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  • Joe

A new favorite place of mine is the third seat from the end of the bar at the pub across the street from my apartment. It has a great view of the lone TV, the ability to quickly assess who walks in and it’s right in front of the fruit which I can sample when no one’s looking.


Usually I just pass the time with a bourbon and flipping my gaze between whatever is the game of choice and the latest news, posts, and pics on my phone. But there are times when sports and apps take a back seat to some good back and forth banter with a stranger or two.


Last Friday night a couple older than me, and obviously married for a long time, was seated to my left. They decided to get a night out and I thought it was pretty cool that they would hang out at the bar as opposed to getting a table in the dining area. Somehow, we started talking and that evolved into a conversation about the stock market, which then evolved into wealth, which then evolved into cars, homes, vacations and things like that. How great it is to be able to have those things and see those amazing places.


I’ve said that too.


The mansion in New Jersey was built to every detail that I could dream of. That was then parlayed that into an even better home in Pennsylvania. The weekend in Paris. The escape to Cabo. The wine tasting in Napa. Those trips were amazing. Everything I always wanted.


A text from my daughter brought me back into the real world. We have developed this method of communication where a gif is all we need to send to let each other know what we are thinking. I got the kitten snuggling under a blanket and I knew she was wishing me a good night. I quickly sent her the emperor penguin looking down at his chick. She knows I love her.


The bartender saw my drink was waaay to low and asked me if I wanted another bourbon. Like he had to ask. He’s a very personable guy who bounces between this location and the original bar a few towns away. He just got married to the love of his life. She is really smart, incredibly successful and apparently very hot. The total package. She was going to meet him later and they were going to keep the weekend going. “I am never getting divorced” he boasted as I raised my glass to him.


I’ve said that too.


I got married soon after graduation and lived the most amazing life. The things we experienced, the laughs we shared, the obstacles we overcame. We had lots of fun making babies and the four kids we raised are all incredible and arguably have taught us as much as we have taught them.


I will see my ex tomorrow when I pick up the boys for the weekend. Sometimes husband and wife are also best friends. And sometimes husband and wife become best friends. A little different don’t ya think? We’ll talk about the kids and make sure we are both doing well. We will be there for each other just as best friends would.

As I'm writing this it’s been a couple of days since a funeral I attended back on Staten Island. Roy was a great man, a World War II veteran and the close companion to my godmother for about 15 years. He was the most positive, full of life person you could ever have the chance of knowing. And that coming as he couldn’t even walk (he was 95). When I would talk to him, I always felt like I got the perspective I needed at that time as to what really is important in life.


At the luncheon following the funeral I heard my godmother saying how she can’t believe she will never see him again. I wondered if there was anything she wanted to say to him that she never did or had the chance to. Or if she felt like she took anything for granted in their time together that she wished she appreciated more while he was here.


I said goodbye to everyone (many that I’ve never met before and will never see again), got in my car and headed back home. I reflected on the day, Roy and trying to keep the perspective that Roy would make sure I had. I am committed to never take this life, or the wonderful things I have experienced, for granted ever again.


Go ahead……. you can say it.

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  • Joe

“The point of departure is not to return”


Today is really weird. Monday morning and no work. I made a tough decision to leave, to change, to take a risk. Not knowing what tomorrow will bring. But let’s be honest, we really don’t ever know exactly what tomorrow will bring. There’s something scary about that. There’s something exciting about that.


My favorite role in my career was leading a large, technical, heavily regulated business unit. Someone once asked me what I liked most about that role and I didn’t have to think long for an answer. Leading a team where we never knew what the day would bring. Unknown volumes, unknown markets, unknown technology interruptions, and, for those of you who lived through Hurricane Sandy, even unknown impacts of weather. We were often stressed, tired, and frustrated. And we often came through, figured it out, and were ultimately satisfied and fulfilled. I loved it.


I wanted that feeling again so I decided it was time to seek it out. Not sure where or when it will be, but I know it’s out there. Fulfillment. Shouldn’t we all be seeking fulfillment in our lives?


But why don’t we? Why do we stay in roles, relationships and situations, when we know we shouldn’t? Or at least change a little. I know, stupid question. It’s easier, safer, more comfortable, more certain, avoids conflict, avoids gossip.


But oh, to be satisfied. Excited. Invigorated. Empowered. Fulfilled.


So here I am with my words of wisdom. Just say “screw it”, pick up and leave. Yeah right. Let’s be real. Of course, it’s not that easy and that’s not what I’m saying. But it might be time for you to depart.


“Wait Joe, I thought you weren’t saying we should just pick up and leave.”


I’m not saying that. What I’m asking is for you to create your own definition of “depart”.


Look up the definition of “depart”. Go ahead I’ll wait. Got it? The #1 result is……. that’s right, “To leave”. But scroll down a little more. What comes next....... “To deviate”. Hmmmm.


How was your commute today? Some of you probably breezed in to work. But some of you might have dealt with yet another parking lot of traffic. (and if you are reading this while in traffic, put the phone down and read it later). I say you have three very viable options while you are cursing the traffic gods. (1) Just sit there and deal with it, (2) Leave the mess, turn around and go home or (3) Deviate. Take a different route and find a better way.


Have you thought about a deviation? You know you have. An adjustment to your routine? An alteration to your approach? That’s not as extreme as a hard stop or “pack your bags and go” but it’s something. Even the smallest deviation could have significant and meaningful results for you.


We all have to define for ourselves what it means to depart. And we all know it would make a difference. The key is to take that first step on the journey and to not look back. You are in control now and that in and of itself is an awesome feeling. But remember one thing!


“The point of the journey is not to arrive”


What?


Yes, your destination was to get to work today but we are not talking about commuting anymore, we are talking about life.


I know it’s kind of cliché-ish but our lives are journeys. We really never do get to a final destination. (ok, I know we will all die but play along for a bit).


We start out with one family and through the years that family changes so our role in the family changes. Child, sister/brother, mom/dad, aunt/uncle, grandma/grandpa. We never have one role.


We go to school. Then we grow up and go to other schools. Then we graduate and take our first great job. Then we get more experience and take new jobs, sometimes with new companies. It’s all one big journey with important destinations along the way.


I’m not sure we acknowledge the journey as much as we should. Yes, some points along the way are hard. Very hard. But there are also great points. It’s just so damn easy to notice and remember the hard ones. I believe the potential pain of a hard point prevents us from beginning parts of our journey in the first place. That’s why the personal definition of deviate is so important. Taking a comfortable step is always better than taking no step. I chose a pretty uncomfortable step. And there will probably be some hard points. And there will probably be some good points!!! And if I’m aware enough to take notice of and appreciate those good points!!! Yup, I’m taking my shot!!


By now have you thought of a way you might depart (deviate) so you can begin another part of your journey? I know you have.


So now, what are you going to do?


Remember….... Anything Can Happen.


Until next time.......


Oh yeah. Extra credit if you hit me up with the name of the song that was the inspiration for this post.

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