Sunday, September 22, 2019

The First Day of the Rest of My Life – Dreams & Opportunities – September 22, 2019 – Day 22

You see things; and you say, 'Why?' But I dream things that never were; and I say, 'Why not?' - George Bernard Shaw

Today, my 22nd day since I began this series of articles, I'm writing in the morning. I've typically been writing in the evenings to chronicle the day that had been. I had a really restful night of sleep. When I woke up, I did a bit of reading. Then Carolyn popped her head in the door and asked how I slept. And, I reported, as I have each morning, truthfully I might add, that I slept well and feel really good.

This morning I felt like something interesting was going to happen, but I didn't have a clue as to what or when. Later this afternoon I have to prepare and pack for the next four days when I'll be lodging with my friend, Judy, in Winchester, about 15 minutes from where I receive my daily cancer radiation and my weekly chemotherapy treatments.

This arrangement will relieve Carolyn of a lot of stress and wear since she won't have to drive me to and from the daily treatments. It will also relieve me from a lot of the stress and fatigue of at least three hours of riding over the 7 mountains and through the 7 valleys, five days a week. It also gives Judy the opportunity to assist me. She made the offer. And, we can share some time together. We have a long history as friends.

But, there is more. For a decade, I gave back to my adopted hometown of Winchester, Virginia by volunteering my time and services to the Winchester Little Theater as their sound designer. This, community treasure has presented the highest quality professional theatrical productions for 90 years. During my tenure with the WLT, I designed, built and installed a professional theater sound system and designed the sound for more than 50 productions.

My voice was a part of virtually every production and I provided off stage voice-over parts for several productions. There was more. My involvement was very rewarding for the theater, the audiences and for me. When I retired from the sound designer role to begin chasing my nomadic travel dream, they awarded me a lifetime membership in the theater, that I value and treasure. So, here's another opportunity. While I'm staying in the Winchester area for a while, I've offered to check out their theater's sound system and offer suggestions for potential upgrades. I've offered to train several people on the optimal use of the portable sound system I developed for them a year ago so they can get the maximum value from it. And, I've offered to do some workshops on sound design and Foley (creation of sound effects) for members of the theater who would like to embrace this theatrical craft. They accepted my offer. This gives me something productive to do and give something to a group of people I love and appreciate.

The Kindness Diaries

I said I thought something interesting was going to happen. I didn't have to wait long. A little while after Carolyn popped her head in my door, I heard the TV on in the other room. It sounded interesting. So, I popped out there and Carolyn introduced me to a NetFlix series titled “The Kindness Diaries.” It immediately caught my attention, but more about that later.

By nature, and I gained this trait from my father and I'm thankful it's passed through to my son, I'm a giver, a kind person and I do my best to help other people in ways that, perhaps, are uniquely my own. I'm drawn to books, podcasts, TV shows and YouTube/Facebook Watch video programs about people helping and making small and large differences in the world. I'm a big fan of Mike Rowe and his current Facebook Watch series, “Returning the Favor.” A number of years ago I bought and read a book titled, “The Kindness of Strangers: Penniless Across America.” And, of course, there are others.

I spent my life as a serial entrepreneur. I started out at age 12 with an independent newspaper route. I was the proverbial “paperboy” of the '50s. I made a lot of money as a 12-14-year-old kid. I've loved my life as an entrepreneur. I never became wealthy, but my family and I lived well (when I had a family). But, I never realized how many people's lives I had touched in positive ways during all those 60+ years. It wasn't until they began finding me decades later and told me of the positive influence I had on their future lives. There was my payoff. I realized it was never about money for me. It was about helping people and changing lives in subtle ways I didn't even realize.

So, back to Dreams & Opportunities, the title I gave this article. I said I woke up today feeling like something interesting was going to happen. It happened when I went into the other room and became engaged in the Netflix series, “The Kindness Diaries.” This English chap is driving a 1971 VW “Beetle” from Alaska to Argentina. Here's the kicker. He's doing it WITHOUT any money or credit cards and relying purely on the kindness of other people. Everywhere he goes on his nomadic journey (of course, the nomadic theme is a huge attraction for me) he meets amazing people who freely assist him on his journey.

The people and the situations are amazing. It reminds me of the same kind of situations in the book, “The Kindness of Strangers,” where the young man was traveling from the west coast to the east coast of the U.S. without any money. The themes are very similar. Neither of them will accept any cash, only kindness such as a place to sleep, meals and other basic necessities. Other than the routes and the differences in transportation between these two individuals, there is one other significant difference. Leon, “The Kindness Diaries” nomad has someone(s) of substantial financial means providing him with the ability to give back something of real value and substance to those people who have proven to be extraordinarily kind people.

Ed's Dreams, Opportunities & Missions

I've said several times since the fireball struck me 35 days ago, there is a bigger thing that is meant to come out of this experience. Not to make this a religious theme, but Jesus prepared his first 30 years for his, all too brief, 3-year mission. I'm beginning to believe, perhaps, in my case, I've been preparing 74 years for my mission. Maybe I'm just a slow learner. Or, probably more than likely, this is the universe's plan for me.

Why am I still alive when this fireball could have wiped me out numerous times over the past few months. Because I'm supposed to be alive. Why did it happen in a location where I have strong friendships for support? Why did it happen where I knew the exact doctors I wanted to treat me and I have full faith and confidence in? Why are numerous serendipities manifesting? Why did I decide to write early today with a feeling something interesting was going to happen and, viola, “The Kindness Diaries” appears before I even had breakfast. And, why did I help my friend Carolyn create something called “Kindness Matters Soaps” just two years ago.

I don't know the answers to these questions. But, I do know the answer to the one question we often hear people ask when something dramatic or traumatic happens to them. “Why me?” I don't have to ask that question because I know the answer. I'm supposed to use this opportunity to finally discover my true mission(s) in this life.

I have acquired knowledge, skills and experience. I was gifted with certain talents. And, I have attained certain wisdom achieved only through the aging process. I have accumulated the necessary equipment to create audio, video and print media to create programs and books.
Now, it's time for all of this to come together to do one or more things that will change the world in positive ways. The fireball was meant, as I interpret it, to stop me in my tracks and focus on my dreams, seek the opportunities and begin preparing for my mission(s).

You may notice that I keep adding the (s) to the word mission. That's because I believe, due to my special set of skills, experiences and knowledge, I may have two or possibly three missions ahead of me. Besides, with a 46-year plan, I have several decades ahead to make a difference.

There is one other mission I want to undertake. Perhaps, this is a pay it forward mission. I'm a Vietnam Era veteran. I never served IN Vietnam, but I feel a bond with all veterans, especially from the Vietnam Era. If I'm blessed to generate, and I believe I will be, funds in excess of my needs, I want to do what I can to assist the large number of homeless Vietnam vets around the country.

There are many things I'm going to have to consider during these next several months while I'm undergoing treatment and recovery from the fireball. First, there will be the costs of the medical treatments. At this time, I have no idea how much this will all cost in the end. I may have the resources to cover it, but then again, I may not. Only time will tell.

I am going to have to give serious consideration to upgrading and upsizing (somewhat, but not a lot) “My McVansion,” my tiny house on wheels. It has been a major part of my preparation for the upcoming dreams and missions. It is now over 25 years old and is less efficient than newer vehicles. It's also too small for what I see as the new mission(s) I'll embark on.

I'll need to increase my financial funding to cover the costs of the ongoing travel and day to day living expenses, production costs for the programs and products I believe will be the focus of the mission(s), Internet expenses and other expenses. I don't live extravagantly. I've become a minimalist, living a simple, frugal lifestyle by choice. However, it still costs money to live and function even with my frugal lifestyle.

It's been suggested I seek out crowdfunding and use sites like,, and others. However, I'm not sure if that's the route I want to go. Perhaps I'll gain more insight while I'm focusing on my dreams and looking for opportunities. I do like the Patreon model where individuals who believe in what someone is doing become patrons, as they would become patrons of the arts. I already have a Patreon account, however, I really haven't done anything with it.

Also, along with everything I've already said, I am STILL going to be coordinating the Veteran Speakers Network and its annual event, the Veteran Speakers Retreat. VSR is an annual informal conference, now in its 33rd year coming up. It provides a place for veteran or senior people in the unique field of professional speaking, to gather and share ideas, experiences and opportunities for ways to make their third half of life fulfilling and continue making a difference. I'm honored and humbled to associate with them. Their achievements in making huge differences in the world are endless.

So, I'm figuring, if the universe has put me in this position and is inspiring my dreams to realize my mission(s), it will also provide the ways, means and opportunities for the medical expenses, an upgraded vehicle and other expenses to become available. I'll simply have faith that if it is meant to be, it will happen. With that said, there is an old saying made up of all two-letter words that really says it all. William Johnson said, “If it is to be, it is up to me.”

To wrap this up, I quote the

Whatever you want in life, it starts with you. Nothing external affects you unless you choose to let it. We are blessed with the freedom of choice and the co-creative ability. Before we see something on the outside, we have to create it on the inside. The inner-self creates the realities and outcomes that we have in the physical world. So what are your belief systems, thoughts, feelings and vision?

Live free and be happy. EH


I have not watched the entire series of “The Kindness Diaries,” yet. But, I did catch the last half of the last episode when Leon Logothetis, the nomadic traveler in the show did a recap of his travel from Alaska to the tip of Argentina, the “end of the world.” At the very end of the trip, he sat there at the end of the world and wrapped up the formula for changing the world. Simply stated, to change the world, all one has to do is make a difference and help change one other person's life.

I did a little research on Leon. He's an Englishman who lives and maintains an office in Los Angeles. He was a very successful broker. Thus, he funds his own adventures – during which he takes no money or credit cards and relies on the kindness of others for food, a place to sleep, fuel for his vehicle and repairs when they are necessary. However, when he gives a gift to someone to return their kindness he funds it from his own resources. His gifts are each unique and individual to each person. They can be quite expensive, but he can afford it. It's his way of giving back and a way for him to have purpose in his life again.

Unfortunately, I don't have and won't have the financial resources he has to follow my dreams and mission(s). But, as I said before, if it is to be for me, then somehow it will happen. I have the time I need to plan my missions. To be continued . . .

1 comment:

Art Murray said...

One show we like to watch is Discovery Channel's "Undercover Billionaire," where billionaire Glenn Stearns gets plunked down into downtown Erie, PA and starts a business with only $100 in cash, an old pickup truck, and an empty cell phone (he uses an alias and basically puts together a team from scratch - shades of those old "no money down" shows).

Anyway, the point is similar to your examples of people traveling east-west or north-south with zero money, running purely on their mind, heart, soul, and guts - and making it.

People come up with a gazillion excuses as to why things don't happen or can't happen or anything but how to actually make it happen. The bottom line, in my mind, is: "no excuses!!!"