Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Aspirations

I had the opportunity to spend a small amount of time with some truly great people.  It was just a few days but it was one of those events that make you reflect on what you have done in your life and who you are. I had the pleasure of meeting a 4 star general, a colonel, two majors, a sergeant, and an FBI special agent.

I have met a lot of great people in the course of my life.  Those people have made me think, wonder, and change.  People who have helped shape my beliefs and have made me better.  These individuals, to say the least, are up at the top of that list of people.

They were incredibly humble and good natured.  More importantly they were incredibly human.

I guess I didn't really know what I was expecting when I learned that I was going to get to spend some time with them.  People like that seem somewhat apposed to what I've done with my life.  They are driven and somehow completely selfless.  The greater mission that they are a part of drives them, not personal gain or glory.

I guess I expected them to be superhuman.  And in a way I guess they are, just now how I thought. 

It is refreshing at my age to have my expectations dashed, then exceeded.  All in on stroke. 

The more I think about it the more I realize that I have a lot of work to do.  That there are truly great people out there and that I should be seeking them out, emulating them.

I believe I'm a pretty decent person, but these people were great human beings.  The lesson I have learned is good is ok, but I should never stop striving to be great.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

24 Hours

My day has been terrible.

My day sucked.

Worst day of my life.

I seem to hear that more and more these days.  Not that I'm arguing with them.  How would I know what kind of day they are having.  But it seems to be a prevalent thought with the people I know and work with. 

Oddly enough, no matter how much the day sucks, it's still only 24 hours long.  The day will end at some point, no matter how bad it has been.  A new day will start and your attitude will either start new with it, or the old one will carry over.  It's your choice really.

Now I know that there are truly some shitty days, weeks, months and even years.  Horrible stuff happens to people all the time.  But the people who get through those dark times seem to be the ones who are more optimistic that the light they see isn't a train.  They somehow keep their nose just above the water and keep working towards the shore.

Those people I have to admire.  They seem to have an innate ability to embrace the crappy mess they  are in, while realizing that it's only temporary.  They seem to understand that they only have control over their reaction to circumstance.  Not resignation per se, more of a deeper understanding of their own thoughts and the consequences that they bring.

Humans are funny creatures in my experience.  When we are relaxed and happy time seems to fly by.  When our lives have gone to hell each and every second seems like an eternity.  At some point, as I grow older, I wonder if that isn't some kind of biological programming to help us survive.  Budhists believe that living in the moment is the key to happiness. One would think they may have that right.  If only we could get our brains to swap the time flies happiness with the eternity sucking downside.  Maybe we can if we just focus on it.  I don't know.

What I do know is that there are 7 billion people on this planet.  At any time at least 1 billion are probably having a shitty day.  Some way shittier that I could ever imagine.  And I am grateful for not being one of them.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Conundrum

This whole supreme court nomination process has taken a horrible turn for the worse.  For all parties involved, more than likely.

Here we have a woman who has come forward with an accusation (I won't get into the second accusation.  Once you dig into that it has a whole lot of holes in the story).  Everything in the way she has acted to this point seems to follow the pattern of someone who has suffered a sexual assault.  Brett Cavanaugh is nominated, and in good conscience she submits a letter to her representative in congress that details out her experience.  Not the way I may have done it, but in todays political climate I can't blame her for choosing that route. 

The nominee denies it outright.  There is no evidence that someone could dig up from 36 years ago that would be credible.  The person who she said was there stated that he has no recollection of the event.  Women he has been associated with all his life, from romantic interests to co-workers, have come forward enmasse to state that he never acted that way towards them.  Ever.  So it comes down to a he said/she said.  Except we might get the chance to look them in the eye while they tell us the story.  Might.....

The real problem with this whole situation is that it's become political.  Both sides are playing with the MeToo movement on this one, and it's a really shitty thing to do.

The senator who received the letter waited 6 weeks to bring it up.  6 WEEKS.  Almost all the way through the confirmation process.  Why you ask?  Simple, they are stalling for time.  They are hoping that they come away with control of the house during the mid term elections.  Then they can pull the republicans game of stalling and not completing the process  until they get a nominee that they want.  So we had 6 weeks of time that went by and during that time nothing was investigated, and no questions were asked.  They waited until the time suited them best and dropped the bomb.

The republicans who are in charge of the committee are being just as hypocritical.  I know that time is supposedly short on this for them, but it's a nomination to the supreme court.  It's important, really important.  They are going to have a circus style hearing that will included testimony from both of them.  We all know where it's going to lead, and where it will end.  He will get the vote from the committee and it will move the the Senate.  And he will be confirmed.

The shame of it is we, as a people, should have demanded a closer look.  We should have expected that there would have been people who attended those schools during that time period to be interviewed.  We, no matter which side of the isle your on, should expect to be able to discern the truth.

I don't know if something happened or not.  I'm inclined to believe that something happened to that woman.  Her actions and reactions add up to someone who has experienced trauma.

But is that enough to ruin a mans career.  Have we jumped the shark so far that the accusation without any evidence is enough to convict a man in the  court of public opinion?

I guess we will find out soon enough.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

A Debt

The older I get the more I lose my sense of ego.  I am having the privilege of becoming more humble as time goes on, and realizing that it is happening.  Which is a fascinating experience. 

In retrospect it seems that I owe a lot of people in my past a debt.  That debt can never be repaid, not in any currency anyway.  I owe them a debt of knowledge, growth, and self awareness.  Some of the lessons taught were harsh and some were kind.  All of them were necessary.

You see, I wouldn't be here today without them.  My life would have taken a very different path, of that I am sure.  Those lessons have become the foundation for my character and for who I still want to become in life. The people who supplied those lessons also supplied a snapshot of what those possibilities are.  Both good and bad.

So I paid attention to what the experiences taught me.  I continue to learn as I grow and mature.  The experience will always be the same, but the lesson will change with growth and time.

I have not always been ready for what I needed to be taught.  Time and retrospect allows me to learn even today. 

So to the people of my past, my sincerest thanks to you all.  Whether you were a friend or foe does not matter.  I took the experiences you provided and applied them to my life.  I learned from them.  And because of that I can move forward towards the man I want to be.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

A little kindness

I just got some bad news over the weekend.  An incredibly kind person passed away.  She was 94.  I knew her and her husband 15 years ago in a tiny ghost town called Kilgore, Idaho.

It was January, and according to the locals, the worst winter anyone could remember.  It was 30 below zero every morning when we went to work, and on good days it got to minus 10.  There was 10 feet of snow on the ground.  Some mornings we had to use the truck exhaust to warm up the snow machines so they would start.  The job we were doing was crazy.  We tried to convince our client to hold off, but to no avail.  We shouldn't have been there.

But we were.  We were all pretty tough guys.  We'd spent a lot of time in the elements and had the right gear for the weather.  But nothing can prepare you for that grind of working 15 days straight in those conditions.  I didn't see the sun until the day we left and went home.  All of us had frostbite.  Pulled ribs, blown out knees, bad backs.  We were either breaking trail, or we were trying to snowshoe through rugged country.  Our bodies eventually had to give out.

The one bright spot in this adventure was that the two year round inhabitants of Kilgore took us under their wing.  An older couple who had lived and ranched in that valley for many years.  Their daughter lived one town over.  We got to know them all, even most of the people in the next town over.  They thought we were crazy.  And talk of crazy people spreads pretty quickly.

Those two showed us a kindness that seems to be disapearing today.  They took us in, looked out for us, and did their best to make sure we survived.  The didn't have to, but they were from a different era.  A different place in time and space.  I truly believe that we would never have been successful without them.  They always had a pot of coffee in the morning for us while we got ready.  They would call the road department to pull us out of the ditch if we didn't arrive by a certain time.  They made sure we all made it out of the back country every day.  They did their absolute best to help us nurse our wounds.

We knew they were beautiful souls, and that we were lucky to have that brief time with them.  Their kindness made us better, and made us want to be better.

He died of an accidental gun discharge on the ranch he loved.  We went to his funeral.

She died this last weekend of natural causes in the next town over.  With her daughter next to her.  I won't be able to go to hers.

Enough time has passed that my heart isn't broken, but I do feel a deep sadness.  They were extraordinary people, and my life has been better for knowing them.  Even for that short of a time.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Making Due

Sometimes you have to make due with what you have.  It may be harder, take longer and in general be a huge pain in the ass.  But there are going to be times in life when it is just going to be what it is.  And, to be totally honest, there isn't a damn thing  you can do about it.

I've been in that situation for a little while now.  I've had to learn the quirks and personalities of things that should not have an ounce of either.  But there I was, talking to inanimate objects like they could hear me.  If someone actually saw me they would have been tempted to call the authorities.  And off to the loony bin I would have went.  Oddly enough, those things could get the whole range of emotions out of me.  From rage to quiet resignation and everything in between.

But just recently I got an upgrade.  Not the one I really wanted, but one that would help considerably.  I was ecstatic.  Finally I wouldn't be banging my head against the wall.  Finally I had some new tech that would alleviate my frustration.  Or so I thought.

That's the funny part about mixing the old and the new.  The problems that I was having simply disappeared.  And for a brief moment all was right with the universe.  But then problems I could not have imagined started to pop up.  And I was straight back to talking like a mad man.  All I can say is thank god for youtube and message boards.  It's comforting to know that I'm not the only one who has these issues.  Oh, and now I can at least try a few things to regain my sanity.

I see the point in all of this of course.  Just because it's new doesn't mean that it's going to make everything better.  It's just new, not a magic wand.

I think this is where we get all wound up in our society.  We all want new.  Thinking that it will solve all of our problems.  We want the bright shiny penny.  But it really doesn't make a difference in the end.  New won't get rid of our problems.  It won't placate our demons.  It's just new.

So next time I'll have high hopes that new will be helpful.  But I'll check my enthusiasm with the knowledge that it may just be new problems. 

Monday, August 6, 2018

A busy summer

It's been a while since I posted.  Sorry about that.  Once again, the summer has flown by.  We seem to have been consumed with projects.  One right after the other with no time in between.  We did finally get to take a long weekend to the lake.  Which was just what we needed. 

The weird part about that is that we were stressing out about it leading up to the trip.  Getting ready, doing this and that, traveling.  My brain was lying to me and saying that it was to much trouble.  Funny, when we got there it was exactly the thing we needed.  We relaxed, if just for a few days.  We didn't work on projects.  We let you batteries recharge.

I needed it.  Life has been hectic.

I think we all suffer from the same thing every once in a while.  We get so wound up in what we are doing we forget to step back and give ourselves a little space.  We forget that life isn't all about work, sometimes it's simply about leaning back and enjoying the view. 

I need to work on that.  I need to be able to step back, look at my life as a whole, and see what's really important.  I get buried in what I'm doing, and that's not a good way to live life.  You need to have a balance where you can get into the weeds, but you can also step back and look up.  See the actual forest, not just the trees.

I think I've known this since I was young.  But it's easy to forget these things when you think life has to be a certain way.  When you see the image of what you are expected to be as a man, father, husband.  It's an image I only have for myself oddly enough.  Other people don't put those expectations on me.  I put them on myself.

I'm going to try to use this as a wake up call of sorts.  To give myself a little space to enjoy life a little more and try to worry a little less.  And to attempt to break the shackles of the expectations I put on myself as a younger man.

Maybe I can grow a little young again.