Monday, April 27, 2015

Things To-Do By 40

My birthday just passed. In addition to my regular annual questions of, “where did the time go?” or “when my Dad was my age, he looked like he was 63” another important thought came to mind now that I’m conformably in my 40’s and get asked occasionally  

 “What should have I done by age 40?”

Well, after deep thought, here’s my advice of things every father and maybe every man should have done by age 40:

1. Create a Will. It’s the responsible thing to do especially if you have kids. 
2. Save for retirement. Thankfully I started at 22 when my first boss told me these very wise and insightful words, “I have no idea what a 401K is, I just know you put money in it and you won’t die poor.”
3. Run a Marathon. Or in my case a ‘more achievable’ 10K. And then on the day-of feel like your doing pretty awesome; making really good time, and then when you start getting tired, you pass the 1 mile marker, and then for the next 60 minutes ask yourself over and over again, “Oh God, I can’t feel my toes/legs/tongue...! Why did I do this?” 
4. Celebrate a milestone birthday in a foreign country. Preferably at a local karaoke bar in Kyoto, Japan singing to the tune Bee-Gee’s “Night Fever."  Just don’t fall asleep at 6PM.
5. Do something really adventurous with your spouse before having kids. In our case, we went to New Zealand for 3 weeks. One major highlight and life changing experience - we went caving with 2 guides and thought we were going to die repelling 9 stories down a giant hole. At the time I told my wife, “if you survive and I don’t, please make sure my tombstone says, “Sacrificed his life saving his young beautiful wife, and ended up falling 9 stories into a giant hole in the New Zealand countryside’.” 

By the way, I still want my tombstone to say that regardless of how I end up dying. 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Average Teen in 2015 Will Spend $919 on...Prom?

I had to read this study/release a few times as it seemed completely foreign to me - 

Costs include: 
  • Attire
  • Limo (seriously..?)
  • Flowers
  • Pictures
  • Food
  • Tickets
  • “Accommodations”  (Dear God, as a father that scares me…)
  • "After Party" (don’t like the sound of that too. Amen.)
  • "Promposal” (what-choo-talkin-bout?)

In my senior year I went to 3 proms and spent around $75, maybe $90 tops, and paid for it all out of my own pocket; I worked at a movie theater part-time. Of course, I went to those proms back-to-back Thursday, Friday, Saturday and used the same $25 tux! 
It’s a good thing my dates didn’t know about the other proms. That was something that could be done back in those days and can never happen today due to Instagram, Twitter, and social media. 

Something I find completely crazy is this new idea of a promposal. Kids today spend an average of $324 on these newly created elaborate schemes which are similar to wedding proposals. I can’t think of anything more ridiculous than spending that kind of money asking somebody to go to the prom. There are so many ways to ask these days - text, DM, call, FB, Snapchat, or here’s a novel idea: in-person without an audience...

Oh, and the most unbelievable fact from the article - parents pony up around 3/4 of that $919 mentioned above.

 Parents, why? 

Monday, April 20, 2015

When Your Kids Asks, “Have you ever heard of a vinyl record?”

My daughter asked me recently, “have you ever heard of a vinyl record?”

“Yes. Why do you ask?”

She went on to tell me how the neighbor’s 19YO had one and played them on this funny thing called a "record player.” 
I nearly died laughing inside just listening to her explain it to me.

She went on, “oh my gosh…in the old days, it was a lot of trouble to hear just ONE song. There was no Pandora. Can you believe that!?"

Then I went downstairs and hidden in our cabinet showed her my record player and around 200 records in boxes bought in the 80s and a good chunk bought in goodwill and antique shops while I was in college in the early 90’s because people were just giving them away. Most of then still had the price tags of $.25 to a steep $1.50! I’ve always had a thing for records as it always reminded me of my grandmother listening to records (mostly Tom Jones) on Saturday mornings while eating breakfast. 

Now nearly every Saturday morning she loves getting up early and playing records on this novel record player and telling her friends about her dad has this huge collection that she’ll get one day. 

Now I’m feeling like some hipster; of course before hipsters were cool. So does that make me a pre-hipster? 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Connecting With The Kids On A Family Vacation

Last week, for my vacation and my daughter's spring break, our family spent the entire week on the California Central Coast (San Luis Obispo) area doing activities such as hiking, “geocaching", playing on the beach, visiting wineries, riding bikes, picnicking at parks with playgrounds, and my personal favorite: the occasional afternoon nap in the sun to the sound of crashing waves (I can’t think of anything more relaxing than that!)
It was so much better than our normal family affair of a multi-day theme park visit to someplace like Disney World. 
On the way home I asked my kids what their favorite activities were from the week. My 4 year-old answered, “eating Easter candy and visiting a farm” and my 9 year-old, “playing on the beach and the REALLY fun conversations we had while hiking.” 

"…the REALLY fun conversations we had while hiking.”


A trip well spent. 

Monday, April 06, 2015

Leaving a Lasting Positive Impression

I met an interesting friend-of-a-friend last week visiting from Ireland. 

His name is Paul. 

A really nice guy that likes to talk a lot about life in general; topics like family, friends, work, travels, people all in an upbeat and positive sort of way. He’s the kind of person that would easily call you a 'good friend’ as an introduction to another after just meeting and speaking with you for a hour. 
He makes a infectious and positive impression just from his upbeat attitude and outlook but probably doesn’t realize it.

This morning after my wife and kids made my annual Birthday breakfast, I found out Paul passed away last night from an epileptic seizure. 

Paul was 38. 

It really puts things in perspective when rushing through life: what kind of impression are we making to those around us? It could be one of many or possibly the last.  How do we want people to remember us? We could have the best heart and intentions in the world, but what we do, what we say, how we act, our actions, how we treat others, our gratitude, acknowledging how blessed we are in life -- that's what matters. 

I strive to leave that kind of lasting positive impression on others, as Paul left on me.