90-to-40: Day one...

Day 1:

There is only one lesson to be learned from turning 40, isn't about age at all. It is about the world... and how I fit into it.

Over the past 90 days, I have struggled - publicly- to put myself out there. I have lived and loved out loud... as best I could. I have said things that I would never say to a soul during the previous 39 years. I've discovered that by doing so, I have become more confident in my own thoughts and actions.

It hasn't really "changed" my relationships,  but it has allowed interactions to be more honest and open. The same... but better. Nothing groundbreaking yet... but things evolve, so we shall see. It has, however, allowed me to clear away some of my own hang ups and preconceived notions about people and situations that have happened in my life. I'm no longer fearful of my own truths.

I understand more now how I am just riding on a big swirling blue marble... just like everyone else. Life is like learning to keep your balance on a merry go round. The best you can hope for is to stay upright by holding on to one another. Only when we band together can we truly get our balance. Eveything else? Well... eventually, the centrifigal force causes everything to fly off the merry go round -  Including us... so enjoy the ride while you can.

Turning 40, for me, has been about growing up. Not that I wasn't already grown up... but I didn't feel very adult-like. I thought that all my misgivings and mistakes were some sort of prolonged adolescence I was stuck in. The truth is... we are all learning to manage as adults in a world that expects far too much from all of us.

Speaking of which, the world at large (us included) is so incredibly wrapped up in what we "should" do and be! Companies get tied to professionalism and legal mumbo jumbo. Politicians are tied to power struggles. Religion gets tied to ideology. Relationships are tied to ownership. No one is allowed to be who they ARE. And... aren't we all just imperfect, emotional, pooping creatures searching for a place we can feel safe and normal? 

Again... I haven't solved the world's problems..  or even my own. But it is more clear to me than ever that I deserve a place in this world. Wherever I find to hold on tight, and wherever I land when thrown from the merry go round, I deserve the space to live and love... to fear and triumph... to win and lose.. and to find my own place and make my own peace in this world.

40 is a precipice and a beginning... it is the first day of the rest of my life - and in some ways, the first day I truly see my past and future realistically - as the remarkable life that it is.

90 to 40: Will the REAL Craig Purcell please stand up?

Day 2: Will the REAL Craig Purcell please stand up?

This is Craig’s partner (and fiancĂ©), K.J.

Shortly after the 90-to-40 project was conceived and the blog was started, Craig jokingly asked me if I would post on the blog at some point.  Little did he know, I had already started this blog post in my head.
Over the last three months, you have all been privy to a glimpse inside the heart and head of Craig Purcell.  With everything at his disposal, he has tried to be honest, genuine, and even shocking – in order to share with you some of the insights that he has arrived at over the years, or even in the moment that he is writing that moment’s post.
The purpose of this post is to give you a different point of view into Craig Purcell.  He has had three months to give you an insight into him.  I have one post – so this is probably going to be a long one.
Craig and I met in the midst of a terrible tragedy.  Craig and I had a mutual friend, Lee.  We knew of each other through this friend, but we had never spoken or communicated directly with each other whatsoever.    Craig lived outside Saint Louis, MO and Lee and I were the best of friends and roommates in Arlington, TX.  In late July 2011, Lee made the decision to end his life.  Having no immediate family anymore, Lee left me explicit instructions on what to do after his body was discovered.  I was devastated.  In the next few days, with the help of several friends and my mother, I carried out his instructions to the best of my ability.  Lee had left a short list of people to call.  Craig was one of these.  I was emotionally only able to make two or three calls a day.  On day three, I made the last calls to the people on the list.  Craig’s voice was warm and gentle on the phone as I told him what happened.  After giving him the canned speech that I had been saying over and over for three days, he asked me ‘How are you doing?’.  It was the first time that I remember someone from the list asking me that on the phone after I told them what had happened.  I said that I was fine (I think), to which Craig replied that he would be on a flight and would be there for the memorial service that was planned.  I didn’t know it at the time, but he sold some of his gold jewelry to pay for the airfare.  After he arrived, he hugged me and stayed by my side through the whole service, keeping me company, letting me cry on his shoulder, and offering me sweet smiles of encouragement.  Unconcerned with his own pain, he was completely focused on making sure that I was ok.  I didn’t know it then, but it was during those moments that he captured my heart.  After the service, everyone left to go home.  I was petrified to stay at home alone.  I sheepishly asked Craig if he would stay at my house that night, explaining that I just couldn’t stay there alone that night with everything that had happened that day.  He did.  We talked all night about our lives and how Lee played into our lives – who he had been years ago and who he had become at the end of his life.  He told me about Saint Louis and I told him about Texas.  We shared our lives with each other.  We bared our souls to each other, unashamed to cry or laugh.  He made me feel completely comfortable and most importantly, safe.
Over the last two plus years, I have been fortunate enough to witness things about this amazing human being that make me fall in love with him constantly.
Craig is kind.  When I had finally made the decision to take two of Lee’s cats to a no-kill shelter, Craig flew down and helped me load them up and take them to the shelter.  He held my hand as I cried softly, feeling that I had betrayed the trust of our dearly departed friend.  When we got back to my house, he cleaned up the room those cats had destroyed; spending the next two days turning it into a new office for me.  He spent his own time and money in that project, only to try to make me find peace with my decision and to fix what was a huge problem in my home that caused me significant stress.
Craig is generous.  Every time he is working on a project at home or trying to down-size his material possessions, he makes the effort to separate things into clusters that get delivered to different charities – based on the services that they provide to those in need.  Old door frames, cabinets, etc go to Habitat for Humanity.  Clothes, shoes, blankets, etc go to Goodwill or the Salvation Army (even knowing the Salvation Army’s stance on who he is – he has told me, “it’s not about their political stances, it’s about helping people in need”).
Craig is patient.  Over the last two plus years, I have been in a personal situation that has prohibited me from leaving Texas.  Craig was willing to move to Texas, but after much discussion and realization, we knew that that was not the right decision – I would move to Illinois as soon as I could.  It was time for me to leave Texas and expand my world.  I am moving there in October, 2014.  All of this time, Craig has patiently helped me overcome my fears of being in love, being completely open and honest with another human being, and has patiently been preparing a home in Illinois for us to live in.  A few months after we met, he said that he knew I was the man he was going to marry and spend the rest of his life with on the day we met.   A few years of waiting to completely live together was nothing compared to the thirty-seven years he had been waiting to meet me.
Craig is opinionated – and he knows it.  When he feels that something is wrong, that’s it.  It’s very difficult to get him to see a different viewpoint on the matter.  I know that this is a survival skill that has served him well in the past and helped him avert the disasters in his life that I so readily accepted into mine.  So, while this may seem like a bad thing, in reality it has been a good thing in his life, for the most part.
Craig is a child.  When he is sick, he is like a three year old.  It is terribly cute and endearing.  And sometimes when he doesn’t think I’m looking at him, I catch him looking at something like sea turtles basking on the beach with the wide-eyed wonder of a three year old child.  It is in this sweet innocence that I see the pure soul of the man that I am in love with. 
Craig is perfect in all of his little imperfections.  He sees the world the way it could be, always cognizant of the way the world actually is.  He hopes for a better tomorrow.  Not for himself, but for all living creatures.  He believes in the message of Jesus Christ – that we are all brothers and sisters and our only commandment is to love each other.  I see the way he looks at the living creatures on this earth and there is pure love in his eyes.

Craig is a man that makes me want to be better than I am.  Craig is a man that I learn from daily.  Craig is the man that makes me want to get healthy again, just so I can live longer and be blessed enough to look into his soul as long as I possibly can.


90-to-40: Weight of the world

Day 3:

I am a high-strung guy... I know this about myself. I also know that being high-strung is the most chronic diseases known to mankind. It'll kill me if I don't figure out a way to mitigate it.

As we speak, I'm sick. I've let the stress from a long string of stressful events build up and take it's toll. Let's face it, I've renovated just about every area of my life lately - outside of myself. My house, car, possessions, bills, travel, and my job have all undergone some serious transformations. Meanwhile, my body, health, stress levels and creativity have all taken a back seat.

Maybe... it's not how well I handle stress, but that I allow too many stressful things to come in to my life. It could be that I need to pick my battles more effectively. I have to ask myself some serious questions about the responsibilities I've taken on. The answers may not be comfortable or popular.

I need to make sure that new things in my life are balanced. I have to be able to care for myself, in addition to being able to serve others. I have to put ME back in the equation. I've said it before, but I think it's time to take action. 

So... my personal time will be MUCH more important, including exercise, meditation and relaxation. Professional time will be placed in perspective by making a better division between my home and my work time. And, when distractions arise, I'll treat them as such - and be more decisive to eliminate them. 

Get ready to see an evolution of change in my life. Get ready to see me slow down in some areas, and speed up in others. Watch me as I turn my back on some mountains, and move others. I'm going to be 40 years old in three days... and I can't carry all those years AND the world on my shoulders at the same time.



Day 3:

Body - Mind - Spirit

My body hurts. My mind is tired. My spirit is strong.

90-to-40: Sickness comes in all forms

Day 4 (a day late):

This post is being written by Craig's partner (and fiance), K.J.

Craig is sick.  Period. He's been fighting this cold, sinusitis, or whatever in the hell it is for a couple of weeks now.  When he got to our home in Texas a week ago, he was REALLY sick.  So, I did what I know to do - I had a pot of homemade chicken tortilla soup, fridge stocked full of apple juice, and overdoses of vitamins ready and waiting for him.  Knowing that we were leaving on Friday to come to Hawaii, I just KNEW that my special brand of love and red-neck nursing skills would have him up and running in no time.


He did get to feeling better by the time we left, but in no way was he one hundred percent better.  This of course, resulted in him unable to equalize his head pressure on the flight to the islands and caused him insufferable pain.  OK - it was tolerable, but I could tell from the look on his face that it was very painful.  Trying to not put a damper on our vacation, he has pushed himself to his physical limits the last few days and it finally culminated in his getting pretty run down last night.

Hence, no post from him last night.  So, in order to keep his blog going, I am writing yesterday's post for him (albeit a day late - nobody's perfect).

In the last two years that I have known and grown to love Craig, I have learned a few things about him.  I have also learned a few things about myself, too.  But, this blog is about the man that I intend to marry; so let's look at him.  Craig is an 'all-or-nothing' kind of guy.  It either is, or it isn't.  There isn't much in between.  Last night he knew that he was going to bed without writing his daily blog post and it upset him terribly.  But, he really just didn't have the physical strength to do it.  This morning when he woke up, he said that he was done with the blog.  Since he didn't write last night, he was just going to give up on the whole idea.

So, this is where I come in... I am one of those crazy supportive people.  If he told me that he wanted to quit his job and become a basket weaver, I would do everything possible to support him in that.  Whatever he wants to do that will make him happy, I am going to support.  BUT - once the decision is made and the course laid out and set, that's it - no deviation in my mind.  I will push for success (I am the same in my own life.  I don't know how to fail.) in the endeavor.  So, with him sick on the couch in our condo, I convinced him to let me post the blog for yesterday.  Again - this endeavor must not fail.

So - I ask you...  Who's sick?  Is it my future husband, who gets discouraged and has the ability to gracefully admit defeat and move on to the next worth-while project?  Or is it me, who will put blinders on and plow forward to finish a project, no matter the personal cost?

Maybe neither.  Maybe both.

Yesterday Craig pointed out something to me about the ocean I've never really noticed.  As a wave approaches the shore, a lot of them crest on opposite sides at the same time and gradually curl over, eventually meeting in the middle in a beautiful display of completion.  Perhaps it is in nature that we can all learn a few things.

So I think I know what my new project is:  Understanding these things about both of us and doing my part to try to meet him in the middle of every situation and encourage him to meet me in the middle of them as well.  I think that is one of the most important points of being in a relationship:  to see your faults in the strengths of you partner; to assimilate the best parts of them into yourself, and by so doing - become better in the process.


90-to-40: The peace of darkness

Day 5:

It gets very dark at night in Hawaii. Except for a tiny flashing light on a bouy offshore, and the glow from the windows of the homes and condos along the beach, it is pitch black.

Just me - alone on the beach - in the dark.

I wouldn't say I am scared of the dark, but I have always been uncomfortable in it. It steals my vision and removes all possibility of self defense (against wild animal attacks, spiders and coffee table bruises?). It steals my ability to control my surroundings.

Yet - maybe for the first time in my life - I am not uncomfortable. This darkness is different. I feel no threat. The sounds of the sea and the nocturnal creatures scratching and chirping are comforting.

I can be an intolerable control freak - if not with others, definitely with myself. I don't like it when outcomes are uncertain. I don't enjoy the unknown. And while I know without a doubt that it is fruitless, my mind sometimes persists in its effort to feel safe and secure in the "known."

I've been working on that for quite some time.

But THIS? I haven't experienced THIS degree of comfort in the unknown before. It is nice. Oh... I'm not saying that my brain is fixed. I will surely freak out about something... someday down the road (or, tomorrow). But this moment allows me to have something I lose from time to time; perspective. 

I think my need to control my surroundings is less about what I fear could happen, and more about what I fear I will feel. If I find peace and stop worrying and working so incredibly hard to be perfect, I might find that true grace and humanity comes from not being perfect at all. If so... what have I been doing for 40 years?

I think... what I've been doing is called "practice." When you are 18, you don't always see what is possible. But... all the lights are green, so it is easier to have faith in what might be. When you are 40, you know what was possible... but people make you believe the light is yellow, so it's harder to have faith that you can still make things happen.

I can't help but believe that if I have discovered a peace in pure darkness... that I couldn't also find peace in the light - regardless of the hue, the intensity, or the shadow it casts.

Peace - in light or darkness - comes with an understanding that I can never control my surroundings. I can only use my senses, my intuition and intelligence to navigate. Whether I am bathed in light, or shrouded in darkness, I am no more or less able to find peace. Because... peace has its own light.


90-to-40: Lucky us

Day 6:

I am on a plane over the South Pacific. The ocean is a perfect mirror for the sky... it is as if I'm simply laying on the ground on a sunny day looking up. But, up looks the same as down... just blue... punctuated with puffy white clouds.

It looks like there is ONLY sky - above and below. It is a feeling of disorientation, peace and wonder. This must be what it feels like to be a cloud. 

Lucky cloud. 

I arrive in paradise. The surf that works its magic here in Oahu's North Shore hamlet of Haleiwa, fills the beach with its perspiration. Holding the sun up to shine over the mountain in the late afternoon to cast upon everything, an opaque glow. It is like the plumes of dust one might see rising hundreds of feet into the air over a Midwestern field during a harvest... only it is a translucent mist, undetectable except for the smell of seawater.

The air is rich from the ocean spray and drips in fine purfumes, sounds of a tropical aviaries and the sway of the ocean itself. The light is pure and casts fantastic shadows. The surf, always pressing on and happy for the overtime at the shore.

Lucky surf.


We watch the sunset from the beach. A well-worn, crazy-quilted sky, frayed and thin, letting the light shine through its age. But... only enough to see the shades of purple, blue and turquoise in its patches and seams. Golden reflections upon the sea, jeweled in sky blue and night. The only creatures, the shadows of three; the sea turtle, him and me.

Then... with coffee on the lanai, the two of us who remain sit looking into nowhere and hearing the sound of the beach whispering good night to the day shift, and pressing on.

Lucky us.


90-to-40: Funhouse mirrors

Day 7:

So here it is... just one week until my 40th birthday. I've written my ass off - even when I didn't want to or when the topic was uncomfortable.  Up to this point... I've tried to be as straightforward as possible while maintaining some integrity.

But... no one who has ever achieved great things has ever taken the safe road. At times in my life, I have been bold and daring. I don't feel like I've achieved that yet on this project.

While I am not trying to prove anything, I am trying to challange myself and find a new level of personal growth. So... I'm just gonna say this once (and, I'm really saying it to myself).

I am tired of defining myself by how others see me and I will not accept it anymore.

If you are not with me, you are against me. If you do not support my dreams, you are crushing them. If you are actively hurting me or the people I love with your personal hang ups and judgement... then you will likely be left behind.

It doesn't mean you're bad. It doesn't mean I have anything but love for you.  And... it doesn't mean I wish bad things for you. But... if I am not "good for you" then you are probably equally "not good for me." And... that is okay.

That may not sound too groundbreaking,  but it's big for me. Up to this moment, I haven't felt the need to make such a declaration of independence.  While I may have shown it with my actions, I feared how it would sound to say aloud.

The fact is that I'm not really speaking to any one person in my life right now. If you worried it might be you... well then you probably have a guilty conscious. I'm speaking to the part of ME that allows others to view me with contempt, treat me with disrespect or expect me to put up with selfish, hurtful behavior.

Life is too short to absorb negativity from those who try to magnify my faults just to feel better about themselves. I'm tired of seeing my reflection in distorted mirrors. I need to have people in my life who help me see and understand the good things about life... not the bad.

I've let too many emotional vampires bleed me dry. My forties will be about showing gratitude for and honoring the positive relationships in my life. This decade will be about what is possible... not what is impossible.

Past mistakes are in the past. Today... and tomorrow don't have to be mistakes. I don't have to accept limiting and hindering situations out of obligation, social norms, or fear. I can redefine who I am, how I am treated, and how I treat others.

I once heard that "we do not see others as they are... we see them as WE are." What I am saying, then... is that if I see myself as how you see me... I'm really just seeing a projection of you. And... I understand that the reverse is also true. So... I'd better start finding the good in you, or take a long, hard look at myself before judging you.

Bottom line... I will see the best in you and expect the same in return. But it cannot, and will not be one-sided. I am far too old for that.


90-to-40: Gut check

Day 8:

I have got to start trusting my intuition. It is almost always dead-on. Nothing good comes from when I let other people talk me out of my gut reactions or when my head is too cluttered to catch it.

When I lack confidence in myself and override my internal alarm, it always comes back to bite me. And..  it has over and over again. I've found that when I'm not on my game, I tend to doubt the gut feelings. Or, I simply lack the insight to do a gut check at that moment.

I can't tell you how many times that I've been right, but ignored my gut and ended up regretting it later. Alternatively, there are times when I followed my gut - even though it meant going out on a limb against all odds - and have been SO right. 

It is really hard to make those calls about people. In some cases, I've steered clear of seemingly wonderful people on a gut feeling... only to find out later what the reason was. It is strangely validating, but doesn't make me feel any better about it.

The truth may be that the gut reaction is no reflection on them, but is simply a sort of insight about the combination of our personalities or circumstances. Sometimes, perfectly wonderful people are not good influences.  On the other hand, situations have happened where I have counted my blessings to have escaped a potentially troublesome situation because I listened to my inner alarm.

I believe we are all equipped with this gift... but we don't know what it looks, feels and/or tastes like until we get a heaping helping of humble pie. Then, hindsight is always 20-20. But the next time... the hindsight turns to foresight, so... it isn't all in vain.

Unfortunately... when I make that mistake of not listening to my inner voice - or better yet, when I allow my inner peace to be disrupted with 'noise' - I miss some very important cues. And while I learn a lesson, I don't learn it positively.

Now... for the wierd part. I have a very highly developed sense of intuition.  In fact, it freaks people out sometimes. But... it freaks me out too and I find myself thinking "Nah... that's rediculous, there is nothing to worry about. No one else is worried..." and then I override my sixth sense.

I gotta stop doing that! While I may never understand it, I believe it is a God-given gift that I need to wield responsibly. I have to learn to quiet my mind and listen to it. I need to learn the difference between fear and doubt, and lack of confidence in who I know I am.

Intuition is not a defense... it is an offense. I've been given a master playbook to this game called life, but I don't always check it when the chips are down.

Lesson learned. Gut... checked. It is time to do the right thing for ME even when it doesn't seem fair... or sane. I'm more often wrong when I miss the cues, than when I dare to go with a long shot. 


90-to-40: Firing my inner "Dance Mom."

Day 10 ... and day 9... or 8... I don't even know anymore.  

Well, I made it to the last ten days of this project before everything fell apart.

In the past few weeks, my job responsibilities changed, I was finishing up home renovations, dealing with car issues and restructuring my finances. Throw in a couple of unexpected business trips (with fun travel snags) and a general feeling of being perpetually overwhelmed, and what do you have? Yep... the flu.

In case you're wondering, there is nothing more glamorous than getting sick while on a business trip (I think it's where zombies are made). To add insult to injury, I was so physically depleted by being sick and traveling that I wasn't able to post on this blog yesterday (day 10).

WHAT? The very first rule of this project was that I'd post EVERY DAY no matter what. How could I let this happen?  It was my last thought as I fell into a cold-medicine induced coma for the night - and my first thought this morning. 

So, imagine my frustration tonight when I tried to play catch up and discovered that I completely botched the daily numbering on my posts. I mean... 90 days is a finite period of time, so it doesn't really matter. But, looking back at the entries, it was like I was on cold-medicine half the time! I just spent an hour figuring out where I went wrong and fixing all the posts to match the correct day.

In the end, I had a decision to make. Do I pretend it all never happened and just move forward?  Do I ditch the entire thing?  Start over? 

Nope... I guess this is just where I get real.  Oh well... I got sick and something had to give. The fact that it was my daily blog post (especially so close to the end) is disappointing. But, the rule is that I make the rules... I did what I had to do.

But geesh... I stressed over it like one of those mean "Dance Moms" on TV.  You know the ones... the mean moms who pace and yell insults and put downs.  They constantly make their kids feel less-than perfect regardless of how wonderfully they performed?  They are the ones we laugh at and shake our heads at... 

Oh, sweet baby cheeses... I have been my OWN DANCE MOM! 

Do you feel that?  It's different than just realizing I'm too hard on myself. It's not the same as some "I'm good enough and smart enough" kind of epiphany.  It's bigger than that... it's like the other half of a long standing mystery.

(Seriously... I'm sitting here staring at the computer and figuring out where to go from here!)

Okay, so let's take this one step at a time. Even though I use kind words (most of the time) for my inner dialogue... my inner expectations are unrealistic.  Like the Dance Mom's on TV, nothing is ever good enough. Even though I always do my best to grow and to change in positive ways, and I strive to become a more well-rounded person, the goal has NEVER been to achieve perfection. But that's what I was doing to myself. 

I was SAYING one thing... but I was feeling another emotion completely. Good grief... I've been my own evil dance mom and didn't even realize what I was doing to myself.

**sitting here wondering what to do next**

Oh HELL NO... It's time to make a  VERY REAL change. It's time to learn to believe what I am saying, and apply it to myself.

There is great value in being a "driven" person. But, not if it means being driven crazy. I will ALWAYS want to do well and work to improve myself... but I have to find a happy medium where my expectations of myself are authentic and realistic.

"Dance Moms" RUIN dance for their kids. I've been doing that to myself and I have to STOP. I have to dance through life because I love it... not because I have to. I have to fire my inner Dance Mom. 


90-to-40: Sometimes people get sick...

Day 11: 
An exhausting 12-hour day was punctuated only by the rapid onset of a full blown chest cold-like "thing." I can barely speak without coughing, drowsey from cold meds and I'm sweating for no reason.
To top it off, I'm on a business trip in Tennessee. 
Needless to say, I checked back into my hotel and I'm going to take a hot shower, dig into the bag full of over-the-counter drugs... and sleep away whatever this is.
And yes... this counts as todays blog entry. Sometimes people get sick... including me.


90-to-40: Make a difference

Day 12: 

We are all leading full lives.

Even when we are alone, lonely, bored or complacent... our lives are full. Our lives are jam packed when we are grieving, sad, or lost. In fact, they are just as full then as when we are happy - just in a different way.

I hate it when people look at others and say that they need something to keep them busy. Trust me... they are busy. What they need - at least in my experience - is a different way to fill their days, hearts and minds.

It's in those places and times of being busy with fears, loss, and negativity that we sometimes do our best work toward changing our lives. We just need a break in the internal dialogue and a moment to stop and look around.

Negativity is blinding. It is the forrest in front of the trees. It's the cloud over the sun. It is a shroud of fog in which we either are hiding, or are lost.

I've been in that fog. Visibility was zero. And... I was far too busy with the wrong thoughts and behaviors.

That's why we have to reach into the fog and simply shine a light... or, part the clouds... or, bulldoze the trees. We need someone to shine... even when we can't shine back.

If the sun is shining in your life right now, be a rainbow in the clouds for someone... in any small way you can. You could be the light they needed to believe there is another way to be busy. You could help insert something different into their busy lives. And... that could make all the difference.  

90-to-40: A legacy out loud

Day 12:
In the words of a good friend of mine, 'don't we all want something in our life that proves we are on this earth for a reason?'  I couldn't agree more.
It seems to me - whether we realize it or not, and whether we consciously work toward it or not - we all have some sort of a legacy. Good or bad... we influence others by simply existing. Our real power comes when we explore our purpose and strive to not only have a legacy, but to discover and develop it.  
It's no surprise that as I approach 40, I am thinking a lot about my legacy. We all have that drive to create something worth leaving behind, and I'm no exception to the rule. We all - whether we admit it or not - want to know that we've made a difference and will be remembered.
I have always believed that I will leave a legacy as a writer, and lately I've started thinking about who inspired me to become a writer in the first place. I often credit my love of writing to Laura Ingalls Wilder. You know... the author of the "Little House on the Prairie" books and the loveable "half-pint" from the  TV series. While it may sound hokey, I embraced her stories for more than just a colorful children's tale about pioneer life. Along with the stories we know and love, Laura also spoke about how she discovered a talent for painting pictures with words, and how even as a child she secretly dreamed of being an author and telling stories.
With that thought in mind, I was browsing YouTube and came across a video interview with Karen Grassle, the actress who played Caroline Ingalls in the "Little House on the Prairie" TV series. I was taken back by how Grassle spoke with such honor and reverence of the real Caroline. She described how Caroline insisted that her husband, Charles, quell his wanderlust and settle down in one place so that their daughters would receive formal education (quite an advanced mindset for the time). Grassle described Caroline as being the quiet legacy behind Laura's success.
You see... while Laura Ingalls Wilder was a brilliant author, it was Caroline who made it possible. Caroline left behind a quiet legacy that allowed Laura to receive an education and to believe it was possible. Caroline allowed Laura to become the loud little girl that she was, and to create such a loud legacy. Without Caroline, there would be no "Little House" book, series or otherwise.
Similarly, it was MY Mother who first introduced me to the series of "Little House" books and  taught me to read using flashcards at a very early age. My grandfather and my Mother often shared the book of poems written by my Great Grandmother and taught me to have reverence for it. My Mother and Aunt shared their own writings and encouraged me to read books and explore my interest in creative writing. They lit the spark for me to become a writer and taught me about my own legacy at an early age, and I'm incredibly grateful.
Now... just two weeks before my 40th birthday... I get it. I guess I had to learn to accept my legacy and embrace it fully. They saw the spark in me, nurtured it, and handed it over to me. It was my job to keep it alive and make it my own. This very personal revelation gives me a renewed sense of inheritance and responsibility to live out my legacy and carry it forward proudly.
And like Laura, I'll do my best to live my legacy out loud. 


90-to-40: Wrecking Ball

Day 13:

Life has a way of tearing down our walls when we least expect it. I know that I've certainly had my share of experiences hit me like a wrecking ball... leaving everything in shambles. It seems horrible to say, but I believe that until I found myself kneeling in a pile of rubble after being destroyed, I did not understand the true meaning of being resilient, reborn, or even (gasp, dare I say)... saved - in any sense of the word.

Maybe that sounds self-important, I don't know. I don't intend for it to be. I can only speak from my own life and what I've seen first-hand in the lives of other people. In my experience, those who have risen from the ashes are almost always destined to rise above where they began. They are the people who have that elusive 'something' - whether it is confidence, wisdom or some sort of higher plane of existence - we know it when we see it. 

There are just some people you meet and you can just tell have found themselves picking up shards of their lives, looking around for any sign of their former self only to realize they have to start from scratch. The really wise ones couldn't even start rebuilding until they cleaned up the mess - in many cases - a mess they didn't even create.

Then, there are the people who cause the messes. They are the ones who live within the rubble of their own devastation and sometimes, try to bring you into their destruction. They refuse to crawl out and build something, or are unable for one reason or another.

There are also those who haven't had their moment yet, but you can see it coming. Others are out there who have had nothing greater than a fair-weather streak dampen their spirits. Some of them know they are in the path of destruction, and others are blissfully unaware. It doesn't make them better or worse, it's just where they are.

Here's the hard part... there is no way to tell by a persons age, race, gender, sexual orientation, or social status where someone is in their life. We are all in different places on the road, and we are as diverse as it comes. The mistake we make is to think we can tell by just looking, that what works for us will work for them... or that anyone is unworthy of being saved from the rubble, even if they caused it themselves. There, but for the Grace of God, go you and I.

So what do we do with this knowledge? Nothing. Just be ready to climb out of the rubble and build something when it happens to you. And, as cruel as this may sound...  you'll be lucky when it does. It is the beginning of becoming who you can be. It's the 'why not me' moment instead of the 'why me' marathon. When you emerge from the fire, remind yourself that these are the ashes from which you'll rise. 

I've build some pretty nifty things with rubble. I have ash sculptures in every corner of my life. I still can't be sure of where I am on my journey. The path is unmarked, so I keep moving forward. I hope someday I'll be one of those people you can tell have risen from the ashes just by looking at them. For now, my goal is to remind myself what I've overcome, to help others who find themselves where I've been, and to continue to rise from where I find myself. It can be done.

Honestly, there were times I didn't know if I'd make it to 40. Now, even though I'm just days away, I still don't. I won't lay claim to any specific level of wisdom, or to being any better at telling who-is-who along the way, but I have experienced my share of wrecking balls and I'm better for it. And, that is my message.

I guess my hope is that by sharing my journey, others might find something useful from among my experiences, and that the wrecking ball - should it come - will only break down your walls, not your  spirit.   


90-to-40: When rights go wrong...

Day 14:
So many people have all the answers these days. Never in the history of man have so many people been so sure of what is "wrong" with everyone else.
The Democrats know the Republicans are wrong. The Republicans know the Democrats are wrong. The media knows what is wrong with both of them... as well as Paula Deen, Trevon Martin, the Kardashians and anyone who ends up in front of a camera.
Athiests know those who believe in God are wrong.  Christian fundamentalists know that Mystics are wrong. Baptists know Catholics are wrong. Skeptics know phychics are wrong. Psychics know everything.
People in small town America know that cities are horrible, dirty places. City people know that rural America is backward. People who live in slums know that they are both oblivious.
Gun rights activsts know that everyone should own a gun and pacifists are wrong. Pro-lifers know that abortion is wrong. Gloria Alred knows everything anyone has ever done is wrong.
Muslims know that Christians are wrong. Christians know that homosexuality is wrong. Homosexuals know that Russia is wrong. Russia knows that Americans are wrong. Americans know that Muslims are wrong. (Hey, look at that... full circle.)
The guy down the street knows that leash laws are wrong. Mothers know their children are wrong. My neighbor knows the Doctors are wrong.
I know that... we are all wrong. At least, I know that with every bit rhetoric that comes out of someone's mouth (or fingertips, in the case of social media) there are "absolutes" being thrown around wrecklessly.
I am sick and tired of it. No one has all the answers. The only things we can be sure of is that our experience in life is incredibly limited to our own knowledge... our own surroundings... and our own minds.
Neither you, nor I, may have the right to make grand, sweeping decisions about other people, countries, cultures, or ways of being. No one knows what is an absolute truth because... well... it may not exist. How on earth can you know the entire world? Not even the most evolved and enlightened individuals of our species profess to have all the answers.
We know what is right for us - and should have every freedom to express and live that truth as long as it doesn't hurt others. We know what is wrong for us and should have every freedom not to allow it into our personal lives. But this has become a world that us about "you statements" and not "I statements."
Instead of calling out what is wrong with The Affordable Healthcare Act, why not call out what is right? Instead of focusing on why religions are wrong, why can't we celebrate what is right? Rather than being so sure that gun rights activists are wrong, reinforce the things about their beliefs that are accurate? 
Why not come together on our "rights" instead of our "wrongs?"
Are we so incredibly fearful that we might be wrong that we can't point out what is right? Has pride and self preservation won out over the exchange of ideas?
I am done. Done, I tell you.
When I hear people touting absolutes, I only hear their inner terror at the possibility they might be wrong. I hear their insecurity and I see them pointing fingers to detract attention from themselves. The louder they become at professing their own "rightness", the more they show me they are NOT the voice of truth or reason.
As I grow and continue to evolve in my life, I will never have all the answers. I know what is okay for me in my life and I will take responsibility for my own decisions when I make statements about that. There will be less "you are" statements and more "I" statements. "That is not okay with me" and "I don't see it that way" will replace declarations of rightness and wrongness. I will call out what is right and what I disagree with. And..  I will most certainly fail from time to time, but these are now my guiding principles.  
The egocentric and childish fear of being wrong will no longer make me hide behind finger pointing. My own experiences in life will not limit me from listening and understanding new perspectives. I will not be so right that anyone with a different experience is wrong. What is okay, or not okay with me is still my decision. 
Our values are only right or wrong in our own lives... not the lives of others. I have the right to my understanding of this world, but I don't have the right to belittle others for theirs. 
Am I right, or am I right?

90-to-40: Let me have my joy

Day 15:
I was looking at new refrigerators tonight at my favorite home improvement store when a familiar employee approached me to ask if I needed help. He is a nice, twenty-something guy and is always helpful. But, I get special attention when he is working. That's just the way it works when you both "know." Yeah... it's that "gay-dar" thing. (It's not a myth... it exists.)
But there is often a wall that exists with gay people in public - especially at their places of business. I didn't know if he was comfortable talking about "it" at work, so I let him take the lead. That is an unfortunate truth about being gay. "Gay-dar" may provide an unspoken knowledge that the other person is also gay, but comes with a greater understanding that if you "out" that person, they could lose their job. It's just a fact.
Tonight, my home improvement friend opened the conversation asking "Where's your partner in crime" - referring to K.J, of course. "Oh, he's out of town." I replied, and we proceeded to chat about refrigerators, cabinets and counter tops. At some point, he mentioned his fiance as a "him." That let us open the door to a genuine conversation beyond business. Again, that's how it works sometimes.
Then, he noticed my ring and complimented it. We compared rings and talked about wedding plans, home remodeling and our partners. It was a sincere, normal conversation between two people who had some things in common and shared a common excitement.
But... it was more than that. It was the first truly genuine conversation about my engagement that has happened in quite a long time - at least, that didn't cause me to feel uncomfortable or awkward.
Some straight people instantly turn on the "uncomfortable voice" and start looking to turn the conversation toward a different topic. I've had some send their children away by distracting them, ("Why don't you go get Mommy some pickles.").
On the flip-side, even other gay people are sometimes uncomfortable. There are many gays for whom it seems to remind that they are under the same scrutiny - and can't fathom how someone else is facing it head on.
But tonight, for the first time, I had that moment that so-called "normal" people have. It was a combination of the straight guy being patted on the back by his buddies, or a straight girl showing off her engagement ring. But, don't confuse that with gender-confusion... I'm only referring to a form of unconditional acceptance that does not yet exist among the majority of people.
Ladies, imagine for a moment of having to hide your ring, or not wear it at all for fear of being ostracized, fired or even hurt. Guys... imagine fearing your buddies will beat the crap out of you, or losing your family and friends just because you popped the question. Now... let yourself go to that day when you were on cloud nine and wanted to scream it from the rooftops.
I don't need to stand on a rooftop. I just want to be able to stand in a crowd of people as who I am. I don't need your approval, but I do hope for an enlightened, educated response free of shame. I don't need you to carry a banner for me, but I also don't deserve you carrying one against me.
The next time you're faced with a gay couple, or a gay engagement announcement - remember that the person you are responding to just told you they are in love. They just told you they are happy. They didn't ask you to participate in their relationship or try to convert you. You don't have to prove anything. It just IS... Besides... if you are so confident in who you are... how could I change you?
I'm simply a person who has found joy... and tonight someone let me have that. And... there is far too little joy in the world. 


90-to-40: A thousand words...

Day 16:
The best part of my day happened while driving in Minnesota. If nothing else went right, at least this was the backdrop.


90-to-40: Inner Child Self Therapy

Day 17:
My inner child is sometimes like a teething infant; He gets grumpy, irritable, and nothing makes him happy. Plus, at those times, he doesn't even have the words to describe what is wrong - to me - or anyone else.
Sometimes... my inner child needs a good butt- kicking. Other times he needs a hug. But ... both moods look the same on the outside. Those are the times he just wants to crawl in bed, pull the covers over our head, and sleep.
Adulthood doesn't give us that option, however. We still have work, family and household obligations. We learn to grit our teeth and deal with it.
I'm tired of it. I don't think I'm going to be able to redefine adulthood to include tantrums, sulking or sleeping for days at a time... although I know an awful lot of people who do behave that way. (But I'd rather not be one of them.)
So... I focus my attention on figuring out the cause. If I can't figure a way to appease my inner child and lay in bed on rainy days, grumpy days or sick days... then I'm going to do preventative maintenance.
Feeling bad feels bad. I prefer to focus my efforts on NOT getting to that place. 
So... I will seek proactive happiness. Yes... I will seek ways to be happier and head off the inner child crap at the pass. I think that's the key.
When I discover things which trigger my vulnerabilities, and my inner childs mood swings... I will focus on removing the trigger and analyzing why it made me upset to begin with. Instead of diving into the pain, I will distract myself with what is behind it. I cant let my inner child become a brat.
That is the best I can do. But... I will cut myself some slack. There are reasons behind my moods... even if I don't have the words to describe them. Maybe I need to sulk in order to get tired of what is making me feel bad. Or, maybe I cry because it hurts. Or... maybe I am just human. Either way... I wont get anywhere unless I eliminate or repair what is at the root of it.
So... I will promise my inner child some ice cream to shut him up. But as soon as he is calm... we are gonna have a serious talk about how WE can eliminate what makes us feel bad, and have a good old fashioned boot strap moment.


90-to-40: Grandma's hand and Grandpa's foot.

Day 18:
I was thinking about my maternal grandparents today. I have no idea what prompted it, but it all started with a memory of riding with my Grandpa down the road on the edge of town. I was pretty young because he was driving his old white '68 Oldsmobile. I remember thinking that he had a lead foot for an old guy.. and that it was kind of cool. Even then, it said something about him.
He was a beyond-frugal tenant farmer who raised 5 kids on less than anyone should ever earn for such hard work. That is, until his heart problems kicked in and he had to quit. But... I always knew him as an exceptionally cautious man. I knew he had been a scrappy guy in his younger days, and he had the reflexes of a cat up untill the end, but i never knew him to be carefree or careless.
So on that day in his car as he accelerated and made the Oldsmobile jet down the road... I saw a glimpse of the young wild guy he must have once been. Just a tiny glimpse...
Then... we approached a place in the road where the asphalt met an entrance on the right. It was on a slight hill and the entrance created a hump on that side of the road. It wasnt very significant... but most people still kept to the left a bit, or slowed down.
However, just as we met that rise... Grandpa gunned the engine and swerved into the hump, making a bit of a roller coaster effect. I gripped the blue vinyl door handle just as my stomach hit my thoat. And Grandpa let out a "Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeee."
I cracked up laughing as he said with a smirk, "Didn't expect that, did ya?"
Pretty tame, I know... but it stuck with me. Now, as a grown man I look back and realize that it stuck in my memory because it allowed me see another side of the old man... and a funny side, at that.
That memory took me to other memories about how he had a knack for finding gigantic, one-owner, low-mileage cars that were twenty-plus years old, but in perfect condition. He would get the car for a song and then drive it forever! 
That memory took me to the last car he owned. It was the biggest of them all and by far the most plush vehicle he ever drove. It was a perfectly preserved relic - a giant, yellow barge. But... my Grandmother had developed problems getting around... and it was the only vehicle she could get in and out of.
That next memory brought me to think of exactly how important that car was... and how we never know how something so random will make all the difference. 
In their last few years, Grandma was in a care facility and Grandpa would go see her almost every day.  Then, when Grandpa took a turn for the worst, Grandma had to come to him in the hospital. But she never drove, and couldnt anyway. So the family would load her up in Grandpas car, or the care facility would use their handicapped accessible van to shuttle her to the hospital.
On Grandpa's final day, we had been told it was just a matter of time. He had been in and out... but we knew he was going to leave us sooner than later. The nurses and doctors urged the family to go take one last reprieve to collect ourselves, have a meal and then come back. We had just left the hospital to take Grandma home for a while... and the family met down the road to grab dinner. No more than we sat down at the table, we got a call at the restaurant. In just a few mintutes, Grandpa's blood pressure dropped and he was fading fast. This was it.
But... Grandma was back at the nursing home! We had to get her to the hospital with Grandpa. The family scrambled. Somehow I ended up with Grandpa's car keys and found myself racing toward the nursing home. Mom called ahead and the nurses were bringing her to the front. I swung the big old car under the portico and two hulking paramedics were out front and expertly plopped Grandma in the front seat.
I turned on the flashers and drove with Grandpa's lead foot all the way to the hospital. She softly held my hand for a few moments after we drove off until I needed it to steer. I wasn't sure if she was comforting me, or if it was comforting to her. I recall that Grandma kept saying, "Hold on, Gene. I'm coming. Just hold on, Gene." 
We pulled into the Emergency doors at the hospital and more paramedics flopped Grandma into a waiting wheelchair and whisked her away. I parked the old car and took off running. I reached his room just behind Grandma and saw her reach out and take the hand of the man who had been her life-partner and father of her children for 60 years.
HIS life flashed before MY eyes as Grandma leaned toward him from her chair and said, "I'm here, Gene." She told him she loved him, and almost immediately his breaths slowed and then... stopped.
I don't know why I ended up driving Grandma back to the hospital that night, but I have always felt incredibly blessed to have been so honored as to have helped her be there at that moment. It means more to me than any other experience in my life before, or since.
And... THAT is what life is all about, isn't it? It is about providing a vehicle that will allow you to have every possible moment with those you love. It's about driving a little faster down the road sometimes just to feel alive, and... not forgetting to have a little fun along the way by steering into the hills just to feel the inertia. It's about getting there just in time. Or maybe... it is just about having someone hold your hand and say, "I'm here."
Funny... in such an important memory, the two things I remember the most are my Grandma's soft hand and my Grandpa's lead foot. There's a moral in there somewhere... but I'll let you figure out that one. The memory itself is enough for me.


90-to-40: Receive love and acceptance - then pass it on.

Day 19:
There are a few people in this world who make us feel at home - not just with hospitality - but in spirit. Our families are made up of more than just blood relatives. Our families are the people who accept us as we are, who are always happy to see us, and who make us feel better when we're around them. These people bring out the best in us, and love us at our worst.
I am lucky because I have a few of those people in my life. I always jump at the chance to spend time with them. This weekend, I was able to spend time with my parents, and my best friend and his family.
The timing couldn't have been better. I'm just a couple of weeks away from one of the most exciting and potentially life-changing trips of my life. I'm going to Hawaii with my partner - and, as a part of the trip, we'll be planning our wedding. While I am always happy to see the important people in my life, it seems almost like some sort of book-end to the story that is about to unfold.
When I got home, I noticed a Facebook post by another buddy. In it, he urged everyone to reach out to the people in our lives - to give real hugs and to pay sincere attention to them - even if they don't act like they need it. It struck a nerve... and it makes me want to get outside of my self and pay attention to the relationships in my life that make me who I am.
So... that's exactly what I plan to do. It will NOT be about me. It will be about making those connections and expanding our relationships. It will be about getting to know each other and opening up closed lines of communication. I want to build a stronger circle around me. I want to have a more welcoming, accepting and interactive way of life.
I want to exchange spiritual ideas and tap into the unseen connections that we cannot explain or understand. I want to connect physically with comfortable contact, sincere embraces and basic proximity. I want to have meetings of the minds, and discuss all the things we have in common, the things that make us different, and learn from each other. I want to be emotionally open, raw and unreserved.
In short, it's time to stop letting things get in the way. It's time to risk being NOT accepted and NOT understood a few times, in order to find out where I AM accepted and understood. It's time to be open - in all ways. It's time to be accepting and understanding without judgement. It's time to practice what I preach and truly connect. Life is fleeting, we have to use it while we have it. Part of using it... is sharing it.
Love and acceptance is out there. We must all learn to receive it - then, pass it on.


90-to-40: Don't stop

Day 20:
I think we tend to overuse the need to "stop" doing things. We are told to stop eating to much, stop being lazy, stop being mean, or stop smoking. Life is about stopping that which we should not do.
However, the key to overcoming any obstacle is not STOPPING. The key - or so I've learned - is to do more STARTING.
So... want to stop procrastinating? Forget about that! Focus your attention on one action that will counteract it. Are you tired of being fat? Then don't stop eating unhealthy foods. Place your focus on adding something healthy to every meal.
We are that which we focus upon. If we focus on stopping a habit - our minds are consumed with that habit. If we ignore the habit, and add something that will counteract it... it becomes a natural transition.
You don't succeed in anything you don't start!  So start... take action... do something. Don't focus on what you don't want. Pay attention to what you do want. The good stuff will outweigh the bad - eventually.
But "start" strategically and mindfully - and stay started. Let it take over... and move on.


90-to-40: The best IS yet to come, after all...

Day 21:

It's getting closer. I woke up this morning and I could feel it.  The ripe old age of 40 stalked me all day. Every thing I did reminded me of my age! All. Day. Long!

This morning, I looked in the mirror and noticed my skin doing a "new thing." (UGH!) Then I trimmed my beard and couldn't find all the trimmings on the sink because they were mostly white... they blended in with the counter top. (Sigh). Then, I tried to hang a picture and it made my back hurt. (#$@*)$!). 

To top it all off, after work, I encountered a 21 year old who - when the subject of age came up - refreshingly observed (out loud) that I was old enough to be his dad. Then proactively added that I'm still young because his dad is actually 51. (*with gritted teeth* One does not need to qualify such things unless one was trying to be respectful of their "elders!")

In that moment, all the things I didn't get to do in my life - and the stuff I took (take) for granted - and the long bucket list of things left to do - all trampled across my mind in rapid-fire succession like a herd of buffalo on the run. It was like remembering that you forgot to pay your electric bill when the lights go out. <insert forehead-smack here> 

Okay, so ... I snapped back to reality pretty quickly. I KNOW I'm not old. I'm far from it, really. But... it served as sort of an alarm bell and I had a new, distinct awareness that I should NOT hit the snooze button on that alarm. In fact, it felt like much more than an alarm. It felt like a wake up call.

While I probably have many, many wonderful years left, I have certainly lived long enough to gain some appreciation for the power and value of time. It makes more sense to "get on with things" than it does to delay anything - anything -  longer than necessary.

So, instead of getting depressed (okay, I did for literally like two minutes... sue me!), I pulled my thoughts together and I started to list off some affirmations. Only, it was different this time. The affirmations took on the form of resolutions. I can honestly say that I was "resolved" to do things a bit differently. There was a completely new sense of purpose behind my thoughts that I haven't felt before. 

All day, I found myself repeating things like, "Get out of bed when the first alarm goes off. Do the chores when I see they need done. Say "I love you" when the mood hits. Be silly when I want to. Take a break when I need to. Take vacations and try new things. If it isn't contributing to my life, get rid of it. Eliminate annoyances. Remove barriers. Do it now... whatever it is that I need to do."

Eventually these affirmations turned into; "Every experience had brought you to this moment. You're better at your job than you think. I can contribute to society. I don't care what others think of me. I deserve great things." And... so on.

You see... my thoughts snowballed into something better than I expected - almost involuntarily. I felt good... and had more of a sense of acceptance of where I am in my life, not to mention a sense of confidence about it.

And... here is the twist to this little experience.

This experience wasn't about getting old at all. The lesson I'm taking away from this is... I have actually retrained my brain to talk myself off of "pity ledges." How many times do we step out on the proverbial ledge - looking down at the world below and the tragedy of it all - with NO intention of jumping. We just sit there and have our "woe is me" moment. Then... we come off the proverbial ledge and feel like crap for the rest of the day (or longer).

I used to be that guy. I used to have to drag myself off the pity ledge. But... today... I never even contemplated taking the "woe is me" approach. I never even saw the ledge as an option. And, unless you're in MY head, you can't understand how HUGE that is. And... how incredibly validating that the things I've done over the past few years to FORCE myself off the pity ledge and to manufacture positive thoughts to retrain my mind - has WORKED.

Holy crap! IT WORKED!

Years... no, DECADES of getting LOST in the "what if's" and "poor me" mentality has been re-imprinted with self-affirming, positive actions.

And some people laughed at me - they actually LAUGHED at me. But it worked! (Take THAT skeptics!) I feel like Doc must have felt when the time machine actually worked. It was like crossing the finish line of a marathon, or spending a lifetime hunting or treasure and finally finding the mother load.

And... I feel more empowered than ever to KEEP retraining my mind. How cool is that!? In fact, I feel like shooting for something greater and more lofty... like... like... some of those crazy ass dreams I have of writing a best-selling book. Maybe - just maybe - it's NOT so crazy to think that we, as mere humans, can tap into something greater than ourselves and change our OWN LIVES.

And best of all... maybe it's not insane to believe that this is just the beginning, and that the best is INDEED yet to come.


90-to-40: That's not my Karma

Day 22:
For the fifth time in 4000 miles, I have to take my truck in for service for the same issue. This time I'm telling them to keep it until it is right (or, just keep it). It is such a minor issue, but the dealer in Texas is worthless. Fortunately, the dealer here is taking responsibility - I hope.
If I hadn't raised hell, made phone call after phone call and involved the manufacturer, I would end up with a brand new piece of crap. And... the problem - likely, a slightly warped rim - would have become more and more unsafe.
It is frustrating, but I have to remain diligent until it is fixed right. It shouldn't be that way. The original dealer should have taken ownership, but they didn't.  Therefore... I have to.
Other people who intentionally shift responsibility never seem to have repercussions. Oh sure... they don't get very far in the world, but shouldn't they be responsible for the fallout from their actions?  It happens to corporations all the time, but... it would take an act of Congress to hold an individual responsible for being lazy. (And we know how that would turn out.)
I try... so hard... to take responsibility for problems I can solve. I haven't always understood how, but I tried. But I'm learning that not everyone does that.
In my life, I haven't always taken my own advise, but this time I am. I will do my best to own what is my responsibility, and hold others accountable for their part. Mind you, I am not talking about being petty or shifting blame. But its important not to take on what isn't mine to take on.
I believe that good karma is about being accountable to ourselves. Shifting blame or responsibility to someone else doesn't shift the payback from Karma. If we spend our lives making everything "someone else's problem" the retribution doesn't go away with it. All we are doing by passing off all responsibility is giving up any opportunity to earn some good karmic payoffs. The more responsibility we blow off, the more bad karma we get in return... with nothing to show for it.
And in regard to my truck... well this too shall pass.


90-to-40: Kaleidoscopes make me dizzy

Day 23:
I like to talk about how I embrace change... and for the most part, I do. That doesn't mean it is easy on me. The whole reason I embrace change is because complacency does a number on me.
The truth is... I love my comfort zones. I have learned that monotony saps my energy. Too much change makes me uncomfortable. And when any extreme is imposed upon me... it is like kryptonite and i have to be careful not to shut down.
I am currently locked into dual extremes. Everything with my job, home and personal life is in constant motion... and I feel like much of the change is being imposed upom me by the universe. It's not a living prison... but it is beyond my control.
I know... i know. I can change things any time I want to, right? As strange as it seems... I don't really want it to stop changing yet. I know the changes are all answers to my prayers. God is changing what I asked to be changed. I can't discount that.
However... with the constant barage of new experiences and ever-changing surroundings, it's like living in a kaleidoscope and not being able to look away. After a while, anyone would welcome the opportunity to stare at a blank wall.
It is dizzying and monotonous simultaneously. I dont know what my view will be from one minute to the next. But the one thing I know for sure... if I can focus on the big picture, I'm in for a really interesting trip. I get the gut feeling that I'm in for something remarkable... soon.


90-to-40: What is your REAL?

Day 24:

I am known to promote the benefits of