Sunday, November 15, 2015

Weekend Wrap-up, Sunday, November 15, 2015

Wow! Life has sure happened since my last Weekend Wrap-up. The day after the last Wrap-up, Sunday, November 1st, was the day I lost the first of three friends. Two days later on November 3rd I lost the second and on Sunday, November 8th, I lost the third. So, among other things, over the past two weeks I've lost three long time friends to death and attended two funerals. It's all part of life, but not my favorite part.

November 1st was also the 7th anniversary, to the day, of my Emancipation Day. November 1, 2008 was the first day I was happily houseless. It was the first time since I was born, about 63½ years earlier, that I didn't have a fixed residence (or place of business). My overhead reduced by about 80% overnight. I haven't regretted one moment of my life since that time.

My Epiphany

But, November 1, 2015 was also the day I actually had an epiphany, another “rebirth,” if you will, and marked a second Emancipation Day. I woke up that Sunday morning and followed my normal morning ritual. I grabbed my smart phone and looked through my email. I deleted items of little or no interest to me, read emails from friends, glanced over the news headlines and read the stories that interested me and finally, selected the blog posts I wanted to read.

This particular day there was a blog post by Tim Ferris from his “4 Hour Work Week” blog. Tim writes very lengthy posts. They make mine look like very short stories. Here's the link to the post if you're interested How to Say “No” When It Matters Most (or “Why I’m Taking a Long ‘Startup Vacation'”) There were a few statements in his post that really grabbed me, made me stop in my tracks and THINK.

I have been dealing with a huge burden for the last decade and probably a little longer. It has been an especially heavy load since my Emancipation Day seven years earlier. I liken it to having the weight of the world on my shoulders, a giant anchor chain dragging a huge anchor, an albatross around my neck and the proverbial “Baggage” everyone accumulates and carries with them as they get older. While I've essentially been living free, as I define it, since November 1, 2008, I haven't been able to cut that chain, get rid of the albatross, let go of and leave behind the “Baggage” and feel that weight lifted from my shoulders. Then, all of a sudden, with just a few thoughts from Tim Ferris, the affirmation I had been seeking was right in front of my nose.

I can't speak for anyone else, but, in general, I'd say just about everyone is carrying around a variety of “stuff” – material, mental, emotional and psychological – they just can't let go of. Guilty as charged. The really big gorilla for me was accepting, after 50+ years of being actively involved in the recording and sound industry, plus a few lesser years in the video production industry and about a 15 years in the book publishing industry, it was finally time to let go.

It has been a fantastic life. I couldn't have imagined all I would do, see and experience. I think about the accomplishments/achievements and I'm amazed, though at the time, they just seemed like “business as usual.” Here I am, well into the 3rd half of my life still identifying with endeavors I began over 50 years ago. But, that was then and this is now. I'm not the same person. The technology is not the same technology. The industries are not the same industries. Everything I fell in love with back then is a memory. To say everything has changed is a gross understatement.

So, what have I been having my internal conflict with? Now, two weeks from the day I had my epiphany, it seems so much simpler and hard to understand why I couldn't let go before. The reality is, I just don't really identify with any of the three industries I mentioned any longer. Even more important, I've kept hanging onto equipment, books, resources, etc. believing I needed to keep them to continue plying my talents, skills and experience and not wanting to accept that I really, really, in my heart of hearts, don't want to do any of this stuff anymore. Whoa!

Some people are forced to retire due to a mandatory retirement age. Some people are down-sized due to changes in the economy, technology or market. When they are let go from their career, they can't find a new position equivalent in pay, opportunities and responsibilities due to the changes in the world, industry and their age. This can be and often is devastating. It's probably not unlike, after a lifetime partnership with a spouse, losing that person to death or divorce. It's like having a huge piece of your life excised from you.

That's what making this decision has been for me. However, in my case, and, perhaps other self-employed, entrepreneurial folks can understand this, no one else actually forces this change. We have to make the choice and do it ourselves. I've resigned/retired from some other long term commitments and responsibilities I accepted and shouldered for a number of years. Making the decision to let go of those was difficult and there was a period of “grieving” and adjustment that followed. We can probably apply the “empty nest” idea when our children take flight on their own life journeys, for those of us who have had children.

How Someone's Words Can Change Our Life

Well, Tim said some things that spoke directly to me in that blog article. I have likened it to an epiphany or a rebirth. I was finally able to accept my real feelings and make the very difficult decision I'd been battling with myself over. So, as of November 1, 2015, the 7th anniversary of my “Living Free” Emancipation Day, I declared myself officially and permanently retired from the recording and sound, video production and book publishing industries. I got moving that morning with a new energy, feeling a thousand pounds lighter and excited about going forward in the new endeavors I've allowed my past to hold me back from.

I don't know if this “life change” has made it easier for me to accept the loss of three friends. One of them was expected to pass away and I spent a few moments with her just before she took her last breath. I didn't learn about the first friend's death until the day after my epiphany. The third one I didn't learn about until this past Tuesday. I will say I am already adjusting my life and lifestyle to being free of the baggage. I'm not really grieving any loss, but, as I said, celebrating a “rebirth.”

Since it's taken me two weeks to finally get this Weekend Wrap-up composed and posted, it's probably obvious I've been really busy and running hard to keep up. The eBay and Craig's List sales are still moving forward, unfortunately, far slower than I want them to. But, there is still the need to photograph, compose listings, list, relist when something doesn't sell, pack and ship when something does sell. I traveled into my former hometown of Winchester, VA on Friday to attend the 2nd of two funerals in a week's span. While I was there I was able to transfer some Craig's List sales to buyers and drop off another larger system at another buyer. I ended up staying in Winchester until Saturday and getting a little visiting in. When I left the funeral home on Friday afternoon was when I learned of the, then, breaking news about the terror attacks in France.

I manage to keep myself busy. But now, with the albatross gone, I'm beginning to focus on the new things I've been dragging my feet on. So, there is lots to continue doing and my focus is on the road ahead and not in the rearview mirror.

The Week(s) That Was (Were)

I'm not going to make this long. First, this past Wednesday was a day we set aside, Veterans Day, to remember and honor my fellow comrades who took the oath to defend and protect our country and way of life. Thank you all for your service. Of course, I want to remind everyone of those who made the ultimate sacrifice and are not with us because of their commitment. 

The major thing is that the world and Europe changed dramatically on Friday of this past week when a group of ISIS jihadist, terrorists, in a planned, carefully orchestrated series of six attacks left Paris and France reeling from what has been described as the worst attack on France since World War II. I don't know if the death toll has risen any since I last saw it, but at that time it was 129 plus 350 injured, of which about 100 were in seriously critical condition.

I want to express my condolences to the people of France and Paris. But, I most especially want those who lost loved ones, including at least one American family, that my heart, thoughts and prayers go out to all of you. I stand in solidarity with you all against this kind of carnage targeting and attacking innocent people in heinous and despicable acts. It's terrible when innocent non-combatants become collateral damage, usually by accident. And frankly, is still believe all war is inhumane and heinous. But, purposely attacking innocents on airliners, in the various location in Paris, in the 9/11 attacks. Even lower animals are not that low. 

Europe has been dealing with an increasingly problematic situation as a population of Middle Eastern, pretty much Muslim, has been immigrating to every country in Europe over the past couple decades. Currently, they are being, in some cases, with large numbers of refugees fleeing the death, destruction and devastation in their home countries, especially Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Along with these refugees have been, who knows how many, ISIS trained terrorists. The European borders have been porous and there's been little in the way of controls of who is entering the European nations.

We are facing the same situation here in the U.S. The Middle Eastern refugee influx hasn't been as large in numbers, yet, but certainly has the potential to grow, especially if Europe tightens their borders. So far, the leadership in our own government, in my estimation, has been moving slower than a sleeping snail. There are too many issues I feel strongly about on this topic, but I still attempt to keep my political views to a minimum since they are not the focal point of the blog.

Everything happening in Europe and the U.S. with regard to our borders, immigration and the growing threat of more really serious attacks on our soil bears watching by everyone with a brain. Frankly, I don't think our government, with the largest and most modern military capability in the world, many times larger than the next nearest country, has anyone with the balls to get really tough and serious about this. We're going to wait around for the next 9/11 to happen before anyone in Washington gets serious about this rapidly growing threat to our way of life and our freedom.

Here's the problem as I see it. There WILL be another 9/11 attack, however, 9/11 is going to look like a test run compared to what's coming. We may want to describe them as cavemen or with a Middle Ages mentality. But, lets not kid ourselves (and I think the leadership in the nation's capital is kidding themselves) these people are intelligent, capable and well financed. But, worse yet, believe it or not, many of them have been trained and educated in the U.S. They even have acquired our own weapons to use against us. Of course, they acquired the weapons in various nefarious ways.

A Russian airliner with 220 people onboard blown out of the sky with what appears to be a bomb from ISIS. A planned, coordinated and carefully executed multiple attack scenario killing another 129, and maybe more, in Paris. Both of these attacks were carried out within a week or so of one another in two countries on two continents. And what is our leader doing along with all the henchmen in Congress? They are flapping their lips and blowing out blue smoke.

What do I expect them to do? Well, maybe they could start by putting on their “Big Boy” and “Big Girl” pants and acting like you don't want to screw around with us or mess with our “friends.” The news media talks about starting WWIII if we accidentally shoot down a Russian fighter. Guess what? We're not fighting Russia. Let Russia know we're not fighting them and have no interest in their fighters. ISIS doesn't have any air power (yet). Let the Russians know we're coming and you look out for us and we'll look out for you.

Well, I've stepped back onto my orange crate when I said I wouldn't. I listened to a good bit of the last couple Republican primary debates and part of the last Democratic debate. So much rhetoric and name calling. But, I've heard very little in the way of serious plans about how to resolve the major issues in the U.S. I do have some people I'm beginning to like a little, but that doesn't necessarily mean I want them in the office of the POTUS.

As I've told friends for the last several elections, I cast my vote for the “evil of two lessers.” In the upcoming 2016 general election I know there is one candidate I definitely don't want to see elected. I'll cast my ballot for anyone running against that candidate so I can cancel out one vote for that candidate. Some people question my motivation for voting. But, to be honest, if it didn't matter to me who wins, I wouldn't vote at all.

Thus, so far, in this election, I'll be voting both for the “lesser of two evils” and the “evil of two lessers.” That is, unless someone steps up and proves to me they really can fill the office and lead the country. I'm not holding my breath.

That's about it for this wrap-up. Next week I should be back up to speed with lots more, what I hope will be, interesting stuff. Have a great rest of Sunday and a terrific week. Live free and be happy. EH

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