I ran five miles this morning. Not exactly at warp speed but at least I finished. When I returned to the hacienda my wife declared me nuts. I would like to tell you it was the first time she had uttered such a profundity but it was merely the first time today. Why do I practice such insanity? First it supports my bad habits, sort of an offset for cigars scotch and the like. It also is a great time to think.
Now as I trod down the various byways of this seaside development I tried to set out a group of standards to be met in whatever lay ahead for us. As I delve into people, places and things I realize the major prerequisite for a nice life has nothing to do with the accoutrements that daily life provides but rather what is going on in my brain, soul or whatever. What is it that floats my boat or dare I say is my pursuit of happiness? I would have to jog fifty miles just to get started.
But seriously, Kathy and I have discussed that it’s not where you are situated or what you have but what is it that gets you up in the morning. Great stepping off point. If your life’e expectations are to play golf, or go to your job or study Aristotle and do so in a fairly routine way then that is easy. Just put your life on cruise control and I don’t say so in a demeaning way. Not everyone wants to climb Everest or run a major corporation or even be Pope. Just maybe for you the beauty in life is to just be ordinary. We should not make that sound so mundane or terrible.
I gave some of my corpuscles yesterday and had a wonderful chat with two of the phlebotomists since business was slow.One wanted to go on to be a nurse and perhaps eventually a doctor. The other saw herself as part of a process that eventually was the difference between life and death for some accident victim or cancer patient. For her drawing blood or making calls to get people in was just as important as every other step in the chain. She was psyched. How refreshing !
I began looking around and engaging throughout the day. I chatted with the guy putting out golf balls on the range. He had been in the airline industry and got laid off. He had done other things but this he really loved. Huh? He said he was providing a service and he took great pride in making sure everything was just right. He said he loved being outdoors and this job was perfect. A lucky man.
I kept on observing. There were some men doing landscaping or to be more specific weeding and trimming. I asked how they were doing? They couldn’t be loving grunt work but ah I was mistaken. They loved to bring things to life and to see the beauty that flower beds provided. It didn’t seem to be a massah and slave relationship. One had tried college and said it wasn’t for him. He liked the people he worked for. Seems they pay well and look out for their employees. One of the members at the club here actually took to teaching English to those horrible immigrant workers whether they were illegal or not. Maybe that nasty rich man had found meaning in a totally different way. I might learn to like this place.
As I wandered further throughout the day it seemed that my interactions with people of all sorts gave me a good feeling inside. Not egocentric but by opening up to someone and having them reach back to me was not only a communication but thinking about what this thing called life is really about. As I cogitate one of my true joys in life is being able to be open up and yes, be vulnerable. Those people could have thought I was weird(not an unusual reaction to me) or just some well to do rich guy. Lucky for me it did not work out that way.
I have spoken of my cigar buddies and how much I treasure those moments. With a few of you out there I have gone deep into conversation. We have gone beyond ball scores and politics and gotten into some serious subjects. Some philosophical and some controversial. At times at least for me I have said, “Holy shit I can’t believe I am saying that.” And then not having induced shrieks and condemnation you take a step further. It just feels good to be unfiltered. Kind of just letting it rip. Not an easy venture in today’s world.
You might be a young person who feels you are far too busy or even important to entertain these random thoughts. Others might be too old to change. You have life down pat and there are no further questions. I hope there are some of you who might just pause and give some thought to what I have written. It seems one of the keys to happiness is the willingness to develop deep friendships and communicate with your fellow man or woman in pure honesty. I just wanted to let you know there is a kindred spirit out there.
Going back out to life’s highway.
Ted The Great
Just one: If you want to study personal service go to a Publix Super Market. I don’t know if it is a corporate culture or just an incredible training program. Every employee in that store greets you, wants to help in any way and asks you to come back. I have never seen anything like it in any other large chain.
Eons ago at the old U we studied Publix in a retail marketing course along with Weiss as two regional chains with unique cultures & very successful market niches. Sounds like 50 years later still working IT!
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bud I am all jonesed up to smoke a cigar at Churchill’s now! no scotch though
Well said, Ted. Being present to others is like love – the more you give, the more you get. For me, that includes unplugging myself from electronic leashes. Eye contact. Smiles. Greetings. Taking risks to notice others and engage them in conversation (hey, what’s the worst thing that could happen?). Ted, I have observed the ways you take an interest in others. You want to learn all about someone. You lock on and your eyes aren’t scanning the room. It’s something I admire about you and try to emulate.
Nice, Ted! Aiden and I had a short chat with the guy who brought him some shoes to try on at the sports store yesterday (his feet are still growing!) Initially felt cranky as the service there, in general, is always lousy. No one around to help. One employee passed by and said ‘not my department’. Then Alec appeared and was cheerful. Especially after we looked him in the eyes and thanked him for his assistance. We then told him how nice it was to always get such great service at this store. He grinned ear to ear -and- it made our day too! Aiden gave me a funny look-as I had just been complaining about the service under my breath. I reminded him that the power of a few kind words does in fact change our reality of the situation. We left happy and with larger shoes.
Dionne Great to hear. Life’s little pieces. It is what my father taught me Love Padge
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