Goof Sentiments: Sawyerhood from the West to the East

CLEVELAND 2011 (repost) – It’s hard to put into words when people ask (or tell) you to talk about your experiences and life in general.
Because what you’re asking about is magic.

I can tell you; I can show you by experiencing and sharing life with you, but it’s the individual way we perceive, think about and process the world around us that makes perspective “deep, magical or surreal”. Perhaps because I’m bipolar I; I don’t just see black and white; I’m captivated by the spectrum and everything in between. That being said,
This is for the geeks. Goof, dork, dweeb, ham … (insert nerd jargon ___  here.)

Growing up between Rochester, NY and California; dreaming, Disney and similar shenanigans were commonplace in our household.

As a hyperactive kid, there was always something to do: reading, movies, getting lost in the woods, climbing trees, catching alligator lizards at my Grandpa’s cabin in Grant’s Pass, OR and essentially anything that would move. Typical Sawyer-ish nonsense.

One of the best things about summer is time, or perhaps the absence of caring about it. Always a good time for reconnecting with old friends, family and some much-needed travel.

I remember Cape Cod, seafood, sand and surf…the smell of NO-AD 4SPF dark tanning oil (which I still use) and sun lotion in general.

Heading over to Sunday School in Dennis for a banana split or pistachio ice cream. Nom nom.

ice cream Dennis Massachusetts

Dennis, MA

Watching my family steam live lobster fresh from the pier (while us kids had french fries and chicken nuggets), and the smells wafting through the cottage as the adults imbibed over euchre, gin rummy and miscellaneous family card or board games (that quickly become a sort of heirloom).

Waking up in the morning to sunny-side up (and over-easy) eggs, hash browns and the fixins, climbing down the ladder that led to the kitchen and living room from the overhead loft, where my sister’s and my Harry Potter-ish twin beds lay adjacent.

I’m impartial to Backgammon, Scattergories and Scrabble –and naturally have become a bit of a Jekyll about winning. Okay, I’ll err on the side of modesty:

I don’t lose. If I do, it clearly must have been someone else’s fortuitous luck lol.

I remember those arcane trilobite creatures that were both fascinating and creepy: horseshoe crabs. Fish, slider turtles, barnacles and the sounds/muskiness of marine life and seashells. I could spend all day snorkeling and finding starfish; other random treasures.

ocean creature critter horseshoe crab beach Massachusetts

Womp

We would also frequent relatives in southern California where I was born, from Del Mar to Laguna Beach, and would roadtrip through the hills and wine country to visit grandparents in Fairfield, San Francisco and as far up as Oregon.

I remember the magic of looking for and seeing humpbacks breaching on the coast, and the whale watch in Cape Cod.

Traversing the Redwoods and wilderness near my Grandpa’s in Oregon; the solitude of cabins in Ontario and the 1000 Islands.

river nature outdoors Oregon wilderness

Sanctuary

I remember tents and storytelling in front of the fire, marveling at the wildlife and the elusive, chilling call of the loon (or is it heron?). Canoeing/kayaking out to an island and grilling out fresh catch, s’mores, corn on the cob and brats.

Staying up all night telling scary stories, talking about girls and fighting the endless debate of USA versus Canada. (Coke’s better than Pepsi…Hockey sucks! Lol).

Listening to the pitter-patter of the rain and wind against the tents, seeing how far we could rock the hammock before it flipped –and trying to hold on. And of course, as mentioned in the last post, King of the Raft.

A sense of comfort came with the unfiltered, unknown wilderness: a sense of belonging and discovery that stays with you. Through the crossroads, turning points and valleys along the way, remember to remember.

Pretty cool thing about life: there’s always something or someone that can knock you out of your lens and show you something new, something crazy, something poignant.

We just have to be receptive and ready.

Media, movies and entertainment had their place too: They were reserved for the road and on flights. Though I’ll save that for another day/post, I’ll leave you with boyhood sentiments via Max Goof:

20140715-204358-74638525.jpg

Lou Holtz, Hendrix and the Prince of Egypt on Attitude: Just Believe

Admonitions from Lou Holtz in my Twitter stream jarred me out of a summer haze (not that kind, deviants…) this morning:

Ability is what you are capable of.

Motivation determines what you do.

Attitude determines how well you do it.

Admittedly, I’ve had a chip on my shoulder lately. Too often it’s easy to gripe about perceived injustice, lack of appreciation or acknowledgement from friends, family and in the workplace.

Even if said sentiments are valid, I’ve come to realize it’s just wasted time, space and energy.

As with forgiveness, happiness is a choice. It’s a gift we give ourselves.

Again, as mentioned in previous posts: the world doesn’t care if you have a degree, nor how hard you may have worked for it.

The world doesn’t care if you’re grossly underpaid, overqualified, under-qualified or entitled. If you have a dissertation, 14K grill like Lil Wayne, 10-foot spoiler on a tiny sedan or more bling than the polar ice caps.

But the world might care if you care. Might believe if you believe. 

How many times, mornings…

Days.

Weeks.

Months does it get increasingly harder to wake up ready and willing to face whatever’s next?

To extricate ourselves from our own self-pity, helpless-complex or demoralizing slumps and quietly say:

I’ll try again.

I’ll be better.

And not for anyone else but me.

And with that perspective the nerve and renewed desire to lighten someone else’s load, too…

That’s commitment. That’s selflessness from selfishness. Cynics might dismiss as antiquated, but experience seems to say that forgiving yourself usually precedes forgiving others.

As Daniel Deronda said, it’s about using your unhappiness to help you see other peoples’ pain. 

One of my favorite flicks is the story of John Nash, the mathematics savant from West Virginia played by Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind, which garnered 4 Academy awards (including Best Picture) in 2001.  

One scene that particularly resonated with me depicts a young, salient and blisteringly impatient Nash witnessing a “pen ceremony” (where faculty present their pens in honoring and welcoming a distinguished member).

Though not an official rite of passage at Princeton, the reel goes on to Nash’s professor asking, ‘What do you see?’ Nash replies, “Recognition.”

Shaking his head, the professor elucidates him: Accomplishment.

So often we miss the mark because we’re too focused on the mark, rather than our motives and the process of getting there. Perhaps the hardest part is recognizing when perspective’s lost, where we might have veered off-course in our attempts to control where we’re headed.

The notion of a journey, not a destination. The notion of being present, and slowing down to embrace the moment for what it is.

Granted, nothing worthwhile comes without a cost. I’ve learned that the most rewarding and enriching experiences have also stretched me the most.

Have hurt the most. Have disappointed the most. But man you stretch — and that’s what truly matters.

My first annual review post-college is this month, a part-time gig at a humble, locally-owned business in the town where I attended university. Perhaps the title and the prestige aren’t there, but at some point the world doesn’t seem to care a whole lot about that either.

Rather than dwelling on the fact that friends, family and loved ones are thousands of miles away out West and scattered across the globe, I’ve learned in the past few years to focus on making the best of the people, places and time that are in front of me.

To check my attitude, and willingness to make someone’s life a little easier. To accept the only guarantee I know so far: change is consistent.

Upcoming Footloose ( ahem — remake) dude Kenny Wormald‘s onto something:

If you’re true to yourself and you work hard, and treat people with respect you will Grow… 

RELATED LINKS

Dan Waldschmidt >> Why Believing is the New Selling

Spin Sucks >> Seven Habits to Change the Perception of PR

Anthony Iannarino (new site looks great) >> Unlearning Learned Helplessness

Joe Pulizzi, Content Marketing Institute >> PR and Fighting the Content Marketing Battle Within