Late to the Party

E32F43D5-8C6E-4CBF-9594-C46960831397It took me 36 years and 37 states before finally arriving in Las Vegas, Nevada this past Friday. But after a sleep deprived long weekend, I can now say that it has been done. Since I am the one late to the party on this one, I am not going to simply rehash the weekend. We don’t have enough time for that.  Besides, everyone knows what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, right?

Wrong. (That would be a pointless blog.)

As I get older, I am more drawn to things that are specifically interesting to me and/or provide me with an emotional connection. People, nature, and music fit that for me. So the usual Vegas stuff was cool, no doubt. But I had a few stunners. And that is where I am taking you tonight.

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I was in Vegas because my wife, Christy, had a conference, and she kindly let me tag along. We rounded up the troops back home to keep our son and dogs, and off we went. She would be busy most of the time, and I didn’t have any desire for Vegas to be an individual exploration, so at the 11th hour, her cousin Kris aka my “friend in law”, joined us for the party.

Three experiences stood out to me on this trip. Absolute stunners. Let’s call them 1A, 1B, and 1C.  Things that I relished in the present, and I also will never forget.

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Friday night, 1C: dinner at Battista’s, an old school Italian joint that has been around forever. The three of us were able to sit down together, though it felt like Sinatra could have been on my left and a mobster on my right. The premise was simple. Carafes of red and white wine came with the meal, as did soup, salad, bread, and a delicious cappuccino at the end. You just ordered your pasta, and everything else was taken care of. One price. No frills. It was my first impression of Vegas, and it was quite titillating (no pun intended).

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Saturday, 1B: golf at TPC Las Vegas. As I’ve written previously, being outside in the sun, especially playing golf, is one of my favorite things in the world.

E10AD030-F318-4D2A-94D6-9EF665E12981Drop in some beautiful mountains, the warm desert wind, and a quality playing partner, and we were set.

DFA24495-DF4E-4B83-9BAC-9A66186292CETo give us the full experience, the starter announced us at the first tee box. “From North Carolina, please welcome the Bostic party to the tee box.”  The one person standing close by went wild. I won’t bore you with all of the golfing details, but the course and the views were spectacular.

0CC6CA13-07FB-4978-9EB6-78424CDB55CE I played very well minus #16 and #18, and even made an eagle. Enjoying as many high quality, beautiful golf courses on pitch perfect days is a part of my life now. It’s a dream. It’s a goal. I’m making it a reality.

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And last but certainly not least, Saturday night, 1A:  the legendary rock band Queen and the former American Idol star Adam Lambert have been partnered together for about 6 years now. Queen’s music is epic, and Adam Lambert’s voice brings me to my knees. The combination is quite incredible. Literally music to my ears.

C80A3E1C-5611-4358-A912-BE7C81C5E963The venue was the intimate Park Theater at MGM, and Saturday night was their Vegas finale. There was not a bad seat in the house, nor was there a cheap seat in the house. But it was worth every penny.

8D6249F9-A3D7-4A3D-B9A9-D3FB4C5A9985I put some video up on my Instagram in hopes that you can experience a little bit of the magic. Really good music is an emotional experience for me, and this was A+. What a band, and what a singer.

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Here’s what I liked about Vegas.  No rules.  You can be yourself.  The people watching is great.  The people are extremely engaging (every single person I talked to wanted to make sure the people of NC were okay from the storm).  And everything is always open.  My kind of place.

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Here’s what I didn’t like about Vegas.  It’s all a bit contrived, isn’t it?  All a bit gimmicky.  But that’s okay.  I can get past that.  But what I can’t get past is that my heart wanted to take the Bills over the Vikings Sunday, and I wimped out and picked the logical choice.  Which took me from winning $950 on that game to losing $100.  Do you know what I could have bought in Vegas for $950?  About 4 drinks…

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So, Vegas.  I had a great time. I really did. But it was time to go. And I really need some sleep.

Have a great week.-Benj

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Because It’s New York City, That’s Why

On the morning of September 11, 2001, I was scheduled to have season-ending knee surgery in Monroe, NC by my surgeon at Carolina Bone & Joint.  As the unusual and uncertain morning developed, the surgery was quite correctly postponed a few days.  Coincidentally, on September 11, 2018, i.e. earlier this week, I sat in the office at Carolina Bone & Joint getting doctor’s orders for an MRI on my right leg.

I tell you this because after 4 quite sound pieces of advice, I have made the decision to not run the 2018 NYC Marathon.  I have been stewing on this decision for weeks, if not months, and now is the time to make it official.  If you want to read about my incredible NYC Marathon experience last year, you can do so here .  If you want to read about my decision to try and run it again this year, you can do so here .  Otherwise, let’s move on.

IMG_4242Everyone has something.  Many people lost loved ones on 9/11/2001.  Others are fighting the quite intense wind and water of Hurricane Florence right now.  Some fight cancer.  Others are passionate about juvenile diabetes.  Mine is arthritis.  It garners lots of my attention and energy, and has for the past almost 25 years.   It’s there every morning, every day, and every night, and I am quite sure I seriously inflamed it during last year’s marathon.  It’s a good thing I have the curiosity of a 5 year old and the energy of a 20 year old, because unfortunately I have the right hip/pelvis of about a 90 year old. And since that Sunday in November last year, I just haven’t been able to shake the discomfort.  It feels like ants biting the bottom of my foot and a blowtorch firing down my leg.  I’ve rested, visited doctors, done physical therapy, taken medications, stretched, and nothing seems to work.  Believe it or not, my obsession with golf actually makes it feel better.  I am not a doctor (shocking), but I think something is on a nerve, and it’s getting on my damn nerves.  We will find out Tuesday night.

41BA20D4-A41C-41A0-9B03-DE1D6263893EIf you go back and read or remember my previous NYC posts, you know how much I love the city, and for the first time last year, the marathon.  Between you and me, I still can’t believe my body actually made it.  I guess we now know that technically it didn’t.  I’ve been stewing for the past few months over this decision to not run, but it is the right decision.  And as disappointed as I am, I found great inspiration Tuesday night (9/11) watching the ESPN E:60 tribute to sports, NYC, and 9/11.  I got a little emotional as I watched, but also got fired up as I was reminded of the passion, energy, and resilience of NYC.

IMG_4112The pull of NYC and its people is magnetic.  As I watched the 9/11 tribute and remembered the World Series and marathon soon after the attacks, I was reminded that pain and evil don’t win, and New Yorkers are some of the best at conveying that.  It’s one of the reasons I have the Freedom Tower tattooed on my right arm with the words “Dream Big” below.  And it’s one of the reasons that though I am not running the marathon this year, I am still on Team Arthritis, raising money, and being an ambassador for all that is right with NYC, the marathon, and the wonderful hope and courage that it represents.

9E5824DA-5C24-4859-9471-D39DB23CDCBBNew York City is the greatest city in the world.  I’m just a little old southern boy, but I’ve been in love with the city since I was a teenager, exploring Manhattan on my own while my dad was in meetings.  I’m actually more excited on the fundraising front this year because I can tell you even more emphatically how every dollar raised for arthritis research can help someone who is afflicted manage the chronic pain.  I started us off with a $250 donation yesterday. If you would like to contribute along the journey, please take 1 minute and click here .  And as always, I thank you.

So I am not going to run it.  Just can’t.  It would be stupid.  But depending on the MRI results, I might walk it.  Or I might just put my ego aside, fly to NYC, go to brunch with Team Arthritis, fundraise, and return the favor to some of the great folks who cheered me on last year. I’ll figure it out, but I’m definitely doing something.  Too meaningful to just sit on the sidelines.  What, you thought I was just done, done?  As they say in New York, get outta here.

Have a great week, and to my fellow Carolinians, stay safe. -Benj

Design Your Own Lifestyle

On the occasions when I travel by myself, there are tradeoffs, like with everything in life.  That’s Economics 101.  The cons are rather obvious.  The pros, maybe not so much.  I can move at my own pace.  I can do exactly what I want.  But most importantly, I can engage in conversations that I otherwise may never have.  These conversations oftentimes provide new ideas that I bring back and share and even implement into my own life.

0E1B0A85-6832-447C-83D1-86D5CA6988CALast Monday, I had a 5 hour layover in Minneapolis, MN.  As you probably know by now, I can’t sit still.  I can’t, nor do I want to.  Too much to see and do.  I’ll sit still when I die.  Actually, maybe not even then.  Anyways, instead of staying at the airport and staring at my phone, I decided to grab an uber and head out to my old friend Hazeltine National Golf Club some 25 minutes away.  I had the wonderful opportunity to play there 3 years ago, but on this day, I just wanted to have a nice stroll and stretch my legs.

3F833979-A5D1-42B5-8A38-15C78D4C38FDOn the ride out there and on the ride back, I engaged with my drivers and had two thoroughly enjoyable and informative discussions.  (Maybe I should be an uber driver?)  My first driver was from Morocco, and as you may know from a previous blog post , a trip to Tangier, Morocco is high on my wish list.  So I just engaged him and soaked in his stories of how his family and friends over there live.   Laid back.  Open minded.  Long lunches.  Long dinners.  Fresh fish caught, cleaned, cooked, and eaten from the sea just yards away.  Fresh figs, olives, and citrus from the trees just down the street.  Wine, laughter.  I told him I had researched flights recently, and it costs a fortune.  He said (insider tip)…go in May.  Less crowded.  A third of the price.

151342BE-2ED7-466B-8364-12B1A493D281If you thought my friend from Morocco was engaging, I really want you to pay attention to the conversation from the return ride.  Like seriously, pay attention.  The driver was a nondescript 30 something in a nondescript car.  The conversation started very nondescript,  but then it got popping.  We connected over a Duke University bond, and then he just opened up.  Here goes:  he is a part-time uber driver and a part-time Delta luggage worker, and he knows exactly how much money he needs to make every day to live the exact lifestyle that he wants to live.  Said lifestyle includes visiting 48 of the 50 states in the past few years via free Delta standby flights, and a weekend that always starts at noon on Friday and ends at 5am Tuesday.  He showed me his app where he trades rides and shifts with friends when he might want to extend a trip, and then of course returns the favor on the backside.

This is the stuff that doesn’t get taught in school.  There was no talk of making $250k or earning some SVP title, which country club he was a part of or how big his house was.  Nothing about what his next career step was, which Jones he wanted to keep up with, or whose outside opinion he next needed to heed.  No.  His life.  His lifestyle.  And I’m in the back seat taking notes.  He’d been everywhere but Oregon and Hawaii. We traded war stories, and he said our conversation inspired him to possibly pop off to Oregon this weekend.  Didn’t have to be back until Tuesday at 5am.

I would hazard a guess that no one in the history of Planet Earth has said in high school that their aspirations were to be a part-time uber driver and part-time Delta worker.   I would hazard a guess that there are a lot of people rolling their eyes at this right now.  And I would hazard a guess that secretly almost everyone is thinking, “There must be something to this”.

Your life.  Your lifestyle.  Design it.  However you and the crazy cast of characters in your life see fit.  Maybe don’t worry about that next title, that next dollar, that extra square footage.   That country club that you could care less about.  That outside opinion.  Definitely not the Joneses.  They are idiots.

Have a great week.-Benj

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Hitchhiking in Vestmannaeyjar

9/2/2018

6D2550BE-4DC6-408E-9B85-DC70FD891267This story starts with a man named Gustaf, a quite striking, sixty something with an easy smile. Now Gustaf may not need an introduction in southern Iceland, but since I am not from southern Iceland, I did not know who he was. It just happened that he was my seat mate on the 20 minute flight I chartered from Reykjavik to Vestmannaeyjar Sunday morning. It just happened that he was a former professional footballer for Icelandic club IBV in their glory days. (He was also the former coach for the Icelandic club KA.) It also happened that he was quite tall, as am I. And so we were quite literally forced to get to know each other on the plane since we were basically sitting on top of each other. 

11DF1685-1F21-4472-A18D-8611A8B7EC07The last time I was on a tiny plane like this, I vomited into my cashmere sweater. This time, thankfully, my stomach behaved. I was focused more on the stories from the late 70s and early 80s being told to me about the island, the soccer club, and quite frankly, anything. Before I could blink, we had landed in Vestmannaeyjar, quite possibly the most stunningly unique place on planet Earth.

0F355865-8F04-4910-A467-1D5DD59276A9It is roughly 5 square miles in the middle of the ocean off the tip of southern Iceland, and I had arrived with just myself. No bags, no rental car available, no nothing. It was 2-3 kilometers to the center of town from the airport, and my new friend and his brother graciously offered me a ride and brief guided tour. As I genuinely crave authentic local experiences, I hopped right in and ate up all the stories that they regaled me with. An active volcano to the right. The fishing port straight ahead. Football stadium and golf course to the left. Was I even paying attention anymore? It was just so gorgeous. They dropped me off in the center of town, and we said our goodbyes. Maybe we would see each other at the football (soccer) match at 1400 (2pm). 

C7CC37FF-917D-4676-B238-47942BAA9C8AI wasn’t planning on playing golf. But when I saw the course in person, I had to. 56CB4C95-DB35-490C-92C3-D7127270283DGive me an ocean, a volcano, and 18 holes, and I get weak in the knees. I walked into the clubhouse and asked if they had room for 1 player. The kind lady said yes. I then told her I needed clubs, a pull cart, balls, tees, food and drink. I also needed shoes and a glove, but they didn’t have those. It was like a hunting lodge that served as a golf shop. 76B6D486-F6DD-4619-AF10-4D0B820C0EFAIt was the most memorable round I have ever played, primarily for the following reasons (also reference the pics).

E2DD34BA-2517-4FB0-B1F9-7F23CF73762FI played in running shoes and 4 layers, constantly putting on and taking off clothes, depending on the weather’s mood.  The course was measured in meters, so I never knew how far I had. It stormed holes 4-7, but was absolutely picture perfect before and after.

A2D816DF-5C0F-451B-9FEF-463993D18612 My clubs were 30 years old. I had 2 sand wedges, a child’s pitching wedge, and no 9 iron. There were no riding carts. Only walking. Hole 16 took me over the Atlantic Ocean twice. 080EF7C8-0074-4AD6-BF36-DE04B6A34FA4

I shot in the 90s, unofficially. I say unofficially for the following reasons. I lost 2 balls on hole #1, a hole that has no hazards in which to lose a ball. Much less 2. I also have no idea if/how Iceland marks out of bounds. And I have no idea how to play a sand shot with pieces of lava in the bunker. 18BC2BCB-2CE8-4ECD-AC39-C0C7F4BC357F

As I played the last few holes, I started hearing loud noises reverberating off the cliffs. I finished hole 18, quickly returned my stuff, and then walked about 50 yards up the street to the second half of the Icelandic Premier League football (soccer) game between local team IBV and Vikingur Reykjavik.

0D1A0DA1-320D-46FC-B27A-37E46241D71DIt reminded me of my hometown school Wingate University in North Carolina, minus the ocean and volcanoes. It had a few hundred people in attendance, and it had a small community feel. Kids were playing. Older men were reminiscing about days gone by.  The quality was decent, with the game ending in a 1-1 draw. The #10 for Vikingur and the #7 for IBV were quite enjoyable to watch. That is, when I wasn’t peeking right and stealing away glances at the magnificent scenery. 

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As I boarded the plane to head back to the mainland that evening, a random middle aged lady asked how I enjoyed the game. I told her it was fantastic, but more importantly, how did she know I was there? She said that her family had given me a ride into town earlier, and I just started laughing. I guess the little island doesn’t get a lot of dark skin, dark haired Americans every day, and word travels fast.

2FBFF3A3-AEF1-4831-B68B-629504C4339EShe told me about how the island was a great place to raise a family, which was a thought I had at the soccer game. I mentioned that from May to August, this place must be Paradise, with which she agreed. The other 8 months, I asked? Quite isolated. 

The last time their volcano erupted was 1973. Her father was the fire chief, in charge of evacuating the entire island of 5,500 people in 2 hours via fishing boats. Gives new meaning to the terms fire chief and community, of which they made me feel a part of on this lovely day. 

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I am pleased to report that I have found the world’s perfect place. From May to August that is. A place that is welcoming. A place that is beautiful beyond words. A place, astonishingly, that was covered in hot lava just 45 years ago. 

Have a great week. -Benj

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One of a Kind

As I’ve befriended some new friends in the fashion industry over the past year, they always initially want to know my style so they can help me find some cool pieces.  I tell them it is pretty simple.  I want something that no one else has.  The more unique, the better.  If it is a best seller, I am not interested.

I think it goes back to the fact that everyone is indeed an individual, and that I think it is so important to showcase what makes you, you.  So it’s how I express my individuality.  It’s how I show you how I feel.  It’s how I start conversations that otherwise may never get started.  It’s how I convey my mood.  And it’s how I show my appreciation for such good, detailed work to the craftsmen and women in this industry.

I don’t do it for the attention.  I’d actually rather not have the attention.  I also don’t do it for how it makes me look.  Au contraire.  For how it makes me feel.  Yes, for how it makes me feel.

I’ve been building this wardrobe for the past 10-12 years, and it’s not about quantity.  It’s all about quality.  That’s a bit of the motto of my life.  And this week I share with you my 18 absolute favorite pieces.  Some are wildly expensive.  Some cost next to nothing.  But they all have great stories.  So welcome to my world of wearable art.

1.       The hat- from Nick Fouquet, hat maker to David Beckham and Lebron James.  Makes me feel like a renegade.  Completely custom made for me in Venice, CA.

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2.       The wallet- from Gucci.  Will start a conversation the moment I pull it out of my pocket.  The hidden turquoise design makes me feel sporty.

3.       The basketball shorts- from Staples Center in LA.  On clearance.  Makes me remember a wonderful night of basketball with my sister in LA.

4.       The bathing suit- from Romero + McPaul in Mexico City.  Makes me feel a bit mischievous as onlookers wonder what exactly the design is.

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5.      The tie- from Gucci.  $10 in a clearance grab basket.  Makes me giggle as to how many times people have asked, “Are those actually flamingoes?”

6.       The bracelet- from King Baby.  Obsessed with turquoise.  And skulls.  And bracelets.  Always starts a convo.  Always.  So I better be ready to chat.

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7.       The watch- from Rolex.  Simple.  Not flashy.  Engraved with my son’s initials.  Makes me feel proud that one day I will give it to him when I deem he has earned it.

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8.       The ring- from David Yurman.  A gift.  Only a few made.  Makes me feel like a badass.

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9.       The sweater- from The Elder Statesman.  Softest cashmere ever.  Rumor has it that 2 people have this.  Me and the Carolina Panthers starting QB.  Haven’t worn it yet.

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10.   The book bag- from Coach in Asheville, NC.  Goes with me everywhere.  Makes me feel prepared and ready to adventure anywhere in the world.

11.   The suit- from Ralph Lauren in Washington DC.  Olive cashmere.  I get petted often whilst wearing this.  It makes me feel comfy, yet I wonder why people keep invading my space.

12.   The belt- from Ralph Lauren.  Possibly my favorite piece.  Tan alligator.  I watched it for months go from $1600 to $169.  It makes me feel like a good, patient businessman.

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13.   The blue suede shoes- from Brioni in Washington DC.  Makes me feel like Elvis, and also makes my feet hurt.

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14.   The pants- from Ralph Lauren.  $20 on 90% off clearance.  Bought them at The Greenbrier, WV.  Makes me feel like Christmastime, and makes me remember a fantastic few days with my wife and friends in WV.

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15.   The jacket- from Ralph Lauren.  $29 on clearance at Marshall’s.  I just add the patches.  Makes me feel patriotic and well-traveled.

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16.   The Flintstone shoes- from Nike.  Where do I even start?

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17.   The cuff links- from Brooks Brothers.  Hand painted Dalmatians.  Bought them at a Humane Society auction.  Reminds me of how much I love dogs.

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18.   The pocket square- from Gucci.  Limited edition from Rome.  A gift.  Makes me feel rebellious because it matches nothing.

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Some people wear their emotions on their sleeve.  I literally wear my relationship with the world on my sleeve.  And I absolutely savor wearing and finding what’s next to go on that sleeve.  Enjoy the hunt.  Enjoy the process.  Be unique.  Be you.  Have fun.

And as the great philosopher Deion Sanders once said, “If you look good, you feel good.”

Have a great week.-Benj

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Sleepwalking Through Life

This may sound silly to you, but I got to know myself last year at age 35.  I always considered myself a very mature, responsible adult, but it turns out I was subconsciously sleepwalking through life.  You know, comfortable in everything.  We think being comfortable is cool, but it’s actually terrible.  Horrible.  It limits growth. It limits ambition. It limits passion. I had to wake up, so I did, and I have.  And I pay very close attention every single day to getting better and living life to the absolute fullest (excuse the cliché).  That’s my truth.  What’s yours?  And to show my appreciation for following along and being interested in what I have to say, here are some thoughts to chew on.

1.       You have to get to know yourself.  Your 30 year old self may not be the same as your 20 year old self.  Your 35 year old self may not be the same as your 30 year old self. What are your passions?  Why were you put on this earth?  What are your strengths and weaknesses?  Why do you react to situations in certain ways?  Take time to understand.  Work on it.  Every single day.  Be honest with yourself.  It’s hard.  It takes work. But you are the answer to almost every single “problem” you have.

2.       How and with whom do you like to spend your time?  100% your spouse?  100% your kids?  100% your guys or gals?  100% alone?  Strangers?  Parents?  Mix it up.  People need space, and people need variety.  Believe it or not, I am a huge natural introvert.  I have had to work and work and work to get out of that comfort zone to meet and spend time with new, incredible people.  Is every weekend exactly the same spent with the same people?  Is every holiday exactly the same?  Is every vacation exactly the same?  Mix it up.

3.       Quiet society’s noise.  Quiet other people’s opinions of you.  It does not matter.  This may be the single hardest issue out there limiting everyone from reaching their full potential.  Limit your negativity and gossip consumption.  It screws with your head.  I intake very little outside information unless I specifically choose to.  I don’t browse.  I don’t care if there is a 30 foot shark that came ashore and ate a beach umbrella in the Indian Ocean.  Why would I waste time and energy and consume that?  I would rather be alone than surrounded by negativity.  I would rather be uninformed than misinformed.

4.      Find ways to make extra money to fund your passions.  I have a job, bonuses for hard work, credit card cash rewards, I sell clothes, I do hat art, and real estate investment.  There are a zillion ways to make money.  In middle and high school, I sold my bag lunch my mom made me for about a 300% markup every day.  You are in control.

5.       Maximize your vacation days.  I get 23 vacation days.  2 floating days.  10 holidays.  104 weekend days.  That is 139 “play days”, not to mention Monday through Friday.  There is always something to do.  Fun to be had.  Go to the office at 5am.  Work through lunch.  Work on a Sunday.  Options abound.  I work on Black Friday.  Just because everyone else eats 17 servings of turkey and gets up at 4am to buy stuff they don’t need doesn’t mean you have to.  Out of those 139 days, I have 4 earmarked for Christmas.  Otherwise, I have 135 “play days” available.  Pair them up.  Use them wisely.  Day trips are great.  Weekend trips are great.  3 day weekend trips are better.  I’ve got that down to a science.  How are you using your days?

6.       Compete with yourself.  No one else.  What anyone else is doing has absolutely nothing to do with you.  This is a major change for me.  I still like to win, but I am more focused internally on being a better father, beating my best golf score, etc. than caring what anyone else is doing.  A part of the anything but khakis mindset is encouraging nothing but the absolute best for everyone, but intensely focusing on yourself. I encourage you to try it.

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7.  Take baths.  Take naps.  Relax.

Have a great week.-Benj

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Why is Everyone so Busy?

One of the conversations I overhear most is this. “What’s up?”  “Nothing. Just busy.”  A close second is this. “You playing any golf?”  “Nah. Too busy.”  

Now why might someone be so busy? Job, kids, errands, time wasting, staring at phone, sitting in traffic, hasn’t taken the time to understand why he/she seems so busy, etc. Any of those ring a bell?  I have been fascinated for years about when being so busy became a badge of honor. If you are busy doing something awesome, meaningful, and fulfilling, I am not talking about that. I am talking about if you are missing out on fantastic life experiences because you haven’t stopped to truly analyze all of the inefficiencies, illogical items, and wasted time in your life. You know…”busy”.  I’ve spent tons of time and thought sorting through it. Try it. Remove the barriers.  And focus your time, money, and energy on things that you personally love. 

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I love being outside. I love playing golf. I love playing golf at sunset in Pinehurst. Which leads me to this week’s adventure. 

7B434234-7BEC-4455-9042-7A7411118CABLet me introduce you to my friends Ben from Alabama and Jay from Iowa. We met 2 years and 10 months ago at a work conference in Minnesota.

005E5EE6-850B-40C4-A95F-5570071F521D Through a friend’s hookup, we were able to play Hazeltine National Golf Club right before the Ryder Cup, and that 18 hole walk was where we bonded.

EE6E99B0-CA9A-4142-AF5A-25E7DFF9739BIt was magnificent. It was spectacular. It was and is a memory that brings out so much emotion in me. So we decided last year to start an annual adventure focused around golf. We have a 4th friend, Chad from Wyoming, who hosted last year but couldn’t make it this year. His home is on the tip of Yellowstone National Park, and last year’s trip was magnificent.

8AFCCB43-F36E-442D-95BE-7708CBBF901BIt was spectacular. It was and is a memory that brings out so much emotion in me. This year, it was my turn. What would be magnificent? What would be spectacular? What would be emotional? Pinehurst, the home of American golf, where the ghosts of the greats fill the air. 

6F9E1FDB-27A2-4E41-B2AD-E0C8EAB2A9F1I love hanging out with these boys. I love the unusual adventures we get into. I love that I never know what is going to come out of their mouths. And I love the golf. 

We traversed North Carolina and played 90 holes of golf over 4 days, some good and some not so good. We ate and drank locally. They met my parents, my family, my co-workers, and some good, good friends. I showed them my world. That’s part of the allure. This ain’t some fancy trip. We ain’t showing off. It’s real. 

A130208D-BF5A-4119-8F15-615AAC568FF4On Saturday, we stood on Wingate University’s soccer field, my favorite place in the world, as the sun started to set. And on Friday, we lumbered down the last few holes of Pine Needles in Pinehurst, a course that has hosted 3 US Women’s Opens, having played 36 holes. Ben and I were wiped. The sun was setting. And Jay was playing lights out. It was magical.  I hope they had a wonderful, wonderful time. 

4E508819-B8F1-44C4-9C4E-BDB633CB77E8.jpegWe’ve known each other for less than 3 years. We’ve now done Hazeltine, Yellowstone, and Pinehurst. Beast Mode.  Absolute beast mode. Next year is already in motion. 

If you haven’t done the exercise, take a few moments to analyze and consider the inefficiencies and wastefulness in your life regarding time, money, lifestyle, etc. I have aggressively attacked those things, and the result is more everything (primarily time) to do things that are awesome, meaningful, memorable, magnificent, spectacular, and emotional. Pinehurst at sunset with the boys. Check. 

Doesn’t need to be fancy…just what is specifically meaningful to you. 

Have a great week.-Benj

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