Tales from The Conch Republic

It's getting cold at home and four days isn't long enough for the Caribbean, what's the next closest place? None other than Key West. Snorkel gear packed and I'm heading south. "It's a short runway, we are in a big bird, we'll be touching down hard and stopping fast," says the captain of flight 3210. He was not kidding! But before that even happened, my adventures had started. 1. For 55 minutes from Tampa to Key West, the seat next to me was occupied by none other than the loving wife of Cowboy Charters. She did a great job convincing me to take a full day fishing trip on their 36' Hatteras in search of marlin and tuna. I would consider. At the time, I had nothing planned for Friday. I checked in at one of the nicest Doubletree's I've stayed in. I really wanted to stay in some little bed and breakfast close to Duval, but when you are traveling on points, you can't be too picky. Either way, it's a nice hotel and offers free shuttles to downtown and airport pickup and it was my home away from home for the next 4 days. Unpacking to me means unzipping the suitcase, pulling out my trusty day pack and packing it with camera, notebook, odds and ends of other little stuff and a book to read (just in case I get to feeling unsociable). First stop, Sloppy Joe's. You cannot go to Key West without stopping at this iconic bar. No longer in it's original location (that would be where present day Captain Tony's is), you can have a drink where Hemingway used to party. Try the Mile Marker Zero Pale Ale, it's pretty tasty. The story is that in 1937, the rent was going to increase in the original location and Joe Russell refused to pay. He did what any bar owner would have done, asked all his patrons to grab their drink and anything that wasn't nailed down and move to a new location. More on this move a little later, there was something that was sort of nailed down that ended up in a rather interesting location. The rest of Wednesday involved meeting random people at a couple of different bars, talking, cinnamon whiskey shots and lots of laughter. Although I travel alone, I very rarely find myself alone. People are friendly (usually) because we are "One Human Family". There was one small group of 6 that I ran into multiple times during the evening, each time, we had to celebrate the reuniting with another shot. Lucky for me, my last stop was only 1/2 block to the hotel shuttle pickup location, that was the longest 1/2 block I think I've ever walked stumbled. 2. Thursday was adventure day to be spent under the sea, or floating on top of it. I originally had three separate snorkel trips booked, the first morning snorkel, however, did not have enough people signed up to go out. Lucky for me, there were options. A quick change in reservations by the most accommodating staff at Fury and I was heading out on an Island Adventure. All trips start with the debriefing, how to use the head, safety, itinerary, etc. and every boat I've been on includes the most important safety tip of all, "If you see the crew put on a life vest and grab a bottle of rum, do the same." As we left port, the captain received reports that the reef had 3-4 foot seas and would be too rough to snorkel in plus low visibility. We opted for an area known as The Lakes which has some coral growth, but mostly sea grass and a depth ranging from 5-30 feet. It' a group of grassy flat banks that completely encompass a shallow lagoon. The lagoon runs from Mule Key to Boca Grande Key and visibility is generally good. The water, although calm, was still a little rough so I only stayed in about 45 minutes. Unfortunately, I was not able to get any good photos this trip, but I did see a couple of nurse sharks and plenty of sting ray. I also learned that the nurse shark is one of the few sharks that can respire while stationary by pumping water through their mouths and out gills. This allows them to play the sit and wait game, I love interesting facts! 3. After lunch it was into the ocean kayaks. I've never done this before and was a little nervous. I was paired with John, the odd man out in a group of 3 (there were only 6 of us plus 2 crew, so it was a very cool social experience as well, and lots of eco educational fun facts from the crew). Our guide filled up a cooler full of beer and off we went. The water depth dropped to about 3 feet as we enter the mangroves. We stopped frequently to observe heron and osprey and this really cool bird, I think it was an anhinga. Regardless, these birds swim under water better than they can fly, using their wings like fins. With the full moon and high tide, there were a lot of little paths through the mangroves where we got stuck and had to back it on up. I learned that mangrove trees are actually fresh water trees that filter the salt out through their roots. Which aren't all really roots. Some are branches that hang down into the water to siphon water. Then there are sacrificial leaves that form salt crystals as it is removed from the water. Really neat if you ask me. And really cool to be surrounded by a canopy of trees in a kayak, leisurely rowing along. 4. We moved against the wind rowing back to the catamaran and the wind and current certainly had picked up. The beer didn't help and most of us had to pee pretty bad. After over an hour of kayaking, my arms were a tad on the sore side. We all made it back and relieved ourselves before popping the top on another cold one and our leisurely ride back to port. We saw a sea turtle, the dude must have been five feet long, one couple missed it, U-Turn! 5. Recognize this beach? Think Office Space. Sunset Key Island. 6. Ah the quest for a sunset. Port bow and I'm happy in 5 foot seas. Thoroughly soaked after mooring, I move aft to the boat bar. Everyone was laughing. Well, and also asking me if I enjoyed the 7 mile trip. Hell yeah! It was an awesome ride - they were all dry as could be - I. Had. Fun. Moored at North America's only reef with 4-5 foot seas, yeah, they can get in and snorkel, I'm hanging with the captain and kicking back a few cold ones followed by some rum rum rum punch. Here's a brief video before we hit the big waves and I needed both hands to hang on. 7. You cannot go any further! 8. To continue the Sloppy Joe's story (see #1)... I take you to Ernest Hemingway. You can read the full history on the official website, I'll just give you the cool little fact that I learned. So this picture is a cat drinking fountain. Yes, I saw polydactyl cats. There are about 45 cats on the property, a little under 1/2 have 6 toes or more. Back to the story. The rumor is that after Hemingway returned from a trip as a reporter during the Spanish Civil War, he found a pool in the back yard. Upset about the extreme cost of said pool, he reportedly gave Pauline his last penny which is embedded in the flagstone pavers near the pool. But it gets better. Well, if you look closely at the "fountain" you will notice that it is a male urinal. The fountain-urinal apparently came from the original Sloppy Joe's location when Joe Russell moved the bar due to increased rent, the only thing removed from the original location that was "sort of" nailed down. Hemingway put it in the garden to "get back" at Pauline for the expensive pool. She, being the fashion diva high society woman she was, decorated it with expensive tile and found a rather large Spanish vase that would create a cat fountain. 9. Just10Bars is born. Except I didn't quite make it. Technically I made it to 10, but that's not entirely accurate. Sort of. Two are just not on the map, Coyote Ugly and a hole in the wall Cuban bar & cafe (which 2 bartenders at different joints had not heard of, and their bars were within a two minute walk from this little gem). But three of them were on Wednesday, and the rules "were" to be all in one day. So I failed, but my liver is probably thanking me. I did find out thought, that my defeat is not that bad as there are over 270 liquor licenses in the 2 mile by 4 mile island they call Key West, most of which are concentrated around Duval and Front Street. Even if I had done 10 in one day, I would not have even scratched the surface. View Pub Crawl Key West in a larger map 10. Saturday came fast, time to return to the real world. I terribly missed the kids and the dog. Key West International Airport sports the world's only beach bar. For real! There's an outdoor section next to gate 6 with sand and tables and a little boardwalk type thingy. All in the name of the tourists, oh well, it's still fun! I'll be back, but not until after I discover some new destinations. Oh, the full photo albums are available. Cheers!

Thanksgiving 2012

No crazy duck theme Thanksgiving this year, the themed dinners are now every other year. You see, I won't have the kids tomorrow, and I should be sad, but I'm not. We just moved our Thanksgiving to Friday. We be flexible like that! So what shall I do tomorrow? I could sit around and drink beer and watch football. No. I'm going to be out in the yard working on my landscaping project that gets larger every time I look at it. It's going to be a beautiful weekend, why not take advantage of it? (And hey, there's always the possibility of redefining sexy through Carolina clay and sweat and white T-Shirts) It's a trade off, really. The kid's school schedule is all in a tangle this year for Christmas, only one week off. So I give a little (for Thanksgiving). And take a little (for Christmas). It's all good! I guess the only down side is that Lola has to go to the doggie hotel on Sunday before Christmas since they are closed for drop off on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We leave for our vacation on the 26th at the wonderful hour of 5 AM. Wow, that will be fun waking the kids up. Anyways, I guess the point is that it pays to be flexible and not "keep score." It makes a much better life. What am I thankful for? You silly women with these "secret" posts on Facebook, yeah, a month of "Day xx: I'm thankful for..." I get it, but seriously, the dudes are thankful for shit too! So here we go, I'm not doing every day in November, I'm exercising just10things: 1. Spandex - No, I'm kidding (maybe). Hoodies, cause it has gotten down right chilly out there 2. Kids - they just freaking rock. Sometimes they aren't the most well behaved, but I love them unconditionally 3. Family - I've learned a lot from them and they continue to enrich my life 4. Friends - Uh, TRUE friends. Repeat, TRUE friends! 5. Simplicity - because complex is a pain in the back side 6. A roof over my head 7. Food on the table 8. The truth - you never know how important it is to you until it's a lie 9. My drunkin' punkin' pie recipe, except I forgot the pie shell 10. To be alive and to being surrounded by friends and family Cheers my friends, Happy Thanksgiving!

In a moment

It's when I want to talk to you But too tired to have a conversation To pour a drink But the liquor is over there To kiss you gently But scared to touch your lips To hold hands and take a walk But my legs don't want to work To fall asleep next to you But in a different room

Real (1)

The filter is off... those easily offended, please skip this one. I never expected this exercise to actually invite situations where I would be applying my thoughts. So thank you to all of those that seriously fucked up your relationship with me during the last few weeks, you gave me a chance to test if I really feel the way I do! And I appreciate that, because it just drives home the fact that I do know who I am, what I stand for and how I hold myself. I'll give you a cookie if we ever talk again (unlikely). I have not only successfully examined myself, but I have been fortunate enough to examine some of my relationships. Kinda cool that I'm killing multiple birds with a single stone exercise. It all started when I asked my boss, "what do you want me to do?" And he answered with, "what do you want to do?" And I think. No. I believe that I took it to the next level. He shared with me a simple exercise involving a Ven Diagram. Inputting what I can do, what I like to do, and the delta is what I should will do. Then I took a step back. I examined core beliefs. These just10things are in reverse for a reason, because I needed to back up and get all fundamental-like before I could answer the true question on the table. Think about you, what you like, what you want. Be humble. Be passionate. Be intimate. Commit. Be honest. Trust. Be real, to yourself and others. Those familiar with SCRUM will understand, but the basic principal is spend 5 minutes every morning and answer three simple question. What did I accomplish yesterday? What am I doing today? Is there anything in my way? Maybe you do this once a week, but you need to answer these things about yourself. The rate at which the world is changing means that a five year plan is going to do you no good. Maybe a one year plan? I don't know what the right answer is. But I can tell you that it is not "decide and forget"-you must constantly be in evaluation mode. Life is not predictable and will always present you with choices and challenges. If you are not willing to meet them head on, you may get left behind. Live each day to it's fullest and trust in yourself, believe in yourself, and it might just all turn out OK. Sometimes we lose ourselves in the day to day. Sometimes we become stale, stagnant. What I have learned is that we must constantly be "out there" living and learning. It really is the same premise that I started just10things on. In one week, if I did not learn 10 things, I was not being successful. It's about the drive, about being real. If you don't believe me, go fuck yourself, I'll leave out the details on how that should happen, but if you have been following this exercise, I think you kind of have a hint as to how that should happen. Just make sure it's intimate. So now we have 10 things... Passion Intimate Believe Commit Trust Honest Pride Balance Choice Real And we have examined a little more about who we are, who you are, who I am. Now I am ready to go forward and accomplish the next phase. So what's next? Glad you have asked. I've executed this list, I recommend that you do as well. Read The Tipping Point (some times it's the little things that change the world) Watch Soul Surfer (Believe in yourself) Listen to Road To Nowhere (Find your road) Read  Who Moved My Cheese (Sometimes, you have to change to keep up, commit) Watch Being Elmo (Have passion) Listen to Sanctified (Be yourself, don't let someone else define who you really are) Read The Happiness Project (Experimentation) Watch Lemonade Mouth (Because Disney movies rock and there's always conflict, choices) Listen to We Own the Night (You own your life) Finally Be yourself and be honest and keep it real! Absorb. Find yourself. Be honest. Be real. Commit. Believe. Do it all with passion. Trust. Exercise intimacy. You have choices. Take pride. Find balance. Find yourself, you are out there. I don't know that I will ever 100% know who I am, but I can tell you that I'm a hell of a lot closer now. And I just begun finding me. There will always be a mountain to move, it's called life. It's your choice what you do with it. Sit back and say fuck it or take it by the horns, you decide. I have a handful of people to thank. I won't call you out here, but you know who you are. In the last few weeks we have talked, listened, grown relationships and killed a few. All in all, it's been an interesting road, but I feel like I am in a better position to move forward living life and being real. Cheers my friends, and all my love. Thank you for the adventure (it's not over). And one final question you should ask yourself... "AM I IN WITH EVERYTHING I HAVE?"

Choice (2)

The beauty is, with choice, I can decide if you get to come into my blanket fort or not. Sucks for you, rocks for me. But in all seriousness, think about all the choices we do have. How do you know if you make the right decision? How many times have you said, "What if I had made a different decision?" I suppose the good news is that you'll never know what happened, so don't stress too much about it. There are some studies that suggest an average adult to have 35,000 choices a day, this varies with age, job, situation, but still, that's a staggering number. Some are simple choices. Do I hit snooze or just get out of bed? Should I have a bologna sandwich or salami? Some are more complex. Should I call her and ask her out? Should I take on another responsibility at work? Should I invest in that startup company? With all these choices, it's a wonder we are not all in the looney bin. How does the human brain handle all of these choices. Yeah, I'm not an expert in that, but I am pretty amazed that we have the capacity. Let's talk about a very difficult choice. A bee. A worker bee's sole purpose is to protect the queen. If it stings, it will die. That's one heck of a choice, I can here the buzz in the little bee's head, "Hey, is this person a threat to my Queen? Hmm, he has dark hair and brown eyes, must be... goodbye cruel world!" Pretty depressing. I'm sure that this is not how it really happens, it's probably some pre-wired instinct caused by the fact that worker bees are just clones and have no evolutionary responsibility for passing on their DNA, but that's another day. Point being, all these choices, some are really hard. Think about all the decisions our soldiers make in combat, some are life and death decisions. And they have an even larger weight for each choice they have. They are dealing with choices that not only protect themselves, but the entire country! What I wonder, though, is how many of the choices they have where what they choose to do becomes second nature, almost instinctual. Does that mean we can train ourselves to make better decisions? Faster decisions? Smarter decisions? I'd like to think so. But I do not think that you can, or even could, unless you really understand you, who you are, what you stand for. I was thinking the other day (which can be a scary thing) about trying to reduce the complexity in my life by creating less choices. For example, instead of sitting there wondering which bottle of wine to have, I would just reach my hand in the wine rack and grab a bottle. Most of the wine in my rack I've never tried, so if it turns out that my seemingly random selection is one of my favorites, I add excitement to my glass. The thing is though, I'm not removing a choice from my life. I am making it a little less complex by not staring at 40 bottles of wine for 30 minutes, but I still do have the choice on whether I will have wine or a gin and tonic on a particular evening. You could certainly argue that my random choice of bottles is still a choice, and maybe it is, but it's a choice about where on the rack to grab, not do I want Merlot, Cab, Shiraz. I have also come to determine that the choices I have in who I associate myself with have become slightly less complex. I have spent time thinking about who I am and what I want. I've spent time thinking about the traits that I need in relationships. After having spent all this time thinking, it's becoming easier to let relationships go because they don't have the traits that I value. More importantly, I've realized that I don't need a relationship where I continuously give with nothing in return. I've had choices where this seemingly simple evaluation has thrown a lot of stress out the window, and has ensured that when I wake each morning, I feel lighter, happier, more excited about what choices the day will bring me. And it's a great feeling. I believe that having too many complex choices in your life can lead to stress, anxiety, depression, anger and probably a host of other negative emotions. And I, for one, am done with negative. I want positive back in my life and I want my life to be real (next time). Cheers my friends.

Balance (3)

What the heck does being able to ride a bike have to do with finding out more about you? No silly, not that kind of balance. I'm talking about life balance. Those times when you have a gazillion things on your plate, which seems like every day, and how do you balance them so you don't go batshit crazy. Work, life, love, friends, family, alone time, the dog. It all adds up to about 76 hours a day that we need in order to do everything we need to every week. The unfortunate side is that just like your high school class president never delivered a Coke machine to the lunch room, the US President can't increase the amount of hours in the day. So you are screwed! We need to call the Mayans! The wrote the effing calendar, right? This is a fast paced society, how in the world do you keep up? You balance. And yes, if you don't figure out how to maintain balance, you will take pride in the fact that you are honestly committing to believe that you will trust with passion your intimacy when you go eff yourself (wow these are getting harder, no pun, get your mind out of the gutter). So how do you balance? Well, there's the basic "Project Manager" way (no offense to those in the field, using simply for reference) where you list out the things you need to do. Then you rate them using the simple scale of easy and hard. From there, it's a matter of preference. You can attack all the easy things first, get them out of the way and then execute the hard things. Maybe you take the opposite approach, get the hard things out of the way then bang out the easy stuff. What happens when you have things of equal(ish) weight? How do you balance that? True story. I was speaking to a colleague on the shuttle ride back to the airport last weekend and after some general conversation he says to me, "I'm removing 'easy' and 'hard' from my life." What the eff? We kept talking, and I realized that I'm actually pretty close to doing that as well. With balance comes prioritization. It's no longer a bucket of easy things and hard things. To shift your approach means you have various buckets of things of varying degrees of commitment, effort and importance. By removing the general assignment of easy and hard from the equation, you are forced to break things down and essentially rate them. By truly analyzing your list of things, it becomes evident. Once you have accomplished this, balance is pretty straight forward. You find that you will have more free time. Simple concept, astonishing results. The magic quadrant... There's also a work/life balance that is crucial. Let's face it, we all have to work. When we can find that delicate balance of spending time with family and still getting work done, then we are close to golden. And we absolutely positively need to take family in the equation. Not just our kids, but the whole kit and caboodle of family. And friends. But especially kids. If we cannot find time to spend with them, then we may as well go eff... I won't even bother spelling it out, you know. They are the future. They are impressionable and need quality time, interaction and education. If you are so wrapped up in work and cannot give your children the proper guidance, time and attention, well, then, go... it's your choice (next time).

Pride (4)

My son draws a picture of a monster with 22 eyes and a scary mouth and shows it to me. My daughter teaches me what "Mental Math" is, and I get it. My son wakes up with a dry Pull-Up, he starts dancing. My daughter won an award for good handwriting in school, she let me take her picture. Who cares? I do, because they took pride in what they did, what they accomplished. Pride is a strange word. It can be excessive.It can be negative. I go again to the wonderful world of the Internet.
[the] pleasure or satisfaction taken in something done by or belonging to oneself or believed to reflect credit upon oneself
Having pride is not being egotistical, and if you think it is, well you know what to do. Be passionate when you commit to effing yourself and make sure you trust that it is intimate and you are honest with yourself, how it feels, and believe it. But from the definition, the one word that goes blink blink in pink neon is

Satisfaction.

I think Aristotle said it better though
Now the man is thought to be proud who thinks himself worthy of great things, being worthy of them; for he who does so beyond his deserts is a fool, but no virtuous man is foolish or silly. The proud man, then, is the man we have described. For he who is worthy of little and thinks himself worthy of little is temperate, but not proud; for pride implies greatness, as beauty implies a goodsized body, and little people may be neat and well-proportioned but cannot be beautiful.
And when it is excessive, from Wikipedia, "Excessive feelings of hubris have a tendency to create conflict and sometimes terminating close relationships, which has led it to be understood as one of the few emotions without any clear positive or adaptive functions (Rhodwalt, et al.)" So take pride in yourself, take pride in what you do, but don't be excessive, you can be humble and still have pride, you just have to exercise balance (next time). [I sort of got a little hint, well, a big hint, from quite a few people that I needed to "forgive" whomever pissed in my Cheerios. No one pissed in my Cheerios, I don't eat cereal. I know it sounded like it, but it really wasn't quite that way. It wasn't a true rant at an individual, rather the concept of being honest with yourself and others. It also was a perfect demonstration of how if someone is not being honest to you, it can turn you batshit crazy, and I didn't realize this until after it was posted and a few people pointed it out. I think this means that being honest also goes down as a foundation alongside trust. Yes, "Honest" did have a negative undertone, but it did, afterwards, really drive home that being honest is a quality that I need in those that I associate myself with, and myself. I was being honest in how it came out, brutally honest.]

Honest (5)

Don't effing lie to me! I'm not going to lie to you! I will tell you the brutal honest truth and I expect the same from you. In my wonderful chain of event's last night, I ended up on the phone with someone I trust. And I was honest. You know how we all have those little phrases we say sometimes, and we don't really realize we are saying them? Well, this person has one. And every time they say it, I go giddy inside. So I was honest and said that that little phrase this person uses all the time is just adorable. Was this a come on, no, it was being honest. But really, being honest starts with yourself. It is true that a compulsive liar will get all fumbled up in the story because they are trying to keep track of all the lies. And they will slip. Why? Just tell the truth and be honest. If you tell me one thing and tell someone else something different, remember again those Six Degrees of Separation, we are only 4 and change apart, I'll find out, and I'll quickly, no, immediately, lose my trust in you. So you decide. If you cannot commit and believe that being honest is the best way to be intimate, and be passionate about it, well, you know what... go eff yourself. Sometimes, being honest hurts. I believe, though, that it hurts a lot less than not being honest. If you cover shit up...

Lies

... it's still shit underneath, and no, it will not turn into gold over time, or diamonds. And really, how can you live with yourself in a world that doesn't really exist for you? You have made it all up because you were not honest. That's OK, just like the turtle I recently had, I'm taking you back to the pond and letting you go. Don't call. Don't write. I have better things to do in life than to entertain you unwillingness to be honest. Yeah, call if effing bitter, won't hurt my feelings at all. I have pride (next time). Cheers my friends, for those that are hanging out through this all, thank you!

Trust (6)

Trust! I should be out doing yard work, but I'm not. Trust is too important. It starts with trusting yourself. If you do not trust yourself then you may as well go passionately and intimately tell yourself that you believe you should commit to go effing yourself. The story that hijacked priority as the next step in my quest is rather funny now that I've slept on it. It all started last night when the kids came in from playing. They played all day, it was an absolutely beautiful perfect Carolina sunshine day, in the mid 70's, and in November, we'll take those days with passion! My son went to his room to put his PJ's on, came back to the kitchen to beg for a snack before watching a movie. Holy what the heck!!! His stomach was deep red, like a sunburn kind of red. I asked him what happened and he didn't know. Then he said his legs looked that way too. Everyone else, out of the room, dude, drop your drawers. Panic time, did it itch, was anything swollen, did it hurt... I wasn't getting any where. You see, with a six year old, if you ask him if it itches, it will always itch. If you ask if it hurts, it will always hurt. Time to weasel the truth out of him through creative questioning. If you are a parent, you know what I mean. As a Facebook addict, of course I posted the fact that my son has this crazy rash. I got the normal replies that I would expect, from people that I trust. Benedryl. And I got the concerned replies, "I hope he feels better." And then I got this other reply that was... wait for it...

Crazy. Ass. Stupid.

But most of all, this reply was inappropriate to say the least. "It was supposed to be sarcastic." Yeah, I effing knew that, but in the context of my son's rash, it was not, nor was it obvious to anyone else on the thread. It kind of blew up from there, to orgasmic proportions (snicker snicker, he said orgasmic). I certainly called this person out publicly. Should I have manned up and just deleted the comment and called this person out privately? If it had been a week ago, I probably would have. I trusted this person, as I trust everyone on my friends list (some more than others) to make appropriate statements in context, and when inappropriate statements are made, they must be completely able to be read and understood as sarcastic. "That's a lot of effing trust you have there!" I know you are saying that in your head as you read. I do, I trust the people I associate myself with to know when it's OK to joke around. And I trust them in other regards as well. Apparently, I misjudged. What happened was that I lost my trust in this person. And when other mutual friends were brought into this situation, I also lost my trust in them. There is such a thing as trust by association. And in the day and age of the Internet and everything being online, that's a pretty huge thing. Remember, Six Degrees of Separation is really only 4 and some change these days.

Well, the situation was not resolved. I was not going to apologize, nor did I expect one. I did delete the entire thread, so those that were genuinely concerned about my son's rash, it looks much better this morning. And to those of you that I talked to on the phone last night, those of you that I really do trust, when I was stark raving lunatic mad, thank you! I think that I'm realizing a few things about trust. First, it comes in flavors. I trust a few people with a blank and signed check. I trust some people with my life. I trust some people to sharing deep and dark secrets (intimacy). Secondly, it takes earning my trust, make me believe that I can trust you by your actions. Commit your honesty to me and I'll commit mine back. And be passionate about it. Trust is not just some silly thing that you can throw around or take lightly. Also, it doesn't take much for it to all get thrown out the bloody window. One comment, one action, one slip and it's a snowball effect.

Relationships, regardless of level, are fragile. I really believe that trust is their foundation. Once you have that foundation, you can believe in the other person, be intimate with them, commit yourself to them, and do all of these with passion. Never forget, though, to trust yourself

I'm in the middle of soul searching. No, I'm in the middle of soul surfing. Figuring out what matters the most to me. Finding the right wave to ride all the way in until I reach the sand. And then I'm going back out to do it again. I probably should have gone out and bought a sports car, specifically at late 70's or early 80's Porsche 911, but that would have been easy. I don't want easy. I've lost some friends along the way, am I upset about this? Not really. I lost a possible date along the way. Am I upset about that? No. Could she have been that perfect match for me? Maybe, I guess I'll never know. And I'm OK with this. There are choices that I make in my life because I can be honest (next time) with my self.

Commit (7)

This is a hard one. I've tried this once before, and it failed. I tried again, and it failed. But taking what I've learned thus far, if you are passionate, if you are intimate and you believe, then maybe you can commit. What are you committing to? What does it mean to commit? Again, I am using commit versus commitment for the same reasons I used believe over belief. To commit requires action, constant action. Some of this exercise started out because I felt that I needed a 5 year plan. I have been with my employer for almost 6 years now. I've grown, I do different things than I used to, but I do a lot of things. And sometimes when you do a lot of things, you kind of lose a little focus in your growth, lose the ability to commit. Not so much as an employee, or to what you do, but as a person. So, yeah, a five year plan, that would fix it all. Until. One of the key note speakers at a conference last weekend says, (paraphrased) "If we wait until we get to our five year plan, we will miss the mark. The speed at which the world is changing will not wait for a five year plan to come to fruition."

Shit!

Maybe I need a 3 year plan. What if that is too long, a one year plan? The answer is no to both. I simply need to determine what I want to do next. And commit to it. As soon as possible. And if I don't act fast, I will be passionately intimate when I believe I will tell myself to go eff off. But what does it mean to commit? My favorite definition is "to bind or obligate, as by pledge or assurance." Wow, that's a lot! That's pretty close to signing those 150 pages for a mortgage. Wait, signing a mortgage is to commit to pay that monthly payment. It really means that you are all in. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people out there right now that are no longer all in to that commitment they made to pay their mortgage (yes... I know I used the word commitment, because for those people, there was not constant action). I understand there are unfortunate circumstances, I do, it's when you quit taking action that it all goes south. I can tell you that I have been in a scenario where I was paying 50% on 2 different mortgages plus rent plus car payments and all those other things like utilities and food. And then I quit my job! Why, because I was going to commit to changing careers, to go into a field that I has passion for. And I believed in myself. And I needed to be intimate and take time to study, self educate, search for a job, network. It was not easy, not even a little bit easy. But it is possible to get through those times, especially when you commit. And you have to trust (next time). [You have to prioritize was hijacked due to a conversation that happened on Facebook last night, which made me realize that you can put off prioritization and that trust is more important, funny how life is always teaching you.]