Monday, February 8, 2010


This past year has been a year of reconnecting for me. I think this falls squarely in line with my goal of bringing more fun into my life.

Over the last year, I have reconnected with far-away family and friends through Facebook. This has been a great experience because I can keep up with what’s going on in their lives without waiting for the annual Christmas letter.

In October, we attended a family reunion in Hanford, California. The reunion was the Fullerton side of my family—my paternal grandmother’s family. We visited the local sights, including the sight of the old family farm. It was great to see family I had never met or had not seen in years. It was fun to spend time with my immediate family from Southern California, especially my grandfather, my aunt, my uncle and two of my three cousins who I only see about once a year if I am lucky.

In January, I flew to Las Vegas to reconnect with five former high school classmates. It was a whirlwind 24 hours, but we had the best time together catching up on the past 27 years and looking over our senior yearbook. The best part was we could enjoy each other’s company as 40-something adults. We have talked about trying for another get-together next January!

Now that we have moved into our new home, I have found it easier to reconnect with my sister. The move only put us about 20 minutes closer together, but with kids and busy lives, less travel time sure makes it easier for us to connect.

Reconnect with someone from your past. You may be surprised at the opportunities that unfold.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Practicing the art of doing (almost) nothing…

The last two months have been way too hectic for me. In June, I took two weeks vacation. When I returned to work at the end of June, my team had been restructured—adding three new employees to the six I already supervise. Between mid-July and early August, I attended four weddings—two in Southern California on back-to-back weekends. I have other challenges in my personal life that only add to this madness. To top it off, I stopped exercising. This was a bad move. All of this stress took its toll on my disposition. Fortunately, my boss noticed and told me to take a “mental health” day. Knowing how behind I was in my work, I reluctantly obliged.

A few weeks ago, Elrond and I quickly made plans for one last family getaway before school officially started for Kat. After I read a review for a restaurant called Duarte’s Tavern, we decided to go to the little town of Pescadero, California for the weekend. Pescadero is a small farming and ranching community nestled in a valley east of Highway 1 half way between Santa Cruz and Half Moon Bay. Our timing couldn’t have been more perfect. The annual Pescadero Art and Fun Fair was the same weekend. We found the last available rooms at a B&B (in this case ‘bed and biscuit’) called the McCormick House Bed and Biscuit Inn. You can read my review at Trip For the next two days, we were tourists. We walked around Pescadero, explored the art fair, ate some delicious food, and visited a goat farm. We slept in. We read. We sat in the garden. I pushed Kat on a tire swing. We watched the sunset at the beach. We practiced the art of doing (almost) nothing.

Lately, my weekends at home have been spent catching up with everything I haven’t been getting done during the week. Consequently, my life has been one continuous grind with no down time. This past weekend reminded me that I don’t spend enough time ‘recharging my batteries.’ I realized it’s okay to spend some time each weekend practicing the art of doing nothing. I have made time during the week to exercise again. With a life as hectic as mine, this is necessary for my mental and physical health. Summer may be almost gone, but I am going continuing perfecting the art of doing (almost) nothing.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Connecting the Dots

I was talking to a friend of mine recently and lamenting the accident I had 16 months ago. I realized shortly after the accident how close I had come to dying and how I wasn’t ready to die. Since then, I have felt this incredible pressure to figure why I am still here; what my purpose is. My friend asked me if I had ever watched Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford Commencement Speech (I had not). He sent me a link to YouTube with instructions to watch it (click here if you haven’t seen it either). Steve Jobs told three stories about his life. I have summarized the main points here with direct quotes:

Connecting the Dots: “…You cannot connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect the dots looking backwards. You have to trust that somehow the dots will connect in your future… Believing that the dots will connect somewhere down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well-worn path.”

Love & Loss: “…Your work is going to fill a large part of your life and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do…If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking and don’t settle.”

Death: “No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven, don’t want to die to get there. And yet, death is the destination we all share; no one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be because death is very likely the single best invention of life. It’s life’s change agent -- it clears out the old to make way for the new. Your time is limited; so don’t waste it being trapped by living someone else’s life.”

I was immediately stunned by those stories, to say the least. As I watched and listened, I quietly cried letting it all soak in. I was also inspired. This is what I learned:

When you come to an unexpected place in your life, the reasons for arriving at the place only become clear as you look back and “connect the dots.” Over the last 16 months, I have often wondered why the accident happened—and have been impatient to know what lesson is in it for me. I now realize that I have to trust that somehow the dots will connect in my future. Believing that the dots will connect somewhere down the road gives me a sense of peace; a sense of peace I have not known in a very long time.

I need balance in my life in order to be truly satisfied. Prior to the accident, my life was primarily my work. Although I believed what I did was great work, I didn’t have that balance with a great life outside of work. The balance is still a struggle, but with a renewed sense of peace, I feel a better sense of balance.

My time is limited. I feel pressure to live my life well each day…and every day I seem to fail in some way. I am sad on the days that I “waste,” knowing how quickly it can all disappear. However, my time here is limited. I need to focus more on the success I create each day and less on the failures.

I am thankful to my friend for helping me to connect one of these dots. I should clarify that this friend only recently came back into my life—after a 25 year absence. I am 43 years old now—you do the math. How someone who has missed the past 25 years of my life could be so perceptive overwhelms me. Perhaps this renewed friendship is just one dot helping me connect the other dots.