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Tagged ‘family‘

They Keyboard and Mouse Connection

The debate to whether technology enables or disables our relationships has continued, since the start of social media. There are many who feel that technology and social networks allow us to maintain relationships. Others are convinced that they hurt us in the long-run.

From my own experience, I have found some amazing relationships through social networks. I know these people to be at the easiest and quickest form of communication for me. All I have to do is jump on my keyboard and grab my mouse. This, at times, seem so easy it wouldn’t even be a thought. But, I feel myself reaching out less, even though the barrier of entry is smaller and quicker. I believe that it’s so easy to reach all these people whenever I want, that I’ve began, like many people, to take the whole idea for granted.

People are here today and gone tomorrow. The relationships you have, you must savor. Enjoy them often, if possible. Great people come and go from your life. This is a natural progression of growth and relationships. Letting those you have become close with go, because you were too lazy to call, text, or jump on your keyboard is just lazy. Make an effort. I only say this, because I know this about myself. I know I need to make more of an effort. I work from home. I’m on my computer all day, sometimes for ten hours, even more if I’m busy.

I’ve taken the amazing and wonderful relationships I’ve formed online for granted. I’m not proud of it. Honestly, I blame the fact that each individual relationship is different. That’s a true statement. Most, if not all the relationships I’ve built online, are a little different than the next. I shouldn’t try to make excuses for my actions, but I’m going to try anyway. Take your online relationships offline and grow them.

I think the thing is, we need to embrace the forgotten and most powerful social network. The original social network. The network that allows us to stay alive: community. When I say community, I mean meeting and enjoying life together in real life. We are a society that needs one another. I believe that we, for whatever reason, have forgotten that. We need each other. Let’s take some time to embrace those we cherish so. Don’t take them for granted. There are many things in life you don’t get second chances on. Don’t risk it. It’s not worth it.

The Weddings

I’ve been in four weddings in my life. When I was younger, I remember it always being fun. You get to dress up fancy, hang out with adults, and people walk around telling you how nice you look. I also think there’s something about being dressed in a tuxedo.

The first wedding I was in, I was the ring bear. I can remember having my picture taken outside the church. There were these bushes outside the door with the most wonderful color of red. The flower girl was a cute little blonde, my first crush. I can remember that she wanted nothing to do with me. What can I say, I tried. It was not meant to be.

The second wedding I was in, I got to be the youngest groomsman. I think I was ten or eleven. I spent the whole day with those guys, telling jokes and laughing. I can remember not taking the rehearsal seriously at all. There is proof too, photos of me in my many funny faces while everyone else tried to look serious and happy at the same time. I remember getting a stormtrooper mug as my groomsman present, which I still have.

The third wedding I was in was my own – coming up on four years ago. I do remember a lot from that day. Some of the memories I have to relive through the photos. Your wedding day seems to be so busy and go very quickly. Some of my favorite photos of my dad were taken at my wedding. Our Halloween theme made it feel like a giant costume party rather than a wedding. We wanted to do something different, something us, and we did. Some in my family still talk about it often.

The fourth wedding I was in was my sister’s. This last weekend she got married in the church we grew up attending. The same church of my third wedding, where my parents were married, where my grandpa’s and dad’s funerals were held. This wedding was so simple and elegant, very different from my own. It was a great experience, even though I was the man of honor (yeah..I had to hold my sister’s flowers). I got to view everything from another point of view. She had dueling pianos and sprigs of green in antique vases everywhere.

I’m sure more adventures and experiences will follow these. Weddings can be fun, and a lot of work. It’s nice to be able to help ensure a couple’s special day goes well. How many weddings have you been in?

Headed To Boston

My grandparents obviously came from a different generation. When I started my business, Social Republick, they didn’t understand why I wasn’t interviewing for jobs, or why I couldn’t just take a job. It took over a year to get them to understand what I was doing (starting my own business). Thanksgiving, 2010, at the dinner table, my grandma asked me “how’s business?” A drastic change from what I had been used to – a welcomed opportunity I’ll never forget.

I enjoy talking about what I do, why I do it, and how things are going with my family. I do have moments where it is very hard though. My grandpa, a very skilled electrician and tradesman, had an opportunity to purchase a small business when my aunt and mom were both young. He never did, because he had two little girls at home and a family to provide for. I can see the regret in his eyes when I talk about what I’m doing – how he never had the chance. It breaks my heart, even though he has had a very successful career and retirement (he still works, because he wants to and does not like to be bored).

I’ve had many moments where I’ve wanted to offer to help him establish a name, build a website, create a logo, and help him build a small company for him. I don’t know what his thoughts or feelings would be on this, but I’ve always wanted to ask. I’m sure he would look at me and think I’m crazy. How can something so far out of everything he’s known be so simple? I think it just truly comes down to choice – deciding it’s something you want to do, then making it happen.

As for my grandma, she thinks I need to move to Boston. She heard on the news that social media is huge in Boston. I think she would have packed my bags had she had the chance. I know for the most part, neither one of them really understands what I do and how I make money doing it. I don’t care. I have their support. That’s more important to me than anything else they could ever offer.

My Goals For This Year

Last year, I didn’t feel I had much time to do anything. I felt very focused on a couple things, both of which took up almost all my time. I’m not complaining at all, being busy is a great thing. I like having a lot to do.  I’ve never done well being bored. I think as last year came to a close, I just decided to refocus my energy. So far, I’ve been able to follow what I decided on.

My main focus for 2010 was to be with my family as my dad was sick and be able to help out as much as possible. I also wanted to focus on building and growing my business. That meant going out for lunch and coffee a lot. For me, it was all about meeting people, building some relationships, learning and teaching. After my dad passed last Spring, everyone in my family has been able to shift focus. My dad was not the kind of person who would want us to sit here and dwell on his passing. He would want us to grow and do the things that are important to us. A selfless man who’s mantras continue to effect us daily.

The three goals I’ve set for myself, seems small if not insignificant, but they are important to me at this point in my life. With many of friends now getting married and having kids, their focus is different than mine. I’ve been married for almost three years and we don’t have any kids.  We don’t plan to for at least a couple more years. Because of those things, here are the things I’ve decided to focus on for 2011 – maybe you can relate.

  • 1. To continue to build and grow my business (this goal is almost obvious). It is growing quickly. Hooray!
  • 2. Wear my Sanuk shoes more. (I bought them a couple years ago more. I love them, but I forget that I have them. Sometimes walking in different shoes changes my perspective and many times I need that).
  • 3. Go and do more things outside (by myself, with family, with friends, etc. I’ve already gone disc golfing more in the past two months than I did in all of last year).
I can see where, for most people, these goals are small and maybe unimportant. For me, I need them to change my outlook on life and my business. I can’t spend all my time working on my business. I don’t want to crush and kill it. I’ve let it go and allowed it to grow and build on its own. It’s quickly getting to the point where it needs water and sunshine, just like a plant.
What’s important for you to do in 2011, or the rest of the year?

Fifteen Years Without Playing Catch, Really?

Last Spring my wife and I went to Chicago for a week. We have been going to Chicago together at least once a year since 2007. With as much shopping and walking around to enjoy the city, we almost always try to go to Wrigley Field for a Chicago Cubs baseball game. I love baseball. I never played, because at Ames High, if you weren’t amazing, you didn’t play. So I never even thought about sports in school.

Before our trip last year, I decided it was time to buy a new baseball glove. My sister, who in middle school and high school played softball, stole mine. I guess that’s fair, since the last time I played catch with my dad, I would have been about twelve, maybe eleven. I admit, I went to YouTube to find info on how to purchase a glove. Yes, I’m a bit of a geek. Whatever. Anyway, I learned some stuff and found a glove that fit well and I liked. I think I got it at Target. No, I didn’t buy a very expensive glove. Why would I? I don’t play that often and its been fifteen years since I threw or caught a baseball anyway.

The funny thing is, that we didn’t even take our gloves to the game while we were in Chicago. We left them in the hotel room. After the first of four fly balls almost took our heads off we agreed that we had made a mistake in forgetting them. We never got hit, but I’m sure we looked stupid jumping out of our seats to escape the ball and ducking. Sad, I know.

This past weekend, at a family function, I decided I really wanted to throw a ball around. My brother-in-law, who was a pitcher and for lack of a better word is ‘athletic,’ was asked to bring his glove by me. I had a feeling I could convince him to take it easy on me.  With my wife, her brother and her parents, we made a large square and threw the ball back and forth for over an hour, easily. It was a blast and I felt amazing about it. 

I didn’t hurt anyone; I didn’t get hurt; and I didn’t break anything. I’m sure you don’t understand the pressure I was feeling when we walked out into the grass. I was excited and stressed. It was nice, however, that my brother-in-law decided to share (not tell) some quick and easy pointers. I didn’t feel talked down to or stupid. I felt enlightened and excited. Easy, simple tips to not suck and not hurt myself or anyone else. Check.

In truth, my arm doesn’t hurt, I felt great afterwords. I wanted to continue, but felt it was best to get out of the hot sun for a break. I plan on doing it again – as much as possible this summer, in truth. Really, it has been fifteen years since I played catch and I now have a better understanding on how and why I love baseball so much. You don’t have to be amazing to play. You just need a ball, a glove and maybe a bat (if you are going to really play a game).

What have you not done in a long time? Any reasons for not doing it? I can’t really say that I have any, but I don’t think I’ll wait so long to play catch ever again. I didn’t think I could love something so simple as I do now.