to keep his voice down so the other patients like myself could rest and relax. I could remember taking comfort in the fact that at this moment this big shot executive was no better than me as he too was waiting to get a tube stuck up his butt just like me. “All the money and prestidge in the world couldn’t save him from that today!” - That was one of the last things I can remember thinking before the sedatives kicked in and I fell asleep. 

So what’s the lesson? In reality a rich man is just a few bad money deals away from being a poor man. A strong man is just one injury away from being disabled and physically needy. A rock star is just one bad song away from drifting off into obscurity. When you take the time to look deep inside (pun intended), really we are all pretty much the same. Rich, poor, strong, or weak, a little humility goes a long way.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Navigating through Reality

One day I was looking out an open window and my son, who was about 3 or 4 at the time, was in the backyard with a cape playing superman. I was watching him run, jump and grunt in what appeared to be a sincere effort to try to fly. He tried “lift off” over and over without success several times, just to make sure I guess. Finally he stopped trying and just kept on happily playing in the yard as enthusiastically as at the start. Observing him going through that “reality check” at such a young age was strange yet interesting. I can remember feeling sad for him as any father would because no one likes to see someone they love face disappointment. Still, at the same time I was happy that he was able to bounce back and keep right on playing, seemingly un-phased. One of the things that many of us love about children is how they imagine and dream. At the same time, another great quality in children is their incredible resiliency. Interestingly, as we get older we may decrease in our inborn abilities in both of these areas; As life hands us more and more “reality checks” over the years, we may lose our ability to dream, and it may also take longer and longer to bounce back from disappointment if we are not careful. You rarely hear of a child needing a few days off to de-stress and start taking anti-depressants after simply learning that he or she can’t fly like superman. Healthy children just readjust and refocus their dreams and keep on going as they face reality.

As we become adults and increase in our level of life experience we learn to clarify, define and express our dreams through our personal life goals. Effective life goals take into account our hopes and dreams while always considering the ever-present realities that we face. It is so critical to our happiness that we keep our goals in front of us or else life can become stagnant, mundane and even depressing. However, in order to set the right goals for ourselves, we cannot afford to ignore reality either. So, rather than letting reality crush our hopes and dreams, why not view reality as a guide instead of as a barrier? If reality insists for now that you that you cannot fly, then simply modify your goals based on what you can do. The important thing is to just keep on moving in the right direction no matter what comes our way.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Dennis Rodman is in North Korea

Don’t worry because I have heard that it is for the purpose of “friendship” and not politics or diplomacy, whatever that means. Meanwhile it’s my kids first day of school tomorrow and I can still hear them tossing and turning and making noise at 11:05pm when they have to catch the bus for their first day of school after summer vacation at 7:00am. I am up drinking coffee and perusing social media sites while the world tries to figure out what to do about 1100+ men, women and children killed with deadly nerve gas in Syria. Coincidentally, earlier in the week someone complained to my coworker that they felt suicidal because they lost their wallet. On another hand, I know an elderly person who wakes up just about every day to do volunteer work with a fractured spine that is too delicate to operate on yet I also know others half as old, who have called it quits and packed up on days where they find that they have a slow Wi-Fi connection. I myself have called out sick for being “tired” on occasion when I know someone else who chooses to show up to work daily with a chronic illness that I can hardly imagine what it is like to have.

In the old days our parents or grandparents used to tell us to eat our food because “millions of children are starving in China, (or Africa, etc.)” Somehow we have gotten away from that realization even though decisively more children are starving now than were back in our parent’s time. Interestingly, it is not uncommon to hear a child of today complain that they won’t eat the hot dogs we just cooked them because they are Shop Rite brand which we got on sale and not Sabrett’s or they won’t eat the chips we bought them because we forgot to get Cool Ranch flavored or they won’t wear the sneakers we bought them because there not Nike’s.

Think for a second about your “important forms” file wherever you keep it. We all have those vital documents and letters that we probably only even look at every few years just when we need them, yet when we need one and its gone, we’ll tear apart the house looking for it. For example, it is commonplace at my place of work for someone to call incessantly the day before a court date or other event saying “I gotta have that form faxed over today, its life or death!” In addition, big businesses and powerful corporations and other power players seal multi-million dollar agreements on forms and letters then store them in big important buildings in big cities, in big locked file rooms for safe keeping. Yet on September 11, 2001 when the World Trade Center buildings were suddenly and tragically destroyed, millions of those indispensable forms and papers were blown all over the streets of New York City like leaves blown off a tree in a windstorm. Yet somehow the world went on while many of these once urgent “life or death” forms and documents lay in the gutter stepped over like common trash and no one gave them a second thought.

When a private unexpected tragedy strikes an individual or family it is much like a “personal 9/11” event for those directly affected. Suddenly the bills that were stressed over, the home repairs that may have been neglected, and the unsettled arguments with others that were once obsessed over, instantly become meaningless like those once critical forms and papers that were turned to garbage in the blink of an eye on 9/11. Depending upon the incident, it can take a long time to restore even a semblance of normalcy and in many cases, dependent upon the circumstances of one’s “personal 9/11” things will never be the same again for an entire lifetime for those directly involved.

This blog entry is not about politics, nor is it statement about changing the world itself. Instead, the message is simple and cliché, yet so often forgotten when we get caught up in the whirlwind that is life in today’s ever changing, fast paced world.  Keep things in perspective. Unfortunately if you do not remember that on a daily basis, life will eventually remind you. For all of you who may be reading this who may be going through a personal 9/11 event or know someone else who is, my heart goes out to you as I hope for you to maintain the strength to endure during your difficult time.