AW

Beyond Resolutions

In Pursuit of Happiness on January 1, 2010 at 7:13 pm

We tend to look at the changing of the calendar as an opportunity for a fresh start… a chance to “right the ship.” It usually starts with a resolution, rarely written, occasionally verbalized, and more often than not – just an internal thought. By mid-January, the holiday effect has worn off, and for most people, it’s back to the grind. Life starts to happen, and before you know it, the resolution ship starts to go off course again, adrift in a sea of busyness.

Overcrowded gyms start to thin out, allowing the regulars to get back to their routines. A cookie here, a piece of cake there, and the resolution diet commitments start to fall by the wayside. A couple of stressful days, and former smokers need a smoke to take the edge off. By February, most people return to their pre-holiday “normal.” Try as we might, our good intentions quickly fade into a distant memory. As the saying goes…“The road to hell is paved with good intentions!”

Many years ago, I gave up on the concept of resolutions because I realized that they never stuck. The past few years haven’t been great for most people, largely due to the economy and the new normal that we are all facing. Irrational exuberance has been replaced by fear of the unknown. Saving is now in vogue, spending is not. “Downsizing” is a word that has become all too familiar in today’s times. The wild party that raged in the past decade in the stock market and the real estate market has come to a grinding halt. Who knows when, or if, it will return in our lifetimes?

As I reflect back upon the last decade, I do so with mixed emotions. On the one hand, the greatest gifts that I have ever received arrived as I became a father. On the other hand, I lost my father, which makes many of my happy moments a little bittersweet. Our collective innocence was lost as a nation on 9/11, and it’s hard to see a time when it will ever return. Although we recovered from the initial financial shock caused by 9/11, we had no idea that the world economy, built like a house of cards, would come tumbling down in one fell swoop.

If I had this past decade to do over again, there are a lot of changes that I would make. Unfortunately, that’s not how life works. Foresight is never as crystal clear as hindsight. And while often times painful, hindsight can be valuable if we use it to avoid repeating mistakes of the past. Personally speaking, this past decade has been eye-opening (to say the least). While I will not make resolutions that are tied into one specific goal, I am making some broad ones this year that I plan on carrying into the future. They are as follows…

THE PURSUIT OF HEALTH

I’ve been reminded lately just how fragile life can be. If this past decade has shown me anything, it is that none of us is guaranteed tomorrow. And though there are no guarantees, I see the value in trying to be as healthy as possible, if not for me, than for my wife and kids.

Opinions vary on what it takes to “eat right,” but I’m under no delusion that I’ve been doing so. Does this mean that I’m starting a diet tomorrow? No, it doesn’t. But I am going to do what I can to improve my eating habits.

“Experts” vary on their opinion of how much exercise is needed by the average person. All I can say is that I’ve been below average lately by anyone’s standards. Does this mean that I’m going to hit the gym hard tomorrow and wake up not being able to get out of bed on Saturday? No, it doesn’t. But I am going to start doing more than I’ve been doing now, and work up to doing more in the future.

While my eating and exercise habits haven’t been ideal, I do take vitamins on a semi-regular basis, which is kind of absurd. Many people have to take several pills each day for various ailments and diseases. I’m fortunate not to be one of those. But there really is no reason for me not to take vitamins EVERY day. Going forward, I will not only be taking them, but taking ones that are right for my specific needs.

THE PURSUIT OF WEALTH

Yes, the economy sucks! The government will brag about the fact that unemployment is slowing down, but that really doesn’t help too many people. It just stops the bleeding. Does this mean that we’re all destined to struggle for years to come? I don’t think so!

I have certainly made my share of financial mistakes over the past couple of years. Would I love to go back in time and fix them? ABSOLUTELY! But since I don’t have a time machine, it’s not an option. If it were, I could get rich just selling tickets to get into the time machine so that others can go back and fix their mistakes.

People of great wealth have lost tremendous fortunes and come back stronger than ever, so there’s no reason that wealth has to wait for the next “boom” market. I have always been very entrepreneurial by nature, and projects that I’ve been working on are starting to come to fruition. If there was ever a time to fill voids in the market, it is now. I have found a few of those voids, and plan on making the most of the opportunities that lie ahead. Hopefully, I’ll be able to help others in the process.

THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS

I purposely spelled “happyness” this way, because it is the title of one of the most inspiring movies that I’ve ever seen. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it. It’s about hitting rock bottom and then thriving.

Many people have felt like they’ve hit rock bottom over the past couple of years. Most haven’t. Most wouldn’t trade places with others for a very good reason. Things usually aren’t as bad as they seem.

No one wants to struggle financially. Everyone wants to be comfortable. Parents always want to provide for their kids. But there is one thing that money can’t buy – TIME. Kansas summed it up best in the song “Dust In The Wind”…

“…nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky….it slips away…and all your money won’t another minute buy…”

My good friend, Trish Caprise, just lost her daughter 10 days before her 5th birthday. Yet she has found a way to smile through the tears. Her 3 yr old son has the same disease as her daughter. If anyone thinks that they’ve hit rock bottom, they should take a minute to think about what Trish is going through.

We can all pursue “happyness” in our own way. One of the ways that Trish is going to do so is to help others in the name of her daughter. She’s asked me to be a part of it as well, and I am honored to do so.

I truly believe the next decade will be better than the last. I’ll continue to make mistakes, but hopefully not as many. My resolution is to do the best that I can in the pursuit of health, wealth and “happyness,” and to help others do the same whenever possible.

My journey will be chronicled in writing so that others can follow it. This will make me more accountable, while hopefully inspiring others in the process.

I wish you all a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!

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  1. wow..your words are so powerful..and here I am,in bed, weeping over my daughter as she is gone 3 weeks today. You said I was an inspiration…well my friend, you definitely are. Keep up your journal as I can draw strength and laughter during the most difficult days of my life.

    love ya..

    • Trish – just know when you visit this blog that it wouldn’t exist if not for you and your kids. You have all changed my life forever, and in turn, the lives of my family. I’m not the only one that feels this way. You’ve changed the lives of so many of us. I promise to keep this journal going. Not only will it make me accountable, but I know that it is helping you in some small way. Talk to you soon. Love you.

  2. Terrific start to the year, Adam. I wish you all the best that 2010 has to offer!

  3. Trish, my condolences and my prayers!

    Adam, its been a long time since we innocently and naively roamed the giant hill in Parksville, NY…. Where pressing issues of the day were whats for lunch? Who has the better color war team and most importantly dressing to impress for Canteen! Can you imagine having cell phones at summer camp? Internet? Would we have really been kids away from home? No more mail call or getting paged to the office or HQ for a phone call?

    But I am grateful! And as you stated, its about the journey and not the destination. I wake up every morning and count my blessings… I never let it worry me, the delta of expectations measured against reality. I might have to work harder, but I’ll be happy!

    And when things look really bad, I do the Mindy test, which I am going to change to the Alanna and Cassidy test… Who is Mindy?

    When I moved to California back in 1987 I met a local guy who’s name is Mark. Not anything like your typical NYer.. Definitely country boy like…. We became good friends…. And then over the years, better and better friends. He got married shortly after my wife and I to a wonderful person Mindy… They were the dominant athletic couple in our lives, Mark and Mindy.. And while my wife Rosemary and I were having infertility issues, they had beautiful twin girls, my god kids, Alana and Cassidy… Honestly, it wasn’t always easy being around them, they being very happy and blessed, and myself and Rosemary going through some of our more challenging times, which had a 2 year separation in it.

    Well Rosemary and I worked thing out and we were able to appreciate our friend and his beautiful family. We all were one family, doing Disney and Cabo San Lucas together…

    And then Mindy gets breast cancer… She gets her double mastectomy, with her Chemo and radiation and for a few years it looks good… Boom, its back and it has metastasized to her liver and brain. In January 2007 we lose Mindy… Before she died, she asked my wife and I to always keep an eye on her girls… Of course, obviously was our response…

    All thing considered, the girls are doing quite fine. Mark their dad hasn’t missed a beat… The girls are doing great in school, straight A’s and they play more sports then I could have ever dreamed of… Between soccer, basketball, softball and swimming they have dozens of championship trophy’s….

    So my Mindy test was, when I am having a real crappy day, would Mindy trade places with me…. And I know on my worst day, Mindy would trade places in a heart beat so she could watch her two beautiful girls grow up!

    This past Thanksgiving, Mark and the girls come by and he gives me his living trust. We have had conversations before, but its official, if something happens to him, he wants us to be their legal guardian. Now, we too also have our miracle child, Justin, who is 20 months. Goes to show, when there is no hope their is still hope…

    In conclusion, the week before Christmas, Mark is diagnosed with stomach cancer…. On top of that right when we start the chemo, he has a stroke. And today, we can’t battle the cancer until he gets stronger from the stroke….

    Trish nothing takes the pain away from burying a child and now we have to 13 yr old girls who have lost their mother and, more than likely, will lose their dad! I don’t claim to understand, but I what I do know is we still move forward with our grief, and have to appreciate each day as the gift it is… And I say a prayer for Alanna and Cassidy, for surely they are getting the brunt of this…

    And despite, all the small stuff and challenges I’ll have to face, I believe 2010 will be a good year!

    Best wishes to all for a happy and healthy New Year!

    • Wow Brad! This is an amazing story. Thank you so much for sharing it here. Since there wasn’t a lot of planning that went into putting this blog together, I didn’t know what to expect. Of course I hoped that people would read and comment, but I never thought that others would share so much as well. I think that it’s great! Maybe this will turn into a sort of community where people feel free to share their own personal stories.

      I’m sorry to hear about Mindy, and now Mark. Clearly, this must be a tremendously difficult time for Alanna and Cassidy. I have a good friend that lost both parents within a year of each other. None of the kids was older than 21 or 22, and the youngest was only about 15. They took care of each other and got their life back on track. Hopefully, you and your wife will be able to do the same for Alanna and Cassidy.

      Please keep us updated as the story progresses. Thanks again for sharing your story.

  4. I’m at a lose for words. You Adam have definately been an inspiration to me. My Friend, My Rock! Thank you.
    Trish, I think of you often. Take one minute at a time, and kiss your boy!
    Happy New Year to All. It should be a better one for all of us!

  5. Adam,
    Thank you for sharing your deepest thoughts and heartfelt feelings so openly. I have always thought you have a gift to speak words of wisdom with an open heart and not masking the realities of life.

    It’s funny…when I first joined Active Rain I was drawn to you because you were from Long Island, which is where my father was from and where we laid him to rest almost 3 years ago. I share your grief in the loss of your father.

    As we both know, life IS too short to sweat the small stuff. While we have lost family that meant the world to us, Trish has suffered a loss know one can imagine. My husband lost his son at 6 years old, from a rare form of Leukemia. He’ll never get over the loss…it’s been 24 years and he still aches for his son. What he has learned is that life does go on and he lives each day to its fullest. Tim still has no answer as to why his son Wes was taken so soon…he says he never will have the answer. I believe he may be right. What Tim has learned and what Trish will learn, should be lessons to all of us. Love the ones your with…appreciate what you have, count your blessings, no matter how small and let us all become grateful in our hearts and in our actions toward others.

    Go for your dreams Adam. I think you will reach them, each and everyone. You are one awesome Dad. Looking forward to following your journey though life via your words.

    Happy New Year my friend. Love to Trish, from one person to another.

    • Thank you very much for your kind words and your support of the blog, Elizabeth. I appreciate you sharing your story. I think that it makes perfect sense for Tim to feel the way that he does. There is still a void that I feel for my father that I know will never go away. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of him, and I imagine that it will always be that way. Although I sympathize with Trish and Tim, I cannot come close to knowing exactly how they feel.

      I’m glad that you’re a part of this blog. It will be different than Active Rain, but I’d like to think that it’s in a good way.

  6. Adam,
    You words always make me realize how lucky I am. My heart aches for your friend Trish, everyday I spend with Lauren I count my blessings that she is so healthy, I worry about every little thing that happens to her from paper cut to stomach ache, because I guess I worry that I will lose her somehow, and even when she is driving me up the wall I always stop and remember how much she means to me.
    Two days before Christmas this year my cousin was shot and killed by his wife, no one really knows what happened but everyone knows he was not violent and he was the one in the relationship who was abused. But she is out of jail and he is six feet under.
    I will follow your journey as I believe it will inspire me.
    So glad we reconnected, I have always tresured your friendship.
    Happy New Year,
    Jan

    • Jan, I’m the same way. I worry about every little ailment that either kid has. Even if it’s nothing, I feel so bad for them that I wish that I could take it away from them and give it to myself.

      I’m so sorry to hear about your cousin. That’s terrible!

      I’m glad that we’ve reconnected also, and that you will be following along on my journey. I’ll speak to you soon.

  7. Adam, Very nice blog. Good goals to pursue for a lifetime. I am making some lifetime goals as well this year. It is time I got serious about some of them.
    Sorry to hear about your friends’ loss of her daughter. I know that feeling as I lost my oldest son 10 years ago this Jan 29th. My prayers are with her and her family.
    Glad you are here in Texas and hope this decade will be super successful and memorable. Enjoy your family. Ricki 🙂

    • Thanks for visiting, Ricki. I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. I never knew that. Maybe someday, you and Trish can talk. I will always be there as a sympathetic friend, but I can’t possibly imagine what she is going through the way that you can. I appreciate you sharing your story here.

  8. Adam I am so looking forward to this w/ your pen in hand & thoughts on paper!! Your words are inspiring !Can’t wait!!

    • Thanks Gail. I’m glad to have you as a part of this. I just posted a new one called “Seize the Day!” that has the poem “TIME” that you liked. I think that you’ll appreciate the post. Thanks again for commenting.

  9. Adam as always I’m inspired by your writing. I have always known that you speak from the heart and stay true to yourself. I know you will succeed in whatever you strive for.

    ~Sandy

    • You’ve always been one of my biggest supporters, Sandy. It’s people like you that inspire me to put my best foot forward. Thank you for your support.

  10. This is awesome Adam, best of luck!!

  11. Adam,

    Your words have inspired me. Thank you for including me. I wish you the best of luck! Looking forward to your next entry.

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