To my nieces and nephews:
I sat down to write this for you because I want to talk about choices. I have been on this planet for 55 years. I have made choices that have affected the trajectory of my life. For instance, I didn’t have a passport until I had to make an emergency trip to Edmonton, Canada for work. That was in 2009. I strongly encourage you make the choice and get that passport.
That passport will give you access to the world and open up your choices. One of my dear friends in LA used her passport to see Japan, Europe and so much more! She made choices. She has lived in these places, taken root so much so she experienced their culture. She didn’t visit as a tourist. She lived. I strongly encourage you to go live abroad, not for charity but for your life experience. Yes, going somewhere to help others is a noble cause and I encourage that too, but living amongst others as a foreigner (ex-pat) is a great experience. I still want to do this!!! I hear and listen to stories about ex-pats living in France and Japan and other places. Get that passport and go live somewhere. Yes, I fully understand that this may not take place until next year but dammit do it. Your parents will worry about you and want to keep you home but know that you have what it takes to live abroad. Do the homework, learn the language and go live abroad. Make that choice.
Also, as to those choices like; where you live, where you work, what you do for work, your chosen vocation; who you date; and so on. All of those choices affect the trajectory of your life.
I remember when I met my wife at the time, I told her about my choices that led me to her. To fill you in about that path, here it goes. I made a choice to leave Iowa State for love. That choice led me back to First National Bank of Omaha (FNBO). For clarity, I moved to Omaha in December of 1984. With the help of my brother, I got a job there opening credit card payments. After leaving Iowa State, I had a mountain of debt from short term school loans. I made those choices and returned to that part time job opening credit card payments. That job led me to a full-time job processing credit card receipts in an area called chargebacks. In those days, 1986, people would dispute a credit card charge. I was in charge of the faxing receipts or getting them to support the arbitration of their dispute. Yet another choice. I kept that job, and an Internal Computer Programmer Development Program at FNBO had its inaugural class. I applied. A choice. 1987. I interviewed with a 3 different people and got in the 1st class they had. 14 months later I was a computer programmer. I had a career finally. What a choice I made!!
I explained this to my girlfriend soon to be wife at the time. All those choices led me to her as she worked at FNBO and her best friend was dating one of my co-workers on the programming team. It all was choices made to meet her and I don’t regret it.
Choice led me to that moment. Granted that marriage didn’t work out, but I still made choices.
Now, some 30 years later, after a 25-year career in computers, almost 10 as a filmmaker (more choices), I can see that choices I made were for survival or companionship or what have you.
As you pass milestones in life, albeit age or kids or marriages, you reflect on those choices.
I know at my age, I cannot apply to the CIA to be a spy, although that job fascinates me to be honest. For clarification, CIA operatives are handlers not spies. They recruit people but don’t spy on people. I still can write screenplays, I can still work in sports, and I can still coach people. But there were choices I made that once I turn that corner, I cannot take that choice like the CIA. Side note, I could not get into the military as I was born partially deaf. (I failed the USAF hearing test, multiple times).
As I sit here at 55 writing this finally, in my life I want kids. I know that’s not possible in this moment as I am single. Also, this is not about you or anyone giving me solutions, those solutions to that are in the ether making their way to me. Anyway, I made choices earlier in life not to have kids. They are your legacy as much as you are my legacy even though you are not my children, but you are my family. That is why I am writing this.
Choices also mean what your vocation is. Remember, there is a difference between a job, like mine as a retail associate, a career; like my computer programming career that spanned 25 years or my filmmaking career; or my vocation/my calling; as a life coach. Know those differences. Do not get to a place where you have to keep a job to maintain a lifestyle or even benefits.
Choices involve forks in the road. For instance, my computer programming career got downsized in 2014 so I took the golden parachute that was offered, sold my house, and moved to Los Angeles. That is a HUGE choice. HUGE. I can either look at it as it led me to Chapter 7 bankruptcy or look at it that I made some lifelong friends that I still keep in contact with or that I learned how to make an award winning film or that I learned how to write screenplays. I have a choice in how I look back on it. I truly cherish those friends in the industry and without my moderate success as a filmmaker, I would not know them.
I got to the other side of a half a century and I wonder. Life becomes looking in the rear-view mirror a lot. Choices made, as you read, I hope. Shoulda/Coulda/Woulda. You get to a certain age and find yourself wishing for another vocation, a different lover, a different spouse, kids (in my case), or just different paths.
Anyway, a lot of choices we have in our path of life. All of them led me here to this point in time, reflecting on them. Find the good in every choice, and you will be live a happy, satisfied life.
For me, in learning about myself, I know that I am never wrong in my choices. For instance, every woman I’ve dated or been with has reflected back on me something about myself and choices. I’ve had women who were great lovers, intellectually amazing, comforting, and so on. Each of those things help me refine my desire for a perfect (imperfect) mate. All of them helped me see what I want in a mate. In effect I am never done refining that.
You are never wrong, and you are never done.
Even now when I’ve been single for so long, I still get some refinement on what I want. All these choices as I look back on them refine my view, my perspective on life, my life, what I want to do and how it will unfold in the next half century.
As you can see, all of life is about choices. I just hope you make some choices to see the world, grow as a human, and leave people better off than they were before you met them. Simple choices that will reward you with a happy and satisfied life.
I wish you nothing but the best in all you do and am always there for you!
Much love and peace!
Remember, every thought matters. #everythoughtmatters