Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

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On the Eve of Independence

August 15, 2012

I have found myself saying, “I can’t believe how fast time has gone” more and more these past five years of being a parent. Almost to the point where I know I am annoying other people because I am annoying myself. But the truth is, it has gone fast. Tomorrow my first child… my little girl… my sweetie… is going to kindergarten.

Addi has given me the greatest gift I could have ever been given, the opportunity to be a father to a daughter. I’ve had to learn patience, how to remove a “piggy holder” without pulling hair, change a diaper, cry and not feel unmanly, love deeper than I ever have, and to understand and embrace change.

It is that last one that gets us all. It hits us deep. Our little ones aren’t so little. They aren’t so dependent. They are growing up and in a fast way.

It all hit me tonight. Maybe I internalized it, maybe I tried to avoid it, but it is here. As a parent none of us are really prepared, how could you? Until you have been through 12 weeks of sleep deprivation, spit up, mustard poop, crying (from all involved), when does the belly button fall off, and any other first time parent stresses, as a civilization we would have died off long ago if this thing came with a pre-test.

Those first 12 weeks of her life seem so distant now. She has changed, I have changed, our family has changed, our lives have changed.

Addi, I know you’ll do well, not just in kindergarten, but in life. Your sense of humor, your compassion, your competitiveness, your kind heart, your smile, will all serve you well. I have had the privilege of seeing you grow as a helpless infant into a classy and fabulous five year old who has helped her old man understand the importance and priority of things in life. You have given me an even greater love and respect for my parents, your mother, your brother, my sister, our entire family and friends, and that what we do in life means nothing, if we aren’t living for something greater than our own self.

When you get on the steps of that bus tomorrow and we wave as you head off on your next journey, don’t forget the thousands of amazing steps we have already taken in your first five years together. I only wish with every step you take, I could hold your hand, because it is so damn hard to let go.

I’m proud of you. I adore you. I love you Addi.
Dad

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We are…losing grasp on what is important

November 10, 2011

After all the events that transpired since the weekend and then the 10:00 news conference last night, I am, like many, saddened.

But not like most die-hard Penn State fans. Not like the ones who are crying foul that their beloved head coach has been treated so poorly by administration, media, and some fans; that he himself has faced a criminal act. No I am sad that people are placing a higher value on the game of football and a coach, than the true criminals who hurt and abused countless little boys in University facilities.

How can anyone lose sight that the real issue here isn’t an NCAA violation, it is the violation and vile acts against innocent children? Sure, I am bitter. I spent 35 years cheering for a man and program that up until last week I would have defended like my own. And the weight of feeling cheated and let down is crushing.

I can see why people can’t let go and acknowledge this was indeed the right thing to do. In a world that seems to get more violent, disgraceful, disgusting, and selfish every day; there was a man whose values rose above those acts; a man who single-handedly changed a game, a city, a University, and even a culture.

And it just that reason why I feel no sympathy or sadness for Joe. Had he truly been the man above, he would have used that idol status that so many in central PA and around the country anointed him, to do the right thing. To go above and beyond a protocol, to tirelessly defend those who can’t defend themselves, and selflessly, not selfishly put himself out there at all costs.

Everyone makes mistakes and ironically the biggest mistake this icon made, might be the best lesson he inadvertently taught. As a society, we all fail, when we sit idly by and hope someone else will make things better. All 6’5 and 230 of Mike McQueary could have been used to stop a stomach churning event and helped a little boy who God only knows how much he has suffered and sadly will probably always continue to do so. Instead he cowardly left, he left the facilities. He talked to his father and then to Joe and they left it up to someone else, who then left that repulsive excuse for a human, back into their facilities until last week.

I hope as a society we all take back responsibility, accountability, and respect in ourselves so that we feel empowered as individuals to make a difference and do the right thing, especially when those decisions and actions impact the world’s greatest gift, our children.

I’m not sure if I will watch this weekend. I so badly want to move on and cheer loudly for the 125 young men who want nothing more than to escape on the football field and do what they love. They have done nothing wrong. However, at this time cheering for a game seems wrong and almost inappropriate in light of what has happened. I’d rather cheer knowing that those guilty will never see the light of day again and for any victims who have overcome this. It is their strength, comfort, and peace I pray for.

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When he passes the name

April 1, 2011

Time passes without asking, yet we ask for more
Pain can end quickly, yet burns forever more
We make peace with what we have been dealt
But that doesn’t take away the hurt that was felt
When we look in the mirror, we do not see our faces
Rather our fathers are looking back at us from different places
Pictures stir memories, some of which were distant
But the bond in sharing is easily reminiscent
Of times when things were easy and care free
Now we must face life and its harsh cruelty
Since we were born we shared more than we really new
And as we grew those characteristics grew too
As we seek out and ask for answers we may never find
We must be comforted knowing that all the time
We were really him and he was really us
A father and son’s love, more special and glorious
So when he passes the name, we must show the world
That the lessons we learned from him we did not ignore
Because one day too we will pass the name
But not yet…not yet… there is too much life to gain.

 

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I haven’t had a bad day.

February 17, 2011

As funny as that sounds I need to remind myself of just that. I haven’t had a bad day.

My wife recently shared another sad story from her work at Riley. I’ll save the details except that another preventable and unthinkable act was taken and the result is a child who will live the rest of their life hooked up to a machine. The child was never really loved and will never experience the most simple of activities going forward. Sliding down a slide, walking in a park, and even giving a hug. I never faced such adversity as a child. I have a loving family who has supported, encouraged, loved, and fostered my growth even as an adult.

I haven’t had a bad day.

One of our close friends is a facing a battle with their child that I can only image tests every fiber of their being and every thread of their core. I don’t know how they do it and I only hope that one day I can be that strong. Honestly, I actually hope I never have to be that strong. My kids are laughing, my kids are growing, my kids are healthy and my kids are loved.

I haven’t had a bad day.

I recently read another story about a young person who committed suicide as a result of bullying. Some of these kids are harassed because of their weight, sexual orientation, religion, beliefs, and sometimes simply because they are individuals in a world of conformists. What a shame. What a shame in 2011 we can’t embrace the differences that all make us unique and work together towards common goals that only help humanity, not tear down what makes us human. I’ve never had to feel like I couldn’t be myself. I’ve had family and friends who have put their love and trust in me and in return helped me know my place in the world.

I haven’t had a bad day.

I am guilty, just like the rest of us that I don’t reflect on what I have enough. And it is unfortunate that sometimes we don’t think of these simple blessings and graces until something bad happens. Sure I’ve had my share of pain, but never have I had to go alone and never have I had no where to turn.

I haven’t had a bad day.

 

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When one door closes, it’s good to have the master key to the rest of the house.

January 24, 2011

I had something happen to me for the first time in my life. I was given my walking papers due to re-structuring and re-focusing at work on November 30th. For more than twelve years in the ad agency business, I was always on the other side and learned early about survivor’s guilt, making myself marketable, and staying grounded, driven, and positive.

And yet this time it got me. And it was the best thing that ever happened to me professionally. I am not embarrassed or ashamed I was let go. I’d like to think my ego hasn’t grown so much that I can’t admit the truth. I simply didn’t have a specific PR foundation and background to warrant keeping a tenured advertising guy on staff. Kudos to my former boss for recognizing he and his agency needed to change and get back to their roots. I also appreciate the way in which I was let go. They did some things for me they didn’t have to and that took the stress out of these past seven weeks, especially over the holidays.

And in there lies the one thing they didn’t intend to give me, that was the greatest gift.

I spent more than six weeks at home with my two kids, my wife when she wasn’t at work, and friends and family, all over the holiday season.

I danced with my daughter in her room to songs we didn’t know, I was there to ride through the sleepless nights as my son got his first two teeth, I was able to help be Santa with my wife, and I grew an even deeper appreciation for the countless friends and family who reached out to me with support.

And now I am happily part of the team at The Momentum Group, a small, very cool shop in Broad Ripple doing some amazing things in the branding, digital, social, and traditional advertising space. I have certainly found a home.

So as I look back on my career already, one thing always rides true. No matter what, under any circumstances, sell yourself short by changing who you are, how you conduct yourself, and not treating others with respect. Because as I have just found out, sometimes the unexpected can turn into the greatest gift.

“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”
Maria Robinson


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Dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die today.

December 8, 2010

I finally saw Kenny Chesney’s Boys of Fall documentary last night after it sat unloved in DVR-land. I am an admitted football freak, but there was some great commentary from old coaches and players about life and striving to always reach the dream you had as a child.

The thing that stuck out to me the most was John Madden talking about making sure that you still find the fun in what you do. Once you have lost the joy in what we are doing, you lose the passion, fire, and desire to chase your dreams and goals.

I agree completely. Too often we get caught up in the stress and wear and tear of the daily grind to find the fun in what we do. I am not implying that every day should include uncontrolled laughter and high fives, but we should get enjoyment out of our work.

It also makes me realize how the culture of your work environment can either support and embrace an individual’s goals or completely demoralize and paralyze a person’s path to reach those same goals.

I am personally tired of a culture that simply looks for someone to blame, is blind with arrogance and self-indulgence, and limits other’s ambition by being complacent with their own situation.

I like this quote from James Dean. “Dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die today.

No one is going to stop me from continuing to reach toward my life’s goals and nothing other than myself will impact that drive. I’d rather die trying than lie dying wishing I would have done more.

 

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This Thanksgiving give thanks by acknowledging another human being.

November 23, 2010

I was running early Saturday morning and as I headed down a foggy road past some of the remaining farms in Fishers an elderly man hobbled his way towards the road and gave me a big smile. As a matter of fact, he patiently waited until I smiled back. I yelled “Good morning, how are you?” To which he gave me a bigger smile and said, “Great thank you. I just wish I could do that!” Well, I wish more people would do more of what he just did.

He smiled, he acknowledged, and then he made me smile. He passed on what makes us all human, our thoughts, feelings, emotions, and the need to feel appreciated.

I’m sure this is reflective of the greatest generation. People who gave all they had to fight against oppression, hatred, and intolerance so we all have something to smile about. They fought so we all, as human beings, could have what we so desperately want and need. The right to be our own individuals in a world of masses, to speak when we feel so moved to do so, and to live without fearing for our freedoms.

One of my fraternity brothers, Jeremy Gray, recently posted his pet peeve of people that don’t say hello when you look them in the eye and say it to them. Chris Jackson, another brother who posted an oddly similar frustration when he told someone to have a nice day and they replied, “I will.” It is a sad state of humanity when simply acknowledging another human being has become either an afterthought or no thought at all.

How great could this country be if we all showed a little compassion, understanding, tolerance, and appreciation for those around us? And why stop there. The world could use a giant dose of selflessness.

My dad says it well, “You don’t have to be best friends with everyone, you just have to learn how to get along with everyone.” I agree completely and I am thankful for those of us out there who get it.

What are you thankful for this year?