For as long as I can remember, music has been a major part of my life. When you stop and think about it, I think most of you would start to realize that there is some kind of connection between music and some of the most important memories of your life. Music is powerful. It draws emotional reactions from its listeners. Music has the power to make you laugh, to make you cry, to make you happy, to make you sad, to make you angry, to make you relax, to inspire and motivate you… I could keep going on and on. Regardless of the style or genre of music you prefer, music is powerful. Really great lyrics can sometimes say what you have been thinking, but struggled to say yourself.
When I think back to most significant memories in my life, or think about the people I have met, music nearly always seems to have a connection to those memories in some way. If a certain song happened to be playing or happened to be stuck in my head at the time I have met somebody, I often associate that song with that person. The song may not have anything at all to do with the person, except that I was hearing that song when I met them. Whenever I hear that song, I think of that person, and vice versa. Maybe that isn’t as common as I think it is, but it’s just the way my brain has always worked.
When I was a little kid, I wanted to grow up to be a musician. It was the only thing I wanted to do. I have a pretty wild imagination, and have always been able to daydream such specific details that it can almost feel real at times. Countless nights while growing up, I would stay up incredibly late listening to music. I would put headphones on and turn the music up loud. I would close my eyes and picture myself onstage in front of thousands of people performing the music I was listening to.
My neighbors probably thought I was crazy, but, a lot of days, I would stand on my driveway or on the back deck and strum a plastic guitar while singing along to whichever artist’s music I felt like listening to that day. In my mind, I was on a stage in a sold out stadium playing to 50,000+ people.
I realized quickly that I had very little actual musical talent, so my dreams of being a star someday faded quickly. But, my love for music and its connection to the most important times in my life continued to grow.
It’s amazing that even today I can listen to a specific song and instantly have a flashback to a specific person I met in first grade. I can remember where we met and remember exactly why that song reminds me of that memory and that person.
As I started to get older, I started paying closer attention to lyrics and the stories in songs. It was almost like having an epiphany. Songs I’d heard countless times throughout my life took on a whole new meaning. I finally realized what those songs were about. This opened up a whole new world for me. Artists I had never paid much attention to in the past started to become some of my favorites. To this day, the lyrics are the first thing I pay attention to when I hear a song for the first time. My taste in music has changed a lot throughout my life, and the lyrics are a big reason for that. I absolutely can’t stand listening to most music that is popular nowadays. I feel like I’m 90 years old saying that, but it’s true. I would rather listen to the music I loved growing up than new music, in most cases.
Music is the reason I am the person I am. Music completely changed my entire life. When I was in high school, I dealt with several traumatic events and major losses in my life within a very short period of time. It was the kind of situation that would be difficult for anyone to deal with, but high school is such a confusing time that it just made things worse. I started to get depressed and felt lost. Very little in my life seemed to make sense suddenly.
One night, I was listening to music, and the Garth Brooks song “If Tomorrow Never Comes” started playing. I had heard this song literally thousands of times in my life, but I had never listened to the lyrics closely. The second verse completely stopped me and grabbed my full attention.
“‘Cause I’ve lost loved ones in my life
Who never knew how much I loved them
Now I live with the regret
That my true feelings for them never were revealed
So I made a promise to myself
To say each day how much she means to me
And avoid that circumstance
Where there’s no second chance to tell her how I feel”
Those were EXACTLY the words I needed to hear at that time in my life. That night, I made that promise from the song to myself. Since that night, I have tried my best to tell everybody in my life exactly how I feel about them. Whether they feel the same way about me or not, I just want people to know how I feel about them. I don’t want anyone to ever have to guess. If, for any reason, I should leave this world unexpectedly, I don’t ever want anyone to have to wonder how I felt about them. Fulfilling this promise to myself has resulted in several awkward moments and conversations, but I don’t regret any of them. I said what I wanted to say, and am happy I said it. My life has been pretty great so far, and it makes me feel good when I have the opportunity to tell someone that I appreciate them, and let them know that they have brought happiness to my life in some way. I hope they appreciate it, as well. Even people I don’t know well, or at all, who have, in some way, made my day a little brighter and put a smile on my face should know that they have had some kind of positive impact and that I appreciate them. I would hope knowing that would make them feel good. If I ever have the opportunity to meet Garth Brooks, I want to share this story with him, and just tell him thank you for the impact his music has had on my life. The power of music truly is amazing!!
I could tell a ton of stories about how music has impacted or changed my life, and I will probably get to more of those stories in future posts. This is something that has been on my mind for a while, and I wanted to share it. What kind of impact has music had on your life? Do you associate music with memories as often as I do? Has music changed your life in a major way like it did for me? I would love to hear stories from anyone who reads this, if you can relate to it.
And since I mentioned that I always want to try to make sure people know how much I appreciate them, I would like to take a moment to say a huge thank you to everyone who read this, and to the people who have read my previous posts! It really means a lot that people actually take the time to read the things I write! People told me for a long time to start blogging, but I just wasn’t sure if it was something I really wanted to do. Once I started, I wished I had started earlier. I enjoy sharing my thoughts with the world, and I am genuinely surprised and appreciative when people from around the world take the time to read my blog. Thank you all!!
This is a change from my regular posts. In fact, my next few posts might be a bit different from the things I have written to this point. Feel free to come along for the journey, if you’re interested.
Last year, my first full year in Florida, I had my first experiences with tropical storms and hurricanes. Growing up in North Dakota, we had tornadoes fairly frequently during the summers, but any form of a tropical cyclone just isn’t something you ever encounter up there.
Both as a way to update my friends and family back home, and, also, as a way to create memories for myself to look back on, I posted a few videos on social media during Hurricane Matthew last October. Now that I have started blogging, I figured it would make perfect sense to use this as a way to update everyone as we prepare for Hurricane Irma to impact Florida in a few days.
Over the next week or so, I will probably post regular updates on the storm if/when Florida does get hit by this storm. Obviously, that will depend on whether or not I still have electricity.
Here is what we know so far…
Hurricane Irma is now the strongest hurricane to ever form in the Atlantic Ocean before moving into the Caribbean Sea or the Gulf of Mexico. This is a bad storm. It’s VERY bad!! Several islands throughout the Caribbean are going to be impacted by this storm, unfortunately. I can’t even begin to imagine what those people will experience, if they weren’t able to evacuate the islands.
Here in Florida, there is still a lot of uncertainty. We are expecting this storm to impact the entire state, yet there is a chance that we could end up missing the worst of the storm. We won’t know much more information for a couple of days still. Preparations, however, are well underway. I started buying food and other supplies on Sunday. I will get everything else I need to prepare over the next day or two.
Several of my friends have decided to evacuate and not take any chances with this storm. I don’t blame them one bit. That is a smart decision, especially for the people who have families to protect. We can always replace any possessions that we may lose, but people cannot be replaced.
Since I am single and don’t have any family here with me, I have decided to ride out the storm in the Orlando area. I feel safe and prepared to get through the storm at home. If I lived closer to the coast, I may have a different mindset though. Being in the middle of the peninsula, I feel this is the safest place to be in all of Florida.
Floridians are now preparing for the worst, while hoping for the best. Since no one knows yet where this storm will go, we all have to prepare for what could potentially happen, but hope nothing happens. I do want to say this though… I have been thinking this for the past week, but felt better when I heard other people say it, too. Nobody wants a hurricane to make landfall anywhere. Nobody wants anyone’s life to be affected by a devastating storm. But, at this time, I would much rather see this storm hit Florida than continue its current path and impact Texas. The people along the Gulf Coast who were affected by Hurricane Harvey recently have been through enough. They don’t need to deal with another storm. I would much rather see Irma hit Florida than Texas. I would hope most people would agree with that.
Anyway, there isn’t much to talk about at this point, but I just wanted to give everyone a quick heads up and mention that my posts might be a bit different for the next week or so. I have been working on some things that are more in line with my usual posts, but they just haven’t seemed as important with this storm coming. I will get back to those posts in the near future, after Irma passes and life gets back to normal.
I hope everyone in the path of this storm stays safe!!
This world is full of hate, negativity, and things that just don’t make sense. Tonight reminded me how awesome people can be. Nothing specific happened that made the night extra special. It was just one of those nights where everybody I spoke with and everybody I saw just seemed to be in a good mood. Everybody was smiling, everybody was polite, and it was just a wonderful night. My initial reaction has stuck with me all night long… why can’t this always happen? That is not a rhetorical question. I seriously would love for somebody to explain to me why there is so much hate and negativity in this world. I’ve seen the good, the bad, and everything in between. I just can’t comprehend any reason to not treat the people around you well every day. If you don’t understand something, do research and get educated. If you disagree with someone, ask questions and consider a different point of view. You may not always change your mind, but at least you tried to see things in a different way. If you dislike something, what is the point of judging someone who does like it? I just don’t understand. This world is diverse. We are all individuals. We all have our own opinions, dreams, goals, beliefs, etc. Why do people get pissed off when someone doesn’t agree with them 100% of the time. I just don’t understand.
With all of the crap that we all have to see and hear about on the news every day, tonight was incredibly uplifting and refreshing. I interacted with people from four different countries. Every single person was smiling, polite, respectful, and just enjoying life. I know that I’m a dreamer, but that is the way the world is SUPPOSED to be, people!! Be a good person. Be nice to the people around you. I don’t care who you are, where you’re from, how much money you make, what color your skin is, which language you speak, what your sexual preference is, which religion (if any) you practice, which gender you are… I could go on and on. None of that matters. We are all human beings. We all share one Earth. My wish for this world is that nights like tonight become more common for everybody, everywhere. People who don’t know each other and don’t speak the same language found a way to communicate, and were very nice to each other. I feel very fortunate to have witnessed it and to have been a part of it. This world can be a pretty great place. Why don’t we all get together and make it as great as it can be? Being a good person is easy. All you have to do is be nice. It’s simple. Treat others well, be respectful, don’t judge people, and be open-minded enough to at least consider other opinions, even if you disagree with them. Life isn’t difficult unless people make it difficult.
This is a bit of a random rant, but I hope people take the time to read this and get something out of it. I honestly do believe that love conquers hate. Over time, I hope more people start to realize that and keep spreading the love with everyone around them. Every small change helps. It can start with you. Be a good person, and make someone smile. Never underestimate the power of the little things in life. I hope everyone is having a fantastic week!!
“The end of the road” was exactly what it sounds like, it was a dead end in a road about one block north of the house in which I grew up. At the end of this road was a wheat field. Off in the distance, there were trees. Beyond those trees was the fairgrounds. This was the edge of my hometown growing up. Most people who ever saw “the end of the road” never paid any attention to it, because it was just a dead end. But, to a bunch of kids, this was the coolest place in the world to hang out for a few years. Some of the greatest memories of my life are from “the end of the road”.
When I tell people I’m from North Dakota, they tend to ask if I grew up in the country. My answer has always been, “No… but I grew up one block away from the country.” At the west end of the block I grew up on, the backyards met fields. This was the edge of town at that time. Since then, things have changed a lot. The small town I grew up in is now a growing city. I haven’t gone back to visit in over a year, and I fully expect to not recognize most of the city next time I’m up there. When people I meet nowadays ask where I’m from, I tell them Fargo, North Dakota, because people who aren’t from that area have never heard of West Fargo. Yes, West Fargo and Fargo are two separate and very different cities. I always used to make a point of telling people I am from West Fargo… “the GOOD city”. I was proud to be from West Fargo, not Fargo. Since most people I meet now know nothing at all about North Dakota, I have learned that it’s pretty much pointless to explain the difference between the two cities, so I now just say “Fargo”. And no, it’s nothing like the movie.
I grew up in a time that seems like yesterday, but also seems like a completely different universe. As fairly young kids, my friends and I would go to “the end of the road” and spend several hours there most days. This was back before everybody had cell phones. Our parents weren’t there watching everything we did. We all told our parents where we were going, and off we went. Nowadays, I can’t imagine kids that age would be able to do that, which is very sad to think about. Some of the greatest times of my life never would have happened if I had been born just a few short years later.
For as long as I live, I will never forget summer afternoons at “the end of the road” with friends. We always brought baseball gloves and balls, footballs, and anything else we could think of to play with that day. For over a week every June, those afternoons faded into evenings with beautiful sunsets, and the music from the nightly concerts at the Red River Valley Fair providing the soundtrack for those incredible memories.
Many times, there was a group of us who went to “the end of the road” together. Sometimes it was just a couple of us. Eventually, I started going there by myself when friends were busy. The times I spent there alone watching the sunset and letting my mind wander fed my already wild imagination, which led me to enjoying time to myself just sitting quietly and thinking as I got older. I never thought about this until right now as I am typing this, but those times I spent alone as a kid watching the sunset and thinking at “the end of the road” are actually what probably led me to start blogging all these years later. I learned as I got older that I couldn’t bottle things up inside of me. I needed some way to express my thoughts and feelings, and writing became that outlet for me when I started college.
Of all the great memories I have from “the end of the road”, my favorite memories were always when the fair was in town. Since I very rarely got to go to the concerts at the fair back then, I really looked forward to listening to them from “the end of the road”. Being less than two miles from the fairgrounds, the music was loud and clear, especially when the wind blew from the west. Although my friends didn’t all share my taste in music, they still seemed to have fun. I probably enjoyed those nights the most because I was creating great memories with friends while also listening to some of my favorite artists.
I have always been a dreamer, so, in my mind, I was able to make some already great memories even better by just letting my mind wander. I’m not sure if this is exactly normal for a 10-12 year old kid, but I remember evenings at “the end of the road” listening to concerts and imagining how great it would be to have a girlfriend to share those memories with. With an amazing sunset view, music playing in the distance, and perfect summertime weather, the only thing that seemed to be missing was someone special to share it with. As I started traveling when I grew up, the memories from “the end of the road” and the thoughts in my head from those times stuck with me. I started searching for quiet places everywhere I went where I could not be completely surrounded by people, and just enjoy being in the moment.
Now, many years later, I still have those same thoughts all the time. Whether I’m at the beach, at Disney World, or somewhere else, I always try my best to find a spot where I can just unwind and let my mind wander. I enjoy the beauty of the sunsets every night, but still can’t help but think how much better it would be to have someone special to share those moments with. Someday. Someday…
As my friends and I started to get a little bit older, we gradually started to spend less time together at “the end of the road”. We started to actually buy tickets for the concerts at the fair every summer, and life came busier for all of us. Each time we went to “the end of the road” at that point, our group seemed to get smaller. The last time I went there was by myself when I was 14 years old. It was December 31st, 1999. New Year’s Eve in North Dakota is usually ridiculously cold and there is normally a lot of snow on the ground. That year, there happened to not be any snow on the ground yet, and that day was unseasonably warm. While I didn’t go to “the end of the road” that day planning on that being my last time going there, I knew it would at least be one of the last times. My friends and I were older and had started to out-grow a lot of the things we had enjoyed in the past. Also, the field that began where the road ended had been sold. Construction on a housing development would be starting soon, and the road would be extended.
To this day, whenever I get a chance to pass by that spot, I still picture “the end of the road”. It is now just the middle of a city street. Only a few people in the entire world will ever know where that spot was where my friends and I created so many amazing memories. Most people will never know about the great times we had there. Most people wouldn’t care. My friends may not remember those times in the same way that I remember them, but I know that they still cherish those memories, as well. It’s pretty crazy to look back now and realize that the place that, in so many ways, has led to me becoming the person I am today no longer exists. “The end of the road” may be gone now, but those memories will live on for the rest of my life.
When I look back to some of the greatest experiences of my life, many of them have one thing in common… they happened because I was alone. I wasn’t surrounded by a big group of people.
To most people, the thought of going out to eat alone, going to a theme park alone, traveling and exploring new places alone, etc. doesn’t sound very appealing. Believe me, I used to be the same way. But, over time, I learned that going solo allows you to experience things you likely would not get to experience if you were with a large group. When you decide to experience life by yourself, you are giving yourself freedom. You have freedom to do whatever you want to do. You have freedom to go wherever you want to go. You have freedom to eat and drink whatever and wherever you choose, without having to worry about anybody else’s preferences. You have the freedom to suddenly make a split-second decision and completely change your plans, and you don’t have to worry about upsetting or inconveniencing anybody else.
My life today is very different from the way I grew up and the way I lived most of my life. When I look back to the turning point in my life, Chicago stands out for me. For those of you who have read my previous posts, this is repetitive, but for those who haven’t read my previous posts, I traveled with a band for six incredible years. It was a dream come true, and I got to spend about 180 days a year on the road. During that time, places like Cincinnati and Chicago became almost like a second home for us. I remember a few times in Chicago when we had a day off, or even just a few hours to kill before a show, and the rest of the guys either had other plans or just wanted to rest, so I started going out on my own and explored downtown Chicago by myself. I spent hours wandering around Grant Park. I found random, small restaurants and decided to stop in and eat by myself. These experiences taught me to live in the moment and just enjoy everything going on around me. People watching quickly became a favorite hobby for me. You can learn a lot about the world around you when you sit by yourself at a table that is out of the way of the crowd around you and just watch people interact with each other.
I specifically remember randomly running across a small NY style pizzeria in downtown Chicago. It was the kind of place that you could easily pass by and never notice it. The sign happened to catch my eye, so I decided to check it out. I ordered two slices and a beer, then grabbed a corner table that was as far out of the way as possible. After my first couple of bites, the owner walked up to my table and introduced himself. He asked if I was enjoying the pizza (it was amazing!!), and then asked how I found the place. I told him I was in town for the weekend, and just happened to be passing by. I told him it was my first time eating there, and would definitely not be my last. He told me to wait for a minute, and walked away. When he returned, he brought me an additional slice and another beer, on the house. I thanked him, shook his hand, and told him I couldn’t wait to come back to Chicago and eat there again. This was definitely an experience that never would have happened if I had been with a large group. Years later, I still haven’t forgotten that experience, and I can’t wait to get back to Chicago again someday and eat there again. I have only eaten there twice, but both times were fantastic!!
Another perfect example of benefitting from being alone was last October at a Garth Brooks concert here in Orlando. Ticketmaster sold me a seat that was supposed to be in a wheelchair accessible section. The seat they sold me was actually in the middle of the floor at the Amway Center. When the usher showed me to my seat, he said, “Obviously, people will be standing in front of you during the entire concert, and you won’t be able to see anything. You should not have been sold this seat. Please wait here, and I will be back to help you.” About 45 minutes later, the usher came back and said, “I spoke with Garth’s people and told them about your seat. I explained that you are in a wheelchair and are here by yourself. They have given me permission to fix this situation. Please come with me.” The usher proceeded to bring me to a spot on the side of the floor next to the fifth row!!!! It was one of the most incredible concert experiences of my life, and I got to see my idol, Garth Brooks, from five rows away!!
Experiencing things solo puts you in a position to meet new people more easily. When you are by yourself, strangers are more likely to approach you and introduce themselves than if you are with a group of people. I find this to be true everywhere I go. You can meet some of the most incredible people just by simply being there. You don’t have to put in any effort at all. If you are in a busy place by yourself, people tend to notice.
Back in May, I went to the Jimmy Buffett concert in Orlando by myself. The guy sitting next to me introduced himself and said he had been to over 20 Jimmy Buffett shows. He asked where I’m from and how I became a Parrothead (there will likely be another post about that in the near future… stay tuned!!). The guy was a jazz musician in New York City for many years, before he got sick of the cold winters and decided to move to a warmer climate. This guy had a lot of great stories to tell, and it seems he has lived a pretty amazing life. Once again, he said he noticed that I was by myself, and he wanted to keep me company. That conversation was one of many great memories from that night.
Earlier tonight, I met some really wonderful people while waiting for the fireworks to start at Magic Kingdom. I was there and was by myself. They introduced themselves and joined me. This happens to me all of the time at Disney World. Last time I was there, I met a nice family from Ireland. The time before that, I met people from Connecticut and New York. The people I met tonight were from New Jersey and Australia. In all of those situations, if I had been surrounded by a big group of friends or family, I can almost guarantee I wouldn’t have met any of these people I have met. When you’re with a group of people, you tend to focus more on your group and less on the people around you.
While you should never ask for it or expect it, people are more likely to go out of their way to do something special for you if they see that you’re by yourself. Just by being by yourself in the right place at the right time, you can have an experience that most people only dream of having. The difference between you and them is that you dare to step out of your comfort zone and experience life by yourself. You don’t need a group with you to have a good time. You can always create your own fun and your own memories. As a result, you will have stories to tell to people who say they just can’t imagine going out without a group surrounding them. Life is too short to waste time waiting for others to make up their minds. If your friends or family can’t agree on somewhere to go or something to do, don’t be afraid to make your own plans and go solo. You just might end up having an experience that you will cherish for the rest of your life.
How many people settle for just doing whatever they need to do to get by in life? And, how many people actually put in the time and effort to discover their true passion and make it their every day life? Every day, I hear people say they are just going through life. They don’t know what they want. They have found something in which they have no interest that provides them with money to pay their bills, so they settle. They dread waking up to do something they don’t care about. But, they do it, because it allows them to keep living. Far too few people focus on the things in life that they truly love. It’s not crazy at all to turn your passion into your career. People just need to realize that it is possible, and they need to step out of their comfort zone to make it happen. Is it easy? No. Is it doable? Absolutely!
In my life, I have been very fortunate, because I have never had to do something I despised just to get by. I have always found ways to go through life doing the things I love. I am not wealthy. Believe me, I am far from it. But, I am happy. That is something not everyone can say. I’m sure everyone has heard the saying, “Money doesn’t bring you happiness.” While money does provide you with opportunities and does allow you the freedom to try things, it can also cause a lot of problems. I have never been in a situation where happiness has caused problems. I’m sure it happens, but it has never happened to me.
This past weekend, I was talking with some peers about how lucky we are to get to do what we do. We all are passionate about golf, and have decided to make it our career, in one way or another. How many of you who are reading this right now have woken up to your alarm clock ringing early in the morning, and have hated the thought of getting out of bed to go to work? Many of you likely have. During this conversation with my peers, I pointed out that I am a night owl, and always have been. I’ve never been a fan of mornings. When I made the decision to attend a golf school, and eventually begin a career in the golf industry, I knew two things: 1. I would be turning my favorite hobby into my career. 2. I would need to learn to wake up early. Several times over the past couple of years, my alarm has woken me up early in the morning, after not falling asleep until the middle of the night. Every time, I have reminded myself that I was either waking up to play golf, to learn about the golf industry, or to teach golf. When you are waking up extremely early and are exhausted, it is easy to lack motivation. But, when you are waking up to go do something you love, how can you honestly complain? If you complain, then you aren’t doing what you are meant to do in life. Not every day is perfect. Not every day goes as planned. But, when you do what you love, you really can’t complain. Take a moment and consider what else you could be doing with your life.
This past weekend, I ran myself to my breaking point, physically. I was so exhausted and so dehydrated that I ended up getting sick. Looking back at the weekend, the only things I can think of are how much fun I had, how many things were accomplished, and how many potentially positive things could come out of these past few days. Getting sick was just an annoying, minor distraction in the middle of a really fantastic weekend. The reason I got sick was because I was so focused on what I was doing in that moment that I forgot about the obvious… August in Florida is ridiculously hot! You need to drink an excessive amount of water every day. When you feel like you can’t drink any more water, you force yourself to drink more. It’s just necessary for your health.
When I think back to conversations I’ve had in the past with people who were unhappy with life and were just doing something to get by, I have to wonder if they will ever decide to make a change and start living a life that they love. We only get one chance to go through this journey of life. Why not do what you love, and enjoy it? The idea of settling has just never appealed to me. I always want the best that I can find for myself, in every situation. That probably explains why I am finally deciding on a career after all of these years. That probably explains why I’m 32 years old and have been single for most of my life. That probably explains a lot of things, to be honest. I just believe it will all be worth it in the end. I have no problem with holding off and waiting for quality. I am an incredibly patient person. As I have said in previous posts, I am a big believer that everything happens for a reason. You have to just keep living, focus on the things you love, and everything will eventually fall into place.
When I had this conversation with my peers this weekend, I couldn’t help but smile the whole time. I already knew that I was doing what I love, but I was happy to hear other people say the same thing. That made me realize that I am surrounded by people who share a similar mindset. Maybe I’m not totally crazy. Maybe we are some of the few who dare to be different and live life in a way that most others only dream of living. If you are someone who is just going through life getting by and wish you were happier, take some time to focus on yourself. Think about what you really enjoy in this world. I guarantee you can find a way to make money doing something you love. I guarantee you can find happiness in this world. The most important thing you can ever be in this world is happy.
Use today as your opportunity to begin a life of happiness. Why would you wait until tomorrow to be happy when you can be happy today? Take some time for yourself today and think about the things in life you love most. Make those things your top priorities. Focus on those things every day. Life isn’t always perfect, but it’s a lot better when you know that you are waking up every day to do what you love to do. Do what you love to do, and be genuinely thankful for it every day. Not every is quite as fortunate.
Let’s be honest, there is WAY too much negativity and hate in this world. As beautiful and wonderful as this world can be, the opposite can be, and is, very much true far too often. However, that doesn’t have to be the case. We can all make a positive difference in this world. We can all do our part to make this world a better place. We must. I know that I’m not alone in believing that spreading peace, love, and positivity throughout the world is possible. It takes ALL of us stepping up and doing something for others for change to take place. You don’t have to spend money or much time or effort at all to have a positive impact on the world. Never underestimate the importance of the little things in life. Small, simple gestures can sometimes have the biggest impact.
This is something I have done personally for a long time now, and is something I have challenged family and friends to do in the past, but I am now going to challenge everyone around the world here on Positively Rolling Through Life. I challenge you (every person who reads this) to do something nice for somebody else this week. But, don’t let it stop this week. Take time at least once every week to do something nice for somebody. You can give money to someone in need, you can pay for somebody’s food, you can donate items to those without. But, you don’t need to spend money to have a positive impact. Walk up to a random stranger and say “hello”. Ask how their day is going. Tell them they have a nice smile. Compliment them in some way. However you choose to accept this challenge doesn’t matter. The goal is to put a smile on someone’s face and make their day a little better. You never know what the people around you are going through. Something as simple as saying “hello” to someone and asking how their day is going could make their day. Knowing that somebody in the world cared enough to ask them how they’re doing could leave a lasting impression on them.
The other part of this challenge is selflessness. We all hear stories in the news all the time about people doing good deeds. While many of those deeds are genuine, many of them are also done for attention and personal gain. I ask that you all go out and do something nice for somebody, but I also ask that you do it as selflessly as possible. Knowing that you had a positive impact on somebody and feeling good about yourself should be reward enough. Don’t ask for anything in return. Don’t expect to be praised or to receive any recognition. Whenever I try to do something nice for somebody, I try to find a way to do it quietly. I don’t want to draw a lot of attention to myself. I just hope that the other person appreciates the gesture enough to pass it along to others. Whether they do or not, I will likely never know.
The only way we can change the world is if we stop pointing fingers and passing the blame along to each other, and instead start to love each other. Hate won’t magically disappear. We have to kill it with love.
Positivity has to start somewhere. Let it start with you!! I hope you all accept this challenge. Go out and do something nice for somebody! Together, we can change the world!
“Perfect” is a word that I hear and see every day. “That is perfect.” “You are perfect.” “Life is perfect.” There is just one little problem though… perfection doesn’t exist. Nobody is perfect. Nothing is perfect. As great as somebody or something may be, there is ALWAYS room for improvement. People want so badly to believe in perfection that they convince themselves to overlook certain flaws. As microscopic as those flaws may be, they do still exist.
I, like everybody else, see things that are truly amazing, and think to myself, “That is perfect.” Somebody else could look at the exact same thing and point out a flaw that I wouldn’t have otherwise noticed.
Nowadays, people are so quick to judge other people and other things that there is a constant desire to appear flawless. When you know that somebody is watching you and judging you, it is a natural reaction to try as hard as possible to seem flawless. Nobody likes to be judged negatively. The truth is, you can never please everybody though. There is no point in trying to please everybody. All you can do is try your best to please yourself and do things the way that makes the most sense to you. Don’t worry about what others may say or think. You can’t control their reactions. The only person you can control is yourself.
If you try to be perfect, you are setting yourself up for failure and disappointment. When the time comes that you find out your best effort wasn’t good enough for somebody, will you consider your effort to be a failure? Unfortunately, too many people would say “yes”. Don’t allow somebody else to drag you down. Don’t get caught up in the trap of striving to be perfect. We all have our flaws, and that will never change. When you stop trying to be perfect, and, instead, focus on being great, you are putting yourself in a position to succeed. You are putting yourself in a position to be happy and full of pride. We may not all be naturally gifted athletes, we may not all be born with incredible musical talents, etc., but we all are born with potential. Every single person on the planet has the potential to be great!! The way you are raised, the choices you make in life, the influences you have in your life, and the path you choose to take through this journey of life will ultimately determine how your life will turn out. But, there is potential within all of us to do truly great things in this world.
In the short time that I have been involved in the golf industry, I have had the opportunity to experience things I never imagined were possible for me. I have worked as a volunteer each of the past two years at the PGA Tour’s Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill here in Orlando. In 2016, I had the incredible opportunity to spend some time in the presence of Arnold Palmer himself. Although I never got to officially meet him and shake his hand, being in the same room as Mr. Palmer was an experience I will never forget. Mr. Palmer was not perfect. He didn’t win every tournament, he didn’t break every record, and he was not a flawless human being. He was, however, truly great in countless ways. He was the person that everybody in the golf industry should strive to be. In my opinion, he was the kind of person that everyone in the world, in general, should strive to be. When you are in the presence of somebody who is truly great, everything has a different feel. The situation you are in has an indescribable feeling, and you just know that you are experiencing something special.
For me, being in the same room as Mr. Palmer, and the feeling that I had knowing how proud he was of all of the hard work we volunteers were doing to help make his event run as smoothly as possible is something I will never forget. I will never forget seeing the smile on Mr. Palmer’s face as he looked around the room and watched all of us work. I will never forget the 3 seconds of my life when Mr. Palmer and I made eye contact, and he gave a thumbs up with a smile on his face. It gives me chills and is honestly bringing a few tears to my eyes right now just thinking about it. THAT is the impact greatness can have on the world. Perfection may not exist, but greatness can leave an impact on the world that will live on long after our lives end. Any time that I have the opportunity to go back to Bay Hill now, I can still see Mr. Palmer. His presence is still felt there every day. He was a truly great man, and his contributions to the world will live on for a very long time.
Whether or not you have any interest at all in golf is not the point of this post. Whatever your interests and passions are in this world, and however you choose to contribute to this world, forget about trying to be perfect. Don’t strive for perfection. Don’t be perfect, be great!! People who try to be perfect will end up being disappointed and frustrated in the end. People who try their absolute best every single day to be great, have the potential to leave an impact on this world that could live on forever. Don’t forget that even things that seem small can have an enormous impact on the people around you. Be happy, be proud, work hard, stay positive, keep moving forward, and strive for greatness!!
The past week or two has been filled with a lot of flashbacks for me. The end of July and beginning of August is a busy time of the year for birthdays in my family. I always looked forward to celebrating birthdays with my family, because, no matter how busy we all were, those were guaranteed dates that we would all get together and catch up and have fun.
With all of those great birthday flashbacks running through my mind, I also started having flashbacks to other really great memories created with friends growing up. Growing up in North Dakota, you basically have two options: you learn to love the cold weather and snow, or you suffer for over half of the year. Since I use a wheelchair everywhere I go, learning to love the cold and snow was never an option for me. Wheelchairs and several feet of snow on the ground don’t mix well. haha I do have fun memories from the winters when I was young, but the older I got, the more I grew to hate the cold. Looking back at my favorite childhood memories, nearly all of them are summertime memories. Summer always has been and always will be my favorite season. I love sunshine, and I love the heat… even though it can get a bit out of hand at times here in Florida. haha
This week, there is a fireworks competition going on at the fairgrounds back in my hometown. Every night, there are several fireworks displays as part of the competition. This is something that is held every year in different locations across the U.S., but the memories of the years this competition was held in my hometown while growing up ended up being some of my favorite memories. I remember getting a big group of friends together every night and sitting in the open field behind our old elementary school to watch the fireworks. Those memories will stick with me forever.
In some ways, it feels like just yesterday. Yet, in some ways, it feels like forever ago. Life changes. People change. The world changes. This was back in a time when a group of kids could wander off on their own and have fun without parents watching everything they did, or having any other kind of supervision. This was back before everyone had a cell phone or some other form of technological device superglued to their hand. We could just go off and do whatever we wanted to do, and our parents knew we would be home when we were supposed to be home.
As is usually the case with me, the thing that stands out the most about those memories is the people. These are memories that were created with friends from my neighborhood. We had known each other, in some cases, since birth. I have forgotten more memories I had with those people than I will ever create with most people I’ve met since then. The sad thing, looking back at those memories now, is realizing that I only keep in touch with two of those people now. I don’t recall a time in my life where I’ve ever ended a friendship with someone because of a fight. Sometimes people just grow apart over time. It’s unfortunate, but it happens.
I often wonder what life would be like if I could go back in time to when those memories were created and relive them. I wonder if those memories were really as great as I remember. I also wonder how my younger self and my friends’ younger selves would react if they knew the things I/we know now about how life would turn out, and how most of us would rarely, if ever, keep in touch just a few short years down the road.
Anyone who knows me well, or anyone who has read my previous posts, knows that I am big believer that everything happens for a reason. In a lot of cases, I still don’t understand how a lot of my friends and I drifted apart. Some of the people I lost touch with became increasingly negative as we grew older and were not much fun to be around anymore. Others, I have no clue. It seems like none of us changed much, yet we gradually started spending less and less time together, for no real reason. I would love to get together with those people and catch up one of these days. I don’t know if it will ever happen, but I would love to regain those friendships. But, maybe things worked out for the best for all of us. I don’t know. As for the others, sometimes things are better just left in the past. We shared some really great memories years ago, and that is how it should remain.
I have been reminded several times in my life that life really is short. You have to spend as much time as possible being happy. You have to spend time in places that make you happy. You have to do things that make you happy. And you have to spend your time and effort on the people that make you happy. When you have wonderful memories with an old friend who now spends all day every day talking about how much life sucks and how much they hate everything, that is not the kind of person that anybody wants to be around. They are toxic friends, and will drag everyone around them down. I have had a few of those friends, and I really did try to help them to look at life in a more positive way, but you can’t help somebody who doesn’t want to be helped. It’s hard to love people who don’t love themselves. You have to let those people go and move on with your life, as sad as it may be at the time. Learning to love yourself is something I will discuss in a future post. (Spoiler alert: It is important! You can’t be afraid to love yourself! It’s not selfish, it’s necessary!!)
As we get older, things seem to start to fall into place. The things that happened when you were younger start to make more sense. You realize why they happened the way they did. As I started to quietly and politely phase certain people out of my life, I started to realize how much more time and effort I was able to focus on the right people. People who enhance my life. I made new friends who have brought a great deal of happiness and positivity to my life. These people are out there in the world. I hope you’ve all been fortunate enough to meet some of these people, but there are more out there who will eventually come into your life when the time is right. But, in my experience, you have to let go of the things and the people who are dragging you down first. Let go of the negativity in your life, focus on the things that make you happy, and keep moving forward!!