Thursday, February 8, 2018

The Road to Forgiveness and Peace

 "The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong." 
-- Mahatma Gandhi

If you happen to be one of the millions of viewers of the NBC hit show "This Is Us", you have no doubt taken notice that the plot has regularly taken nearly every character on a journey to find peace at the crossroads of forgiveness. The program is extraordinarily powerful at stirring deep emotional reactions in every single viewer. And not because the patriarch and nearly perfect protagonist dies, but because every single person who has followed the series journey can personally relate to the pain and suffering in one or more of the character's "lives".

In my own personal life experience I have discovered that nothing good ever comes from anger or the lack of an ability or desire to forgive. More often than not, the two are deeply intertwined. It is like a virus that everyone suffers from that inevitably flares up from time to time. I wish that I could say that I am immune to this condition, but I am not and neither are you. Look, I realize that there are simply some circumstances that we mere mortals just cannot find a way to get past. Sadly, as a result, ideal peace and happiness will never quite be achieved. 

This truth is known, peace and happiness are not static conditions, but rather dynamic places that we all arrive at and depart from with endless regularity; regardless of age, experience, education, faith, health, heritage, physical strength, or socioeconomic status. The characters in "This Is Us" ultimately become their best (sometimes only temporarily) when they reconcile with their own "demons"; oft times self created. I implore you, in your very real life, to pursue the best reconciliation you can muster with the people, places, circumstances, conditions, and things that keep you from being your best. I can assure you that happiness, peace, and strength will be excellent by-products. Indeed!   

Pin It Now!

Friday, January 26, 2018

So, What Do You Do?

 "There’s never enough time to do all the nothing you want." 
-- Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbs 

It is official: I have finally ordered my new "so, what do you do" cards allowing me to continue my retirement in a stress and drama free lifestyle, to which I have become accustomed. Well, not counting the fact that my wife Brooke alleges that I have discovered new and improved ways of getting on her nerves. To me, I feel as though I have mastered new skills to demonstrate my undying love to and for her; all in only 10 short months.

But, I digress. 

I have said previously that I believe one of the greatest by-products of retirement is flexibility. I have become a wanderluster, I have expanded my foodie palette, and most importantly, I have become a formidable professional sleeper-inner. I am quite literally available for practically anything at anytime (after 10:00 am local time of course). Folks, these are significant skills I am talking about!

Brooke and I often get out and about in Houston attending art gallery openings, checking out new restaurants, or going to our regular haunts. We are very social and friendly, and as a result, we meet many interesting and engaging strangers. Inevitably, the number one question that we are asked by new people we meet is, "So, what do you do?"

Brooke has mentioned to me that she prefers that I NOT say, "Well, I was just released from prison and I am trying to adjust to restaurant food and a free society!" I have solved this perplexing and difficult question to answer by simply ordering my own cards that are self-explanatory. Not to mention what it has done for my street cred!

"When a man retires, his wife gets twice the husband but only half the income." 
-- Chi Chi Rodriguez

Pin It Now!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Why Retirement Should Be A Bucket List Goal

Hard to believe it already, but I have been retired for over 9 months now. This means that many new babies have been born AFTER I officially retired. I am asked several times a week, "Are you bored yet?" The truth is that I have probably had less moments when I could say that I was experiencing boredom than when I was working full-time. The central reason is that I have simply replaced work activities with other activities. Things like more personal travel, joining my wife on her business trips, and sleeping in whenever I want (to name only a few)!

Reading many recent reports and looking at numerous statistics, one might start to believe that we are quickly nearing the point where a Time Magazine cover might proclaim, "Retirement is Dead!" The sub-title might continue with an assertion that, for most, retirement in America begins at one's death.  Sadly, I fear a vast majority of people reading this blog post may agree that the sentiment is true for them.

I am blessed to have been able to retire and I will offer one single piece of advice to everyone, regardless of your age; pay yourself first - PERIOD. I will acknowledge that there are many who have circumstances that are nearly, if not completely, insurmountable (i.e., the generational poor, the physically or mentally ill, those who lack access to adequate education, etc.). I learned from my parents that saving was the first bill I should pay every month. As I have grown older, I have been saddened to see so much squandered (subject for a future blog) by so many who could be retired today or in the near future.

Switching to a lighter note, I thought I would share my top 10 personal observations (9 months in) on why retirement should be on your bucket list:

  • There IS life after whatever you are doing and it IS better - imagine a place where the grass IS greener
  • Complete freedom and flexibility after years of the exact opposite
  • You earned it (like vacation but with no end point)
  • Everyday can start at whenever you want (for me, 10:00 is a nice round number)
  • Getting enough sleep becomes "a thing"
  • Alarm clocks are optional
  • You can binge watch or binge read and it can be on a weekday
  • Personal travel is possible and will occur more often
  • Availability for things that really matter expand dramatically and with less drama
  • At last, YOU are the boss of YOU (or your direction comes from someone not paying you for such direction - Love you Brooke) 

Pin It Now!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

A Vacation State of Mind!

A vacation is what you take when you can no longer take what you've been taking.
A vacation is what you take when you can no longer take what you've been taking.
"A vacation is what you take when you can no longer take what you've been taking."
 -- Earl Wilson (American Journalist: 1907-1987)
A vacation is what you take when you can no longer take what you've been taking.
Read more at:

Through the whole of my career life the one thing that I have always held sacred was my earned vacation. I have met many (who shall remain nameless because they know who they are) who have sadly forfeited their vacations, or even worse, worked the entire time they were "off". Let me clarify the definition of vacation as any time off work that is used for the sole and expressed purpose of recharging one's soul enriching batteries. It has nothing to do with exotic places visited, but rather, the conscientious moving of your life into a neutral destination to find and enjoy peace. It can be enjoyed anywhere and at anytime that one makes themselves available.

Toiling continually without rest is a sure prescription for a shorter existence. Today, the majority of the world lives in abject poverty, working tirelessly just to live a subsistence life. Imagine just how much any one of these people would relish even a short period of "vacation"? Yet, many Americans with the means and the access to vacation take such a benefit for granted or let finite portions of time simply expire; Qué lástima (what a shame)!

"The real tragedy of the poor is the poverty of their aspirations."
 -- Adam Smith

"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." 
-- Matthew 11:28 (NKJV) 

Pin It Now!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

I Regret to Inform You...

"One doesn't recognize the really important moments in one's life until it's too late." 
-- Agatha Christie

The older I get, the more thankful I become for every additional day that I am alive and for the people, places, and things that make my life a richer experience. Getting to where I am today has not come without the loss of friends and family; both literally and figuratively. It is "oh so easy" and futile to look back and harbor regrets. Worse yet is to look forward and expect regrets. Look back and see regrets as lessons learned rather than as a place to live until your last day or as a place to revisit in your future. 

There are three things that will eat away at a person's life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness; and I am not talking about the US Declaration of Independence:
  1. Anger
  2. Regret
  3. Inability to forgive
For many, the road of life is littered with the wreckage of these life sucking things! Sadly, the young are destined to take these same well traveled roads, regardless of the wise counsel of those who have traveled them previously. At 18, I knew everything. At 30, I started to have real doubts about my "genius". At 60, I am a humbled philosopher with so much more to learn.

Today, I implore you to not fail to recognize the REALLY important moments in your life. "Carpe Diem - Seize the Day!"

Pin It Now!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Wanderlust and a Thirst for Local Knowledge

One Woman's Quest for her CTA (the acronym more traveled) -

Today, Brooke received her official certificate of designation as an official Houston CTA. For those unfamiliar, a CTA is a Certified Tourism Ambassador. I have lived here in Houston for nearly 38 years and Brooke knows more about her adopted city than I will probably ever know. Congratulations Brooke! 

Each day now, Brooke will start several conversations with the seemingly innocuous, "Did you know ___________ about Houston?" Or, "I do not think you know just how significant <insert year> was to the history of Houston?" Which of course I do not know of such significance, but regardless, I act impressed and amazed by her fountain of information. My former most popular response to her, "Yes dear!" has been replaced by the famous phrase coined by the late Johnny Carson, "I did not know that?"

When you are an AirBnB Super Host this certification comes in quite handy when asked uncommon questions like, "Where is the closest grocery store?" or, "Is the water safe to drink?" Seriously, we actually get that question quite frequently and I always quickly hide my Scooby Doo look for fear of offending a guest. Now, if this was <insert year>, that would be an excellent question to ask.

All joking aside, the vast amount of things that Brooke knows about Houston is mind-boggling. She is versed and knowledgeable in truly interesting historical facts that have changed the attitudes (towards Houston) in the minds of nearly every guest that we have had the privilege to host. Houston is richer for her enthusiasm for this great city.

Brooke Candelaria - Houston CTA
Are you curious about any Houston detail? Ask Brooke! Rumor has it that she has taught Alexa and Siri everything they know! She would make the Allen brothers proud. For more information check out

Pin It Now!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Cancer is a Dirty Word

Houston's world famous MD Anderson Cancer Center uses a great double entendre in all of its marketing. In fact, "Making Cancer History"® is a registered trademark; a powerful message in 3 simple words! Three words that nary a single person would oppose. MD Anderson is doing extraordinary leading-edge research with one simple mission - end cancer, everywhere.

I do not know a single person unaffected by cancer. As of this writing, I am pleased to report that I have reached age 60 without personally having cancer of any kind, but I have seen more than my fair share of death to friends or family. The past 2 years alone has left me with great sadness coupled with tremendous gratitude for the miracle of  remission in a few. 

One of the definitions for "remission" from a temporary or permanent decrease or subsidence of manifestations of a disease.

Troubling for me is the temporary part. Truthfully, life itself is only temporary. I am encouraged by some of the latest cancer treatments that are delivering a "permanent decrease or subsidence of manifestations of cancer"; if only until one's designated and predetermined hour of death due to other causes.

Over the past several days the world has heard of US Senator John McCain's diagnosis of brain cancer; a form considered to be very aggressive. This is discouraging news indeed, especially for those personally connected to Senator McCain. Today, I will stand in prayer for Senator McCain and his family, but also for the thousands of those who are afflicted with cancer and are not famous, except as courageous heroes to their own family and friends.

Thank you MD Anderson for your continued fight to make cancer history!
Pin It Now!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...