2 Ways To Start Taking Back Your Life

RR Crane

Technology improvements are hitting us at a pace unseen in human history, and with these changes, technology-based noise and disruption have increased from a trickle to a steady stream.

Big screen TVs tuned to multiple channels in restaurants, people at concerts glued to their mobile devices, Grandma Sue at the dinner table looking at Facebook, Uncle Jeff driving his car texting, Cousin Vinnie walking down the street using WhatsApp, and the examples are neverending, 

Reports indicate that the attention of a human is now less than the attention of a goldfish. Much of this change is related to technological advances in the twenty-first century. 

The terrible thing about disruption and noise is that if you are interrupted by a text, email, etc., it can take fifteen to twenty minutes to refocus on your work. The ultimate squirrel chase or journey down a rabbit hole.

Think about the possible time wasted each day based on an interruption, and what is increasing your productivity worth based on these issues? 

If you are interrupted once an hour, you lose a minimum of 25% of your productive time, and these are interruptions that you are aware of if you pay attention. Considering the interruptions, you are responsible for, you are experiencing significantly reduced productivity levels.

If you wonder why it feels like you never accomplish anything, perhaps you should try a few things to take your life back from the technology thief. It’s your choice, but why not give it a shot?

I am tired of the technology hamster wheel we are on, and I have made and will continue to make significant and minor changes to take my life back. All it takes is baby steps in the right direction to change that overwhelmed feeling.

Enough background, now I will provide examples of technology disruption and noise and how I started to take my life back. Using this information is your choice, but these methods have worked for me.

 Example #1 – SInce I was a child, I have followed NFL Football like a religion. I watched as many games as possible each week, researched stats, and participated in football picks and pools. As if that was not enough, once I was involved in fantasy football, a whole new world was upon me. 

In my mind, I was only doing this during my leisure hours, but once I started tracking my activity, it became clear that it was bleeding over into my professional life. How? Instant notifications by my apps of player injuries and other concerns, and when that happened, I would lose somewhere between fifteen and twenty minutes until I regained my focus. 

Change #1 – To increase my productivity in this area, I initially shut off notifications for all apps that provided updates on players, teams, etc., and I limited my research until after work and lunch. This little tweak gave me at least one hour of focused time per day, resulting in a 12.5% increase in focus time during football season.

I have since gone further on eliminating noise from technology supporting NFL Football, but this small step gave me back 12.5% of my work life.

 Example #2 – How often do you look at your text messages, whether you receive a notification or not? Did I get a new text and miss it would run through my mind if I did not verify at least every half hour, and once I looked at my phone, I had other notifications, so guess what? I was chasing a squirrel or going down a rabbit hole. 

I thought I was being proactive by verifying if one of my hundreds of personnel or thousands of customers texted me with an issue, and once I tracked how many times I did this each day (upward of 50), I realized I had a problem.

Change #2 – I informed the world that I check my text messages once an hour unless I am driving, and if driving, I check them when I stop. If there was an immediate need, I directed them to call me. To further prevent me from looking, I silence my phone and place it out of arm’s reach as required.

I have taken additional steps to eliminate noise from text messages, but this small step gave me back at least 20% of my work life.

We live in a new world that inundates with more information updates than ever before. It is our choice whether we control the updates or if the updates control us. 

I, for one, am taking my life back and would love to help others take their lives back. The list is endless, and I will provide more ways to start taking your life back in future posts.

What are your thoughts on this subject? 

What have you done to take your life back?

Have a great day, J.

The New Norm Is Not The New Nice

I am a Sixties child who grew up in the Seventies and spread my wings in the Eighties, so I have a level of optimism formed by these formative years.

Between Star Trek, Star Wars, Mission Impossible, Apollo Moon Launches, Soyez, Disney World, Twin Towers, and other positive messages about the future, you could not help but believe we could achieve anything.

The Sixties and Seventies were also the time of Vietnam, Watergate, Oil Embargos, Race Riots, Stagflation, Cold War Escalation, and several other negative messages about the past, but optimism outweighed the adverse events.

Downtown Aurora

Once the Cold War ended, it looked like we would experience many of our futuristic dreams since our investment in the military-industrial complex decreased.

I was in the submarine service when significant military downsizing occurred, with budget reductions reflecting the United States as the only superpower.

The military operation tempo increased due to more issues and fewer resources. Still, our budgets decreased, so I retired based on the challenges one would experience in a smaller Navy, and I wanted to be involved in my young family.

We had a positive outlook on the world and our future through the Nineties until the Dot-Com Bubble burst in 2000-2001. The first of many manufactured economic challenges we would experience from 2000 through 2022.

In 2001, we experienced 911. This event brought our nation closer than it had been since World War II due to patriotism, which was quite an accomplishment based on how split the country had become. Little did I know.

The military-industrial complex ramped up to combat the War On Terrorism, and as a people, we supported the war based on shock about the attack on the United States. During this timeframe, our economy reeled from the unknown.

While fighting the War On Terrorism, we experienced much erosion of the freedoms guaranteed through our constitution, and there was limited pushback since we needed to be safe. The thought was that the government would roll back the changes in time. Wrong again.

In the 21st Century, we have also experienced a new level of ugly politics and how far people are willing to go to retain power, which is on both sides of the aisle. Many of us ask, what have we done?

In late 2007, uncontrolled spending coupled with politically instigated pitfalls resulted in the Great Recession that destroyed much of our economy. Pessimism towards the new Century continued to grow.

The United States recovered once again, although the Dollar was devalued significantly through Quantitative Easing, so Middle and Lower Class earners continued to work harder for less.

Life moved on, and we experienced no recessions during the 2010s decade. Instead, during this decade, riots and protests supporting civil unrest doubled worldwide, and the United States was not immune to this.

I believe the politician Rham Emanuel once said, “you never let a serious crisis go to waste,” so I read that as stoke the fire to achieve what you want. Perhaps, I am reading this wrong, but I am concerned about our inability to work together.

Every day, hour, and minute, we are bombarded with negative news surrounding civil unrest and the reasons for civil unrest. Why is this? Perhaps because negative news sells, and if we push the narrative further, there will be even more negative news.

Is there a reason for civil unrest? According to Census Data, most minorities have seen a decrease in poverty between 1980 and 2020, with white poverty increasing during this same time frame. The problem is that minority poverty continues to be significantly higher than white poverty.

Do other factors play into this unrest? Yes, they do, but as a nation, equality has increased, but not fast enough. I believe stoked issues are responsible for much of the unrest we experience. Valid but amplified.

We move on, in my opinion, to the most significant artificial recessions in history. These include the COVID-19 2020 recession and the current recession we are experiencing in 2022.

I find it hard to believe that anyone would be shocked by these recessions since we have printed more money, stopped business operations, made strategic swings based on politics, and wrote more government checks to change the perception.

Remember what Rham Emanuel said, “you never let a serious crisis go to waste,” If you couple this statement with a toxic news-driven work populace, you are in trouble.

Both parties are responsible for the mess. We must return to a more optimistic and frugal time where future generations can not only dream but achieve those dreams.

Politicians from Greatest Generation helped put us in the position we are in today. Still, Baby Boomer politicians have cast cement shoes for future generations as perhaps a last hurrah to the Sixties and Seventies.

I am still optimistic about future generations cleaning up this mess, but I believe there will be much more pain in the future based on the early 21st Century.

For this reason, I pray for a turnaround in humanity, equality, and prosperity every day.

What is your opinion about the situation we are in today?

What are your solutions to resolve this?

Wishing you a great day. J

JTP

The Great Hunt 2022

In late 2021, I left my last employer after the owner sold the company; the new owners brought in their management team, relegating me to taking care of facilities, fleets, special projects, etc. It was probably a pride thing for me, and if I had thought it out differently, I probably would have stayed more than a year with the new company owners.

The straw that broke the camel’s back was my assignment to the ERP upgrade team, and I had no interest in being tied up for an extended period on one specific project. I left the company in December hot on the trail of two (2) excellent opportunities that I was perfect for, and all indications led me to believe I had a job by early January 2022.

Shocker, neither opportunity panned out, and I received my first exposure to the new world of applicant ghosting by businesses, non-profits, and private and government job placement agencies. Wow, all you could hear was crickets when you tried to get an update, and if you did get an update, it was limited. Oh well, a record number of companies need employees’ so no big deal. Yeah, right.

I applied to hundreds of companies, worked with numerous career, and recruiting agencies, and worked on self-employment options, including restarting my consulting business and starting a coaching or service delivery business. I spent a few dollars, learned a few lessons, and walked away with no specific solution to my employment dilemma.

I did have opportunities that I explored with a consultative attitude to determine if the company was the right fit for me. To my dismay, one was greasy, one had no differentiation from the competition, and one was toxic when I walked in the door. We live and learn, and I must have the right fit at this point in life.

I did find one good fit working with one of my old CEOs, but the position is commission only, so a challenge for my bride of 35 years. I am still working on this angle but believe my bride will win.

It is August 2022, and I am still not actively employed, but I am hot on the trail of a couple of opportunities that may produce fruit and have over 50 applications submitted. I am still good because I have probably achieved something that no job ever provided to me. What is that?

I became more spiritual in 2022 than at any time other than when I was a child. We joined a church; we are involved in a Youth Group, teach Children Sunday School, and volunteer for situations of need. I also have the Credentials of Ministry for the Universal Life Church to officiate weddings and other events.

I peeled back the onion for myself, getting a clearer picture of who I am and why I tick. I have participated in several self-help events and read inspiring books to assist in my personal development. In addition to training, I have taken development courses on becoming a coach. I may be an old dog, but I am learning new tricks.

Investment in my family life and hobbies after traveling nearly 50% of the time has always been secondary to my career. I learned that I have much to make up for in the family and myself. I also promised my grandson, who is ten months old, that I would be here for him. My desire to not travel domestically or globally to be here for the family is a challenge in my job hunt, but that’s okay.

There are many moving parts to my being, and how they mesh is critical to how I approach each day. I am working on numerous areas to become a better person for my family, friends, co-workers, etc. My long-term goal is to become a Spiritual Life Coach to help people regain control of their lives. Until I am there, I will work a regular job that my bride agrees with to bridge the gap.

I am still not actively employed as I write this, but I know my spiritual power (God) wants me to use my superpowers for the right opportunity once identified. I have learned that I must close many doors from the past once I accept them and move on to the future, and once more, my spiritual power will lead the way.

Fifty Plus Going On Fifteen is challenging when looking for a job, but it is possible. At Fifty Plus Going On Fifteen, finding yourself and what you need to become is just as crucial as finding a job, so wish me luck.

What are your thoughts on this subject? Do you have doors to the past you need to accept and close? What are your dreams at Fifty Plus Going On Fifteen?

Have a great day!! J

Jay

The World Turned Upside Down

 

If I had fallen into a coma in late 2019 and woke up today, I would not believe the changes that have occurred in our great nation and the world in less than three years, and I have bottled up much in the last four years.

I remember snickering in the airport in 2019 and earlier about foreign visitors wearing facemasks to prevent illness based on my Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical (NBC) warfare training. Yes, it was some time ago, but a cloth mask only guards against large particles, so this is perceived protection.

Today, I still run into people at Walmart wearing these same masks with beards hanging out, or pulled under their noses, so I scratch my head. It is their choice, so be you but don’t force it on me.

During the Cold War, our selling points against the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc countries were shortages of everyday items and health care. Again, it was some time ago, but the United States and free countries were the lands of plenty.

Today, we have formula shortages, gas prices were recently at an all-time high, and our health system, supply chain, and logistics systems have not yet recovered from the pandemic. Who would have dreamed that you could not find toilet paper to wipe your butt or would need to wait months for a medical appointment? It makes me think about the movie Soylent Green.

In 2020, we had an election that would have reminded you of Banana Republics based on the intimidation of legal voters, disregard for qualifying ballots, spineless politicians, and overbearing court systems.

We have since seen a recovering economy driven into the dirt and experiencing inflation comparable to stagflation in the 70s and 80s. It is funny what happens when one party owns the Senate, Congress, and White House. I like gridlock.

The great resignation occurred after the pandemic shutdowns, and with that, all we have heard is that companies cannot find employees to work for them, and compensation has spiked. Additionally, workers figured out they were more productive working from home, so why return?

With these issues, we have seen unprecedented ghosting by potential employees and employers, so it shouldn’t be a shock that confidence in the workplace has dropped. Furthermore, this problem will continue with employers calling employees back to the workplace.

I could go on, but I believe I have made my point about the differences between the world of 2019 and 2022. I apologize to the future generations impacted by the mess that all current workforce ages have caused.

If you complain about something, you must provide solutions, and my answers are straightforward.

– Get out of my bedroom.

– Get out of my workplace.

– Get out of my life.

Government has its place, but we have allowed elected and unelected officials a level of power that has never been allowed in this country. We need to select individuals not in it for control, hold them accountable, and rein in all areas of elected and unelected government.

Just my opinion and I would love to hear yours.

Yes, at one point, we could have differing opinions and get along, but with our current divisiveness, it is a challenge.

Wishing you a great day and a great life. J

Straddling The Fence

It has been some time since I last blogged, and I apologize. I believe I have been in the wilderness for some time, going from job to job after my mother passed, but I am finding myself five (5) years later.

Much has happened in the world since I last blogged, the pandemic, the 2020 election, inflation levels not seen in decades, and for the first time in my life, I have been unemployed by choice and by uncontrolled events.

For the past eight (8) months, I have been learning who Jay, this Fifty Plus Going On Fifteen person, was and who I want to be. In 2021, my grandson blessed me with his arrival, and I promised him I would be here for him.


What is straddling the fence? Well, straddling the fence is when you can go in either direction on a subject, and the issue I have been wrestling with is to I work for someone in a contemporary eight (8) to five (5) job, which is never that simple or do I work for myself having numerous clients.

The simple answer is that I want to work for myself, but I have a bride of 35 years and a daughter that want me to work a contemporary eight (8) to five (5) job and not care. You know the type of job, punch in, punch out, and get by. Unluckily, I cannot operate that way, and I will probably never be able to.

So, my direction with my son’s support is to work for myself, and to prepare for this direction, I have invested in training and coaching. Now I straddle the fence on which direction to support my 80/20 efforts.

From December 2021 through July 2022, I have attempted to find a contemporary eight (8) to five (5) job but based on my past work experience, and I cannot start a position and walk the required line.

Yes, I have done this numerous times, but my most recent experience during the pandemic was life-changing, as I am sure many of you have experienced. So, this life-changing experience changed how I look at an opportunity or business when interviewing in the following ways.

When I interview for an opportunity, I ask numerous questions about the potential opportunity and business that intimidates those interviewing me, which does not help me in my goal for a contemporary eight (8) to five (5) job.

When the interview goes well, and I accept, I look for red flags when I start the job, and if the business is toxic, the owner has lied, or similar situations occur, I am out of there so quick your hat spins.

So, when an opportunity allows for an interview or results in a job, I am no longer flexible to crap I believe is unacceptable.

If that is not enough of a challenge, I have applied for hundreds of opportunities of interest. If I hear back, I do not meet the profile they are looking for, I did not indicate if I was coachable, I am overqualified, and the list goes on. Most times, I hear nothing back even after interviews. Go figure!

God has a plan for me, and it looks like even though I have straddled the fence trying to make everyone happy, I am at a point where I am transitioning to my genuine desire to work for myself.

What are my visions of working for myself?

My goal is to elevate people through spiritual coaching sessions to help them take back their lives from the disruption of technology and provide guidance on how they can regain excitement at work through increased productivity. I have significant experience in this area, working with thousands of personnel during my career.

Another goal is to help businesses multiply their bottom line through consulting services that utilize my experience concentrating on the 80/20, developing compelling offers, multiplying average order value by transaction, and investing in the right talent or hybrid solutions. I have been a leader in similar improvement achievements at several businesses I have touched.

My transition is one of the reasons I have started to post on Linked In and blog again. Although I still have feelers out for a contemporary eight (8) to five (5) job, I believe I need to nudge myself over the fence to move toward working for myself. I would do this because I have much to offer individuals and businesses needing assistance.

Of course, if a contemporary eight (8) to five (5) opportunity of interest came along to help supplement my income, I would also need to consider doing this. Many believe you don’t have a plan B, but I have always believed in multiple scenarios.

What are your thoughts about straddling the fence and having multiple plans?

Are you fighting with fence straddling? If so, explain what and why.

Have A Great One!!

J

#engage #encourage #empathize #empower #coach

Achieve Your Dream But Not At The Expense Of Others

During my entire life, our society has worked towards increasing the empowerment for those that historically were not in that select group that was empowered. I am now in the demographic group that was considered to have the power, and I have always supported the idea of equal opportunity no matter what.

My idea of equal opportunity is just that, similar ability to achieve your dreams but at the same time, your ability to be a victim would decrease so the nation since you were part of the solution. To get to this point it was imperative to level the playing field was leveled, helping hands were provided, and other efforts applied to shatter the so-called glass ceiling which impacts many demographics.

So, we are nearly twenty years into the 21st century, and it has been fifty years since the 1960s when this experiment in life honestly started. As a believer in these lofty goals, I must ask what happened or even better yet who twisted great intentions into a political hammer that has split our country into so many fragments.

In less than a lifetime, I have seen so many barriers that prevented upward mobility removed and at times replaced with what appeared as preferential treatment. As demands become more militant, it is harder to justify based on historical wrongs. I must question our actions.

I maintain my belief that our actions were sound surrounding our goal of greater equality and we still have a ways to go. On the flipside, I am not clear why it is acceptable to reap the benefits of progress but scream even louder about being a victim. Being fifty plus I recently experience the gray ceiling when I lost my job, burned through my savings, and was blessed to find employment that took advantage of my skills finally.

I do not believe this is a generational thing but truly think it is the last gasp of the 1960s radical minority that has embedded itself in so much of society and knows that the clock is running out for them to achieve the desired anarchy they have promoted. Of course, I could be wrong, but I believe it is incredibly coincidental when you compare 1968 and 2018. In 1968, we the divisive politics and the Vietnam war sparked the flames and in 2018 years of divisive politics and Middle Eastern wars ignited similar flames. 

I was a child in the late 1960s but I will never forget how the media and politicians drove divisiveness and they are doing the same thing today. Again, I may be incorrect, but the feeling of helplessness is very familiar. 

So, the middle-aged white guy is complaining about how unfair and fragmented the world is, and you know what, I am because I am concerned about how politically correct we have become as a nation, and I am not sure how we are going to stop it. I believe we need to treat everyone with respect no matter who they are and there should include humanmade limitations for anyone to accomplish their dreams.

Contrary to many opinions, some limitations are not humanmade that may prevent the accomplishment of your dreams but in today’s environment that appears to be a disputed opinion with a simple solution of lowering the standards to achieve these dreams. Perhaps that is acceptable for some goals, but I want stringent standards if it is for my protection or could impact my life.

There are also unrealistic dreams that many promote such as paying employees in the fast food industry more than our underpaid armed service members, but what’s wrong with wealth redistribution right it helps them achieve their dreams. Come to think about it, communism was similar to philosophy, and we all know how that worked out. 

My grandmother, mother, and wife worked full time earning wages that were below a mans pay in a comparable career, so I am onboard with equality. I am happy that my daughters pay to a mans pay so I know we have made progress leveling the playing field. I believe we still must improve but also think it is time to stop throwing the victim card on the table.

We are not out of the woods in this area, but I am getting tired of the drama and wish people work as hard at tearing down the walls instead of building divisive fences. Of course, it is only a minority that does this, but screaming the loudest makes you heard.

  • Just some thoughts and I am interested in hearing your thoughts.

Being fifty plus going on fifteen can be frustrating but I am impressed with the amount of progress we have made during my life.

Have a great one, Jay

Life Tidbits #7 – Submarine Life – Fifty Plus Going On Fifteen

When people find out that I rode submarines and retired from the Navy over twenty years ago, they either say “they could never do that” or “what was it like” and I would like to provide a quick documented overview.

Being obligated to maintain secrecy on specifics, I will be able to give you a taste of submarine life and perhaps down the road I will write some imaginative stories about submarines during and after the Cold War. Service on a Fast Attack Submarine was much more fun during the Cold War than after the Cold War when excitement revolved around carrier escorts and NATO operations.

I walked on my first submarine right after it completed an overhaul period, so the crew was very green since crew turnover occurs every three years or so. We did have our veterans on board that gained experience on the boat I was assigned to or transferred from a different submarine. The early 1980s were a period that we were trying to get to a 500 ship Navy so if it floated; the submarine was commissioned.

The first time you walk onboard a submarine, two things impact you. The first item is the smell of the boat, and I would be remiss if I did not confirm there is a reason they are called pig boats (no disrespect meant for pigs). The second item that hits you is these lack of space during normal operations and less during deployments.

There were many things that most people would consider abnormal that happened on submarines but when you stick 120 plus people on a vessel 350 feet long and around 30 feet wide with berthing that only supports 90 or so it is an abnormal environment on the most normal of days.

When you arrive onboard, you must complete a pile of qualifications that you are expected to accomplish to perform your primary and secondary jobs and also earn your Dolphins. Qualifying for your Dolphins requires that you learn about all submarine systems and how to combat casualties if and when they occur. You were typically given a year to earn your Dolphins, and once you received them they were pinned on your chest, and everyone tacked on your Dolphins. I doubt this is acceptable anymore.

When underway, days were 18 hours in length not 24 hours in length and an underway day usually consisted of six hours performing your primary job, six hours performing secondary responsibilities and preventive maintenance on equipment, and six hours of personal time to sleep, read, watch movies, and be involved in ships drills. You were usually lucky to get 4 hours of sleep during the eighteen hour day, but it was better than being a Nuc.

Before getting underway, you would load stores which are the equivalent to ordering ninety days of supplies from Amazon for 130 personnel, having it dropped off on the pier, and you had to load and store everything onto the submarine. The nearly six foot high passageways and berthing areas would have canned goods stacked at least one layer high reducing ceiling height, and you would use every open space for critical items (toilet paper, dry foods, spare parts, etc.) It was always fun through cases of food at others as we were lined up from the pier, across the brow and into the boat interior to load our stores.

You knew the day and time based on the food you ate. The first week to ten days you would eat all the fresh and perishable foods. Once you ran out of new and perishable goods, you ate frozen and canned foods for many months to come. Many of these meals had colorful names such as “acid rain spaghetti”, “Nairobi trail markers,” “puss rockets,” etc., but my favorite meals were Friday lunch where we had shrimp and mac & cheese and Saturday midrats where we had pizza for Casino Night. 

Showers and laundry were always a challenge since most of the water produced went to the nuclear reactor and cooking, so you were able to use 30 seconds of water to prep to suds up and 30 seconds of water to rinse when showering. You could do laundry as needed but many times you would need to wait a week plus to wash the limited possessions you had due to water conservation. The longest we went without showers was about two weeks when the evaporator broke down, and we did not have parts to fix it. The boat was a bit ripe when we pulled in.

Submarines used a unique method of assigning berthing (sleeping) space. Racks were smaller than a coffin, and you had a three-inch tray to store everything you need for the deployment if you had your bed. If you were a junior crewmember, you would typically hotrack which is sharing berthing space with at least one other sailor where you would have half the space to store what you own and take turns sleeping in the rack. Of course, you had your bedding so it was not as bad as it could have been.

We made our oxygen, water, electricity, so it was much like an all enclosed community that was a few hundred feet under water. We also had our sewer systems, garbage disposal methods, and continuously cleaned the boat since you never knew who may pop in when you were below the ocean surface. 

A small taste of what I did for many years while in the Navy riding submarines and I do not regret the life I lived, friends I made, and experiences I had. The memories are etched in stone, and I will never forget the fun we had during angles and dangles, during on station operations, and when we pulled into port and lew off some steam. I am sure we would not have met today’s PC requirements, but we did not harm anyone that I know if.

  • So what questions do you have about submarine duty?
  • Did you experience a similar environment during your life?

I sure love being fifty plus going on fifteen and appreciate your stopping by.

Have a great one,

Jay

Can Do, Can’t Do, Won’t Do – Fifty Plus Going On Fifteen

The week is in the can, and it has been a challenge when it comes to Can Do, Can’t Do, and Won’t Do. I have always had the attitude of Can Do no matter the situation or odds, but this week I was challenged by many individuals with apparent goals of Can’t Do and Won’t Do.

What is Can Do?

Can Do is knowing that there are no walls that can prevent you from accomplishing your goals. You either climb over, go around, dig under or break through the wall to achieve your task.

  • If there is not a torpedo in the water, there is nothing to worry about, and there should be no reason we cannot accomplish the challenges that are in front of us.  No reason at all.
  • Can Do takes drive and devotion. Not everyone has drive and dedication, but both are contagious when you can energize those around you a Can Do atmosphere.

There are many ways to describe Can Do, and some of them include.

  • Gung Ho.
  • Eager.
  • Willing.
  • Will Do.
  • Go-Get-Em.
  • Enthusiastic.
  • Optimistic.
  • Overachieving.

I like the simple term of Can Do.

This week I experienced much Can’t Do and Won’t Do, and in my mind, there is nothing more devastating to moral than these types of attitudes.

  • Can’t Do is justifiable since the individuals believe there is a reason Can Do cannot be accomplished. In these situations, you can motivate through enlightenment, and there is the potential to turn them into Can Do believers. 
  • Won’t Do is an entirely different situation where the individual usually is close-minded and will not listen to any reasoning. When this situation occurs, efforts to motivate or enlighten are limited, so it is doubtful you will make them into a Can Do believer.

Our world would be much different if it wasn’t for Can Do people.

  • We would still be driving around in buggies if Can’t Do and Won’t Do people were in charge of new product development.
  • Man would not have traveled to the moon or sent probes to deep space if Can’t Do and Won’t Do people were leading our space program.
  • Immunizations would not be available if Can’t Do and Won’t Do people were responsible for our health care.

The list goes on and on about how our world would be different if Can Do people did not exist, and I am proud to call myself a Can Do person.

I am going into a new week, and I will once again battle with Can’t Do and Won’t Do attitudes. I believe I will break down some of the walls and make progress, but it is still a battle I wish I did not need to wage. 

  • What are you? A Can Do, Can’t Do, or Won’t Do person? Did I miss any?
  • Do you deal with similar challenges? How do you react to these challenges?

Being a Can Do person when fifty plus going on fifteen is a good thing. I hope I never lose this desire to win, but we will see.

Have a great one and thanks for stopping by. 

jay

Life Tidbits #6 – Growing Up A Cops Kid – Fifty Plus Going On Fifteen

During the 1960s and 1970s, I grew up in the city of Jamestown North Dakota which had a population of approximately 15,000 people. My dad was a cop, my uncle was a cop, and another of my uncles was sheriff in Fargo North Dakota.

You would think that growing up as a cops kid would allow for many priveledges but all and all there were few during this transitional time in the history of our nation. 

Before starting school in the late 1960s, I remember being so proud of my families law enforcement and military heritage. Many of my friends at a young age were also children of cops (COCs), so none of us had a clue about how society viewed cop kids.

I will never forget the day I started first grade at Washington School. I had a crew cut, Clark Kent glasses, and was so happy to attend my first day of class.  At noon recess, I was outside playing with some new friends that I had made when a small group of kids came up to me and called me a pigs kid.  Wow, I could not believe it and next thing you know multiple kids were beating me down.

With this one event, I started to learn many new skills in life both good and bad that I continue to carry with me to this day. 

During elementary school grades one (1) through six (6) I was able to slide one way, swerve a different direction, and typically keep a low profile although being a pigs kid would get me an occasional beat down. I was not a great fighter so customarily seen the worst of each fight, but in fourth (4th) grade I beat the biggest bully in our class, and we became friends. 

We did not have a Middle School in Jamestown but had a Junior High School. When I started Junior High in the 1970’s, all of the elementary schools fed into the Junior High School it all started over again, but now I had six (6) times the harassment. 

Most of the other cops kids opted out as troublemakers to beat the pig’s kid label, but I was in the Boy Scouts and was overall a good kid although sometimes a bit mischevious. My attitude would shift significantly in eighth grade.

On a chilly fall evening during my eighth (8th) grade year, I was leaving a Boy Scout meeting and was jumped by a schoolmate, and when I had the upper hand in the fight, his father pulled up in his car and tried to get away from the fight.  As I walked away, I was grabbed and shoved through a plate glass window where I received a six (6) inch gash in my arm that went to the bone. My schoolmate and his father left the scene as I bled out.

I was rushed to the hospital by another Boy Scouts parent and after more than 300 stitches inside and outside of the wound I was released and went home. My entire world changed in one evening and with that my persona was never the same during my childhood in North Dakota.

I returned to school two (2) days later and during first-period study hall the kid who pushed me through the plate glass window and left me to bleed out sat in a front row desk. I walked into the study hall and approached him looking for a confrontation. Once in front of him, something snapped, and he was under me begging for me to stop beating on him.  Our teacher pulled me off, and that is when I noticed I had reopened my wound and believed I had closed the issue. 

My life instantaneously changed as I transitioned from a cops kid that was one service project away from Eagle Scout to a juvenile delinquent that was on the hot seat for revenge at school and later blamed for the fight at Boy Scouts because of what happened at school following our battle. 

Perhaps it was sweet justice, but I still believe it was a raw deal. This single week in my early teenage years impacted me from this date until well beyond the day I graduated high school and joined the Navy.

The next few years were a whirlwind for me as I ran with the wrong people, made the wrong decisions, was arrested and put on probation, ran away to the Rocky Mountains, and was involved in many things I regret to this day.

As I approached the age of sixteen (16), I knew I had to do something different, or I was going to end up breaking big rocks into small rocks and gluing small rocks back into big rocks. I had worked full time since fourteen (14) and was successful but had no interest in school.

I decided I needed to join the military if I wanted to get out of town since I had no cash for college so on my seventeenth (17th) birthday I signed up with the Navy and would leave a couple of weeks after I graduated from High School. 

I thought I was good to go, but I had to contract mononucleosis early in my Senior year and missed too many days of class as I lost over 30 pounds and could barely pull myself out of bed. 

Life took another turn, and I had to transfer my records to a small school outside of town to graduate High School once I was healthy. I knew I had to leave town now, so I agreed to go into the Navy without a guarantee for specific training and reported to the Navy six (6) months before I would have graduated with my class.

Growing up a cops kid in North Dakota was interesting. It made me who I am today and if I could change anything I doubt I would other than making better decisions. If there were one thing I wish I could do over, it would be to complete all requirements to be an Eagle Scout, but that was taken out of my hands by events that were not under my control.

The nice thing about being fifty plus going on fifteen includes being able to look at life and be at ease about how it turned out.

  • What would you change in your formative years?

Thanks for stopping by and commenting. 

Jay

What Happened – Fifty Plus Going On Fifteen

When I rode submarines in the 80s and 90s, returning home after a long deployment was similar to going to a new country. You may ask why I say this and I would love to let you know why.

One of the first things I would do included watching advertisements on television, yes, you heard correctly.  Every commercial was like a Superbowl commercial because there were new products you had not seen, and the advertising strategy changed, so you watched the tube in awe.  I miss Mr. Whipple squeezing the Charmin. 

Imagine not seeing a movie for six months, and on your return, there were months of films to catch up on at the theaters. Your budget could not support it, but you could always catch a movie, and there were no repeats until your next cruise. These were the days of Breakfast Club, Red Dawn, and the Brat Pack.

Eating out was an adventure for your taste buds since your meals consisted of canned and instant food for months. During one deployment, we only had canned sweet potatoes, canned ham, and canned chili for our main course for two weeks. Even McDonalds was good eating.

The warmness of the sun when you hung out at the beach was incredible after months of fluorescent lighting. You had to be careful, or you would end up with burns on top of blisters which I still have concerns about nearly 40 years later. I loved Rhode Island beaches.

It was one thing cruising around on a submarine but having the ability to travel through multiple states in New England provided many adventures.  We would visit dog tracks, historical sites, street fairs, and more on any given day without repeat. My Oldsmobile 442 loved the backroads.

We ran the rapids on the Farmington River in canoes and learned this was not a good idea when we tore out the rivets that held the aluminum together, and the captain went down with the ship. We had to pay for the vessels we destroyed.

If we ran into a new area that interested us, we would grab some hotdogs and camp without tents, blankets or concern for our safety. We had many great nights just sitting around a fire and sleeping on car-sized boulders. I loved hotdogs filled with cheese. 

The backroads of New England were a ball riding motorcycles with curvey two-lane roads, limited traffic, and beautiful places to stop and enjoy life.  My candy apple red Honda Shadow loved to scream through the countryside.

I learned to eat different foods, and one of my favorite types of pizza had eggplant and anchovies on it. The Golden Gate Cafe was our favorite pizza place and had a fantastic jukebox where we would listen to White Horse, 99 Red Balloons and similar tunes.

These were carefree days where we had fun, had no concerns and lived life to the fullest. I thought those days would never end, but they did as I married, had kids and transitioned into a responsible adult.

Since those days so long ago, I retired from the Navy, raised two kids to adulthood, lived in multiple states, said goodbye to many loved pets, enjoyed a 20-year career with service companies and have been lucky enough to have a bride of thirty plus years.

During these many years, I have been amazed by the changes I have observed but continue to believe we if you reap what you sow. Recent events concern me, and I must question how we as a people and nation have become so inoculated to the events that are occurring around us.

I believe the Millennial generation will become an anchor for the nation since so many of the Baby Boom generation I belong does not get it.  We will wait and see, but I believe we are at a point in our civilization that the Millennials need to take control now before us Baby Boomers screw up more.

  • What are your thoughts about Millennials and Baby Boomers?

Have a great one and believe me when I say I am happy to be fifty plus going on fifteen and I have faith in the Millennials turning this around.

Have a great one. 

Jay