The Important Things

The Important Things

Yesterday was a rollercoaster of a day. It started out with a surprising find and ended with a thud. It was a day that came with an important lesson.

The day started with Mr. Jace and Facebook Live. He was showcasing his Batmobile driving skills all over our backyard with his doggie in on all the action.

While he kept playing I was doing a computer cleanup. I found and old login/password for a retirement account I had long forgotten about. It took a little digging, a lot of updated personal information and a long phone call, but the result was worth it. It turns out I have a pension from a company I stopped working for in 2004. The money, a significant amount, is just sitting there growing a little each month until I can cash it out 18 years from now. It was like finding money in a mattress.

My temporary euphoria was quickly extinguished as I received a rejection phone call and a rejection email, respectively, from two jobs I was going after. Both would have meant better hours and more money than I am making now, and both would have had better growth opportunities.

It stung a little to be rejected twice in one day. You would think all the practice I have had being rejected by women would have numbed those pains years ago, but it has not.

It took a few hours but I was able to finally wrap my mind around what really happened. Anyone who really knows me knows I hate the workforce. I always have. I am not afraid of work. In fact, I like working hard. I just hate working hard for someone when they make all the money and a make enough to get by in life.

I walked away from a job as a television sportscaster with no notice and no other job because I was fed up with all the nonsense. I left for Las Vegas in 2010 with no job in site. My first full-time job in Las Vegas offered to move me to a different department that needed help or take a buyout. I took the buyout without even hesitating.

The workforce — in my opinion — is for suckers. There is no real money in it. There is no real security in it . There is very little gratification in it. Unless you are the person at the top you are just a cog in a machine. Why do so many people drift toward real estate or a myriad of other sales-type jobs. There is an opportunity to see your own hours, be your own boss and make real money. Business don’t even need to give employees raises anymore. If they employee doesn’t like it they can be easily replaced by a person who will take the job for the same money, or sometimes even less.

No one is going to remember fondly the work they did screwing a tire on a car, flipping the burger just right or making sure ever single letter got into the exact right mailbox.

Jace driving his Batmobile around our backyard.

What they are going to remember are the times they had with their family.

The times they made goofy videos of a kid off-roading on a battery-operated vehicle with only one speed and plastic tires. The times they went to the park and fed crackers to the ducks and geese. The times they went to the playground and rode the slides over and over and over again.

Those are the things that are important. Not work. Work has put a roof over our heads, food on the table and much-needed insurance for a baby that spent 49 days in the NICU. Work, however, is also the thing the keeps most people from actually LIVING their life. Exploring, spending time outside, traveling…having a vibrant, well-lived life. Having a life where at the end of your days you can think back and say, “I tore that life up. I got every minute out it.”

That is what I am seeking. That is what is important. I am never going to feel that way at the end of my days grinding out a middle-class living for my son. I owe him the reality that ANYTHING is possible. That all your dreams CAN come true. That anything you want is within your REACH. You have to dream big, live large, and enjoy life. It is over quicker than you think.

I am working on it.

Don’t Be Afraid To Be The Black Sheep

Don’t Be Afraid To Be The Black Sheep

The other night I was doing some research on unique business cards. I was looking for something to showcase my business skills and send people to my website.

I came across a unique business card for Jon Acuff. Mr. Acuff is an author I discovered in the past couple of months and a speaker I have watched in the Financial Peace University series presented by Dave Ramsey.

Here is his business card. It’s unique, in part, because his wife reminded him, “We don’t do boring.”

Looking at his business card and reading his wife’s comment reminded me of a conversation I had with a couple of friends at a casino bar two years ago. I told them that the appeal of Las Vegas to me was that you could be from anywhere and be anything. In this town, nobody really cares if you are different.

I am proudly a black sheep.

I have been the black sheep for as long as I can remember. I remember an arts and crafts project way back in kindergarten or first grade. We were all supposed to pick out a egg from a container. They were going to be hard-boiled and we were going to paint or draw on them. Too the shock of my classmates, I picked out a brown egg. I had never seen a brown egg before. I thought it was unique and different.

I am adopted. From a small town (population 2,700) in Eastern Iowa it is a rarity to be adopted. Whenever it would come in up in a conversation with my friends and classmates I would always get looks like I was an alien. I was the only person anybody knew who had been adopted. I never thought it was different.

Forest stopped running. What are we supposed to do now?
Forest stopped running. What are we supposed to do now?

When I was a teenager I decided one day to walk from my house to my grandmother’s house for no particular reason. Like Forrest Gump and his running I just started walking. Eleven miles from my house to my grandmother’s house two towns over. I didn’t take any water with me. I didn’t think about how far eleven miles was. I just put on some tennis shoes and walked all the way there.

When all my classmates went off to Iowa State, Iowa, Northern Iowa, Drake or some other four-year school in Iowa I chose to attend Marshalltown Community College. It was smaller, it was more affordable and I had opportunities to play baseball and be on the school paper as a freshman.

After two years at Marshalltown CC and three more at Northern Iowa (I was not the most dedicated student) I moved to Kansas City. Iowans take vacations to Kansas City. They don’t typically move there.

My entire family still lives in Iowa. My father and one sister live in the same hometown in which I grew up. My other sister and my brother live in towns not more than 30 minutes away from my hometown. They are happy there. I am happy for them.

I live in the Las Vegas suburb of Henderson, Nevada. Iowans don’t live in Las Vegas. They might visit Las Vegas once in a lifetime.

I’m 44, and have never been married. One of the reasons I have had so many failed relationships has to do with how many women I’ve dated who just wanted to have a job, a family and go through a mundane life. I tell them I want to be a professional poker player. I tell them let’s rent a jeep and drive all the way to the Florida Keys with the top off. I say lets travel to Macau, Boracay and Spain. And their eyes almost pop out of their heads. They say they want normal. Then I find out later that those normal relationships they wanted instead of being with me failed. Because normal is boring.

I definitely don’t do boring and am certainly embracing my black sheep-ness.

It’s funny to me that the phrase black sheep is an idiom used to describe someone who won’t comply with the group or with society as a whole.

Name me one person who has ever achieved greatest by complying with a group? Different is memorable. Different sets trends. Different is the focus of inventors, architects, scientists and business leaders.

Don’t be afraid to be a black sheep.

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