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Life’s Relationship Journey

When I was seven my best friend was Larry.  I vividly remember playing in the snow all bundled in mittens, scarves, and warm wool coats lined with fur.  As a teen my playmates were Eddie and Frank.  We were car guys driving and fixing anything we could afford to buy.  During the late 1960s I did what most of the kids were doing then with Harry, Rocco, Joe Buck, Billy, and Charlie.  After college I, like most of you, joined the workforce in corporate America.  We did what we were told to do to make ends meet.  Paying the mortgage, the car note, groceries, and having a little left for the 401K was the norm.  Even buying that first house was all about developing relationships over a game of spades in the 3M lunch room in 1977.

Recently, I was working with a client who has transitioned from 18 years in the workforce, four years in a franchise business that he owned, then six years in a family business, and now for the last four years this client is back in the corporate technical space.  Our interaction that day started me thinking of the transitions we make in life to where we end the relationship journey.

Most of us are now more focused on who and how we invest our time, energy, and creativity.  We might be self-employed for many reasons.  For me one of the most important reasons is to interact with only the people I choose.  Priority one is a solid relationship with Lynne.  My political opinions are important to me as are my religious beliefs, so I choose to interact socially with only those who have similar political leanings and religious values.  When it comes to religion the dogma can be very different yet values from Muslim, Christian, and Jewish can be very similar from friend to friend.  I find that my values with Hamedy, a Muslim, and Mike, a Palestinian/Christian are the same as Lynne’s, Lutheran, and my Jewish upbringing.  Physical health has become a number one priority for me such that I avoid social relationships with those who take a lesser view of good life health habits.  I love to interact with people who like to be active to maintain an exceptional quality of life.  Exercising six days per week includes running, weight lifting, core work, and biking for me.  Hobbies are also important to me.  Much of my time is spent working on my classic cars which today include my 1976 Corvette, 1966 Chevy Step-side Pickup, and 1965 Chevy Impala.  Yes, I plan to buy, sell, and build many more.  Wood furniture repair and refurbishing has recently been brought back into my life.  I soon plan to start doing a Piece at a Time (what I will call this hobby business) FREE for friends.  Most of the people I interact with today have similar interests.  Hobbies, health, political views, religious conviction, and business relationships are all very important to me.  Life is much more clearly defined today than it was when I was an adolescent, a teenager, or younger adult.

As I write this I think of how much more simple life was as a youngster.  It was easier to follow the crowd.  My mind was filled with mush.  Long as it was fun we did it.  As long as we did what our parents told us, life was good.  As a youngster we did the political thing because everyone around us was doing the same thing, in our time protesting the Vietnam war.  Many of the protests we see in the news today are driven by empty headed followers finding it easier to be part of the crowd than considering the alternatives, to then take action.  Thinking about options is less likely when being a follower is the path of least resistance.  As long as we can put food in our faces, have a roof over our head, and can get from place to place life was perfect.  Life was simpler as a follower.

As I look forward approaching the next quarter of a typical life expectancy I am clear as to what the future can bring.  Life continues to be exciting, filled with change around every corner.  Continuing to meet new people while maintaining similar interests with existing friends and clients will be the norm.  Sameness breeds stagnation and boredom.  I want to continue to learn and will do so by surrounding myself with young and old alike.  Reaching out to those young shavers who need a hand up will force me to stay current with technology in the cyber community.  Staying connected with my older friends will allow me the opportunity to avoid mistakes, I can learn from being supported by them.  Maintaining good health, good eating habits, and staying physically active will all allow me to maintain an energetic life filled with new experiences.  I have yet to see them bury someone that is still moving.  Being in a community which encourages my hobbies will allow me to build new relationships around the old cars and antique furniture.

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