Category Archives: Inspirational

What Do You Live For

This is one of the most important questions you can ask yourself when trying to find happiness in life…at least according to me.  What do you live for?  Understand this…there will always be someone who thinks you’re not doing enough “something” in your life.  You don’t work out enough, you don’t eat well enough, you don’t know enough history, you haven’t thought enough about the future, you don’t have enough money, you watch too much TV, etc…

The thing with life is that there are hundreds of billions of things to know and do, and you are never, no matter how much you try, going to know or do each one of those things inside and out.  So never mind what other people say.  Stop reading things in social media where people wax poetic about how knowledgeable they are about politics, or how to stop ISIS, or global warming…and how stupid you are if you aren’t paying attention to your vitamin D intake.  Find what you live for, and live for it.  If you love your family, then do things with your family, and live for that.  If you like to travel, get out there and explore.  If you’re an educator, educate the world.  Or if you like watching TV or movies, sit your happy ass on your couch, and watch what you like.  And I’m not saying only choose one, but find the things you live for, and live for them.  If it changes because your heart wants to do something more, follow it.  But don’t follow another person down the path of what they live for because they tell you that you should.

And if you have no idea what you’re living for, and you have no idea what makes you happy, then try stuff out.  Dip your toe in, or jump in head first, but try new stuff.  Travel, shop, draw, bartend, learn a new language, whatever.  Remember, there’s hundreds of billions of things to know and do, so I’m sure you’ll find something.   I only have two disclaimers…one, this does not include things that are illegal, or harmful (physically or emotionally) to yourself or others.  And two, understand that there are some things you have to learn to live for.  For example, if you have kids, you’re already committed to living (at least) some of your life for them.

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Two Week Affair (Part 3, Phuket)

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Stop number 3; the final destination.  We wanted our last stop to be in a place where the agenda was full of relaxation, and so we found Phuket.  I was told by a friend that Phuket was the Hawaii of Thailand.  Sounds so enticing, so off we went.  Still on a high from Chiang Mai, I was optimistic, but I set my expectations low.  The Hawaii of Thailand could not be better than what we experienced in Chiang Mai.  Maybe I’d be wrong.

As we arrived at the airport and walked to the exit, it was hectic.  I’m not famous, but I felt like I was.  The flashing of the paparazzi cameras replaced with a chorus of “where you going,” and “taxi…you need a taxi.”  It felt like there were  30 people around us hoping we’d choose them from a ride.  The P.I.C yelled “easy,” to get them to back off a bit, which they then used to mock us.  Not off to a good start.  But alas, we made our way to the taxi stand (the one I read was the legit stand), and after a minute or two, we were on our way….or so I thought.  About two minutes into the ride, we made a stop.  She’s back to her old tricks again, I thought.  The taxi driver hopped out, and a young lady approached the cab and motioned for us to open the door.  Brochures in hand, she asked us if we were interested in any excursions.  I had heard about this, and from what I read, I knew that we’d be here for awhile, though the legit taxis weren’t supposed to do this.

I looked at her and smiled, and said we planned on relaxing the entire time, and had no interest in doing anything.  To my surprise, she smiled back and said thank you…enjoy your trip, and that was it.  We were off again toward the hotel.  My main concern now was the increasing number on the meter.  What I expected but still more than I wanted to pay.  The hotel was a regular looking beachfront hotel.  No standout character, but who needs that when you open your door and the ocean is in your face.  She was quiet most of the way, but there’s is where I heard her loud and clear.  The water went all the way to the horizon, and even though the water was much to rough for most swimmers, she was beautiful to look at.  To hear her waters crash against the waves was soothing, though the roar reminded me that these same waters took so many lives in the Tsunami in 2004.

As I said, my expectations were low, and since this was her vacation spot, the food was average though more expensive than most other places.  I guess most who visited her here were not looking for so much of an authentic experience.  They wanted nice water, and excursions; one which we ventured out on.  Here she gave me a first…I jumped off a boat into the waiting waters.  The water wasn’t the clear blue kind that some have mingled with in the Caribbean, but more of a cloudy green (not anything like the Jersey water either).  It felt great, and it’s saltiness made for good floating water, if you’re into that stuff.  On this excursion, she showed me secluded areas where there was only one way in and out.  She showed me caves which we explored with flashlights, James Bond Island, and an entire town built over the water, secluded from the mainland.  It had shops, homes, fishing boats, a restaurant, and a school.  All powered by a generator, that I believe is shut off by a certain time at night.  Apparently it’s really expensive to run at all.  Most interesting was that most people here were not itching to go to the mainland.  They had to if they wanted to finish school, but most came back.  This was her example of how life could be so simple, and still so fulfilling.

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It was the rainy season, and she held back for most of the trip, but here in Phuket, she showed me what that meant.  I like to see it as her way of crying for me before I left.  As that day approached, it was sad. We had a few moments where all we did was sit there in the silence, enjoying each others company.  But it did have to come to an end.  The alarm would ring at 4:15 am, and we had to say our goodbyes.  Her last gift to us, in the form of a boxed breakfast from the hotel.  I’ve never seen that before, but it was a nice farewell gesture.  She didn’t want us to leave, so I suspect she somehow delayed our flight by an hour and a half.  But we eventually boarded, took off, had our last look at her, and closed the airplane window shade.

As I look back on and recap the affair, I realize there’s a really good feeling that resides in me.  She wasn’t the prettiest, or the nicest.  Her personality sometimes made her seem unstable, but she reminded me of something.  Something that is all too cliche, but ignored by so many, me included.  Something that I hope doesn’t leave me as I get back into the routines of my established relationship with my home country.  She reminded me that life is all about living it; not just being present.  Soaking in the good and the amazing, and learning from the bad and the ugly…and to smile, because it really does make others smile with you.  And if it doesn’t, well, it makes me feel good.

I hope you enjoyed this affair…this journey. Shout out to the P.I.C for also making this trip as memorable as it was.

Sawadee Krap

Faithful Silence

I once heard…though it’s quite possible that I’m making this up, in which case I’ll take credit…..that life, in it’s most basic and simplest form, is a series of decisions.  What time should I set my alarm for?  How much can I snooze it?  What should I eat for breakfast.  All decisions you have to make for the morning, and this isn’t nearly half of them.

See, as we gather information (1am means bedtime, growling stomach means I’m hungry) we are then prompted to make decisions.  Almost everything we do is based on a conscious evaluation of available data, and then a conscious action.  This is not always the case as we do not consciously control our breathing or heart beat, though these are necessary functions.  We also may not make conscious decisions when it comes to life or death split second reactions, like moving out of the way of an surprise oncoming vehicle.  Even then a decision is made, just not one that you had time to think of.

It’s this decision making followed by an action that helps us live a fulfilling life.  It’s also the same thing that gets us in trouble sometimes.  It’s important to take cues from the data and react, but sometimes the reaction is to do nothing.  It’s a decision, and it’s an action, but it’s seemingly less dynamic than what we are programmed to do.  The actions we take can get us into trouble when we have evaluated the information incorrectly.  This typically happens when there is a lack of information.  We sometimes get ourselves into trouble by allowing the action to be an emotional confrontation.  This serves no purpose, and your action will likely be met with an emotional reaction (that other person or group of people are choosing to act as well).

I am not a faithful church goer, but I feel I have a good relationship with God.  Whether or not you do, is up to you, but I think it’s an important relationship to have.  So much that I have to continue to learn that if I put my faith in Him, that things will turn out okay.  They may not turn out how I want them, but they will be okay.  And sometimes, when I want to act on my interpretation of data, I have to think about what God is truly telling me, or not telling me.  Most of the time, he’s telling me to let him handle it.  Whatever needs to be done, will be done….and maybe I’ll see it and maybe I won’t.  But I have to have that faith.  He has said, “Vengeance will be mine.”  If I don’t, I risk doing more damage than good.

For those of you who do not believe in God, look at it this way.  The world is about balance.  Maybe not specifically in your life, though I’m sure if you took a good hard (and honest) look at it, you’d see just how balanced it is.  But since the world is about balance, anything that’s happening to you…any wrongdoing that someone has committed against you, as long as you choose not to react, the pendulum will swing the other way.  You have to believe that.  If you react, and your response is just as toxic, you’re likely to be on the bad end of things once balance is sought.

I know this sounds so out there, and even as I write this I feel like I’m trying to sell you a book, but I’m not.  I’m just trying to share something that I constantly have to re-learn.  Just as recently as today, a series of emails at work were sent, and I was clearly thrown under the proverbial bus.  My immediate thought, after analyzing the information, was to attack back.  I had the facts that weren’t being shared, and I had the venom to make someone else’s day (really just that moment) as bad as mine.  But I didn’t.  I sat quietly, and waited to see if balance would vindicate me.  And though it didn’t happen quite how I wanted, the truth was brought to light.  And once it was, I would have been well within my rights (at least I thought so) to rub it in, but I didn’t.  I simply replied with the facts available, and even removed people from the email that didn’t need to know that these other people were idiots.  LOL, I can say that now.

My point being is that having a belief that your wrongs will be righted, and they don’t have to be always righted by you, will make your life a little less stressful.  It will prevent you from doing things that you’ll eventually regret.  It will stop you from making big mistakes that are life altering.  I’m not saying you should never react.  Sometimes, that’s just what the situation warrants.  Just understand that some decisions can be to just do nothing and wait for balance to be restored.

The Importance of Communication

Communication can be seen In one of two ways

It can be an open book Or have you lying for days

It don’t matter what the subject matter you can still pay

For things that you do or the things you don’t say

It gets even worse when it’s a game that you play

Fucking with the other persons mind knowing that you just may

Cause a scar so deep that time will not fade

All because of a decision whose outcome you never weighed

You feel like they do it to so you thinking it’s okay

But from two wrongs one right was never made

And it coulda been avoided if you just caved

Said what’s on your mind the relationship you coulda saved

Now the lies go so deep you can only bathe

In the turmoil you caused now you’d better pray

For another chance and not keep the lines so gray

It may have worked when you were trying keeping love away

But that was another life and whole ‘nother time

All that bullshit worked before you found your dime

So respect the relationship and stay on your grind

I swear if you communicate it’s possible to find

That happiness you seek I know cuz I found mine

It’s a work in progress but yeah I’m doing fine

So say what’s on your mind and remember to stay true

Cause any communicating you don’t do is ultimately hurting you.

Dear Life

I don’t typically write poetry using rhymes, but sometimes the mood just strikes me.  When I do write using rhymes, I wish I could record the reading because I feel my cadence makes more sense that way.  In any case, read the poem below.  Poetry is open to many interpretations, and if you have the time, I’d be interested in knowing yours, or your thoughts period.

Dear Life

Bumping in the dark trying to find my direction

Feeling pretty good but upon further inspection

It seems I lost my way many miles ago

With no miles to show, and no tread left on these tires, man I’m tired

So it’s hard to go back and redo my journey

Even when my family and friends try to do things to turn me

And it’s not that I don’t want to, I just see it ending in failure

That’s a feeling, for me, that’s all too familiar…or is that just me?

So I found my way to cope in this life so dear

It can’t be just about success or enhancing my career

It’s about living carefree and soaking in the adrenaline

And reliving those moments by telling those stories again and again

Not sure how I went so far left steady trying to convince everyone else that I’m alright

Feeling so far off from being centered when I’m laying down at night

But when the light shines in the morning I can put it on again

Leaning on the addictions that are like metaphorical friends

The stogs, the blunts, the sweet and dizzying concoctions

Seem to move me in slow motion so I can weigh my options

Which seem like none,

But I should fight some, for the good life huh?

Yeah, I’ll let you tell it

As I write my words to you, DEAR LIFE!!!

Can you hear me calling out waiting for you to get at me

Or are you sitting back and laughing at me casually

It’s a battle out there and I don’t think any of us are winning

We might need your mercy to let us start all over…from the beginning

My ups and downs, my rights and my wrongs

Maybe the answers are buried in versus and psalms

But how do you help the mute and the illiterate

I’m stressed out here and I need an edge…just a little bit

Or life, I might just get rid of it,

I feel like an idiot

So in closing, I’m shining the light hoping you finally see

That I’m holding on for dear life, to come rescue me.

Life’s a Beach (Real Talk)

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We have all probably heard of the term, life’s a bitch.  Well, have you heard the term, life’s a beach?  I heard it sometime ago, and though I understood the play on words, I can’t say that I understood it’s meaning.  Then I went on vacation, and it made sense to me, so I wanted to share my understanding with you.

There are plenty of things going on while on the beach.  There are people trying to sell you stuff, and there are people who are paying no attention to you.  There are those who are relaxing and enjoying the sun, and those who are chasing kids around, and keeping them out of trouble.  There are those who are swimming around in the water, and those who are just walking up and down the beach aimlessly.  As I said, lots going on, if you’re paying attention.  Just as in life, you will pass people on a regular basis, who are all doing different things for different reasons.  But it’s very busy.

In addition, you will find different types of people.  Obviously, there are many races, religions, and depending on where the beach is, many different nationalities.  You will notice that there are those who are there to have fun.  They will find fun no matter what, and they will be loud about how much fun they are having.  Then there are the people who want to make friends.  They figure, we are all here for the same reason, and having someone good to talk to only enhances the experience.  There are also those who just want to be left alone.  They are there for themselves.  They don’t want to make friends, but they do want to have fun…fun with either just themselves or whomever they are there with.  There are also the parents who are only there for there kids to have a good time.  There are people who look like models in their bathing suits, but most of them are very average.  You get my point.

The fact is, the beach has a lot going on, with many different kinds of people enjoying it…just like life.  During my trip, I made a few other observations.  On a few of the mornings, it rained heavily for about 30 minutes.  There were also some people who decided to sensitive issues (politics, healthcare, etc…), which was probably inappropriate considering they had just met; I think some feathers got ruffled.  There were some people who were loud, obnoxious, and very irritating.  There were people who got in your space, asked personal questions, and sometimes the staff didn’t seem very polite.  But from what I could tell, most people didn’t let these things bother them.  And why didn’t they let these things bother them?  Because, regardless of all of these irritations, they were still on a beach….how could you be mad when you’re hanging out on the beach?

We should all have that same mentality when it comes to life.  All of these things going on, and all of these possible irritants…we let them get to us.  Big issues, or little ones….they bothers us and prevent us from seeing that despite it all, we are living.  We have been given life.  How could you, or why would you, be upset when you’re on this beach?

Life is your beach.  It may not be pretty everyday.  It may rain, or you may step on a shell.  Hell, you might even get stung by a jelly fish.  But you’re on a beach.  You’ve been given this life, and while you’re on that beach, you should enjoy every moment of it.

As always, just my two cents.  Have a great week!!

Memories (Real Talk)

The meaning of life is debatable.  Each individual may have their own take on what that actually means.  But regardless of the meaning, I know one thing is important; we must create memories.  Not only for ourselves, but for our loved ones.  I was thinking earlier today (I don’t know what sparked these thoughts), but I was suddenly remembering playing board games with my mother and sister when I was young.  The feeling it gave me to think about those times was amazing.  We would play Payday, Life, or Sorry.  I don’t remember it being often, but I remember it was often enough.  Something that I really enjoyed doing.

I also remember playing card games with my mother, father, and sister.  We would play rummy 500.  I don’t remember how we did it, but we somehow made bets using pennies.  It was so much fun.  I also remember playing backgammon.  I don’t have such fond memories of that one as I remember feeling it was a difficult game to learn.  Too cerebral for a young buck like me, lol.

I hadn’t thought of these memories in years.  But they obviously are embedded in my mind.  They remind me of a time that was not nearly as complicated as the present.  But it also made me think about how important it is to have those moments.  It’s kind of silly because I’m sure a lot of what we do is an attempt at creating them.  However, it’s sometimes those small things that assist with their creation.  Nothing forced or manufactured.  Just an ability to have fun in the moment.  It was much easier to do then, but doesn’t excuse us from doing it now.

I’ve heard a saying that goes something like, it’s not the destination, it’s the journey that’s most important.  I think that’s meant for relationships, but it’s very true.  I think that’s why I like the movie “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.”  It’s about cherishing memories, even if the destination was not planned (like a relationship that doesn’t last).  I guess my overall point is to have fun with life.  Create memories with the person you are with.  Create memories for your family.  Create memories for your children because as my thoughts earlier proved, they stick with you.  They make you feel good to think about.  It makes you love live for what it has given you, and the potential it has as well.  Just my thoughts.

Have a great, memory filled week!!!