The Life We Realize

Was today important? How about tomorrow?

Our Town

EMILY: “Does anyone ever realize life while they live it…every, every minute?”

STAGE MANAGER: “No. Saints and poets maybe…they do some.”

Thornton Wilder, Our Town


“Choose the least important day in your life. It will be important enough.”

Thornton Wilder, Our Town

I never read Thornton Wilder’s play, Our Town. It seems like the type of literature that would be required high school reading. The mundane and simple nature of the play would surely be lost on most high schoolers, so it’s a good thing I didn’t discover the play until recently.

I’ve just started reading it…the first play I’ve read in at least thirty years. What a relief to know I get to read this one for the sheer pleasure of it, and not in preparation for a final exam on the subject.

There are a ton of thought provoking quotes in the play, but these two stand out for me:

Does anyone ever realize life while they live it…every, every minute?

It’s easy for us to see that fish swim in water that sustains their life, but I doubt they realize it. It’s easy for us to understand that we are “swimming” in the air that sustains our life, but I doubt we realize it. Life is all around us, every minute if we choose to notice.

How many of us realize how precious each day is while we are living them. The countless decisions and non-decisions we make each day, the people we impact (hopefully positively). The memories we accumulate along the way.

Instead of continuously looking ahead, chasing our dreams, maybe it’s good to look to the side occasionally. Slow down and check out the scenery that’s whizzing past as we barrel ahead to our futures. Taking time to appreciate the gift of our life, even as we live it.

Choose the least important day in your life. It will be important enough.

If you live to be 100 years old, that’s 36,500 days. How about 75 years? That’s 27,375. Imagine you just turned 48, like me. I’ve used 17,538 of my days, so far. Trust me, I used a calculator to check my math.

Which one was the most important? How about the least important?

What are the criteria you use to define importance? Do you have your criteria all picked out? Are you ready for the days when those things you thought were important suddenly don’t matter?

Each of us can identify important days in our past. Chances are, some of the days you see today as being most important didn’t seem so important when you were living them in real time. Hindsight is good that way.

Was today important? How about tomorrow, or the next day?

Each of them will be important enough, if we take the time to realize it.




Photo Credit:


Do It Anyway

Very few of us will change the (entire) world. But, following the advice in these verses is a great way to change our little corner of it…

I recently came across this poem.  It was painted on the wall of Mother Teresa’s home for children in Calcutta, India.  While it’s well-known to many, it’s new to me.  I like it so much I’ve decided to share it here:

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.

Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.

Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.

Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and sincere, people may deceive you.

Be honest and sincere anyway.

What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.

Create anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.

Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, will often be forgotten.

Do good anyway.

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.

Give your best anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God.

It was never between you and them anyway.

Very few of us will change the (entire) world. But, following the advice in these verses is a great way to improve our little corner of it.

That’s all that matters anyway.

If It Makes You Happy

There’s a question in life that each of us gets to answer:



“If it makes you happy, then why the hell are you so sad?”  –Sheryl Crow

I was hiking this week and came across a California Conservation Corps crew. They were clearing brush near the trail. There were probably ten in the crew. I don’t know if they were volunteers, paid workers, or possibly working off community service hours. One thing was certain. None of them were enjoying the work.

I saw a lot of slouchy, half-hearted shoveling. They each looked exhausted. The brush wasn’t fighting back, but it was on the verge of beating this crew. None of the crew members embraced the joy that can come from working outside as the sun rises. I doubt if any were proud of the job they were doing, or the difference they were making.

They weren’t happy because they didn’t want to be happy.

Are you happiest at home? At work? Running trails? Sewing a quilt? Playing Call of Duty? Cooking dinner? Reviewing your finances? Gazing upon the ocean from the balcony of your stateroom? Sitting in quiet meditation? Mowing the lawn? Sipping a Mai Tai? Pulling weeds? Playing hide-and-seek with your kids? Cleaning your toilets? Watching your kids’ soccer games? Doing the dishes? Surfing? Playing guitar?

If you put this list in descending order from happiest to saddest, which activity is your happiest? Saddest?

I submit that each activity (and hundreds more) can be happy or sad, rewarding or frustrating, peaceful or angry, creative or boring. The activity and its location aren’t nearly as important as the one real determining factor:

The attitude we choose to bring.

There’s a question in life that each of us gets to answer:

What makes me happy?

The answer? The third word of the question.

Until you work on yourself, there isn’t much anyone or anything can do to make you happy.

“Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.”  –Abraham Lincoln


In honor of this, my 100th blog post, I thought I’d post a picture of two readers I have in my mind as I write each post.  It’s amazing to me that this photo is nearly twenty years old!  My how time flies.


The Presence of a Toddler

Toddlers are the ultimate expression of being present…

I read an article today about the “busyness bubble” that exists in society today. The author described a world where everyone is over-worked, over-stimulated, over-committed, rushing from one place to another, distracted every two minutes by emails, texts, and Twitter and Instagram feeds on their smartphones.

This continuous busyness and distracted lifestyle hampers creativity, and prevents real human connection. There isn’t time to think beyond the next two minutes, the next errand, the next meeting.

Take a walk with a toddler. Trust me, it won’t be a long walk. Watch where they focus. Notice they aren’t worried about their smartphone (since they don’t have one). They have no destination in mind when they start their walk. They’re too busy looking at the pebbles, snail shells, and cracks in the cement to think about anything else. They have no errands to run, no meetings to attend. They aren’t worried about what they said yesterday, or what they’ll be doing tomorrow.

Toddlers are the ultimate expression of being present. Nothing interrupts their train of thought except the next shiny object in front of them. Their walk is a time of new discovery and new experiences.

Busyness is self-inflicted. It’s the result of a series of decisions that we control. Each decision makes sense at the time…or, seems like the only choice we have. We decide to pile commitments on to our schedule. We decide to worry today about next week’s deadline. We decide to dwell on injustices of the past. We decide to look at our phone every two minutes.

Don’t know any toddlers? Take that walk anyway. Leave your phone behind. Count the number of snails you see. Look for the most colorful pebbles. Take some time to smell the roses in your neighbor’s yard. Appreciate the sun’s warmth on your back.

Enjoy the clarity of being present, and enjoy the fulfillment that comes from deciding to be less busy.

The choice is yours.

The 911 Call I Never Thought I’d Make

I had an interesting start to my day last Monday. I hesitate to write about it, but here goes.

I awoke just before 5am, trying to catch my breath. I was breathing fine, but couldn’t seem to catch my breath. It was a bit like the feeling of holding your breath underwater, and racing toward the surface for the relief of fresh air…that never came. Luckily, I wasn’t drowning, but the experience was unnerving to say the least.

I figured going downstairs and starting my day would be just the ticket. As I reached downstairs, the problem wasn’t improving. Now, a wave of anxiety washed over me. I started wondering if my arms were tingling, did my chest hurt, was I having a heart attack!? I stood there in the dark for what seemed like an eternity. My mouth went dry, and still I couldn’t catch my breath.

Is this all in my head? Is this just anxiety over not being able to catch my breath? Am I going to be one of those stories of the guy who is in (almost) perfect health, and then has a heart attack?

I have a lot of other stories to live and tell. This is definitely not the one I want to have told about me today.

I decided to call 911.

After hanging up with them, I woke Janet and told her about the situation. She is awesome in these types of moments. Calm, focused. I felt comfort in not being alone. I still couldn’t catch my breath, but she was with me, and help was on the way. They’d figure this out.

I sat in my dining room, waiting for the paramedics to arrive, wondering if I’d ever catch my breath. I couldn’t help but wonder to myself how a guy who climbs stairs as a hobby, runs trails for fun, and takes long walks on my resting days could possibly be having a heart attack. Something else must be happening. I didn’t have much time to wonder, as the paramedics had arrived (probably only 3-4 minutes after my call). They hooked me up to their EKG, and started asking me a bunch of questions. Their readings all showed a perfectly beating heart, and 100% oxygen absorption. According to the monitors, I was in good shape. And yet, I couldn’t catch my breath.

They recommended I go to the Emergency Room to be checked out. Since they didn’t see any imminent danger, we decided to drive ourselves (rather than take the ambulance ride).

My anxiety subsided a bit, but still I couldn’t catch my breath. It’s a frustrating feeling. I have a new appreciation for what asthmatics, and others who have chronic breathing difficulty are going through.

ER check-in was smooth and easy, and within a couple minutes, I had seen the doctor, and was plugged into another EKG machine. A few minutes later, they took blood samples, and a chest X-ray. And still, I couldn’t catch my breath. I didn’t have any pain, just a growing irritation at not being able to breathe, and wondering where this was all going.

About a half hour later, the doctor stopped by and let us know that the blood work all came back normal. There was no trace of a heart enzyme that shows up in your blood if you’re having a heart attack. The chest X-ray showed nothing. They wanted me to stay for another two hours for observation, and then re-take the heart enzyme test.

Two hours later, I was beginning to breathe normally. Almost like a light switch, I wasn’t having trouble catching my breath. The second heart enzyme test came back negative. All good news. I was definitely not having a heart attack, and yet I clearly had something that messed up my breathing. They scheduled me to have a follow-up with my primary care doctor a couple days later.

One thing I’ve learned from being around technology all my life is that problems don’t just go away. If you don’t identify and solve the root cause, the problem will happen again at a time of its choosing. That’s exactly what happened about six hours later just as I finished eating dinner. I noticed my breathing problem came back. This time, I didn’t have the same anxiety. I “listened” more closely to what my body was telling me. It was telling me that this was somehow related to digestion. So, now I’m the guy who thought he was having a heart attack, but all he had was indigestion.

With this new theory in hand, I saw my primary care doctor and we reviewed everything that had happened. She listened, probed, checked all of the lab test results, and agreed that I’m most likely suffering from some level of acid reflux. The irritation from the acid is apparently interrupting my breathing. But, just to be certain, she scheduled me for a stress EKG test.

So, Monday I have paramedics in my house, and by Friday (Good Friday to be exact), I’m hooked up to yet another EKG machine, running on a treadmill at a twelve percent incline. Finally, something fun in this process…some exercise after having to take a week off.

The goal of a stress EKG is to put your body (specifically your heart) under an intense amount of stress and monitor how it reacts. According to the cardiology nurse who managed the test, it is about 85-90% accurate at identifying even minor cardiac issues. He told me that the electrical impulses of our heart can tell a lot about its health…especially when it’s pushed to its limits.

After about fifteen minutes, my heart rate was 175, and I was feeling great. Some water would have been nice, but that wasn’t an option. I have to admit that I enjoyed hearing one of the EKG technicians say that she’d never seen anyone run at this pace or incline for so long. Stairclimbers unite! I hope I represented us well.

The nurse asked if I was having any trouble breathing, or catching my breath. I wasn’t. We were hoping to push things hard enough to cause the problem to re-occur. No dice. I just kept running, getting thirstier, and wondering how long I should keep going. He asked me to continue at an even higher incline, as one last push to see if we could trigger the breathing problem. Nothing. Just calves that were thrashed and tired from the continuous climb. I was done, and the breathing issue never showed itself. My heart rate topped out at 180.

The good news is that my heart checked out just fine. The EKG nurse told me this provides great baselines for later in my life if an actual cardiac problem arises (something to look forward to, I guess). We’re working on the “acid” theory, so I’m on a regimen of Prilosec, and eliminating acid-causing foods from my diet.

My primary care doctor commended me on having the courage to dial 911 when I did. I hadn’t thought of it that way. She said that many people ignore warning signs that their body sends them…until it’s too late.

My decision to call 911 was a response to fear. Fear of not knowing what was happening. Fear that my life that I love so much may be ending. With the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, my life wasn’t in danger. Maybe courage is taking action in the face of fear, not merely because of it. Or, could it be that abject fear pushes us to reach out for help we never thought we’d need?

As I take yet another Prilosec and wonder if acid reflux is the root cause, I certainly have a greater appreciation for how quickly our lives can change.

Carpe Diem!


Searching for Utopia

That elusive place or time where everything is perfect…


In Utopia, everyone is an ally. There’s no struggle to determine who will lead, and who will follow. There is no disagreement or dissention among the inhabitants. The definition of what’s important is known and accepted by all. All roles and activities in Utopia are complementary, and synchronized perfectly. Each person knows their role and is happy and content to remain in that role. There is no envy in Utopia. There are no outside influencers with contrary ideas. There are no existential threats to Utopia. In Utopia, there is no competition. Humans live and work in complete harmony and happiness.

Cue the sound of a record scratching!

Put at least three humans together, and watch the non-Utopian dynamics unfold.

The group may be focused on delivering food to the homeless, winning a pick-up basketball game, planning a party, or running a Fortune 500 company. It doesn’t matter whether there are three members in the group, three hundred, or three thousand. The realities of human nature prevent Utopian agreement and synchronicity among the participants. It’s a good thing. Imagine how few new discoveries would happen if everyone were trapped in Utopia.

And yet, many spend their lives searching for it. That elusive place or time where everything is perfect. They bounce from one relationship to another, from one city to another, from one company to another…never quite finding their version of Utopia. A deepening sense of urgency, even profound disappointment, creeps into their subconscious as their fruitless search continues.

Utopia isn’t a place, a time, or a group. It’s what you make for yourself and those you love. It’s how you treat others. It’s how you treat yourself. Utopia is where you are each day, if you get out the way and allow yourself to enjoy it.

One could argue that this view of personal Utopia is, in a word, Utopian, and therefore impossible.

That may be true, and this argument will continue long after my time on the planet.

In the meantime, I’ll focus on enjoying my Utopia while others continue their search.


Photo Credit:  Diane Anderson

Things I Learned in China

Our China trip is what I’d call the “TV highlights tour.”

If my count is correct, I’ve visited seventeen countries, so far.  There’s no better way to learn about a country than being on the ground in that country.  First-hand knowledge cuts away the spin, partial news coverage, opinion, conjecture, half-truths, urban legend, and other forms of information we carry as “truth” about our fellow travelers on this planet.

Visiting foreign countries is also an exercise in adjustment.  There’s jetlag, and the obvious language barriers to overcome (even in countries with English as their official language).  There are differing customs, different transportation rules and systems, differing levels of sanitation, new foods, new spices, hardly any ice (what’s up with that?), and living conditions that range from squalor to opulence.

Each country has its own rich history.  The local people we’ve met are proud of their country and their way of life.  They’re always curious about how we live in the US, our customs, our landmarks, our system of government.  They, like us, have a sprinkling of knowledge about the world outside of their country and are eager to gain a deeper understanding through their visitors’ perspectives.

Our China trip is what I’d call the “TV highlights tour.”  If you were to queue a video montage of famous cities and landmarks in China, our tour hit many of them:  In Beijing, we visited The Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, Lama Temple, The Great Wall, and the Olympic National Stadium (Bird’s Nest).  In Xi’an, we visited The Terra Cotta Warriors, and The (leaning) Wild Goose Pagoda.  In Shanghai, we visited The Bund (waterfront), The Shanghai Museum, and Nanjing Road.  We also took a river cruise on the Huang Po River that runs through Shanghai.  We rounded out our tour with a road trip to Suzhou (the “Venice of the Orient”).  We attended some dinner shows, featuring traditional music and dance, and incredible acrobatics.

China’s airports are awesome.  I dreaded the idea of taking two in-country flights in a seven-day period.  That wouldn’t be a picnic in the US, and I assumed (incorrectly) that it would be worse in China.  The customs process, the flight and baggage check-in, and the baggage claim processes were incredibly efficient.  Shanghai has two airports.  We flew into one, and out the other.  Both were huge, efficient, and well-planned.  It probably helps that all the airports we visited were built within the last 15 years, so they have all the latest design and technology concepts built-in.

We have over 400 photos and a couple hours of video, showing nearly every angle of the places we visited.  The lessons from our China trip run much deeper than what’s captured in our photos.

The massive urbanization that has occurred in China over the past twenty years is amazing.  Nearly 400 million people have moved from the countryside and into cities across China (that’s about 80 million more people than we have in the US).  Billions of square feet of real estate, massive new roadways, tunnels, bridges, railway systems, subway systems, sewer systems, electricity generation, and all the other infrastructure required to support this massive migration have been developed over the past two decades.  More accurately, all of it is still a work-in-process, since the migration continues.

In each city, the skyline is filled with skyscrapers and tower cranes.  I stopped counting tower cranes at about 50 (on our first day in China).  Everywhere we looked, commercial or residential skyscrapers were under construction.  Single-family houses are a rare sight, something we only saw in a small section of Shanghai.  People live mostly in high-rise apartment buildings.  “Pods” of 25 high-rise apartment buildings, spanning many city blocks, are common.  Imagine the entire Los Angeles basin filled with 30-plus-story buildings, instead of just the skyscrapers in the downtown section, and you start to get an idea of how massively sprawling Beijing, Shanghai, and even Xi’an are.

Some statistics may help illustrate just how massive China’s cities are.  The total population in China is 1.35 billion.  The total population in the US is 317.5 million.  The population in Beijing is about 21 million; Shanghai, 23 million; Xi’an, 9 million.  The population in New York, NY is 8.4 million; Los Angeles, 4 million; Chicago, 2.8 million.  One other interesting statistic:  there are more people in China who speak English than there are in the US.

Our guides in each city told us about the huge growth of their cities, and the dramatic improvements in the standard of living across China.  Their apartments average 500-700 square feet.  Our guide in Xi’an talked about how her first apartment, in 1990, didn’t have a bathroom or a kitchen, and yet she and her husband found a way to raise their new son in that environment.  Now she and her husband, and their 24-year old son, live in a 1,000 square foot, 3-bedroom apartment, with two bathrooms.  She beamed with pride while describing such a luxurious apartment and said that she hopes her son will be able to keep living there after she and her husband die.

The government owns all land in China.  Long-term leases allow people to make use of the land.  The lease duration is dependent upon the type of use.  For instance, for urban residential real estate development, lease durations of 75 years are available.  This allows a developer to build a residential apartment building, and then rent or sell the units to private parties.

Citizens used to get annual vouchers strictly allocating the amount of meat, butter, and other products they could buy per year.  Goods and services can now be purchased without government vouchers.  China’s huge economic growth makes goods and services much more readily available to its population.  The only requirement is having enough money to make the purchases.

Car license plates are rewarded by lottery.  If you are lucky enough to win the lottery, you then pay the fee (in the thousands of dollars) for the license plate.  Once you have the license plate, you can shop for a car.  A Canadian ex-pat in Shanghai told us there is a healthy black market for license plates, and that it isn’t uncommon for the plate to be as expensive as the car itself.

March, 2014 is a happy time across China.  The one-child policy that has been the law of the land since about 1979, is being softened.  Violating the one-child policy brings heavy fines to the parents, equaling about 2 ½ times their annual salary.  With the new, softer policy, if you or your spouse are only-children in your parent’s family, you can apply to have a second child, 3-4 years after your first child is born.

We heard consistently about one of the many unintended consequences of the one-child policy.  Consider that each child has two parents, and two sets of grandparents who make that one child the center of their universe.  That one child carries the hopes and dreams of their parents, and their grandparents.  With no siblings and very few (if any) cousins, sharing isn’t part of the child’s upbringing.  Spoiled, un-sharing children is the result, and represents the newest generation of young adults in China.

Ironic that a Communist system that purports to be about fully-shared (communal) ownership created a new generation of citizens who have little experience sharing anything, communally or otherwise.

On our first full day in Beijing, we visited Tiananmen Square.  Our guide pointed out that Tiananmen Square is similar to The Mall in Washington, D.C.  It’s where their government officials from around the country meet for two weeks each year.  The square has numerous monuments to the history of new China (since Chairman Mao rose to power in 1949).

As we prepared to exit the bus, our guide’s voice changed tone.  She told us that there are cameras and listening devices everywhere in the square, and that many of the tourists we’d see are actually undercover police or government officials.  She asked us not to ask her where the tank was, or about the protest that took place there.  She officially doesn’t know anything about the protests.  She only knows about it from tourists like us, talking about what happened in 1989.

It’s true.  There are monuments and flags in Tiananmen Square, similar to our Mall in Washington, D.C.  But, that’s where the similarities stop.  As I looked at the monuments, mostly depicting Chairman Mao and the government’s control over the people of China, I couldn’t help contrast that theme to the theme of the monuments in Washington.

We have monuments to many of our Founders as well.  Each monument is not only a tribute to the person, but to a belief system that our greatness comes from freedom and liberty.  Ours is a government of the people, by the people, for the people…not a government whose greatness comes from its control over the governed.  Tiananmen Square is vast, treeless, and austere.  One can’t help but feel insignificant in comparison to the government buildings surrounding the square.

We asked about traveling outside of China.  Two of our three guides had done so.  Both had traveled to the US.  They aren’t allowed to travel with their family.  At least one family member must remain in China while the other is traveling abroad.  They are required to put about $15,000 in an escrow account prior to leaving China.  The funds are returned when the traveler returns.  They are warned that if they choose to remain in another country, their family members will be punished financially, and could lose their jobs.     

I learned quickly what it means to use a restricted and censored internet.  Email worked, but FaceBook, Twitter, YouTube, and Google are all heavily restricted, especially if accessed via a Wi-Fi connection.  I found that if I randomly flipped my phone out of airplane mode while in the cities, FaceBook would “work” about half the time.  I had 90 seconds to post an update or a quick photo.  Then, it would stop working.  Apparently, 90 seconds is the amount of time it took for the censoring protocol to find my phone and shut down the app’s update capability.

China is amazing.  The sheer scale of their development over the past two or three decades is unbelievable.  The people are warm and friendly (as long as they aren’t driving a car, motor scooter or bicycle where you’re trying to walk…pedestrians apparently do not have the right of way, even if your light is green).  The locals we met have the same hopes and dreams for their future that we do.  They want to have a rewarding job, enjoy their life, spend time with their families, and see their children (child) have a better life than they’ve had.

I’ve never visited a country that lacks most of the basic freedoms I take for granted.  China has rapidly “westernized” their economy and their culture, on the surface.  However, they are fundamentally walking a tightrope between the freedoms required to drive their economic growth, and the strict controls and structures of a Communist state.

I can’t help wondering what China will look like twenty years from now.  Will their urbanization continue at the same pace?  What will the “softer” one-child policy mean for the next generation of Chinese?  Will the quasi-freedoms associated with capitalist economic expansion propel the country toward real freedom in the future?  Can China continue to operate one way on the surface, while controlling its population with a velvet-covered fist, beneath that surface?

These questions about China’s future make me think of similar questions for the US.  What will we look like twenty or thirty years from now?  Will we enjoy the same freedoms and liberties that we have today?

Full story of Tank Man from a PBS FrontLine episode in 2006:

No travelogue would be complete without some photos:



Tiananmen Square



The Great Wall


View from our hotel in Beijing


Terra Cotta Warriors


Panorama of the Shanghai Waterfront (The Bund)


Old and New in Shanghai (second tallest building in the world nearly completed)


Suzhou (Venice of the Orient)…branding is a little ahead of reality

Ode to the Rusty Chain

It used to be important. Its strength was unquestionable.

Ever noticed it sitting there, sometimes coiled neatly, but usually just piled in a corner?  It used to be important.  Its strength was unquestionable.  Its purpose was clear.

Now it sits, out of sight, and out of mind.  It waits for a call to action that will never come.  Many of its links are bent and twisted.  Rust has taken its shine and luster.  Time has sapped its strength.

The rusted chain rests.  Its inevitable return to Nature has begun.

It has no memories.  Its time and experience will add no wisdom.  It has no strength of character.  No moral values to impart.  No lessons to teach.  Nothing to pass on to future generations.

It is, after all, just a chain.

The Candy Store

Imagine you’re a candy lover…

Imagine you’re a candy lover.  You like all types of candy.  Actually, that’s not so hard to imagine for most of us.

Imagine you’re placed inside a candy store.  Every type of candy is there.  All of your favorites, and some that you’ve always wanted to try, are right there for you.  New flavors arrive all the time.

You get to have as much candy as you want.  No worries about calories, sugar content, cavities, or the inevitable sugar crash.  Just great candy, and it’s all yours.

Two rules:

  • you only get thirty minutes
  • you can’t take any of the candy with you

I’ve come to view life as that candy store…especially since I’ve been in here for at least fifteen of my minutes.

Here are seven things I’ve learned about the candy store, so far:

  1. It’s important to get the lay of the land before grabbing handfuls of candy.
  2. The best flavors are the most subtle, and often take time to enjoy.
  3. Some candy flavors mix well, others, not so much.
  4. I’ll never be able to taste all of the candy in the store, and that’s okay.
  5. There are just about as many sour candies as there are sweet.  The sour ones help me appreciate the sweet flavors even more.
  6. Most of the candy melts in your hand if you hold on to it for too long.
  7. The best candy, whether sweet or sour, is the candy that you share with those you love.

Searching for Awesomeness

How’s your search going?

How’s your search going?  Have you found the awesomeness you’ve been seeking?

There are a lot of awesome nouns (people, places, things) out there.  A whole bunch of awesome verbs.  And, don’t forget about all the awesome adjectives.  String these together in almost infinite patterns, and you have the makings of a lot of awesomeness.

The sound of steaks sizzling on the grill, a beautiful sunset, the sparkle in someone’s eye when you’ve taught them something they never knew, the quiet stillness of a starting line just before the starter’s gun goes off, the aroma of a perfect cup of coffee as the sun comes up, the crackle of a campfire, watching your daughter roast a marshmallow to perfection.

The search for awesomeness should be an easy one.  It’s all around us.

Sadly, for some, finding awesomeness is impossible.

That’s because they don’t realize that awesomeness isn’t about what’s outside.  It’s not about what we see, touch, or hear.  It isn’t what we smell or taste.  It isn’t even about who is with us.

Our thoughts drive who we are, what we’ll be, where we’re going, and how we look at the world.  To find and experience awesomeness, we must first open ourselves to gratitude and appreciation.  Without gratitude and appreciation, all of the awesomeness in this world (and beyond) are merely nouns, verbs, and adjectives, waiting to be combined.

The search for awesomeness starts and ends within each of us.  Gratitude is our compass.  Appreciation is our map.

[This post marks the first anniversary of my blog.  My goal was to publish one post per week, and limit their length to no more than 500 words.  This is my 58th post, and I think only one went over my self-imposed word limit (but, it was one of my favorites).

I’m grateful and appreciative that you have taken the time to read my posts.  I hope you found them encouraging, informative, and maybe a little thought provoking.]

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