No leaves, No green, No warmth, No light, No sun, No-vember.
November lurks in the calendar like an unwanted task. It is one of those chores you know needs to be done, yet you wish it would just go away. As the month wears on, the days become shorter, colder and more difficult. Everyone begins the long process of surviving the coming trial of winter. We know it is coming and sometime during the long stretch which is November, we just come to terms with fate and make the conscious decision to “Just get on with it”.
That is why I say Poor November. November can become so reviled, we celebrate the end of the month with a feast, so happy are we to be done with the entire mess.
“If a composer could say what he had to say in words he would not bother trying to say it in music.” -Gustav Mahler
I came of age in a time when music used to mean something.
My formative years were filled with poets and activists trying to change our awareness of the world around us and trying to get us to understand that life was about more than just ourselves, that the world was more than our own little neighborhood and that we should all aspire to more than filling our pockets with gold.
I’m not quite sure when that all changed, but I’m pretty sure disco had something to do with it, because around the time of disco is when my generation stopped trying to love each other and started just loving ourselves. After disco, it was every man for himself.
Today, I hear pretty songs and I hear musical artistry, but none of what I hear tries really tries to change the world and the world is lesser for that fact.
For what should we be thankful? For the amazing prosperity that we enjoy in this country? For the legacy of liberty that has been handed to these generations by those who have gone before? For electricity or indoor plumbing or modern appliances or for any number of important inventions and developments that have contributed to our wonderful American way of life? How about all of the above?
A man, having worked and planned for success all of his adult life is on the cusp of attaining it all. He has worked hard and saved to buy the business he wanted, in the city he loved. He built the new building that would help him to deliver all of the services he knows his customers want and he is poised, finally poised, to be able to enjoy the fruits of his labors. His later years stretch out in front of him in a shining vision of exactly the life he wants to live.
Yes, he has sacrificed a great deal of his youth working towards his goal. He may have not been able to spend all of the time he might have wanted with his family. However, now he can pay it all back. Now that he has attained his goals and secured his and his families’ futures, now he can be everything he has always wanted to be to them. Now, he has time… Except, now he doesn’t. A diagnosis of cancer, a bad one, has suddenly brought his future into a monthly chemotherapy frame of focus. Hope no longer means hoping one can get a reservation at the trendy tropical resort, hope now means being around for Easter.
For what should we be thankful? How about our friends, our family, our lives? How about the simple, everyday things like a good cup of coffee and the time to enjoy it?
Thank God every day for the morning and the challenges of each day as they come.
“Money may kindle, but it cannot by itself and for very long, burn.” – Igor Stravinsky
What is our motivating factor? What drives us toward excellence? The powers that be in our lives hope that they can motivate the masses with the promise of a nicer car, a bigger office, perhaps a home on the river or a vacation in Aruba. Employers and the people trying to sell you “stuff” want us to be motivated by money, power and prestige. Why? Because that is the easiest way for them to manipulate people; to get us to do what they want us to do.
However, vacations end, cars get old, that big house on the hill soon becomes cluttered with the detritus of everyday living; the glamour soon fades. Money is our means to survival and is therefore necessary, but it can’t be our mission in life.
Money can’t motivate long term because the things which truly motivate humans; the ideas that make one want to get out of bed in the morning, a mission in life; these are spiritual in nature. If we try to substitute money for mission we soon end up dissatisfied with our job, our purpose, our life.
I believe everyone should strive to earn as much as they possibly can in their occupation. I believe that everyone should enjoy the just rewards of their efforts. I also believe that the best way to do that is to find a way to turn your occupation into your mission. Only then will one earn enough, one will be find happiness and fulfillment in doing so.
My mission in life is to be a smart ass on a talk show on 960 KLTF from 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM Monday through Friday. Can be streamed at FallsRadio.com
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I .. I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” – Robert Frost
Popular culture and conventional wisdom are safe roads. For someone looking to live an existence safe from controversy and conflict – looking to fit in and not subject oneself to ridicule – going down the well trod path is the best way to go. When you stay on the interstate highway, you will never get lost. If you are a safe road driver, a go-with-the-flow kind of person, you need to read no further, have a good day!
The rougher road is not easy. Traveling down a different path from the crowd can be frightening and lonely. If one chooses to deviate from conventional wisdom, one is opened up to criticism, ridicule or being called weird or a deviant. Even though the journey on the less traveled road provides more challenge it also makes one stronger. Off the beaten path, one can find richer, more vibrant scenery; one can get closer to the fauna and look the wildlife directly in the eye.
Living your life on the road less traveled may mean you miss this week’s episode of Dancing with the Stars or The Bachelor or whatever other mass culture crap they are selling this week, but it ultimately will mean you are much more of your own person. It is never too late to take a turn down the road less traveled by and to start living a life of your own making. But since you read this far, you already know that, don’t you?
“Be yourself – No one can ever tell you you’re doing it wrong.” – James Leo Herlihy
We are under pressure our entire lives to conform to the norm. It starts in grade school with our entrance into the school structure, where we learn about right and wrong answers. The conga line continues on into our teens years with peer pressure keeping us in line with what our supposed friends think is “cool”.
As young adults, we are admonished to be like our successful friends or college classmates, as if they have discovered some sort of secret to adult happiness through social or corporate climbing. Finally, as we mature, we start to hear exhortations about “not giving up on our dreams” while we are prodded to remain politically correct and socially acceptable.
My duty to myself and therefore to you is to tell you that it is all bunk. True happiness is found by being honest to yourself first and not living life others have imagined for you. If you want to know what will make you happy, you don’t need me or anyone else to point it out to you. Just listen to what your inner voice is telling you already.