Things Not Earned by Lois Hewitt

It should be a fairy tale ending. A young girl is given a car at 16. When she marries at 19, she gets a house. She basically has not done a thing to earn these things.

The house is too big for the two of them. It’s not what she wants but feeling that way seems like she is ungrateful. She is not that, but there is a lot of guilt that goes with the gift.

All her friends are struggling to make a start. She, although it is not spoken, wishes she could get a small place and grow into it. That is the normal progression of things. She sees it in everyone’s eyes… Must be nice and what did you do to deserve this. This could be real or imagined or a little bit of both.

Bad decisions are made, the kind that haunt for years to come. High expectations are made as to how she should act. Forever grateful although racked with more guilt every day.

That girl was me. I was given the family house when I got married. I never felt right about it because I didn’t deserve it, I had not earned it. I stayed there silently feeling like a prisoner. Even saying that after all these years sounds so wrong. But I felt I had no way out.

I know the gift was given with the best of intentions. That made it so much harder to hate. By the end, the place was underwater financially, I was drowning in my own years of remorse and regret. When I left at the age of 52, I still didn’t feel deserving.

That’s probably why I went all the way to the other side. I didn’t want anything. The things had owned me for so long, I wanted to be free.

A few years have passed and my list of possessions is a little longer. But this time, I worked for them. This time I earned them. Earning something tastes so much sweeter then the bitter taste of entitlement.

Today, I would rather have less and be able to look in the mirror in the morning. My gratitude is so much more with less.

As I look around our society and I see the entitlement mentality and I wonder if it’s based on some sort of hidden guilt. There is a satisfaction that fills your soul when you work for something. I’m not saying gifts are not nice, but being able to hold your head up means so much more.

I’m not sure why I’m writing this. I feel horrible that a loving gesture turned out so wrong. I felt compelled to tell this little bit of my history. Today is better for what came before.

An Extroverted Introvert by Lois Hewitt

What does a perfect day look like to you…mine is a chilly fall day, an oversized, soft chair with a snuggly blanket. A cup of hot tea, some kind of treat and either a good book or a journal with a good quality pen. No noise or very soft music in the background. Over the years I have learned to enjoy my own company.

Now do not get me wrong, there are plenty of people I like to hang with, but it’s easiest when it’s just me. That’s one sign of an Introvert. I guess I have always been one.

When I was young, talking to more than four people terrified me. Public speaking was some kind of torture technique like waterboarding.

If I saw people approaching me, my head would go down, my eyes would look away and I would keep walking. I would repeat in my head…. No eye contact ever. Small talk was a big fear of mine.

I would miss school if I had to do a book report in the front of the class. It meant pure terror to me.

While I was working at Kinetico, my job sometimes required that I give a presentation occasionally. I would fret and stew about it for days or weeks. One day, my boss suggested sending me to a Dale Carnegie class for public speaking. Eight weeks to learn how to talk in front of people.

I signed up and immediately tried to come up with an excuse to not go. It seemed like a good idea in theory but the reality was terrifying. But I did not want to let my company down.

When I got to the hotel meeting room for the first week’s meeting, there were 19 other people in attendance. Some looked calm and others, like me, were freaking out.

That first night we had to give a simple two minute speech to the group about ourselves. Nothing fancy or elaborate. My idea was to wait to last and maybe there would not be enough time. I do not remember much except there was plenty of time for me.

I walked to the front of the room, now physically shaking and sweating profusely. My eyes filled with tears. My mind racing as well as my heart. I had experienced terror before and this was one of the worst.

I stood there, head down, streaming tears, voice warbling and said something. I have no idea what. I cannot remember a thing. Afterwards, my classmates all hugged me and said encouraging things. It must have been pathetic to watch.

With each week, it was a little easier. The people in my class were awesome, it was such a safe place. We all improved and on graduation day we all celebrated.

I proceeded to give the random speech here and there. I took several public speaking classes in college. It was still never easy but I was able to cope with the stress of it all.

Fast forward a lot of years. I had not done much public speaking and was reverting back to my intense introverted ways. I find a job on a scenic railroad as a host. I thought it was mostly serving beverages. It turns out it was about being entertaining also.

I had learned that the better you know a subject, the easier it is to talk about it. So I started learning local history. It was a wonderful challenge.

My tours now consisted of a few facts and a few sentences about history. At the end of the trip, I expected huge accolades for all my knowledge and entertainment. In reality, I was greeted with mixed reviews at best.

What was missing? I talked with coworkers and I found out facts where not enough. I had to learn to tell a story. So I started watching comedians and seeing how storytelling was part of the big picture.

So I came up with a way to make the facts more interesting. The sentences turned to paragraphs. I thought I had found the answer. Still mixed reviews.

What was I still doing wrong? According to my classes and the books I read, I was doing everything correctly, but something was still missing. On the train, I got moved to First Class. Now I had to up my game but my concern was that I just did not have the extrovert gene. Maybe this was something I just could not do.

I kept studying. I kept working on my technique. One day watching an older Dave Chappell comedy special, I saw what I was missing. Two things: passion for the subject and a connection to the audience. Without those two things I was always going to be like a flat soda. A flat soda can still quench your thirst but it is not very satisfying.

Tony Evans, from Dallas Theological Seminary, is one of the most dynamic speakers I have ever listened to. I studied his delivery, the way his voice changed and his mannerisms. There I saw what I was missing.

I started learning the history and facts in a way that was more than information, it became alive. Then I started to talk about it with enthusiasm. The more I did that, the more passion I felt. I added antidotes from my life as a way to connect with my guests. Then I started to hear comments from guests that reflected their enjoyment. Being entertaining for four and a half hours now was fun for me and them.

Now I work as a Historic Interpreter. My job is talking to strangers about what they are seeing. The passion I feel for this job sometimes overwhelms me. I feel good about the story and I want to pass it on. Understanding where the audience is coming from and knowing where you want to take them bridges any gaps in the way to a connection.

Of course, there will always be people who do not want to be reached. All you can do is try and move on. For those people who are interested, the sky is the limit.

The last component to remember is, no matter how many times you say something, you must always be genuine. Even if you have said that same thing a thousand times.

On my days off, I am still an introvert. On the days I work, I am an extrovert. It just goes to prove that labels do not necessarily have to define you as a person. Great lesson learned.

Pure Joy by Lois Hewitt

I am in a mood today. It’s about to get real….

My youngest memory of pure joy was when my mom still lived with us. Hot, lazy summer days. She had a consul stereo, she loved music. We would listen to Count Basie, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, and the like. We would sing and dance. My sister even danced in her wheelchair. Then we would change to Stevie Wonder and Blood, Sweat and Tears. I wished those times would never end as we laughed the afternoon away. Life was still simple and innocent.

As life tends to do, the innocence leaves and the times become complicated. Music was not so much a source of fun any longer but a companion and a comforter. Music stayed with me in my loneliest hours. Music in those teenage years was loud and visceral to keep the inner demons out.

Then came my rebel years full of Urban Cowboy, country music, lots of beer and Jack Daniels. Smoking and two stepping were the order of the day.

Then one day a Little Red Corvette appeared on MTV and I was thrown into what was called Urban Contemporary. My view expanded from the small town I lived in. Prince amazed and thrilled me. I could not get enough.

Then came flannels, messed hair, work boots and grunge. The demons were back talking about a world on the brink. Misery filled the days.

Then the women stepped front and center. Alanis, Alicia, Lilith fair. Powerful, angry women making music to allict change and to say it was time to be heard.

I started to get tired, still unsure of who I was. Racing toward 40 and feeling in a rut. I worked for a great company and I had my own office in the back of the building with windows all around. I had a fantastic view of the woods.

I would go to work on Saturdays especially in the summer and sit in my own private domain. A place where everything was in its place and order was the word of the day.

I would play music on my computer about catching a freight train or having the Keys To The Highway. I day dreamed about a life on the road with no ties to anything. I dreamed of running away. Music was my soundtrack.

I finally did run away but the reality was nothing like I dreamed. I longed for an uncomplicated journey. I longed for the past to finally be in the past. But it alluded me as did music. I was even more lost than I had been and I had no compass to show me the way.

Then came a crazy train and a place in North Carolina. A place where I got to figure things out. Where the music I loved back in the day revisited me. I was starting to feel whole. The past took its rightful place away from the present.

Today, my skin is mostly comfortable. I know more who I am and I am good with that reality. I see with clarity all the roads I have been down. Some I took and some others took me. But they all lead to this place, a place set in 1895 that is the most comfortable with people from a different time. Yet I can relate to them.

Today music is like those first days dancing with my mom in the living room. She is no longer here but she still dances with me. I think she would have really liked Michael Buble.

Listening to a wonderful song transports one away from the hurts and pain. It clears the mind and frees the soul. Today I will experience pure joy once again. Thank you to everyone who makes music, you make the world a better place.

Breakthrough by Lois Hewitt

Finally, I’m starting to see clearer and feel better. The meditation is working. I have only been at it a short time but the results are in my view.

I am experiencing the beginning of being more present. Instead of worrying about my entire day at once, I am only focusing on where I am at in the present. I plan things like dinner but I do not obsess any longer. It is not completely ingrained yet, but it is a start. My mind still wanders but that is OK.

I have had thoughts about a lot of different things, especially those issues that are causing my anxiety. I have started to notice how I react to things that I do or that happen. I have noticed a distinct issue with technology lately.

For example, I hate my phone. I cannot make or receive calls in certain places. My stick fingers cannot seem to text without several corrections. My mind goes back to my childhood rotary phone. Only time that beige beast did not work was when the phone line was down.

Along that vein, texting is a necessary evil in my mind. I am going to start writing letters or cards again. I miss that tactile feeling of holding a letter in my hand or the simple joy of finding one in the mailbox.

Same goes for books. I thought, at one time, that being able to carry a hundred books around with me would be the most awesome thing. All of my books are now gone, moved to someone else’s home. I have a lot on my iPad, but the pure joy of reading them electronically is gone. I miss the feel of the pages on my hands and the smell of the paper.

How about solitaire? I miss shuffling a deck of cards, listening to the sound and again feeling them in my hands. Playing online simply becomes about beating the clock and starting another game. It all seems so rushed.

In my quest for better health, I have slowed down my consumption of soda. But even before I made the decision, I slowed down because I dislike the taste in plastic bottles. I grew up drinking an ice cold Coke in a glass bottle. I then graduated to only drinking beer from a draft or a glass bottle. It just tastes better. Many an outing was funded by returning bottles and collecting the refund.

No more fast food. I know want good food eaten slower. I have spent the last few decades eating either in the car or just chugging it down in a hurry. This has truly contributed to my health issues as well as the weight I can never lose. I have to learn what real food tastes like.

I remember on a slow summer day, jumping in the car for a drive to nowhere in particular. Windows down, music loud. No one in front of you and no one behind. Driving today is so stressful, I do not want to go anywhere. I am not an aggressive driver, so driving today is pure anxiety because the thrill is gone.

I miss the sound of a needle on a vinyl disk. Music, in my humble opinion, sounds spectacular on vinyl and flat electronically. I miss the nuisances of background sounds that are engineered out today for a cleaner sound. Yes, electronic music is more convenient but you have to give something up for that.

I miss homemade chocolate chip cookies. I miss eating cherry jello with real whipped cream. I miss eating apples right off the tree. I miss the excitement of going to a movie theater.

I am not trying to be unreasonable here. But I think some of my anxiety of late has manifested because I feel that I no longer fit into this modern world. Technology is passing me by at an alarming rate. I have lived for a long time under the umbrella of speed and convenience.

Have you ever seen a movie where a character is standing still while everyone else around them is moving in fast motion? That is how I feel every day and I just never realized it. I have joked about the sloth being my spirit animal, it turns out it is not a joke.

I want to taste life but I have conditioned myself to always be running (not literally… That is not happening). If I am not busy, then I am lazy. If my to-do list is not full, then I am doing something wrong.

I have no answers yet, but I feel that I am on a path to figuring it all out. It is going to be a long process but one that will be enlightening.

A New Epic Journey by Lois Hewitt

Today is the day I have decided to embark on a new epic journey. As of late, I have been dealing with a lot of anxiety. I don’t feel comfortable in my skin. I feel very out of balance. All First World problems, I know, but my struggles nonetheless.

The original epic journey was about me changing my life about seeing the country and beginning again. I did those things without the outcome that I had anticipated.

Wonderful times were had along the way. I have had the extreme privilege of meeting some of the most awesome people… Many I am still in contact with. I have changed but many of my old thought patterns remain.

I feel on edge a lot of the time. Peace is still at arms length away. I have come to realize that there are choices I need to make. There are behaviors that I need to throw away once and for all. I need to start controlling my life, instead of it controlling me.

My faith has seen me through and that is not going to change but I am going to start adding a new component to my life. Mindfulness. I, truthfully, do not fully understand the concept. But I am always living either in the past or worrying about the future. The present is the one place I need to be.

My doctor suggested that I study some mindfulness techniques to assist with my high blood pressure and other health issues. I want to do it to calm my mind. I realize it does not cure my problems, but it can help learning to live with those issues.

So today, I trudged to Target. I hate shopping but I chose to try to enjoy it. I purchased a large, soft pillow and a comfy, soft blanket to cover a loveseat. This is going to be my meditation place. Just a place dedicated to breathing and clearing the mind. It is not much, but it is a start.

I have a few things to read to help me on this journey along with an audio to listen to. By all accounts, I have heard the process of learning these techniques can take some time. I am dedicated to start living in the present. I cannot change the past and my constant worrying about the future has done me no good.

I am going to try to document the process. Over the years, I have forgotten what used to make me happy, hobbies and what have you. Everyday I worry about my health issues and it can be consuming.

So tomorrow I wash my new blanket and set up my space. Step one is always the hardest. If I can change the way I think (and fear) about life, maybe I can start to have some fun again. Mindfulness, here I come.

Yes, Patience is Still a Virtue by Lois Hewitt

Have you ever had someone ask you a question and before you can finish the answer, they have either asked another question or rudely just walked away. You asked me the question and now you don’t have the half a minute it takes to listen to the answer, that blows my mind.

The other day, Mike went to the grocery store for me while I was sick (again). He came home with two boxes of crackers, the kinds we don’t eat and a bag of cookies that look, frankly, inedible. I inquired to why he made such purchases. He replied that he did not pick them out.

Then he remembered that the person behind him at the check out was in such a hurry they started putting their items on the conveyor belt before there was room. Their items must have fallen over the divider onto our items. The person also proceeded to ram into Mike twice with their cart.

They must have thought that would somehow save them some precious moments in their day. But it didn’t and they almost got a karate chop to the throat for being so annoying.

What are the tailgaters thinking? Man, am I making time by being right on this person’s bumper with no room for an unexpected situation. I’m saving time while I put myself and others at risk. Many have forgotten just how dangerous automobiles are. They are made of steel and glass not cotton balls and marshmallows. When they crash, it is a very serious situation.

Just now on the way home from work, a car in front of me was turning left and the oncoming traffic was stopped. A car motioned for the car in front of me to go through. Apparently, the car in front of me did not go fast enough because the other driver starts swearing out the window. So much for doing a good deed.

We all have stories about these obviously super important people who do not have enough time in their day to obey laws or be civil. Many people do not even have the time to stop and tell a fellow human being thank you in a situation that calls for it. Ever hold the door for a person and they don’t even acknowledge the act. Sure, it’s not a big act but it deserves some courtesy. Imagine walking out the same door and not holding it. Can you imagine the indignant attitude that person would have for your rudeness. Happens every day.

I realize that Mayberry RFD is a thing of the past. I realize “the good old days” had their share of darkness but today our society pains me so badly. Luckily, I cannot find a way to support myself from home. Because if I could, I would never leave the fear and anxiety would grip me.

I feel the disrespect and lack of civility in general, literally, scares me. The idea that a person cannot spend an extra minute or two to let the person in front of them move, pains me. The fact that basic manners are becoming lost today only means to me that our society is degrading at an extremely high rate.

Without respect for life itself and the laws that bind a society together, it will just turn into lawlessness, thugs and chaos.

We live in a microwave world, where waiting for a minute to heat dinner is too long. We need instant gratification faster than instantly. Our storehouse of patience is dwindling faster and faster every day. Anger and distress are replacing the good things in life.

Taking a Sunday drive to nowhere is no longer fun. Going to a public event now comes with the threat that something bad could happen at any given time. No more friendly exchanges at the grocery store or post office.

Normally I try to stay positive but if people don’t start to change, our future looks grim. That truly scares me. Today I’m scared, hopefully tomorrow will be a more patient day for all of us. Patience is still a virtue and is part of what makes humans human and not animals.

To You, My Dearest by Lois Hewitt

In a few days, my husband and I will be celebrating our 29th wedding anniversary. I can’t believe we have been together so long. I don’t speak much of my husband in this blog, only because I respect his privacy and he is not the kind of man one speaks for. My mind reels from all we have been through. Here’s to you my Dearest.

We have been through the gambit. Some rich, mostly poor. Some health, but a lot of sickness. We have shared utter joy and almost complete sadness. We have watched loved ones pass away from us. We have shared mountain top highs.

We tried for children, cried when it never happened and embraced the outcome. The toughest roads in life were somewhat smoother because we experienced them as a team.

You have made me the maddest I have ever been as well as the happiest I have ever been. You rocked me during panic attacks and asthma attacks. You have put up with various degrees of my OCD. You never talked down to me…. Except that one time you said I was as dumb as a box of rocks. But I always knew you didn’t mean it.

You have been my biggest cheerleader allowing me to take crazy chances on schemes that mostly did not pan out. You supported my education. You supported my faith even though it is not your faith.

Any question I ask, no matter how dumb, you answered with the most thought out answer you know.

You have always done your best to provide for me, even in the last few years when our life was somewhat fluid. You made sure I had a roof over my head and food in front of me.

I go to you for advice because I trust you with my life. Sometimes you deliver advice unsolicited, but I still always listen.

We have lived through some very dark days and nights. But we held onto each other for dear life because that’s what you do when you are committed to each other.

It’s been quite a ride. I’m looking forward to what comes next. You are truly my best friend, my confidant and the person who absolutely makes me laugh even when I don’t want to.

Here’s to you, my Love. Thank you for always being there for me. You are such a gift to me. May our love continue another 29 years and beyond.

By the way, there is no money in the budget for a gift…. So consider this your gift. Lol

A Return to Elegance by Lois Hewitt

I did not think life would ever be better than it was in the 1990s. My favorite fashions were now in style, flannel shirts, ripped jeans, work boots. I was finally in style. My fashion credo has always revolved around comfort. Nothing is more comfortable to me than an old flannel shirt.

As I am getting older, things are changing for me. I’m enjoying old black and white movies. Listening to Sinatra instead of Nirvana. A suit and tie looks better to me than grunge. I don’t even swear as much (except when I’m driving). I think I’m craving a return to a more elegant time.

There is a civility component from the days past that is missing today. I’m not saying that everything was perfect in the “old days.” They had their problems, but manners and respect were symbols of the time.

I never called my parents friends by their first name. I doubt I would today if I saw one of them. Holding doors, being polite, saying thank you and you are welcome were the norm. I love that level of decorum.

Growing up I was a loud, foul mouthed youth. I was not always respectful. I taught myself over the years how to act by watching others. I still have a ways to go but I’m on the right path to civility.

I think those basic behaviors are what make the difference between order and chaos. We, as a society, have forgotten or never learned the importance of showing respect to others, of minding our manners and generally being civil to each other.

You hear so many people say how they hate dealing with people. I, too, have mentioned on occasion that life would be easier without so many humans. We have, over the years, locked ourselves away from human interaction because it’s just so much easier to live. It’s easier to avoid the utter rudeness and disrespect you encounter in the real world. So many of us have created our own virtual world behind closed doors and drawn shades.

My own experience shows that the more I’m alone, the less manners I need. The less interactions I have, the less I act with elegance. But that’s not how I want to live my life anymore. I want to be elegant. I want to be graceful in action and deed.

As I have always talked about in this blog, change can come in small ways. I don’t know that not wearing flannel will make much difference, but being more cognizant in action is a way of reconnecting with my fellow human beings, which in turn can create positive change.

Today, my call is of elegance. To being more in the moment and lighting the way whenever possible.

Lessons From a Sick Day by Lois Hewitt

I’m having yet another sick day. My poor immune system is struggling to keep up with the onslaught of germs it meets on any given day. I can normally keep going on pure stubbornness then the wall is hit and I’m out for the count. That’s what happened this weekend.

I had a glorious week. I met some fantastic new friends. Work was amazing. Slowly I started to get more tired, my throat started to ache, my head felt like the inside of a ringing church bell and then I just had to stop. I slept a lot over the last two days with many NyQuil induced dreams.

I woke up this morning thinking about life in general. The thoughts are swarming me, circling my head like annoying mosquitoes.

When I’m sick, my thoughts usually go back to my childhood. Not a great time for me but the time my consciousness began. My childhood was not as bad as it could have been but it was hard on me. It created for me the fragile, small world I lived in for decades to come.

I was always full of fear and anger. I had no idea as to a sense of self. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, except to just go away and hide. Then at the age of 16, my best friend’s father introduced me to Jesus.

My thoughts were how could any being love me. I was already damaged and there was not a lot of hope on the horizon.

As I got older, I dabbled with Christianity. But my guilt over really bad past decisions haunted me. But His love was in the back of my mind. As time progressed, I started to learn more about this religious stuff. Many a dark night was spent rocking in a corner, saying a prayer.

Fast forward many years and I have come a long way. My faith is getting stronger. But today, being a Christian is a bad thing. We are told that all Christians are closed minded, bigoted ignorant people who cannot think for themselves.

Some Christians are like that. But so are some people from every sector of life. Most Christians I know are similar to me. Once broken, on the way to wholeness. Most Christians I know hate what’s happening in the world today.

I just read a Facebook post about Christians and it was extremely negative. And I started thinking was I like that… Full of hate and bigotry.

Here’s my self-analysis.

I do hate. I hate when the weak are exploited. I hate arrogance and pride. I hate ignorance. I hate closed mind thinking. I hate rudeness and inconsiderate behavior. I hate greed most of all. I guess I do hate a lot but I don’t feel bad about this type of hate. It teaches me how not to act.

I also love a lot. I love beauty and tranquility. I love kind and compassionate people! I love rainstorms and tulips and butterflies. I love words of encouragement and words of wisdom. I love the gentleness of sloths. I love so many more things.

Just like so many things today, it is easy to lump all into the same bag of crap. It’s easy to say that all Christians are self-righteous and pompous. It’s far too easy to simply write off Christians as all freaks and fringy. I say go ahead and do that while you promote the one thing you claim us to be… Closed minded.

I have skirted the issue in this blog for fear of alienating readers. But I am a Christian, not a perfect one, and I’m proud of it. If that offends you, then I am sorry and feel free to unfollow me.

I do not think that myself and any of the Christians I know are what is being portrayed in the media. Yes, some are but most just want peace and civility. We want the wrongs righted.

I am really not in a position to speak for anyone other than myself. I am still searching the wilderness for my voice and my truth. So many of us are. But, don’t you think, if we stopped yelling at each other and started listening to each other or, at the very least, try to understand each other a little more that life might stop spiraling downward the way it is now. I think, and this might just be too juvenile, that if we could all put away the labels on people, take away the unnecessary offenses, and look at the soul of people, the world would start to heal. Civilization has a weak immune system and all the negativity is keeping it sick. Let’s all take a theoretical sick day and start the healing process. If the person to person hate isn’t cured, we are all doomed. Hate creates sickness in all of us. Let’s start to heal.

That’s just my opinion.

Build Others Up by Lois Hewitt

Growing up was hard on me. I was extremely shy (I made shy kids look like extraverts), was a little sickly, had no self-confident at all and was so afraid of literally everything. I was born full of anxiety. When I saw someone else doing something better than me, I did not react properly. Instead of being happy for that person, I became jealous.

I believe that jealousy is one of those emotions that has no redeeming qualities. One may better themselves because of a jealousy, but it’s done in a positive light.

In my early years, I chose paths that did not offer much encouragement from others. I was a real brat. I didn’t like me, how could others give enough of a care to encourage me. My family was always supportive but I was bent on self-destruction.

As I got older, wisdom finally started to seep into my self-inflicted ignorant brain. When I finally turned my life around, I started getting some more encouragement from others and it spurred me on to do better.

The problem with giving encouragement to someone ill-prepared for it, is that it is like crack. You get addicted to it and when you don’t get it all the time, you fall back into feeling like a failure.

I didn’t learn the lesson until I was much older. You do the best you can, don’t worry about what others think and you learn some self-worth because now you are actually earning it and that is a great feeling.

Then the reality hit me that there was a second side to that coin. Encouragement given to others, not just nice words of encouragement but heartfelt words meant to build others up.

I wanted to be that person, but I didn’t know how. In retrospect, it isn’t that difficult but it was not a tool in my toolbox of life lessons.

I started studying people I looked up to, mostly entertainment people at that time. I slowly learned, not only, what to do but what not to do. I learned to discern genuine from fake. I also started watching for that other elusive character trait, humility.

I’m still learning but now I realize the importance of a pat on the back to a co-worker for a job well done, or genuine enthusiasm for an accomplishment for a friend or loved one. Now, my crack is trying to build others up.

Today’s world is fueled by the demise of others. The best one wins. Then you must knock the best one off the top. Like only one person can be achieving at one time. What a horrible concept!

Now, instead of feeling jealous of others, I’m happy for them. I want people to achieve goals, I want people to want to be better with the hopes of passing it on to others.

Imagine a world, not full of empty praise, but praise for a job well done. No awards for just showing up but for giving it your best…win or lose. Yes, you can lose and still earn a genuine compliment. I’m not an advocate of empty words. The words we speak need to be real. A false sense of ones self is a house of cards, easily destroyed. A true sense of ones self is strong enough to withstand the harshest of situations.

I want to encourage the people in my life because it strengthens connections, it strengthens communities, and makes for a better human race. We need that in today’s world.