Category Archives: Success

I’m Retiring

The time has come for me to face facts. Retirement, as we’ve come to know it, has changed. Many of us sought out careers that would assure present security and future potential.

We may have accepted the agreement that our employers promised–hard work now with a pension or retirement benefit at the end of our career. But it was a lie. I haven’t decided yet whether the lie was intentional or simply a result of mis-planning. Either way, there wasn’t enough good faith investment in our future to insure that it will exist (the way our younger selves envisioned it).

The Promise

The promise was that if you accepted a career in public service, you’d have stability, decent fringe benefits, and a pension after at least ten years of service. Retirement age was contingent on your years of service and a vested pension. But these promises are dissipating before our own eyes. As worker bees, we’ve come to work daily, progressed towards our objective, and endured policy changes and threats of diminished contracts when we renegotiate.

For employees in the private sector, the promise of promotion in exchange for hard work and allegiance to the corporate goal motivates us towards a promising future. Retirement age depended on how soon your 401k (or other investment package) would mature, your level of risk, and your retirement goal. Will you be able to afford to live comfortably after you retire? Who knows?

We are hoping for stability in a still-unstable economy. So we begin to conclude that the promises made to us were built on infertile foundations. Our hopes sink on sinking sand. Our dreams fail to grown where our seeds were planted.

The managers who work within the confines of our annual budgets see the writing on the wall. They are reluctant to speak on it, for they have a much clearer view of the inevitable. I’ve stopped asking my managers questions because I can not trust them with my livelihood. Their objective is not aligned with ours. Managers do not enjoy the due process and semi-stability that the worker bees posses. Instead they have knowledge of the impending doom; and they adjust accordingly.

Instead of hope to gleaning a glimpse of the internal workings of our employers’ mechanism, WATCH the managers. If they are behaving as if their job is secure, know that they are acting with the knowledge that things are going well and will continue to do so. However, if they are using their vacation time (and not actually going on vacation), if they are bitter in their delegation of responsibilities or unwilling to engage in team problem-solving; it may be a sign that they are planning an exit.

When the captain of the ship is the first on the emergency escape boats, ask yourself why?

They aren’t worried about pensions and fringe-benefits. A managers salary often exceeds their responsibility. We know this as worker bees. How many times have you said, “I can easily do my bosses job,” because you know you can. You’re already doing it!!

Managers worry about their exit plan because they lack loyalty. They’ve “put in their time” and feel even MORE entitled than the worker bees.

How much longer will you allow your manager to delegate their responsibilities to you and your colleagues while they take larger salaries with minimal commitment? For that matter, why don’t we start running our own lives?!?

For those of us who allow our professional lives to infiltrate our personal lives; and our spiritual lives to infiltrate our professional lives (you know that you do this when you choose the high road instead of cursing your boss out like a heathen), it may be time to consider an alternative. It may be time to retire.

After all, what is retirement?? Nowadays, who do you know that REALLY retires? Retirement really means career shift. I can’t think of many retirees who simple stay at home and avoid any work or civic responsibility. Let’s keep it real! I’d happily volunteer my time if I could find a way to pay my living expenses. So there really is no retirement like we were promised there’d be.

Who retires the old-fashioned way? Politicians who collect multiple pensions, lawyers who negotiate huge settlements even when they loose the big case, and doctors who received commissions on peddling treatment instead of cures–they can retire. Hmmmm. Are you one of these? Me neither.

I spent enough time as politician to know that public policy rarely serves the public. My time as an educator has proven to me that managers are more concerned with the appearance of “collective success” rather than individual growth. And sadly my time as a social worker has left me feeling that (1) the work is never done, and (2) the policies favor the organization over the human being needing the support.

I share my perspective with you because I believe that once you look inside yourselves and develop a better sense of worth, you may agree with some of my points. There is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow! The illusion of working to 55 or 60 with 3/4 of your salary to live the rest of your life is a LIE. The bankers have already collected the commissions on your investments. The politicians have already spent their mandatory contributions to your pensions! The lawyers get paid to fight this fight for us, even when they loose. And they will loose–because the money is all gone.

Who is going to replace those investments? The younger generations?!? Never that! They are too busy re-imagining a world without trust, a world without hope, and a world where they KNOW they can only count on themselves.

We need a new plan. We need innovation. We must do it now and for the humanity that is fading away. Don’t wait for someone else to do it.

The innovators are not planning for the far-off future. They are creating in the NOW. The hope for what is to come is bleaker than ever. But don’t be discouraged. Be inspired! It is because of the lack of innovation that anyone with an idea can become a hero to mankind.

And so I am retiring. Or I should say instead that I am re-inventing this world that I know. My pension is not promised. It’s barely there. My retirement investments evaporate the moment I deposit them (and my investments were LOW RISK). My mandatory retirement age has been arbitrarily prolonged another FIVE (to TEN) years–pronounced like a prison sentence. I’m not waiting to be eligible for “parole”. My retirement will be pronounced E S C A P E.

So who is coming with me? I’m seeking collaborators and innovators with no promises and no hope of a destination. We are planning a new route instead. The journey begins here…and never ends.

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Ode to Amy

On a late-summer evening, as the streets begin to cover with autumn foliage my spokes whistle through the gentle breeze.  A bike ride at dusk and Amy in my ears, I experience a brief euphoria. 

Nothing was as it seemed.  It was all a mystery and maybe even a fantasy.  Surreal!  Waking from a midsummer’s dream, perhaps, the years passed so gently.  Nothing was as it seemed. And I am not harmed; not even by the gently lies. They could have hurt so much more.  Any pain I once felt is but a needle prick in a world of syringes and hammers.  

Even the things the I thought were happiness and bliss were merely a smoke screen. How could I have known?  And it doesn’t matter now anyway.  

The breeze blowing across my face reminds me of the gentle lips I kissed not long ago.  It made the news I received today a little less emotional. 

She’s finally engaged.  I’m glad.  I think we all deserve happiness.  And I am happy for her, and the one before her.  Whereas so many can not find the happiness they seek, it may be only because of the company that they keep.  

And then I hear this melody in my ears…”Our time will come...” One of many songs that remind me of another time, I shed no tears-which surprises me because I thought I’d be overjoyed.  Perhaps I’m underwhelmed until I sleep tonight.  

There are things that happen for reasons we will never know.  Accept that!   

If not for the signs that are prevelent only to me…BeautyBeyondBones and songs that only I seem to feel on SiriusXm and the colors I see when I close my eyes and the fragrances of flowers that aren’t real, and the people who whisper my name now that she’s no longer here, and…there’s so much more. 

The universe is talking to me. And I want to pretend that this journal entry is about an vocalist that I’ll never meet; and I want to write because I can not speak; and I want to close my eyes because I can not sleep;  and I write this now because it’s not too deep; and…


I am not the poet.  I am not any more than I have ever been.  And I can not be him or him or Him.  

Reactionary as I am…not! Nor will I be.  

Twilight plays in the background.  Dusk is in the rear view, and my bicycle reaches its home.  I am happy.   Not for me.  But for you.  

The Ultimate Rejection

Women refuse men all the time. They refuse eye contact; they refuse conversation; they refuse any acknowledgement of anyone with whom they are not interested.   Men don’t refuse as often.  But men are hunters, no?   They seek out and find partners that are suitable. The are rejected sometimes (some more often than others). Charismatic men know how to mold and shift those rejections into challenges and opportunity.  Those less skilled often give up. 

Women however get to choose more often.  Now, there are surely some women who are thinking, “not me…”.  We are subject to the standards that we set for ourselves.  Some of us have high standards and refuse to settle for less.  With that decision comes periods of loneliness abbreviated with occasional opportunity.  Others have lower standards.  Those people to whom less is given, less is required.  And those whom don’t demand as much are seldom disappointed.  

But there’s more…

There’s the afterlife (said in my Prince “Let’s Go Crazy” voice). 

There are folks like you and I. We have flexible standards.  We reserve the right to change our minds.  We say “no” sometimes to the invitations we receive.  We celebrate those people we allow to come into our lives by giving them our time, attention, and devotion.  And in between we wonder how things could have gone differently if our decisions conflict with circumstances outside of our control.  

It’s natural to wonder why things didn’t work out.  It’s reflective to suppose how things could have had a more favorable outcome.  Weither we realize it or not, we are building relationships daily.  Each one is an opportunity to change our lives; to build on our experiences; and to create positive outcomes.  

But there are negative experiences too. We reject those (hopefully).  

The ultimate rejection is not when we say “no!”   It’s when we shun a relationship or when we shut someone out of our life.   When we refuse to communicate with them…

When we refuse to perpetuate a relationship…

When we insist on ignoring someone that wants to be in our life…

When we find contentment in never talking to them again…

This is the ultimate rejection.  

Seeking the Presidency

Consider for a moment the groundwork the 2016 electoral process has layed.
We now know that a celebrity can be the president.  George Clooney says no;  but it’s certainly possible. Recall the Reagan Administration.  If Charlton Heston can be the leader of the NRA, why can’t Jay Z be the spokesperson for the NAACP?


Why stop there?  Why not seize the presidency?  More rappers have visited the White House in the last seven years than EVER before.  And it’s not to perform for POTUS.  Common the rapper mentioned just last night as he posted to FB Live that although this is his first time going to the White House, it may be the last time the opportunity is extended.

Unless…

What if Beyoncé became the First Lady?  Once we accept that politics is merely political showboating, we can better understand that her recent release LEMONADE was merely a brilliantly executed marketing scheme to draw attention to a musical dynasty that holds more importance than any presidential campaign.

That weekend it was released was one of the first that the media didn’t lead their newscasts with something stupid that Trump had uttered.  It took a disgusting Cinco De Mayo tweet to get America’s attention back on “what’s really important!”

We are so easily manipulated and distracted that we still accept major events in our contemporary history (such as 911, and Benghazi) at face value. How can an email scandal trump countless corporate bankruptcies and a refusal to release tax returns.  Wake Up!  Meanwhile amidst the bickering, a career-socialist democrat stole America’s heart!  Bernie’s likeliness to win the democratic nomination is contingent on how well the media is able to rob him of the needed attention. Will the media keep him from mobilizing a nation of free thinkers.  It is the imbeciles that are still embracing the electoral process–a process that relies on party delegates in leui of an electoral college, and a non-popular vote to elect a president.

Keep them subdued and blind, and the general public will believe anything.

Jay Z for President

Let’s consider the qualifications.  He is an American citizen.  So no one will question his birth certificate.  He was born here in the United States to American parents (that he keeps OUT of the spot light).  He makes no excuses for his urban upbringing and will never need to deny his relationship with drugs.

He’s over the age of 35, but has a huge demographically charged following.  Imagine getting head-bopping tweens to canvas their neighborhood encouraging their teachers and bus drivers to register to vote. He’ll have seniors leaving their 55+ Communities to vote for Hov!

Backwards thinking?!?   Not at all!

What’s the last qualifier?  Nobody remembers.  No one cares. As a nation we’ve tuned in to debate after debate.  The ratings for these televised events surpass American Idol. And even the mayor of Paris has partnered with the new Muslim mayor of London in calling the leading American presidential candidate a fool.

But Jay Z is known worldwide too!  He’s circumnavigated the globe more times than a TWA pilot. He’s got more people wearing blue than the Yankees do!  He could even get the Crips to stop battling the Bloods long enough to be challengers at the polls.  When you are both gang affiliated AND a Illuminati Icon, there’s no need for a national guard.  Do you get it?!?  He’s CONNECTED!  And his access to the White House is unlimited.

We joke that there’d never be a Lewinksky-esque scandal on Michelle’s watch, but Barrack can get dangerously close to the Queen of R & B.  And who would be the wiser?  After all, Kennedy was the sitting president during the Civil Rights Movement and a hero to many. Marilyn worked out this kinks, we learned later.

But the traditional misogynistic appeal of hip hop has given way to a larger social conscientiousness, and the rappers have grown up to be sitcom stars, movie producers, and political activists.


R & B / Hip Hop no longer accepts social norms that degrade our people.  Well, there’s a few rappers whose lyrics we can’t make sense of, but we’ll revisit them in a few years after their speech therapy and they’re WOKE.

We’ve raised the standard, and we want more. Obama was the first, not the last.  We want him to be able to run for s third term, but the Constitution won’t allow it.  We recognize that we must be the change we want to see.  Who better to bring it than an icon we all trust?

Heck with it!   Beyoncé for PRESIDENT!  Why not make the POTUS and FLOTUS the same person and the make Jay Z the chief of the SCOTUS?!?

For The Things I Can Never Be

There are certain things I can never be.  Some of them are things I’ve wanted to achieve my whole life.  However, there are other achievements that will go unfulfilled.  I accept that.  In some cases, I embrace that realization. 

 
“Not for nuthing” is an expression that an old girlfriend of mine would mutter all too frequently.  “Not for nuthin, I did the best I could…”  “Not for nuthin, he thinks too much of himself…”  “Not for nuthin, he could never be you…!”  At the time, I wouldn’t think much of these utterances because they were made amidst unremarkable conversations.  Now that I look back, these observations are more meaningful.   

Not for nuthin, I would never try to be something I am not.  I will never be compared to someone who is calous.  I will never hate someone as much as I’ve been hated.  I will never premeditate a plan to harm or destroy someone’s livelihood.  I’m just not that guy. 

  
There are certain things I could never be.  I can never be THAT guy. I will never be the guy that “she” settled for.  I will never be a man who stays home all day (regardless of my ability). I will never be the guy who plays video games all night, and then rushes out the door (without a shower) to get to a job that’s not a career.  And I will never be the guy who abandons his children.  I’ll never be the deadbeat, the wife-beater, or the falenderer.  

Other things I’ll never be:

The drug addict

The gambler

The non-voter

The corrupt politician

The boss

  
I’ll never be overpaid, underworked, or an underachiever.  Nor will I be an overachiever, obsessive, compulsive, or oppositional (well maybe a little defiant).  

Not for nuthin, I will work harder to be a better:

Naturalist  

Risk-remover 

Advocate   
Lobbyist  

Leader  

I will overcome an excessive lack of trust (O.C.E.L.O.T). I will be the best I can be.  I will empower others to do the same–but only if that is their desire.  I will offer myself without demanding.  I will give without expecting.  And I will hold others to a standard no different my own.  I will abandon perfection but strive for excellence.  

  
There are somethings I will never be.  There are things I’ve decided long ago I can not, should not, or will not achieve.  Perhaps it’s a result of becoming a realist.  Or maybe it’s the realization that somethings aren’t worth having. 

Ignoring Red Flags

The choices that we make rely heavily on whether we see the signs–the red flags.

How many times have we been warned by a loved one about a circumstance that may spell a certain disaster?  We proceed with caution.  We may even step back to get a clearer view the situation.  We survey.  We ponder.  We ask questions.  We may even do a risk assessment.  But in the end, the decision to proceed is one that we make on our own.

Sometimes we throw caution to the wind.  Other times we charge-full speed ahead!  Our confidence level is what propels us. Here’s the thing about confidence though.  Like courage, confidence derives from experience, knowledge, and the perseverance to be successful–to boldly go where others would not.

Things get in the way of success.  Things like… a bad experience.  Things like knowledge of how things work (and how they don’t).  Observing how others have proceeded can only enhance our own perception.  What about perseverance to be successful?  How badly do we want success?  Do we want it badly enough to take some risks?

This is called “taking a leap of faith.”  But be cautious!  There’s an un-ignorable ingredient.  Faith!  Not everyone has it.  Not everyone knows how to get it.  In fact, there are a plethora of evangelists who profess it.  It’s more than passion.  And it can’t be had by simply harvesting positive energy.  Faith is as much internal as it is external.  We’ve seen it manifest in various scenarios.  A mother who jumps from a burning building with her infant swaddled in her arms;  or a policeman who runs into that same building to rescue someone’s grandpa.  In those moments of uncertainty, it is faith that overcomes doubt.

red flags

Fortunately, we are not always faced with life or death circumstances.  We make decisions based on their urgency and the risk.  Face it.  Most of us don’t make brash choices when there is a safer way to get the job done.  But what about professional decisions where there are other people involved?  How about personal decisions that impact our loved ones?  The more important the outcome, the more devoted we are to the process.  All the while, we are assessing the risks.  We identify the red flags.  Each flag represents a problem that must be considered.  Ignoring any red flags is perilous.

And yet…

Faith verses function.  We know the way the world works.  We’ve experienced enough failure to have an intimate knowledge of how not to proceed.  And yet we ignore these facts.  We are willing to take the risk.  We will ignore the red flags if we can be assured that what is on the other side is a reward great enough.  That’s not faith though.  That’s a calculated risk.  We can function without faith.  Most of us do. This probably why we don’t succeed as often as we should.

There are so many red flags!  Previous personal failures, short-falls of others, and a that pessimistic feeling that we are not worthy–these all prevent us from achieving our goals. And then there are the red flags that others are waving right in front of us.  They couldn’t hide these warnings if they tried.  Any time we can see that there are pieces missing from (what would otherwise be) a perfect puzzle… that’s a red flag!  When we can see clearly why things haven’t worked out for anyone else in a similar circumstance, that a red flag!! The moment we can tell why we should NOT proceed–red flag!!!  Is it the quest for perfection or the recognition that we should not settle for less?  Although perfection may not necessarily be obtainable, we certainly have expectations of more than…

What we lack is faith.  Generating faith in something greater than ourselves is certainly a step in the right direction.  Faith that we can proceed without worry is how we overcome the red flags.  Faith does not ignore the red flags.  To the contrary, faith enables us to go boldly where others could not because they lacked that one ingredient.  Faith is akin to love in that it does not boast, and it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others. It always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres.  Much like love, Faith is strong enough to ensure overwhelming success.

With faith, there is no red flag that can stop us.  With faith, those red flags become victory flags.  Without faith those red flags become white surrender flags!  We are surrounded by folks that have surrendered their effort, their time, and their devotion.  What they see as a red flag can be nothing more than a warning.  For the rest of us it can be an invitation to try harder, go harder, be bolder, and have FAITH.

red flag warning

 

 

Surreal?

After reading two different blogs about monogamy and online dating, I began to wonder. Like churning cream into butter, my mind began to churning concepts into ideas. How could I waste an opportunity to capitalize on my own opinion?  Two distinctly different concepts in the same day?  Stop the presses!

Now when I refer to two distinctly different concepts, I am not referring to the monogamy and online dating.  You see the past year and a half I’ve been blogging mostly as a way of creating an online journal. I decided to do this for two reasons:  a journal will allow me to document the plethora of emotions I’ve been harboring as I ascend to a higher plateau; and also to share with my family and friends how passionate I’ve become about the events surrounding us.

I was once reminded that the difference between small minds and intellectuals is the content that we discuss.  Small minds gossip.  Intellectuals focus more on events rather than individuals.  So my quest began.  And through journaling, I’ve strengthened my mind (or so I’d like to think).

Earlier today I wrote a poem about love. I was feeling nostalgic and sentimental.  Enamored with my past experiences and excited about what is to come, I was inspired to write a little ditty.   It will be years before it’s appreciated for its true worth, but it did earn me a few new subscribers.  Sometimes I just can’t predict my own success–and there’s a blessing hiding in that as well.

One of my subscribers herself wrote a blog today about monogamy.  I could relate.  I enjoyed it–so much that I reblogged it, which is a gesture of appreciation and praise.  But then I read on.  Another piece referenced sexting.  She had my attention!  Not for the reason you might think though.

We are in an age that evolves so quickly that we don’t even have time to learn a lesson from technology.  Too quickly the dilemma morphs into another life-lesson that needs as much attention as the last.  I can only imagine the terror that other parents, educators, and youth advocates experience trying to develop a set of rules or internet policy that protects our children.  Heck! We can’t turn the damned radio down quick enough to guard their ears against the violent/erotic nature of pop music.  How can we effectively protect them from the internet? If you don’t believe me, Google whitehouse.com.  Nothing is sacred!


So it only goes to suggest that children who can not make good decisions on their own are destined to make some interesting mistakes.  And yet they won’t learn from our mistakes because we are too embarrassed to reveal them.   How do you warn a kid about sexting without referring to a lapse in judgment that “someone close to us” has made?  Not so easy.

How do you warn a teen of the dangers of promiscuousness without referring to the mistakes of our own formative years?  Let me know how THAT works for you.  Any better than when your parents tried to teach you the importance of abstinence??

Now take those same lessons and transfer them to how we need to behave as consenting adults.  Ah, this is when the hypocrisy becomes bolder.  We begin to lip, “Do as I say…”


We’ve seen our use of the internet evolve.  The web connects us to share all kinds of information that has all kinds of intrinsic value.  Intellectual content, entertainment, political, sexual and social. How we use this information is an indicator of how we’ve grown individually and collectively.


Some of this information exchange has enhanced us as a culture (WebMD), while other exchanges brought us social media (MySpace, Twitter, and Facebook).  The latter we rely on more frequently to learn of world events as they occur.  SnapChat was once a way to temporarily convey illicit content.  Now it is embraced as an effective marketing and networking tool.  Match.com and Chemistry have taken the mystery out of online dating; while normal texting on “old-fashioned flip phones” has devolved into sending “private” photos that never die.

Imagine, if you will, that this technology that has become a part of our everyday lives has, in fact, enhanced our lives. What if the flow of information, despite its incredible speed and volume, forces us to read more?  What if it requires us to be more critical, less gullible, and better informed?  Think about it.  There’s no question to which we can’t find multiple answers.


We know that we can use Wikipedia, but we also know how not to trust everything we read.  We experience video through YouTube and TEd at a rate so alarming that we rarely buy our entertainment or educational content anymore.  Playboy magazine no longer prints nudity because that type of content is readily available online for free, forcing the pornography industry to adjust.  The movie industry plans for bootlegging by prepping films for simultaneous release on Blueray while cross-marketing books, clothing, and apparel to recoup the production costs.  Professional development for educators, public officials, doctors, and lawyers no longer rely on academia.  Instead, a steady stream of content is uploaded from their handheld devices.


The list of evolutions is enumerable. One thing is certain:  we will personalize our use of data, online, and mobile content.  The same public figures that advocate for positive change (and plead for our votes) use their smartphones to send inappropriate content to undisclosed recipients.  Use your imagination here. 

We are more connected than we’ve ever been. Better informed, more mobile, and less restricted!  And yet we are the most disconnected from traditional values (and each other) than we’ve ever been.

Perhaps this is the best way to offset the population explosion.   Imagine. How packed would the bars and nightclubs be if that was still our most reliable way to meet a partner?


So let the use (and misuse) of the internet continue.  After all, the same conservative mindsets and religious zealots that warn against its dangers are using it to spread their message.  We’ll have to develop our own levels of discernment and draw our own personal lines of decency–because the same mother who cautioned against polygamy, promiscuousness, and pedophiles just accepted a proposal from a guy she met on ChristianSingles.com (using the newest app on her iPhone).