Happy Birthday: Hello teenager

When I became a teenager in the early 80s, we listened to Rick Springfield sing about Jessie’s Girl and Diana Ross and Lionel Richie sing of their Endless Love; played Pac-Man and Centipede in a downtown arcade, read George Orwell’s 1984, went in droves to see The Empire Strikes Back and spent our free time trying to figure out a 3-D combination puzzle called the Rubik’s Cube.

We worried that the Soviet Union — including Russia — would one day nuke us, cheered when the Iranian hostages came home and the U.S. launched the first space shuttle, and watched amusingly as a rich, young billionaire named Donald Trump made headlines in his bid to take over Manhattan.

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Babies are such a nice way to start people & other stories

My three kids have “big people” problems.

–Dad, I’m going to need a car to get around for my summer internship, what should I do?

–Dad, which meal plan should I choose for college?  I’m thinking about Meal Plan #3, but it costs $800 more than the other two. What do you think?

–Dad, I’m thinking of joining the marching band in the Fall, can you give me $150 to cover the middle school activity fee.

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Making dreams come true

Parenting has its challenges. Whether you stay home with your kids or work all day and have to pick them up and race somewhere, your job is never complete. There’s always something to do (um, what are we having for dinner?) and you’re often left feeling like you’re working without a net.

But once in a while, you have a day that’s just perfect. You get to see your children in a new light or achieve something they’ve been working on. It can be a big or small event.

For me, one of the fun things recently has been helping my kids make their dreams become a reality. I’ve been blessed that I’ve had a few of those days lately where everything comes together. I’m convinced that there’s not a better feeling in the world.

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Giving back

In 1981, wealthy businessman Eugene Lang was asked back to his old elementary school, PS 121 in Harlem to address the graduating sixth grade class. They would be soon going off to middle school and hopefully high school.

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He planned to tell the kids to study and work hard—all the usual stuff. However, on the way to the podium, the principal told him that 75 percent of the class would never graduate high school.

“I suddenly realized that anything I had to say that was ordinary, conventional would be completely out of place, would be completely meaningless,” Lang told reporter Harry Reasoner and a 60 Minutes crew in 1986.

Boy did he go way off script. Continue reading “Giving back”

Searching for opportunities

I’m quitting my job.

Yup, it’s official, I’m quitting. You’re the first to know. I haven’t told anyone else, not my wife, my boss, coworkers, no one. I’m sure my wife will be shocked, maybe even a little worried, but when she hears my plan, she’ll love it.  

I’m quitting and moving to Florida. I’ve got everything covered. I’m quitting so that I can get a job at the Happiest Place on Earth. Yes, Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando.

I’ll take any job, but I have my heart set on one job in particular: driving the Disney Monorail. (The park’s monorail system built in 1971 is one of the most heavily used monorail systems in the world with more than 150,000 daily riders, surpassed only by the Tokyo Monorail in Tokyo, Japan, with 300,000 daily riders and the Chongqing Rail Transit in China, which has over 900,000 daily riders.)

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Party of six, your table is ready

The restaurant has been picked, check. The dinner reservation has been set, check. Next I need to select the five people I’d like to invite to dinner. You know the drill, you’ve probably heard the parlor game: Name the five people, living or dead, who you’d invite to dinner.

The possibilities are endless.

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Planning my own goodbye party

I run five days a week and regularly work-out in the gym. I try to pass up the fatty sugars and eat healthy. (Ice cream is my downfall.) I even try to maintain work-life stress balance.

In the end, however, I will die.

So will you. We all will.

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An eternal truth 

I know that’s pretty morbid, but it’s a fact of life. There’s no getting around it. I’ve reached the point in my life where I think it’s silly to avoid the obvious.

Yes, I certainly hope death doesn’t come knocking for a long, long time. I’d throw a few more “long, long, long times” in there for emphasis if I could, but it’s a waste of time and energy to run from the truth. Instead, I’ve decided to take a different tact. I can’t control my death. I hope it’s well into the future, but if it happens, it happens. I have limited control on the when, but I can make each day count and to communicate to my family how I want to be ushered out when my time comes. (And even then I don’t have real control, but I can at least offer a few suggestions.)

What’s my request: I want a party.
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Stern parent to trusted mentor

When our daughter was young and regularly wore pink, she would sit at our dining room table, feet not even big enough to touch the ground, and I would sit at my make-believe throne. I would harangue my daughter to eat her breakfast, go to school, do her homework, clean her room, etc., etc.

I would bellow out to do this and do that. I wasn’t trying to be mean, I was just trying to help her and give her the direction she needed. King Brian was in full command. In my mind at least, I wore a crown of jewels and commanded on high.

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A trip back to my happy place

The water slaps gently against the shore. I take a deep breath and draw-in the cool breeze blowing across my face, the warm sand on my feet, and the squawk of the seagulls overhead foraging the beach for food.

The stress that has built up in my chest over two months of starting work at the crack of dawn and staying late at the office until the sun has gone down starts to slip away, piece by piece, breath by breath. The stakeholder update I promised my program manager and the script for the training video that I’ve been mulling and working on every chance I get are both very distant memories. That’s not all. My upcoming annual performance review with my boss that will make or break how I’m viewed in my organization has completely slipped my mind.

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Blog Anniversary: ‘Why do you write like you’re running out of time?’

Let me set the scene. The thirteen colonies have fought a long hard battle. But now their tenuous new government, strung together by a weak Articles of Confederation, is in danger of breaking apart.  

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