Reinventing Myself: Realizing What Really Matters

This week marks exactly one year since our dog, Jack, abruptly left us.

jack-&-I

Appearing fine with the rising of the sun, by nightfall he was no more. That’s a grim progression to experience any time, but to complicate this horribly unpleasant and unexpected bump in our highway of life, Jack’s passing occurred the exact morning I was slated to leave town for three months of contracted work. My wife and I, heartbroken, left the veterinarian and, upon arriving home, tearfully hugged each other as I slid into my rental car, and left her forlorn and isolated in our grievously hollow home.

Intertwined throughout the choking weight of sadness I carried was woven a heavy rope of guilt. But what are you going to do? It was three months worth of employment, planned well in advance. If your occupation takes you away — even when it’s more than inconvenient — you’re bound to go.

Life goes on — so to speak.

When my travel concluded, my wife requested,

“I know you love what you do – and I want you to be happy. But, I really need you not to travel so often. Would you please try and earn more of your income here?”

I agreed, not only because of her request, but also because I had been growing weary of the travel hassles. Her vocalizing my thoughts cemented the decision. So, for the last several months, I have been “reinventing myself at 60,” not something I intended – nor something I recommend, but as they say, “Life is what happens while we’re making other plans.” Mostly, short of scurrying hither and yon sussing out new modes of income, I’m doing okay. To that end, I do more coaching, both in person and on-line. I’m producing my own local seminars. I’ve snagged more hours assisting clients with marketing and consulting. And, I’m pleased as heck that even after 20 years together, I really do still enjoy spending so many hours with my lovely bride (and how cool is it that she says she enjoys having me around).

Today however brought forth an unexpected revelation: The most difficult component of my reinvention is that I no longer know who I am.

[Read more…]

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6 Ways to be a Better Parent

father's and baby's hands

“I’m not going to do things the way my parents did when I have kids.”

How many times have we all said this, only to revert back to what’s comfortable — what we know — when our feet are actually held to the fire? Instead of going against the grain of what we heard as kids, we just emulate mom and dad. Later, we feel terrible and can’t believe what came out of our mouths or what we did.

Becoming a better parent is more difficult than a lot of things, including climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and snapping a selfie with that rascal Bigfoot. However, it’s completely possible when you set out to make small changes on a daily basis. The key is to be consistent and to stay on track, not to become the mother or father you think you should be overnight.

Below are a few of the simplest ways to make a revolutionary change in your parenting style over the long haul. [Read more…]

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The Very Best Holiday Treats

In a previous lifetime, when I was in radio, there was an expression:

“You can tell how successful a disc-jockey is by the size of the trailer attached to his car.”

car-and-trailer-cartoon

This was a reference to how often on-air personalities had to pack up and move, usually seeking larger markets or better opportunities.

Such is the saga as to how Humboldt County became my home.

Much like Harry Chapin’s song, “W-O-L-D,” I bounced around the western U.S., ending up as morning personality and music director at a classic rock station in Southern California, where I also published an industry newsletter. A newly hired consultant for a pair of radio stations among the redwoods followed my periodical and brought me up here. Initially, my strategy was to remain “a couple of years” and take family and trailer to San Francisco. If 31 years constitutes “a couple of years,” I might still be on track. Elsewise, it looks like I’m here for the duration.

After leaving radio with a background in promotion, I earned my take as a marketing consultant (which I still do at times). Some of my clients were political campaigns.

Following so far? (There will be a test.)

Anyhoo, a dozen years ago, I was one cog in the wheel of a team that helped manage the successful campaign of a local official, who was since been re-elected twice, and is now retiring. We don’t see each other very much these days. It’s not that there’s any animosity, quite the contrary; he’s always very warm when we bump into each other. It’s just, you know how life is, right? He’s doing his thing and I do mine. However, recently his “team” personally reached out to me, extending a special invitation to his retirement soiree, basically saying, “You were there at the beginning. It would be great if you showed up.” [Read more…]

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Giving thanks in Confusing Times

Consider this column a holiday public service.

family reunion

Consider it an aide memoire of what really matters. Consider it anything you wish. However, I wanted to take these moments, particularly at this time of year, to remind us — me — of some reasons to offer up thanks. After all, despite what sometimes passes as common belief, Thanksgiving is not a caloric competition.

With beheadings and renewed violence in the Middle East, an exaggerated Ebola scare; a frightening escalation of global warming; vitriolic hyperbolic, unproductive, childlike exchanges among “our leaders” about everything from affordable healthcare to immigration; a still-shaky standard of living for far too many; gridlock in Government, and — oh yeah — the worst drought in centuries here in California, we’re having quite some time of it all.

In times such as we find ourselves, it is vital to recall the words of Francois de La Rochefoucauld,

“Gratitude is merely the secret hope of further favors.”

The future will be better; be assured. Yet, while we are still chopping though the rough seas of today, some reminders might be in order.

Nonetheless, what really matters is that many of us will be surrounded by family and friends, people who support and guide us.

When we are off course, they redirect us. When we are on track, they congratulate us. When illness ravages our body and beats our spirit, they, like angels, sit by our side and heal us. When we are overwhelmed, they hold us near. When infused with joy, they join us in song. What a blessing, in the midst of seas of swirling, chaotic, pandemonium, to find islands of protection where we can have a rest and reclaim our souls. To say to them, “Thank you,” is woefully, pitifully, inadequate. Yet, it can do no harm.

[Read more…]

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Funny Video: Holiday Dinner Get Together

If you’ve ever had to prepare the Holiday dinner and please everyone’s tastes, you’ll find this hysterical.

Most likely you will even if you haven’t had to do the actual prep; especially if you’re “of a certain age” or trying to watch what you eat.

[Read more…]

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