My Non-Bucket List (or Things I will Never Do In My Lifetime)

Ah, life, filled with such joys, mysteries, and pleasantries. I want to get out more and more these days and enjoy these moments as I have become wiser with age. My eyes have experienced many things, my ears have heard the essence of beautiful music, and my senses have been brought to life because of my surroundings; therefore, I thought it would be good for me to reflect on some things that I promise myself I will never do at this stage of life. You do with your life as you desire, as for me, these following things will never make it in my book of life upon its completion.

  1. Become the next RAP/Hip Hop sensation – I’m quite certain I missed my calling back when I owned my beatbox, 2 turntables and a microphone. Sad to know I sold them at my garage sale.
  2. Skydiving – naw, I’m good here. Even if I live to be the ripe old age of 100 I will not have any desire.
  3. Eating deep-fried grasshoppers – really?? Do I even need to explain?
  4. Visiting Liberia – well, unless I join the missionary.
  5. Discovering nano-nuclear energy – technically I can still do this, but I’m having too much fun avoiding school at this juncture.
  6. Shooting zombies – I think I would get great pleasure blasting some zombies but what if it was someone I knew, like the guy I’m friends with in Accounting? I hope it doesn’t come to that because I’m sure he’d still remember the screwed up financials I provided him. My bad dog.
  7. Bungee jump off a bridge in the Amazon jungle – see Skydiving explanation above.
  8. Become a Texan – not even sure how this could be remotely possible, albeit it this is one thing that COULD very well occur given my employment. I’m just not cut out for wearing cowboy boots, a cowboy hat, and a cotton shirt with a big ass Texas flag across the front. Oh brother.
  9. Time travel – I know many of us are waiting for Marty’s return to the future but I’m guessing most of my generation will not see time travel come to fruition. Besides, who wants to end up like Jeff Goldbloom in “The Fly?” That would suck.

Yes, I know my list is fairly exhaustive and of course anything can happen. I won’t necessarily count these things completely out but I am 99.99% sure they won’t happen; although, I can really see myself as a shining rap star – kind of a cross between Kanye and Jay-Z perhaps? Only time will tell but don’t hold your breath waiting for it.

Confronting the Bully

A strange thing occurred this morning as I walked my offspring to school. We ran smack face-to-face into a kid who has been bullying my boy.

I only recently found out about this bully who is older than my 9 year old and much bigger. As with any bullying story the described bully tactics made me angry and even fearful for my child’s well being. My very reason for the school drop off this day was to ensure the school was acting appropriately. Little did I expect to encounter the young thug and his cronies.

My son didn’t point out the bully to me, we just walked past him. However, I could tell by looking at my son that this was the bothersome kid. My son kept staring straight ahead as we beelined for the door. My daughter was with us and her involuntary signals gave the perpetrator’s identity away as well. And I was beginning to fume.

My kids ran off to the lunch room as I made my way for the office. I expressed my frustration and displeasure about the previous incident and demanded it be handled correctly, otherwise I would handle it myself.

I only felt somewhat satisfied as I left the office back out into the frigid Chicago Fall air. Thoughts were running through my mind on how me and my family came into this situation. I was not bullied as a child and I didn’t understand why kids did it. Heck, I even came to the defense of the bullied souls back in the day. However, the only thing that mattered to me now was my son’s safety, and no disrespecting bastard of a kid was going to cause issue with my boy.

Then it happened. It almost felt like time paused for a moment as the Universe (or maybe God) cleared the path for me to confront the bully as I left out of the school. He and his partners were still outside talking. He was looking directly at me as I slowly approached him. I knew it was him.

Without hesitation I pardoned myself into their conversation and I began talking. I asked him if he bullied my son and he sad yes.

I said to him, “listen my man, we all need to be sticking with each other ya know? My son needs friends and doesn’t deserve to be harrassed. He’s a good boy and needs someone to be a leader not a bully. Can you be a leader to my son and others instead of picking on them? Can you be that person they look up to instead of fearing? Man, I’m counting on you to be better and do better, my man. Can you do this for me?”

The little boy was intensely focused on me as I spoke to him. His eyes were a beautiful soft brown and his complexion was smooth. I could tell he really wasn’t bad at all, just misguided and probably mis-parented. I felt for this little sixth grader.

He looked at me and shyly stated “yes I can.”

I said, “Thank you. I know you can.”

All the while I kept a fairly stern demeanor not wanting to show all of my cards. I wanted him to know I meant business yet I was willing to work with him. I asked each of the boys their names and said I was counting on them to be better and to befriend my son.

I’m not sure where my talk will take them but I hope it resonates in their souls and they understand the role they were playing as bullies is not as becoming as the role of a leader.

Go well and with love good peeps. For real.

PS – Let’s stop bullying. Support your local efforts to putting an end to this nonsense.

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The 2003 Cubs Collapse as a Microcosm of Life

I was thinking, as I always do and it usually lands me in hot water, about the 2003 Cubs and how the resulting Steve Bartman interference caused the impending doom of the team to reach the World Series. Everything unraveled in such a way that it was like watching a train wreck – you couldn’t take your eyes off of it and you knew the ending was not going to be pretty. And today is that infamous anniversary of this train wreck.

Steve Bartman

However, the biggest issue surrounding this collapse was blaming Bartman for starting the butterfly effect. We’ll never know whether it was Bartman or not but humans are notorious for blaming (me included). And it is a very difficult task to overcome. To refresh your memory; Bartman reaches out for a foul ball as most baseball fans would’ve done – this causes fan interference – runs score and the Cubs lose the game – the next game the Cubs lose again – no World Series. This was further complicated as the Cubs were up 3 games to 2. So close and yet…

So what about life? If an action I take sets some mystical aura in motion that then has an impact on your life am I truly the conduit for the change / impact to your life or am I merely a part of the process? If we were predestined to follow the paths we do in life (unbeknownst to us) then is it really my fault for setting in motion those events that change your life? Or is it just life and your ability to deal with the changes?

Many of us will say it’s our inability to accept the changes that we are dealt and we should be stronger in doing so. Yet, we don’t truly believe this for ourselves because we continue to assert blame in various ways.

We blame the President for a bad economy although the motions for a bad economy were ever looming. Wives blame husbands for their discontent when it might be more to the matter. Children blame parents for the way in which they behave. Nations blame nations for tragic and unfortunate circumstances impacting their individual citizens.

In some cases the responsibility clearly lies with the firestarter – such as Hitler where we can all agree he was the culprit. Yet, life is full of choices. The choice to follow someone like a Hitler. Or another example is slavery. Many blacks were forced to come over on slave ships. And we all agree there is some blame for the African-American’s plight to overcome. Yet, many people feel that by now blacks should’ve already overcome. Take responsibility. Yet, there were so many other elements to add into the history and mix that make this almost an impossible scenario to accept the singularly responsible trigger.

So we stay hypocritical in aspects of life in which we can relate and we stand resolute on our beliefs in other circumstances where we do not comprehend. We are complex individuals no doubt, but ultimately it comes down to choice. And the choices we make can be deadly (to ourselves or families), might be wrong (Sarah Palin as a running mate), or cause more madness about us. But we do have to accept that our responsibility in all this does matter and has unseen consequences.

Are you willing to totally accept your own responsibility and the butterfly effect you have on life or are you still prone to think other individual’s actions are the reason you are where you are in life with mountaining barriers to overcome? The choice is yours, but choose you must. Good luck with that.

Go well and with love good peeps.

Dating After 40

He Said She Said

She Said

I doubt there are many men or women who expect to be single after 40. When you reach 40, you think you’ve finally “grown up.”  So what do you do when you find yourself over 40 and single?

The article, “5 Types of Guys You’re Stuck Dating After 40,”  does a good job of summing up rather nicely my recent dating experience.  When you’re over 40 there are basically five types of guys out there.  It’s your job to find the gem among the lemons:

  1. Mr. Set-In-His Ways. “This is the 40-something guy who is totally adjusted to living alone.”  Sure, you want someone who is independent, financially secure, and can take care of themselves, but watch out for the ones that don’t allow room for another person in their lives besides their male friends who are also usually single. He likes his home exactly the way…

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Greatness Abounds in All of Us

Derek Jeter’s recent act towards retirement ended in his game winning walk-off homerun. This was an amazing act almost to the script of his career. He will go down as one of the best shortstops in the history of Major League Baseball (MLB). All the while I thought to myself – that’s nice, but each of us has some greatness or great moment within us. Yes we do!

jeter

Whether you had your great moment when you were a teen or you are 80 greatness must be available for everyone. God wouldn’t have it any other way.

I can’t imagine there is no one on this Earth that presumes they don’t have it in them. I would challenge each and every one of us whether this to be true.

I don’t write this just to instill positivity in your day, which is easy to do when you are pumping up individuals concerning greatness, but it is the truth. I want my kids to understand their ability to be great. I want my nieces and nephews to know that they are great. I want my cousins and friends to realize the greatness in them.

Greatness is not reserved just for the likes of Derek Jeter. It is available and recognized for all.

And when you build on that great moment as Jeter has his entire career you come away with greatness beyond measure. A beautiful thing when you are paving your own road of life. But you don’t stop at one moment of greatness, although it is nice to reflect, but you catapult yourself to the next. Then to the next moment, and so on and so on until you look back and you smile at all of the great things you have accomplished. There is nothing wrong with admiring the road you traveled. It was YOUR road and YOU deserve to reflect on how you made. Some might even say, “Glory to God!” for the path they took.

Do not sell yourself short of your greatness. Do not boast about your ability to be great. Do not expect greatness to just appear in your life. You…just do it. (Sorry Nike, the phrase fit well.)

Greatness will follow the hard work you put in. It will show up at your doorsteps when you least expect it. It will follow you in life if you dedicate yourself to doing what is right.

And now, as I prepare my kids for school and life I am reminded of their opportunities for greatness. I am only here to clear the paths and allow them to be. They have already done some great things at their young ages, thus, we can all look back and tie these moments together creating a collective string of greatness. In the end they will appreciate their accomplishments and will hopefully continue to build on them.

Therefore, take this as encouragement for yourself – even if you don’t need it – but go out and be great.

Go well and with love good peeps.