“Suppose you can get what you want…” – Fortune Cookie
A cold February night in New England, with a frigid wind cutting through the air. The restaurant provided a safe haven from the elements. The company and conversation provided the requisite warmth.
A simple dinner with family and friends. The theme for the evening was happiness, and nothing could change the mood. Not the wait – even though we had reservations. Not the crowd at the bar – it just made us stand closer to each other. The waiter was overly apologetic when he forgot the appetizers, but we were so impressed with the dishes in front of us, it didn’t matter. We did appreciate the free bottle of wine he gave the table.
“I don’t want a ----- thing!” – John Wilson
My plan was simply to march in the parade. It was the first Memorial Day after my father died. The local Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and American Legion posts invited all veterans to be part of the town parade. It would be a wonderful way to honor my father and be with other veterans on a tough day.
When I arrived at the town’s Community House, I realized I didn’t know what entrance to use. Another car soon arrived, so I slowly got out of my car. The gentleman came up to me and said, “Hi, I’m Bill. You look like you’re new here.”
“Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast." – Lewis Carroll (The White Queen in “Alice in Wonderland”)
My favorite mornings are when I wake up while still in the middle of a dream. I’ll lie there for a few moments and write my own ending to the story. Depending on the dream, I may fall back to sleep. Thank goodness for snooze alarms!
"The purpose of learning is growth, and our minds, unlike our bodies, can continue growing as we continue to live” – Mortimer Adler
For decades, I’ve disdained slippers. They seemed like an unnecessary piece of clothing. Either I wore shoes – dress shoes, work boots, running shoes – or I went barefoot. Having something “in between” would just take up more room in my closet.
My outlook changed with my hip surgery last summer. In addition to needing a cane, I would have difficulty bending over for weeks. That would make tying my shoes a challenge. Walking barefoot wasn’t recommended, so I had to find slip-on shoes – slippers.
Reading and Books
"You cannot dream yourself into a character: you must hammer and forge yourself into one." - Henry David Thoreau
I was having breakfast with some fellow veterans on Saturday morning. The previous week, we had shared emails about some modifications to the memorial in the center of town. After several rounds of messages, it was clear an in-person discussion would be better. Plus, who doesn’t like getting together for breakfast?
“Some people care too much. I think it's called love.” ― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
It started with a visit to the Museum of Fine Arts to see their special exhibition – “Winnie the Pooh: Exploring a Classic”. It was a weekday evening, but there were plenty of people in line to enjoy the displays of original letters, drawings and early editions of the books that introduced the world to Christopher Robin, Pooh, and their captivating cohorts.
The ages of attendees spanned the generations. Not only were there people my age, but people old enough to be my parents, or children, or grandchildren. Different languages and accents could be heard sharing laughs and smiles in front of the displays. Even crusty old men took a moment to play Poohsticks on the bridge – just as they have for over 90 years.
What a year! 2018 brought a lot of changes for many of us, myself included. The closing of my running career has opened up new paths, new opportunities, and new outlooks on life.
“A gentleman is one who never hurts anyone's feelings unintentionally.” - Oscar Wilde
My social media feed was filled with posts on a contentious subject. Both sides of the political spectrum were accusing the other of not taking them seriously. People had created memes using cool graphics and witty wording.
Posts built upon posts, until all the arguments looked silly. I started to do my own research on the subject. Thanks to the power of the internet, I was able to reach back decades, and then centuries. The more I learned, the sillier the current situation seemed.
“People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing – that's why we recommend it daily!” – Zig Ziglar
I recently listened to a podcast interview with Ta-Nehisi Coates, the journalist and author. During the interview, Mr. Coates talked about his decision to shut down his Twitter account and leave that social media platform. The constant barrage of negativity was impacting his writing. He explained, “If I don’t exert control over what comes in, I will in no way be able to exert control over what comes out.”
That’s a key point – what we absorb impacts what we generate. The internet and social media have helped further democratize the distribution of information. More people are able to express their views to more people than ever before. However, that means a long with the good, there’s a lot of bad.
“The shortest way to do many things is to do only one thing at a time.” – Richard Cecil
I’m very lucky to have a job that I love. Working with clients, teaching classes, speaking for industry groups, and traveling to some beautiful parts of our country. But as the saying goes, sometimes you can have too much of a good thing.