Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Everyone has those moments when you are faced with a decision that will change your life. At the time you probably have no idea how much that choice will affect you. In my life there have been many little incidents that caused me to correct things but the one that really had the most overall impact happened in Jump School. I stood facing a Special Forces captain, who was telling me that I wasn't good enough at physical training, and that I should just drop out of the class.

Let me take a moment to explain that yes, I wasn't real good at PT. The instructors were not being mean, they were thinking of my own safety and the safety of those around me. As hard as they were on us it was to make sure that we would be in the best shape possible and better prepared for the rigors of being an Army Paratrooper. So I had a choice to make, should I agree with them and give up, go back to the unit and take up my regular job in the Photo Section? Come on what would it matter? I wasn't going to try for the Special Forces Qualification Course. I was happy being a photographer. The other option was to stick with the class and put myself in the position of going through a lot more PT and very strenuous training. There were a lot of people who knew that I didn't like PT and were sure that I wouldn't make it through. A few people thought otherwise, they believed in me.

Without a lot of time to think it over, I took control of that icy feeling deep down in my gut and told the captain that he would have to throw me out, but I refused to quit. That momentary burst of bravado paid off, not only did I graduate I was acknowledged as the most improved student. Over the years since that choice it has become a touchstone. Something I bring back up when life gets tough, or a project has me stymied. Giving up is not an option until I have tried everything I can think of. Trying something new is not as scary because I know what I am capable of.

Everyone of us has those moments that can define their lives, it is up to us as individuals to decide, give in, or dig down deep and find the courage to try harder.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Past, future and present.

Yesterday is history,
Tomorrow a mystery,
Today is a gift,
That is why it is called the present.

This bit of wisdom has been on my mind lately. Too many times we take something like this and think it is the path we should follow. The problem is that it isn't a path of any kind. It leads to meandering around looking for what seems good at the moment. While that might feel good in the moment it doesn't lay the ground work for the long run. I know people who live for the right now and wonder why they have nothing solid to look forward to beyond the moment.

Yesterday is History.
That is one of those statements that can not be argued, because it is true. That doesn't mean that we should pack it away and just forget about it. Each one of us has our own history, all with triumphs and tragedies. What has happened in the past isn't what is important, for every one who has had to face terrible things in their past there is someone who has had it worse. The important thing is not what happened, rather it is how you choose to deal with it. Will that tragedy give you strength, or will it break you? Only you can make that choice.

Tomorrow a mystery.
True again, no one knows what the future may bring, not even those people on TV who keep telling you that they can see it. That doesn't mean that you shouldn't plan for it. It may be nothing more than socking away some money in the bank for a rainy day. If you live for today only, why would you want to strive for the education to get a job or career?

Today is a gift, that is why it is called the present.
While it may be truly a gift, it will be wasted unless you use it to make things better. Today is what you have that you can do something about now. It may be as small as deciding to walk a little farther, or not spend that money on a coffee, and instead put it in a jar to save. Pick up a book on a subject that really interests you.  Use today as the beginning of the journey ahead.

My version would go something more like this.

Learn from your history,
Plan for the future,
And work your tail off today, so that it can come true.