Posts Tagged ‘friends’

Death of a Popular Poet

November 15, 2017

Working as an MBA candidate comes with a remarkable series of challenges and responsibilities. Most recently, one of my professors, who clearly was passionate about motivating his students, shared some deep and meaningful insights. He sent me an email in reply to mine in which he shared with me that the pessimist states death and taxes are the only two immovable objects that are a guaranteed certainty.
He then went on to share with me an optimist looks at change and time as certainties. I think he wanted to make certain that I understood the depth and value of both, and that how we launch our perception impacts the way we look at the world.

Yet my perception of the world has recently become a little hazy. Recently I have been forced to reckon with the mortal enemy that is death. In the past two weeks I have had to say goodbye to two people. The first one had given up a long time ago and tip what some might say was a brave choice and taking his own life. But the other, well he was a fighter. But even his optimism was not enough to Conquer Cancer.
Let me tell you a little bit about AJ.
I first met AJ years ago when I showed up for an interview on a radio show that he was one part of a partnership. He and Ernie, a mutual friend, invited me to come talk about a book that had just been released titled Confessions of a Transylvanian. This book, written by an old and dear friend and myself, detailed the experience of being part of a Rocky Horror Picture Show shadowcast.
The very first thing I noticed about AJ was his energy. He possessed this smile and a genuine eagerness to laugh and share.
We laughed a lot during that interview and at the end of that hour I knew I had made another friend.
But it wasn’t until I started working at Epcot with the entertainment team that he and I really started to connect. Everywhere I would have to track him down he was always on the go, eager to chat.

It was during one of these conversations that we both discovered one of our most favorite mutually appreciated holidays, Halloween, offered us no shortage of creative Outlets. I shared with him some of the things I had done when I designed haunted houses, many decidedly low, low Tech, and he shared with me Cutting Edge high-tech things that were either of his creation or off the shelf.
We talked repeatedly about combining forces to create a haunted experience like no other on a ranch for another mutual friend, Dave.

And when, in the process of producing a fairly sizable event, it came time for a DJ, I asked him for recommendations. Instead of a recommendation he suggested he do it.
I learned about AJ that almost like a good book, every few pages there was some new and incredible facet or skill he possessed. I was always learning something new with him.
At the event venue, we took the elevator. He gestured to the walls and said “velvet. ”
He sounded like an old crotchety guy, commenting on the quality of an inferior product. And the two times we were there, for the tech scout and the event, every damn time we rode the elevator, we’d both say, “velvet.” After a while we’d just randomly say “it’s velvet,” and it carried to EPCOT where it stood proxy for a normal greeting.
But that made sense. AJ was not normal. He transcended it.
He was a class all his own, always a pleasure to be around.

I used to bleed alone, keeping my grief and pain to myself. That ended the day I lost my brother, five years ago, and was clear and present when I lost my dad a year ago.
With AJ I have no regrets. I had the good fortune of seeing him damn near every day that I was at work, if you could call what we did work. And he always had time for me and I always made time for him and I am glad for that. Because I have regrets when it comes to my brother and I have regrets when it comes to my dad.
Maybe that’s the thing to take stock of now. If there someone in your life you’ve been meaning to reach out to, don’t wait. Regret is a deceptively heavy burden to shoulder.

I feel like I’ve been kicked in the stomach. No matter how hard I try, I just can’t seem to catch my breath.
It is a callous thing to say, but I can think of a few people who are probably past their expiration date on planet Earth.
AJ was not one of them. He was one heck of an individual with a lot of light, love, and life still to give.
The world is little quieter today.

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Happy New Year? The New Year and Your New Year

December 31, 2013

Some thoughts to ruminate over.

On the last day of 2013 many people contemplate the year in review while others set lofty goals for “new year’s resolutions.”

At the threshold of 2014, I contemplate the fact that those of us fortunate enough to Make Magic and Create Happiness for tens of thousands and smile at the blessings granted. This is a great place for anyone to start. Dwell not on the chances missed but opportunities granted and grasped.
This year moved quickly, even though the measure of a second, minute, day and week are the same no matter where on the planet you are, it somehow felt like 2013 slipped by in the blink of an eye.

I’ll be celebrating New Year’s Eve alone. And that’s okay, except for the absence of loved ones. Minus my little girl? Now my joy is a bit reserved. I missed her first smile…and I am going to miss her first New Year’s Eve.

I miss my brother, but that is another post for another time, or perhaps something best understood when not spoken.

As John Lennon once said, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.” The periods in life, or even during a particular year, that blasted by unnoticed happen because we were not actively engaged. When you’re playing football you have the choice to risk it all and get the ball or stay clear of the mix. Get the ball and you’ll get the crap knocked out of you…but never forget what it was like running with the ball.

Whether a lead or supporting character in the story, the responsibility is to do your very best, to shine in that instant and blossom where planted, even when others do less. The story depends on you, even as your nerves have your heart racing like The Quickening.
That’s Life.
A very dear friend told me once the hardest part to playing Hamlet is getting asked.
But when that choice role comes along, regardless the venue, whether parent, pilot, or player, grab at it with both hands and wring its neck as you make its life your own. That intensity is Life.

This is what happens when one lives in and by the moment, and it is still worth every second. Think about how you become engaged. Do you sit on the sidelines, testing the water, or dive right in? Be engaged. Recognize and realize the moments as they approach.

With a new life wholly dependent on you there are milestones yet to mark. I look forward to each one, even as I dwell on the delight of those I’ve experienced.

Challenge yourself to do the same. Live in the moment, take the time to do things right, and smile even at the smallest things. You never know whose life you made a little brighter by the action.
Say Please and Thank You, and encourage others to do the same. Be Charitable with your words and actions. Engage in random acts of kindness even if no one is looking.
Read a book. Write a poem.

Let’s not regret the chances and opportunities not seized.
Wonderful New Year’s Wishes to Everyone.