Give Yourself A Break – Strive For Imperfection, Instead

This morning on my drive to work I was catching up on one of my favorite podcasts, Jen Gotch Is Okay…Sometimes. It’s described as a podcast that “is weird and original and funny and honest—just like me.  Each week I’m going to get in your ear, tell you about my fears, my pain, my triumphs and hopefully in the process help you become more self-aware, build your own emotional intelligence, and more than anything else, FEEL LESS ALONE.”

It drops every Tuesday and has become one of my favorite listens on the drive to work. I missed this Tuesday’s episode so I caught up this morning and wow, did it hit home and put into perspective what I was blogging about yesterday that I didn’t know at the time I was blogging about. Does that make sense? 

If you missed it, yesterday’s blog Cutting Loose Ends talked about how I’ve been struggling with carrying the thoughts and opinions of others while trying to fight the urge to self-isolate and block out. Let’s not get it twisted, it’s still annoying how much people dump on unsuspecting souls. The trick is to not let it stick and define you.

Yesterday I think was I was blogging about (but didn’t know it at the time) struggling with perfectionism and after this morning’s episode about striving for IMPERFECTION, it gave me some perspective on what I wrote about yesterday, weird right?

Here’s why letting go of perfectionism will help me let go of other people’s actions:

Trying to ‘live up’ to other people’s expectations is a waste of damn time. I want to be successful both personally and professionally. This need to excel at excellence means trying to do everything to the best of my ability, a.k.a. as close to perfect and efficient as possible and I don’t want to let anyone down so I put a lot of value in what others think and say about me (which pains me to write because ew, I wish this wasn’t true) and forget I do this, hence yesterday’s frustration.

This does nothing but distracts me from my own inner voice. I know me, so I should listen to her more often because when I’m constantly filling my head with what others have put on me, it stifles my inner thoughts and feelings. So fuck that shit, I need to be more self-aware so I can internally combat this.

She continues on to say:

“What if we just decided to be imperfect?”

Being comfortable with being imperfect actually helps us achieve more since we’re not overwhelming ourselves with undue pressure. “Let’s not worry so much,” Jen says. “Let’s not try and strive for something that actually isn’t achievable because you just end up feeling awful all the time.”

“We still need to have aspirations, but what if what we aspired to was to be better than great and less than perfect? I think we could manage that.”

She lists three sweet spots to focus on while striving for imperfection, here they are:

  1. Say no to the ‘having it all’ culture – this doesn’t help you focus on the now. When you focus on the ‘having it now’ aspect of life, it forces you to dismiss the achievements of today and yesterday and leaves you feeling never enough or satisfied. Let’s collectively agree to knock this behavior off!
  2. It’s okay to fail – all I have to say about this one is if you never fail how are you supposed to learn? Growth comes from standing up after falling and learning from your mistakes. Let’s all agree to fail a little harder!
  3. Done is better than perfect mentality – I suck at this one, it was even hard to write, but I can acknowledge what it’s trying to convey. If you get tied up in all the little details nothing will ever move forward. This isn’t promoting laziness, it’s promoting to take a breath in the middle of that big project and acknowledge the fact it’s not going to be perfect no matter how hard you strive for it (project, relationship, the dream) to be. Focus on completing it, not all the little tiny ways it’s going to be a shitshow.

Hopefully, this helps you in the same way it helped me peel back the foggy layer that was suffocating my brain yesterday. Gotch ended the episode by asking her listeners to ditch perfectionism and do ‘all of the things you’re waiting to be perfect, to do.” Challenge accepted, and I hope you join me.

Now to keep up with my promise to practice gratitude to fight my tendency to forbode joy: Currently feeling gratitude about seeing my brother-in-law tonight and having a cookout! What are you feeling gratitude towards? Let me know in the comment section, below. 

Cultivate it.

play better on Instagram than Facebook but regardless, be my friend online. RamblinRandol is my quest for true belonging. 

 

Speak Truth To Bullshit

I find myself shrinking away from political debates because there is too much misinformation being slung around that it’s nearly impossible to have a decent conversation.

The amount of “drive-by” online journalists is appalling. These individuals haven’t been trained, or understand the basic rules regarding what’s considered news and how important it is to share only credible sources.

If you’re confused, these are the people who spend way too much time on the internet fighting with strangers in the comment section and share every article from every online ‘source’ that is geared with like-minded people and then spout off information after only reading the header and by-line.

But, I digress. This is only a small portion of the problem and admittedly, I’m biased against these random peeps because I did go to school for journalism. This isn’t the main topic of today’s post, so I’ll get on with it.

If you haven’t heard what’s going on at our borders then you might have been under a rock the past week/month, and if it’s a nice beautiful rock on Cabo, do you mind sharing some space with me?

Just kidding, kinda.

Here is what I constantly hear being thrown around half-hazard. “Separating families at the border is the law, everyone must follow the rules! All you Dems just hate Trump and are looking for an excuse to pile on the hate, this has been going on for years! If Republicans wanted to change it they could, they’ve got the majority! Trump to the press – if this was such a terrible law, why didn’t the Dems outlaw it decades ago, it’s their faults!

All of this is bullshit and here’s why.

  1. Separating families at the border isn’t a federal law, never has been. There is a policy that was put in place back when Clinton was president and has been used by border patrol at their discretion for the last two decades, and they didn’t participate in the family separation until last month when Jeff Sessions and Trump stated this ‘zero tolerance’ policy.
  2. There is a distinct difference between policy and law, stop using them interchangeably. The difference between a policy and a law. A policy outlines what a government ministry hopes to achieve and the methods and principles it will use to achieve them. It states the goals of the ministry. Laws set out standards, procedures, and principles that must be followed.
  3. Yes, the Republicans hold the majority but you still need 3/5ths vote to pass anything and not all Republicans and Democrats will vote according to their party. I think John McCain is a perfect example within the last year. So while shouting they hold the majority is true, it doesn’t mean anything will easily pass, even if every Republican voted similarly there’s still a need for the Dems to vote similarly, too.
  4. Trump blaming the Democrats is also utter bullshit. He signed so many damn executive orders the first six months of his presidency, why the hell the sudden urge to wait for the legislature? Because this is a stunt (in my personal opinion). We have a president who is a reality star and hasn’t worked for a damn thing in his life, living out his ‘biggest role casted’ on a world stage, and it’s fucking embarrassing.

Fact Checker: Separating families at the border isn’t family law, here. The distinct difference between policy and law, here. Understanding the ‘Republican majority,’ here. Trump blaming the Dems for what’s happening while plugging his mission to build a wall and why I think it’s all a big fat stunt, here

Trump has embellished since his inauguration when he stated it was the most attended precision in history! So how come there are still those refusing to wade through the bullshit to find the truth? Is it because it’s easier to follow than lead?

Bottom line: what’s happening at the border is traumatic for both the officers and families. If we’re the world police and responsible for setting an example for the rest of the country, lets’s act like it. We all know this isn’t the best solution, those children don’t deserve to experience any more trauma.

Shout all day about, “it’s the parent’s fault and they are the ones that put their kids in this position.” Nobody got anywhere pointing the finger at everyone else and displacing blame. Take responsibility,  rise above the bullshit and let’s set the example for how to treat those desperate enough to risk everything to live in a country that isn’t a living nightmare.

Now to keep up with my promise to practice gratitude to fight my tendency to forbode joy: Currently feeling gratitude for the luck I was given to be born in this country.

Cultivate it.

I play better on Instagram than Facebook but regardless, be my friend online. RamblinRandol is my quest for true belonging. 

What Are Ten Wonderful Things About You? Gratitude Wants To Know.

Happy Monday fraands, hope everyone’s weekend was good, decent, and uneventful in the best way. This moring’s blog is going to be quick because I forgot to write it last night and I’ve got twenty minutes before I really need to get ready for work. This might be my best blog yet because I won’t (can’t) allow myself to overthink each sentence and thought.

It isn’t always easy to remember our strengths or the good things about ourselves. Personally, I find it a helluva lot easier to call out my negatives than praise myself when this question is asked: What do you love about yourself?

When asked my hands usually go dry, heart palpitations increase and my brain literally freezes. The world goes in slow motion and I begin to stutter. My mind repeating one phrase, “what do I like about myself? What do I like about myself? What do I like about myself?”

Nothing ever comes to mind.

But this morning my gratitude journal asked me to name 10 wonderful things about myself and something about using the word wonderful helped me consider what I do think is wonderful about myself.

The word love is confusing for me so it throws off my way of understanding the question. So for the first time ever, I tried to consider 10 whole things I thought was wonderful about myself.

We each have personality traits that are really awesome, so I challenge you to answer the same question. I’ll share mine but I double-dog dare you to share your own answers in the comments.

Let’s do this together!

Ten wonderful things about me:

  1. My laugh is loudly sincere and wholeheartedly expressive of the joy I’m feeling in the moment.
  2. I’m a seeker of knowledge. I want to truly understand the why, meaning and perspective of any and all given situations, a.k.a staying curious.
  3. My want to be the change I wish to see in the world, nothing excites me more than giving back and helping make this world a better place.
  4. I love to cook and trying new recipes. A gift passed down to me from my Pops.
  5. Despite being armored up on the outside, any kind of unnecessary suffering truly bothers me.
  6. I am brave.
  7. I’m creative.
  8. Book smart and street smart.
  9. Incredibly strong, especially in the face of adversity.
  10. Fearlessly authentic.

This did me more good than I thought it would. It felt ridiculous and absurd when I spent (what I felt) too much time contemplating my wonderful parts, and then physically having to write them down.

There’s something solidifying to writing them down. I actually believe what I wrote, so I encourage you to write yours down and share them with me in the comments. This might be the best way to start off your Monday.

Don’t worry, it’ll feel silly at first, but I promise you it’s more rewarding than not.

Now to keep up with my promise to practice gratitude to fight my tendency to forbode joy: Currently feeling gratitude for my spin class tonight. It’s going to kick my ass back into taking care of myself. 

Cultivate it.

I play better on Instagram than Facebook but regardless, be my friend online. RamblinRandol is my quest for true belonging. 

1-800-273-8255 – Your Life Matters

We are way behind the bell curve when it comes to understanding mental illness and it grinds my gears when there is no compassion or tried understanding. And I get it, not everyone is capable of understanding or compassion but what the hell is everyone else’s excuse?

Yesterday my husband and I ate a late lunch at our favorite sushi restaurant here in Orange County (Minato Sushi in case you’re wondering), and I overheard the table behind us discussing the recent suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain.

The adult son claimed, “Kate Spade’s suicide was more of a shock than Bourdain’s, at least he had a long history with substance abuse.”

I tried not to glare. How can one suicide be more shocking than another? Isn’t all suicide terribly shocking? And to me, it sounds like he’s trying to justify one suicide over the other by understanding the public personas each person put on while out in the public, which leads me to the next two questions…

How come we have to assess “who is more broken” in order to determine our own emotions about someone else committing suicide? Since when does suicide make sense? And PS: just because you feel like you know celebrities, TV personas, etc. doesn’t mean you have the full story.

Let’s talk about mental health. Did you know that suicide is the leading cause of death in the United States? According to the CDC, it is now the number one fatal injury across the states, surpassing automobile accidents.

In this same report, the data shows men (in every age group compared with women) kill themselves at a higher rate than women. See that diagram, here.

This stat shook me, too. How come men are more prone to suicide? Is it because of the societal pressure to be a strong figure who provides, never cries, and will always come swooping in to save the day on their white horse for the family?

It’s impossible nowadays to have a one-family income support the family. So let’s let this ideal die with the same notion woman aren’t as valuable as men in the workplace and everywhere else.

I proudly stand with the women’s movement, chant for equal pay, and felt relieved when the #metoo campaign caught fire. And I also have that same passion forward thinking in regards to how we’re raising our young men. This ain’t 1950, boys can cry if they want to, too.

Suicide is defined (like I’m sure you know) as a death caused by self-directed injurious behavior with intent to die as a result of the behavior. Suicidal ideation refers to thinking about, considering or planning suicide.

Suicide is a MAJOR public health concern.

Logic made a hit record about suicide prevention. Jada Pickett Smith and others in the spotlight made a statement about their own personal struggle with mental health issues. Conversations are happening; let’s collectively continue improving our understanding of mental health.

What’s the first step? Does anyone have any ideas?

I think misusing the term mentally ill is a good starting point. We’re in a culture where words don’t matter because they can be slung anonymously over the web. We self-diagnose and label others easily and incorrectly. Not everyone is a narcissist. Mom’s an asshole but she’s not mentally ill. Not every school shooter is mentally ill.

Words matter and we should be careful with them.

Once we regain the word maybe then we can begin to redefine it in a way everyone can understand. Mental health is the umbrella word like marketing is to communications. Mental illness includes everything from panic attacks and anxiety to bipolar and schizophrenia.

Suicide is complicated and sad regardless of who commits the act. May no one reading ever know what it feels like to truly believe family, friends, and children, would be better off without you in their lives. If you’ve had suicidal thoughts or are having suicidal thoughts call 1-800-273-8255 for help.

It’s okay to not be okay and ask for help. Your life matters.

Now to keep up with my promise to practice gratitude to fight my tendency to forbode joy: Currently feeling gratitude for everyone sharing their own personal mental health story to help spread the awareness. What are you feeling grateful for?

Cultivate it.

I play better on Instagram than Facebook but regardless, come be my friend online. RamblinRandol is my personal journey about understanding myself more with the hopes it’ll help someone else in the twenty-something/pushing thirty struggles.

 

 

 

Shame. What Is It Good For? Absolutely​ Nothing.

Do you have shame? Apparently, we all do according to Brene Brown. Here’s what I learned after reading Brown’s chapter about shame and how to combat those nasty gremlins talkin’ nonsense inside your head. Sharing in case it helps one of you, too. 

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Do I have shame? “Well, I don’t know,” was my first thought after reading the question. On the surface level, I’m not ashamed of who I am, how I got here or where I want to go. There’s a chip on my shoulder I’m a bit proud of and have a deep inner strength that propels me to keep pushing forward–no matter what. All characteristics I’m proud to own.

Shannon in a nutshell; moved out at a young age and paid all her own bills without EVER having to ask for help, got herself through college and graduated with a Bachelor’s despite having to take a year and a half off to deal with the joys of being a Navy wife. It took longer than everyone else, but I paid my way through junior college and figured out how to manage University with loans, internships and a solid year with no day off to get me in the position I am now.

Point blank, nobody thought I could do it and nobody paid my damn rent or filled my refrigerator with groceries, or gave me daily pep talks to counter-act all the other shit that life was flinging at me in those years.

I did it, and then me and my man did it, together. And I’m proud of those years, proud to say we did it alone. The flame that burned deep in the pit of my gut kept me pushing, climbing and propelling myself to the finish line, is what I’m truly proud of about myself because not everyone gets the guts and glory.

But wait, one simple question breaks all that internal strength and leaves me fumbling for words. So, where’s your family? Boom. Instant shame. Well, instant shame mixed with anger, let me explain.

When people find out I’m not from around here (or wherever I’m living at the time) they immediately want to know how I got to the patch of grass we’re now sharing, which is great because I’ve gotten extremely good at giving the watered down ‘me in a nutshell’ version to people.

I’ll get to the end and without fail, the first question is, “so, where’s your family.” Cue anger. “Wtf do they have anything to do with this conversation,” is what I want to say, instead it’s, “oh, we’re spread out. Some live back in New York while others have planted in Florida.”

People are curious, I get it. But can I just control the conversation and only talk about what I want to talk about? Of course not, and this is where I begin to understand shame.

My family couldn’t pay for my college tuition, or give me the movie ‘going away to college’ experience. No dorms. No sororities. No college keggers. I had to pick (what I say in my mind) lower end schools because I couldn’t afford the fancy four-year state universities my friends got to attend. I had to work, pay bills AND try to finish school.

That’s shame.

It sounds silly to write down, but it’s true. The shame gremlins (what Brown calls the nasty voices in our heads) tell me I’m not smart or good enough because I didn’t go to a state university with a competitive football team, which leads to the circumstance of my parents not being able to provide that luxury.

On one hand I’m proud to have hoofed it myself, but on the other hand, I’m ashamed of why I had to hoof it. The reason I’m proud of myself for making it through is the same reason I’m ashamed, strange right?

I don’t want to be labeled, ‘less than’ because of circumstances out of my control i.e. finances. So when somebody asks me about my family after learning of my life’s journey, I assume it’s because they want to know where the hell my family has been through all of this and I instantly feel shame, not because I’m ashamed of them but because the person doing the asking is probably judging them for ‘not being around,’ and that makes me angry, too.

Brown says, “shame is universal and one of the most primitive human emotions we experience. The people who don’t have it lack the capacity for empathy and human connection. Here’s your choice: Fess up to experiencing shame or admit that you’re a sociopath. Quick note: This is the only time that shame seems like a good option.” 

Okay, Okay, I admit it, I have shame.

According to her definition, shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging, and that there are 12 shame categories that’ve emerged from her research.

  1. Appearance and body image
  2. Money and work
  3. Motherhood/fatherhood
  4. Family
  5. Parenting
  6. Mental and physical health
  7. Addiction
  8. Sex
  9. Aging
  10. religion
  11. Surviving trauma
  12. Being stereotyped or labeled

Sidebar: There’s a difference between shame and humiliation (yup, apparently they’re not the same thing even though they sound pretty mutually exclusive). Shame is thinking “I am bad” while humiliation or guilt is “I did something bad.”

Shame holds us back and keeps us from being our best self. My best guess is that because I think less of myself I limit myself to opportunities that seem “too grandiose,” and possibly in other ways I can’t even see because I’m still operating out of shame, fear, AND guilt. WOOF.

How do you combat shame? Talk about it. Give it a name. The more you talk about it the less control it has over your life.

Cheers to hoping that Texan Brene Brown is right, because my damn gremlins are telling me this whole post was a waste of time and it’s not helping anyone, and that I just want to bable about myself…

Cultivate it.

I play better on Instagram than Facebook but regardless, come be my friend online. 

Missed Opportunity That Has Me Buggin

It’s the middle of the week, which means the weekend is ALMOST here. Anyone got anything fun going on? I’ll be getting lost in San Fransico and hiking Big Sur with the Hubs. I can’t wait to nerd out at Alcatraz, too!

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For those who were around Monday and saw my balloon face, I’m happy to report my face has gone back to its natural saggy-self, bags under my eyes and everything, but if it’s not one thing it’s another 😉 … I missed an opportunity to inspire the kids I work with every Friday, and it’s eating me up.

Two weeks ago I put an ask out for school supply donations to help KidWorks provide for its after-school programs. Staples immediately gave me three boxes of notebooks and a promise to get back with me for the possibility of more supplies (which reminds me it’s been a week and I should probably follow up).

Because I had donations to drop off, I pulled my car up to the front and began unloading. Some of the kids in my class saw my car and started asking if I was rich, how much did I pay for this car and what do I do for a living.

Had just one asked I might’ve had enough time to respond the way I wanted to, but instead, there were about four little girls oo-ing and awing, demanding an answer. To which I replied, it’s not polite to talk about money and hadn’t you heard what none-ya said? None ya bees-wax. Cue laughter and comments about my jokes being old (wait, when did that happen?! haha).

This may sound like a reasonable response and a good lesson to learn early on, but what I wish I would’ve said was this,”I grew up just like you, so one day if you work hard enough for it, you could drive this kind of car, too.”

Ya know, a real Hallmark moment.

I fell back on what I was told growing up and it bums me out because I missed an opportunity to tell the kids (in so many words) it doesn’t matter what your financial circumstances are now, if you work hard enough and believe in yourself you too can drive around in a bright blue mustang one day.

And that’s what I needed to hear as a kid.

I get it, nobody is perfect and I shouldn’t beat myself up about this one time, so I’m going to keep repeating this until the anxiety of not responding how I wanted subsides, because next time I will have the wherewithal to express the importance of dreaming for better.

Also, their ‘you’re rich!’ statement made me extremely uncomfortable and a little offended. It’s the first time anyone has thought of me as ‘well off’ and I’m still not sure how I feel about it because I didn’t grow up rich, with a silver spoon in my mouth, and nobody gave me anything, I had to fight for it.

Now I’m torn between enjoying the fruits of my hard work and determination, and still being scrappy Shannon who pinches every penny to make sure when the bottom falls out, I can still pull myself up by my bootstraps and carry on.

It’s a strange path to be walking, and incredibly fascinating a comment from a young person can send me back to this place of uncomfortableness between how I grew up and what I’ve become. I never not want to remember my roots.

There’s no need to ignore the friction, the only way I’m going to figure out how to deal with these two worlds is by sitting in the comfortableness. Ignoring will only delay the solution. Right?

If you’re like me and have a tendency to plow through emotions that are tough to swallow, I encourage you to wade around in those uncomfortable waters to see what you come out with on the other end. You might surprise yourself with a simple solution.

A Thin Layer of Glass

This week’s prompt: Screen


A thin layer of glass
that’s easily cracked
A separation of worlds both
fiction and fact
Who knew we’d care so much
about what it projected
That’d it would warp our own
sense of what’s what


Not everything on social media is a reality, quit wasting your time on someone else’s fantasy.

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Copyright 2018 @ramblinrandol.com

 

Flawsome: Adjective

Flawesome: an individual who embraces their ‘flaws’ and knows they are awesome regardless.

I wasn’t born to be perfect. I was born to be real.

This week prompt: imperfect


Our relationship is flawed because you refuse to listen.
How many more times must I express my feelings?
For I’ve clearly stated my boundaries
yet you still manage to bulldoze straight through them.
If my words and wishes don’t matter
Then why bother, it’s over
You’ll blame me for the ending when you speak about it with friends
because you’ll be able to identify when the atmosphere between us changed.
How come you can’t see your own misactions?
I’ll never fulfill that relationship you’re craving
You need to be needed in a way I can’t give
and I’m sick of repeating it to your deaf ears
For my lips tell truths you can’t handle
So let’s stop with the charades and call a spade a spade


It’s easy to confuse boundaries with control because most boundary-less people can’t fathom why there needs to be a line.

For a long time, I thought the only relationship I had to ever worry about was between me and my husband. Apparently, life forces you to deal with a multitude of relationships you don’t necessarily want or expected.

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Seeing The Forest Through The Trees

This week’s prompt was journey. 


I thought I saw the light at the end of the tunnel
But when I got to the end of the road it had a sign that told me path walkers must turn around
Now it’s foggy and unclear
There’s no end in sight and what happens if I can’t follow my feet back to the journey meant for me
There’s a fear burrowed behind my inner voice
Pulsing its nasty jagged reminder, I’m nobody and should give up
Something quieter and located closer to my gut keeps telling that fear to shut the fuck up
So I’ll just sit here snuggling chaos like a close friend
Waiting until the light shines through and show me the forest through the trees

-Sj


Do you ever feel like you’re running as fast as you can but not moving and stuck? Or, no matter how hard you fight to improve the cards are inevitably stacked against you? 

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copyright @ramblinrandol 2018

Hello From The Other Side

Yes, in my Adele voice.

It’s been awhile.

Helllloooooo again WordPress I haven’t forgotten about you, but I will admit I have forgotten about how to enjoy the parts that make me me.

Sidebar: You ever watch a movie that makes you rethink the way you’ve been operating lately, or in  entirety? I watched one of those kind of movies tonight. Ugh — fine, it was The Intern.

Damn Robert De Niro playing a sweet old man. When did he change from an everyday mobster to a kind older gentleman? Maybe that’s the secret to old age, or movies. Anyways … 

I’ve been through a lot of change in the last three months, and I think inadvertently let the things that make me me, slip.

I haven’t read a good book in ages. I haven’t written about anything that wasn’t expected of me. I began to think I didn’t have a love for words, or communicating with the masses.

After finally moving into my own place (again) and diving deeper into my new (awesome) job, I watched The Intern and immediately felt like I’ve let myself slide.

Another curse to my being. I’m too hard on myself.

I’m tired and transition takes time.

You ever feel all the change that’s happened over time hit you in one moment and it knocks you on your own feet?

Or keep yourself so busy you forget to take a deep breath and remember what’s really important. 

It’s hard to remember life is short and you have to enjoy it.

 

So why am I feeling sappy?

Because of Ben (De Nero).

He’s a widower — married 42 years, was a business man for half his life and is trying to navigate retirement. He sees a flyer for a “senior internship” program and applies because he still wants to learn and despite his perceived loneliness, views life through an optimistic spread of light.

I know, it’s a movie. The point is about how it got my wheels turning.

I hope I can always remind myself I’m never too old to learn.

I’m never too tired to let my passion slip, and I’m never too discombobulated to remember I’m only human.

So, hello from the other side — learning life after landing a career.

Musicians don’t retire, they stop when there’s no more music in them – Louis Armstrong

I still have plenty of music left in me.