Archive for February, 2010


Friday, February 19th, 2010

It’s 10:45 on Friday night. I should really get to bed since I’m headed to the show in Johnstown at 6am. I just got home from the Adirondack Phantoms AHL game. As the closing seconds ticked off the clock my mind raced back some30 years ago to when the Adirondack Red Wings made their home in Glens Falls. I was 11 years old and involved in youth hockey so it made things even more exciting. As the game ended they started playing “We Are the Champions” by Queen. Although it was 30 years ago when they used to play the same song after Red Wing victories, it seemed almost timeless in a sense. It was only for a few seconds, but I definitely felt myself race back in time. I was only 11 then, but I was happy go lucky and felt good about myself back then. Tonight, while listening to the song playing, as I walked up the stairs I knew that mentally I was once again in the happy go lucky frame of mind, with the world waiting for me to explore it. Back then I didn’t know where the road would take me and I was able to find my way once the miles started fading behind me. Now, I’ll do the same.

Tomorrow will be the 30th anniversary of my trip to Lake Placid to see the Olympic Games. I was able to watch Eric Heiden, the speed skater, win his fifth gold medal on the outside oval. It was surely an event that I will never forget.  It was also the day after the United States had beaten Russia 4-3 in the Miracle on Ice game. People were on the streets selling used ticket stubs from the game for $500 which was a substantial amount of money at the time time, especially for a game that had already been played.

To this day I can’t believe the things that I experienced as a child. I’m not sure that my parents knew at the time that their ability to share everything with their children would stay with each and every one of us throughout our lives. All of these things gave meaning to our lives and made us understand how very fortunate we were.

My father only bought one ticket to a cross country skiing event and hoped that would be enough to get us into the Olympic village, which it was. I didn’t understand then what I do now.  My parents simply took a chance and hoped it would work out. They didn’t have any fear and weren’t swayed by all of the people that told them they would never be allowed to get close to Lake Placid. Instead they went all in and figured everything would figure itself out along the way. My siblings and I are so incredibly lucky to have lived the dream of going to the Olympics the year that so many wonderful things happened for the United States.

As I’ve sat back and watched the Olympics in Vancouver this week I can remember the sights, sounds and smells like it was only yesterday. The sad part is that it was almost a lifetime ago and time gets going so fast it’s impossible to slow down. I wish I could lasso it and make it stand still. I’m now beginning to see the writing on the wall.

I’ve been stuck for a while and the decisions that I must make are becoming painfully more obvious. Time’s not slowing down and I must decide where to go, what to do and most importantly what path will take me where I need to go. Although it sounds relatively simple, it’s not.

I’ve always been a chronic over-thinker and once again my mind is stuck on full throttle. Nobody ever said life would be easy. It’s a series of events that challenge our inner being and what we are made of. As the saying goes “only the strong survive.” Well, everyone survives to an extent, but the strong are able to prioritize and make the necessary changes on the fly.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the next 9 months in front of me. I have a mountain of things on my plate and I must tackle them one at a time. The secret is not letting everything overwhelm me. I’ve taken many punches on the chin and I’ve been kicked below the belt as well as hit in the back. Therefore, I know I can handle pretty much anything. There’s always light at the end of the tunnel, no matter how dark it might seem when you’re inside it. The light will appear if your feet don’t stop moving. Movement is essential and we must all learn to continue marching forward.

I read a quote the other day which I can easily relate to. It reads “In the end we only regret the chances we didn’t take, the relationships we were afraid to have and the decisions we waited too long to make.” Unfortunately, I’m living proof of that quote. I can feel the pain of some of it each and every day. I know it’s nobody’s fault but my own, too.

Hopefully I can change some of those things in the future and take the advice rather than become yet another statistic or a reason for another quote of the same nature.

Tomorrow should be fun. I’m looking forward to seeing a few people I haven’t seen in a while as well as making some new friends. If  I’m lucky maybe I’ll sell a few more books than I expect to.

Until next time……………..tonight was a blast back in time that brought back some great memories and made me accept that many more are waiting to be made.

A Wake-up Call

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

The last week has been interesting to say the least. The annual Guan Ho Ha Vegas archery tournament was held last weekend. I sat there all weekend in hopes of selling a few books. It felt good to see all the friends that I only see a few times a year. When the weekend was over it was a gentle reminder of how fortunate I have been in my life so far. I’ve come in contact with some wonderful people and although some of them don’t know it they have silently played a role in my maturation.

When I started down the Northway on Friday evening after work I had so many thoughts rambling through my mind that I didn’t know which one to address. Instead of addressing any of them I called one of my friends and rambled. When I was done talking I was a little south of Saratoga where my journey would soon take me across some old country roads without much traffic.

As one mile turned into the next I noticed some nice houses. I especially took interest in a couple. I’m not sure why, but they almost jumped out at me. My mind was still not quiet and I continued on. A short time later I arrived and set up by sign that acted as a small display for the weekend.

The next two hours passed quickly and I handed in my tournament score card before I left. Once again I was disappointed. Sometimes it feels like it was many years ago that I shot well. It seems as if one problem has led into another and the train slowly derailed along the way. The cars sit quietly on the edge of track and collect more rust with each passing year. It often makes me wonder if my best days are behind me. Quite honestly I don’t put nearly enough into it anymore, but I still expect good results. In the past I used archery as an outlet, which isn’t necessary now.

When I headed home that night I thought about putting the effort forth again. I wondered what it might be like if the motivation returned and I gave it everything I had.

When I put my head on my pillow that night I quickly drifted off to sleep. The next morning came quickly and the bittern cold outside reminded me of the cruelty of the world. I fired the truck up so I would be somewhat comfortable when I started my trek south.

The ride Saturday morning was different than Friday night. The sky was clear blue and the sun glistened off the frost covered branches. It was peaceful. My mind rested for a few minutes before it started it’s frantic race around the track on the inside of my skull.

That’s when it hit me. I wondered out loud how I got to where I am and what’s beyond here. What is really out there for me? In more ways than one I feel as if I’ve wasted the last 20 years of my life as far as my occupation goes. I got out of college and as one day led into the next it became a pattern that I couldn’t or wouldn’t break. Throughout my 20 years of service I have only been fully stimulated by my job a handful of times. When it occurred it never lasted more than a year or two. When I first started writing French copy for movies and television shows I felt like I once again had a purpose. My job was unique and very few people could do what I did.

Then, one day the director of Editorial said something to me that I have held close to the vest for a lot of years. When I asked him why French editors weren’t paid more he responded to me, “Because they don’t have a “learned skill.” That day is when I realized that my time was being wasted where I was. I laughed to myself and simply replied “If I don’t have a learned skill you’re telling me you can go sit at my desk and do my job within a day, a month or 3 month time frame?” He had no answer, which in turn told me all I needed to know.

Many times in the corporate world the work you bring to the table is far too under appreciated and taken for granted. I was bascially told to my face that my education was useless and insuperior to that of someone who held a 4 year degree in a computer field. Not sure, but last time I checked no matter what your 4 year degree is in no person is more educated than another. They are simply educated in different areas.

The distribution of money in the United States is a laughing stock to me right now. I work for a company that is going through Bankruptcy hearings, yet they can’t give their low income people raises, but they can divide 46 million between approximately 740 managers. Last time I checked bonuses were given out to reward good work…………..not to reward the top people in a company that has filed bankruptcy resulting from failures in numerous areas within the company, which as managers, they were ultimately responsible for.

When it’s all over the news and the business/financial experts are commenting on it you know that the people in charge of the company are in it for themselves. That’s the difference between America 40 years ago and today. Very few people do what’s best for the company. Instead of hiring people for the benefit of the company they hire people to benefit themselves.

I’m very much like my father. When he was in managment he would promote people even if he disliked them with a passion, as long as they were the most qualified person for the job. As I learned in all of my Business/Management classes in college, you can have no friends outside of work, from inside the workplace, if you are in management. My father did this well. Although he had to terminate some relationships it was necessary and was done to benefit the company.

Most places now have severly unqualified people in positions. This leads to bad morale, animosity and total loss of motivation. The Peter Principle which was so popular in the 70s is back with a vengeance.  So many people with far superior talent are overlooked because so many others are promoted to their level of incompetence. It’s a vicious cycle.

………Back to my ride. When I thought of all of those things I realized that I’m not in a very good place. I need a change. I’m not sure what the change will be, but I have now made it a priority to do something where I can use my education and knowledge to better myself. I’ve already accomplished a little of that by writing and publishing the book. It will not stop there. One person has put me down one too many times. It has motivated me to find something where people will appreciate what I have to offer and be glad to have me work with them to benefit the company as a whole.

The next month will give me a lot of time to think and I’ll slowly find a plan. I’ve never been one to fail once I’ve put my mind to something. Somehow, some way I’ll figure it all out. Day by day……… foot in front of the other. As a fawn knows when it’s time to leave his mother and go out on his own, we too must know when it’s time for us to move forward.

Sometimes stepping out of our comfort zone is really hard, but necessary. I believe it is that time. Instead of being vengeful or angry I  will some day go back and thank the person who reminded me how much more I had in store for someone who wanted to take advantage of my skills and knowledge. I’m not a quitter and it will be their loss not mine. The unfortunate part is that so many people are so in it for themselves that they don’t even realize what they’ve lost…………………even after it’s gone.