Positive Vibes Only, Please

“Some of us have great runways already built for us.  If you have one, take off.  But if you don’t have one, realize it is your responsibility to grab a shovel and build one for yourself and for those who will follow after you.”-Amelia Earhart

61CF4C57-2926-425D-8F74-EF10ED8AA8AAOver the past two weeks, I have had the privilege of hearing two excellent speakers at two excellent events.  The first was the legendary Lou Holtz: football coach, football analyst, and motivational speaker.  The second was Dr. Ilham Kadri, President and CEO of Diversey, and a quite extraordinary woman. Both terrific speakers, they blasted out so much good information I had to pull out my phone to take notes.  I’ve pared down the notes into my favorite tidbits, which will serve as the backbone to this week’s piece.

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First, three key points from Lou Holtz with my commentary:

1.       “You can’t fool yourself.”  This quote really hit me on my current journey for self-mastery.  You can put on your game face for the outside world, for social media, etc., but only you really know if you are being true to yourself.  Are you doing what you want with your life?  Are you putting in the work?  Are you taking shortcuts?  Are you making the impact you want on this world?  This is where the titles and the headlines and the pay grades go away.  Are you being true to yourself?

2.       “Don’t criticize the performer.  Criticize the performance.”  We all make mistakes.  We all come up short sometimes.  Behave poorly.  Don’t give 100%.  I know I have.  Doesn’t make me a bad person.  Doesn’t make you a bad person.  Analyze what happened, why it happened, and learn from it.  Move on.

3.       “The two most important days of your life are the day you are born and the day you discover why you are born.”-Mark Twain, I believe.  There’s doing what you want with your life (point # 1), and then there is finding your purpose.  How can you help others?  Find your purpose, or let your purpose find you.  It’s out there.  Be patient.  It will come.

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Next, three key points from Dr. Kadri with my commentary:

1.       “Never stop learning.  Be curious.  Respect knowledge more than money.”  Do you travel?  Do you read voraciously?  Do you seek out people smarter than you?  Do you have a mentor?  Do you take initiative?  Do you realize that money is simply a tool and that knowledge can create real fulfillment?

2.       “Get to know yourself.”  This seems to be cropping up everywhere these days, from self-help gurus to motivational speakers to business executives to anything but khakis writers.  It always makes me giggle a little, because it sounds so easy, yet so few people are truly doing it.  People worried about this, that, and the other, but haven’t had a come to Jesus with themselves.  A strong argument can be made that I found myself at age 34, though I continue the diligent pursuit daily.

3.       The above Amelia Earhart quote.  I don’t worry too much (at all) about people who are handed things in life.  Life isn’t fair, and that’s that.  I fall into the second category, and I grind daily with that shovel trying to build something meaningful.  You want an empire?  A case of money?  Happiness?  Purpose?  Grab a shovel.  Runways don’t build themselves.

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These two events were very, very different in scope, but had one primary similarity. The differences were fairly surface level. Lou Holtz and the Charlotte Touchdown Club drew a 90%  male audience. Dr. Kadri and the Charlotte Athena Awards drew a 90% female audience (shout out to Christy, young professional of the year nominee!). But the one similarity is what I want to focus on: positive energy, and lots of it. Not rah rah…like real stuff. The women at the second event were unbelievably impressive. Philanthropists, inventors, Iron Women, authors, and on and on.  I was freaking hyped!  Glued to their every word. 

So what? Positive energy, that’s what.  It can change your life. These events were full of it. Life isn’t fair. It’s not fair that some people are born into wealth. It’s not fair that I have arthritis. I’m sure you have something that is unfair. Let’s get past that. I am very lucky that my parents taught me that very young, and that understanding has been a massive asset in my life. 

So do me one final favor. Google Dr. Ilham Kadri, a female born in 1960s Morocco and raised by a single grandparent. Read her story. It’s unbelievably inspiring. I’m writing my story. What’s yours?

Have a great week.-Benj

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From Central Park to Kill Devil Hills

“I get bored easily, and I hate to waste time.”-abk

20961F22-DB09-44E5-9BDF-E68F58D2FC05At 5:13pm last Sunday, I exited Central Park. My legs were wobbly, my heart was full, and I needed a ride. 

At 2:45am Monday morning, I awoke to my alarm at the uber cool Ace Hotel and headed to JFK to catch a flight straight to work in Charlotte. 

C9E18DEC-DCFE-4607-942E-304EAE9F048DOther than almost falling over a few times, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday were normal days at the office. Wednesday night, my son Banks and I got to crash at my parents house, a convenient stop a little closer to the NC coast. On Thursday, I woke up early and worked remotely from Union County while Banks and my parents played, and then he and I headed out Thursday afternoon to meet my wife Christy, who was already working in the Outer Banks. 

Along the drive, we stopped in Raleigh for a chat with my brother. As the lengthy drive continued, Banks slept, and I had riveting conversations with my sister and a couple of good friends. 

We arrived just in time to have a lovely Asian/Caribbean dinner as a family and watch my Panthers get their asses whooped (speaking of wasting my time). So I promptly settled in and did some more work instead. 

3E0A927E-D323-44EE-9B41-51F00DEE8894On Friday, I awoke early to watch the sunrise, read, and then I took Banks for his first ever golf outing with daddy at Kilmarlic Golf Club. It went both better and worse than expected, with him making a few putts while also somehow losing a shoe. As his patience (and mine) wore thin, we finished, and I treated him to a big boy hot dog lunch in the clubhouse, where he just loved flirting with the waitresses. 

55C01A11-C20C-47E0-8BF6-2AF1FF119A2EWe returned back to the condo before momma finished working, and I caught the sun setting directly over the Wright Brothers Monument from the front porch. I felt like I was in Rio de Janeiro. Later that evening, Christy and I shared a unique pizza, had a drink, and then I slept for the first time in what felt like ages (I see you 2:45am Monday). 

BB66C3FF-BBA2-4EBC-9FE2-6D0DCCCEEBFAOn Saturday morning, we went as a family to the aquarium and saw the coolest white alligator, along with the usual stuff. 55A36883-988C-4625-8F20-8103FE50B81EWe then hit up downtown Manteo and Lost Colony Brewery for a beer, soup, and fried oyster po’ boy. 5D81A98E-30A8-466B-B260-70FC50277143I must admit to you something. I usually do not regret things or have FOMO or anything like that. But the new movie Bohemian Rhapsody was playing at this super old theater there that night, and I would have absolutely LOVED to have gone. 231A1461-F279-469E-A0C6-AD6BDA2E222CBut oh well, you can’t win them all. I then snuck out for a quick 18 at Nags Head Golf Links. Stunning. Simply stunning. C6E7C920-794C-485D-8848-468271580A06I breezed through a chilly round before having a beer in the clubhouse at sunset, a view that I will never forget. 

B441404C-AE53-4268-B7F3-7A4007005152Then it was movie time. What? No, not Bohemian Rhapsody. The Grinch (looking sharp) with the family which was fun, and then that was that. 91E2A538-C469-4B84-99B2-CB197DA646CCTo complete the circle of life, the OBX Marathon happened to be Sunday morning, so I woke early and tried to reciprocate all of the love I received in NYC last Sunday. 

739DB3AE-6B2D-4067-A55A-9B98021D05AFThis past week, I flew roughly 1300 miles, drove another 1000, and ran 26.2. Went to New York, Wingate, and the Outer Banks. Spent quality time with every member of my family in person minus my sister. Helped recruit some college kids to the bank, played a lot of golf, and watched one crappy ass football game. 

Have we made progress with being intentional with our time? Owning our own time instead of it owning us?  The only way that all of the work/play/work/play that I did this week (and every week) is possible is by being laser focused on my time. 

B82A882F-9FDE-415C-AA24-7E4AE6D238C0Where have I personally gotten better? Once I get to that race, appointment, meal, or wherever I am going, just taking off the watch and relaxing and enjoying. You know, at that point, not knowing that time even exists. 

Have a great week.- Benj

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The Greatest Race in the Greatest Place-Volume 2

“To those who face adversity head on, even when the odds are stacked against them.”- my friend Kris 

I didn’t actually, formally decide to run the marathon this year until the beginning of mile 2. But first, a little context. 

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You see, just 33 days ago, I was face down at a pain specialist’s office getting an epidural injection into my spine (shout out to all mothers). I am not a big fan of being poked and prodded, as it brings back uncomfortable teenage and young adult memories of the disease. In total over the past 45 days, I have endured the above injection, two X-rays, an MRI, a major medical scare, massage therapy, physical therapy, and every medicine you can imagine. So as I wrote previously, I had no intention to run. 

But on the morning of Wednesday, October 10, something changed. After a night filled with some crazy dreams, I woke up raring to go. So I rolled out of bed, put on my clothes, and walked outside into the pouring rain. At 7:32am that morning, soaking wet, I told myself that I could do this. As a big geek at heart, I started to test myself. How fast could I walk a mile? How fast could I jog a mile? How long could I go?  But the biggest question had nothing to do with my physical being. It was how strong was my mind and heart?

I don’t recommend that you disobey your doctor, which I technically didn’t. Nor do I recommend you disobey your most trusted advisor, which I debatably did.  But I also don’t recommend that you bypass experiences that can literally change your life and the way you view the world, and that is what eventually won out. I was one of the lucky that got “invited back” to run the NYC Marathon, while almost 100,000 people did not get accepted. I didn’t take that lightly. Quietly, I’ve been stressed AF about it for the majority of the year. Because deep down, I knew I wanted to do it again. Needed to do it again. Because of how it enhances the way I view the world. 

BBC59DC7-A293-4571-BA70-12B03EE1A9C4Back to the present. So I decided 2 weeks ago that I would fly to NYC for the weekend. Midweek of race week, I decided at a minimum I would walk it. Mile 2, I just took off, and the rest is history. 

F2432B64-C3D0-4514-B002-0A7A8DE7AA5AIf you know anything about the NYC Marathon, mile 2 is straight downhill. For my long legs, it was going to be harder to walk it than run, so off I went. Mile 3, per our new custom, I met my childhood friend Bess for a quick word. And then it was a combination of walk/jog/run for the better part of a half marathon. I was in absolute awe that this was happening. 

77CD38C9-56EC-4329-BC00-0860E6DF5AE1And then came the 59th Street Bridge. This damn thing has become the bane of my existence. Last year, and then again this year, it just ate me up. To the point, this year, where I got a new experience at mile 16. I had to take a 5 minute pit stop with Dr. C. in the medical tent, as my inner left quad had all but seized up. So he applied some biofreeze (magic) and massaged it out, and I was back to it. Only one problem.  When I raised my legs to jog, it would seize back up. As there is a solution to every problem, I simply took a fast stroll through the next 4 miles until I entered the Bronx. 

My 2 favorite areas of the race are the Bronx and Harlem. The people, the energy, and the music are right up my alley. I guess I had some energy left, because I rapped out loud with all of the DJs for the better part of miles 21 and 22, helping me forget that my legs had all but seized up. There was Ma$e, Jay-Z, Pitbull, Big Pun, and Fat Joe being blared through speakers, and some I had never heard, but I liked. 

C3203A17-D7DB-4E20-900B-2739B5594CCDDid I mention it was a beautiful, beautiful day? I mean pitch perfect. And it just got better as the setting sun shone through the golden leaves in Central Park along the final stretch. I tempered a fast walk with a slow jog until I rounded that last curve. Real talk, I was so spent that I could not even run the full final 800 meters. I was telling myself to, but my body wasn’t having it. So I took a quick walk and then sprinted (lightly jogged) the final 400 meters. 

67D5B2FD-2399-4FCA-A9BD-87ACF0ADE3A9Very different from last year, the finish line did something to me. I gave a very personal fist pump, a high five to someone, shed a few tears, and then almost threw up. I literally gave every ounce of everything I had in my body. It was different this year because I wasn’t supposed to be there. I told myself before the start that this was either going to be the dumbest thing I’d ever done or one of the greatest. And it was. 

1A73E11A-E1C4-474A-89D6-FA5864AF15BBA few things to leave you with: my time was 5:31:59, which was 59 minutes and 47 seconds slower than last year. I consider that a freaking miracle, considering where I was 33 days ago. I also cannot walk real well today. But that also doesn’t bother me. Because once you see people that cannot walk EVER completing a marathon, you slow your role. 

F8AC8F83-0473-44AA-95C3-0FFB1AB82721The NYC Marathon is the perfect combination of an extreme individual test that also allows you to be a part of something that is so much bigger than yourself. You know, one of my goals of being a true citizen of the world. 

It’s just simply the greatest race in the greatest place, and I am so happy and proud that there was a Volume 2 to share with you. 

97389E9F-C4B5-4449-BBCC-D811ECE72455Have a great week, and thanks for all of the support. -Benj

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Doin’ Work

8AF961ED-EDFD-485B-9EEA-434E517C5EBFThis week, I have two new blog posts available to be published.  There is only one problem.  They suck.  Like, they really suck.  Sure, there are pieces of good information in there, but it just isn’t coherent and it is downright unpublishable.  So I’ll save those for a rainy day (Bad joke alert: it’s Friday in Charlotte and raining buckets).  But in the meantime, having done the work but just not quite having the final result gave me an idea.  So here we go.

In my past life, I would be annoyed right now.  I would be upset at not having anything good enough to publish.  In my new life, I am quite pleased.  I have done the work, done the thinking, and done the writing.  And for better or worse, there just wasn’t a result this week.  It has happened to me in soccer before.  It has happened just this week twice on the golf course.  (Excellent thinking, grinding, and tinkering.  Terrible score.)

FA9DC614-45FE-40D8-B42B-C4389D03893EAnd then it occurred to me, I have fallen in love with the work.  And the work itself is plenty to write about for a publishable post.

Here is an important lesson I have learned over the past few years:  if you look at my pictures and my Instagram page, etc., you will see mostly very pretty results and outcomes.  (They are authentic, mind you, but they are still the end result.). The finish line.  The outfit.  The sunset.

38C346AB-E033-4623-B13E-E937058B4631All filtered just a little bit to sharpen up the actual visual image. But what you rarely see, and it is imperative you remember this, is the work.  The actual work.  These blogs don’t write themselves each week.  I don’t just suddenly appear in Mexico City or randomly create a new hat.

63578DF0-7354-45C5-89E4-B9BDCC4D6261There is immense amount of thought and grind and work that goes into all of it.  You just don’t see that, but I want you to remember that it is there.  And that’s what I want you to fall in love with.  (Your own work, not mine.)

Because sometimes you miss the sunset.  Sometimes you don’t finish the race.  Sometimes you lose the game, or shoot absurdly high golf scores, or write a couple of really crappy blog posts.  But if you are digging the work, you never lose.  Because, eventually, the journey itself becomes a really freaking good blog post, or maybe even an entire blog (cough, cough). 

I think, subconsciously, I’ve always been interested in the journey. Take my wardrobe. I’ve built a closet full of clothes that are quite extraordinary. I don’t mind bragging about that because I have slowly been unwinding it. Specifically having that wardrobe doesn’t really matter to me. Do I need 16 pair of Jordans?  Do I need 8 Hermès ties? Of course not. 

87921997-C7C2-4B7C-8411-35977D91F3C3 It’s time for someone else to have them. And my hope is that that person will wear them, gain some personal confidence, and then do something great that they otherwise might not have done. 

It was always the journey, the story, and the meaning of these pieces that were important to me, and I’ve just finally been able to understand and articulate this. I always had professional clothiers hounding me to dress me, and all I ever had to tell them was how much I enjoy the journey of doing it myself. 

I had infinite mistakes along the way. Buying a brand to be cool. Buying the wrong size because it was that brand. Trying new styles that were never, ever going to look good (I see you purple pinstripe shorts). But that was the journey, and that was what was important. I’ve probably gotten rid of more clothes than I’ve ever bought (how is that even possible?) in an effort to get to know myself. Yes, yes. Now we’ve found the point. 

8AF961ED-EDFD-485B-9EEA-434E517C5EBFFriends, I really hate that I screwed up all of my ideas this week and had nothing to present to you. Damn. I’ll just try harder next Sunday. 

Have a great week.-Benj

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What I’ve Learned from my 3 Year Old

I began my latest, greatest personal challenge in September, one that I wrote about a few months ago. The serious quest to become a scratch golfer is about a month in, and let me share some early results. Over the summer, I had a couple of rounds in the 100s (albeit at professional courses), but I have mainly hovered in the mid 90s for the better part of 2018. Just in the last few weeks, I’ve crept back into the 80s, and have stayed there consistently for the last couple of rounds. That all sounds so easy, but let me assure you it wasn’t and won’t be. The real grinding will begin soon. I’m so excited, but I will need some inspiration, and this is where my son comes in. 

AA595708-7424-43EF-B591-0AAB277DC99AHe’s 3 1/2 years old, and he started “playing” basketball a few months ago. I had taken him to a few Charlotte Hornets games, but otherwise this was brand new to him. Practice on Tuesdays. Games on Saturdays. A little bit of beebopping in between. 

The goal of this league is twofold. First and foremost, fun. Second, start building some skills. At the first practice, he could not lift the ball above his head. He shot the ball granny style straight up in the air to no one and nothing in particular. He still preferred to kick the ball around the court soccer-style (to which I secretly gave him high fives). 

I remember thinking to myself how interesting this is going to be because it reminded me of last year’s marathon journey. At the start, I didn’t know a damn thing about distance running, and at the end I ran the NYC Marathon. That grind remains one of the most rewarding processes of my life. 

B73C4114-5CC9-4435-B1A5-765DCF760DC7Tuesday after Tuesday, we showed up for basketball practice. Phones away. Only encouragement and smiles and high fives from momma and me and coach. And he got a little better. And a little better. And then games started, and having scrappy opponents set him back to square one. 

But he kept working. Shooting. Dribbling. Passing. Talking like a dad-blamed 3 year old socialite to anyone who would listen (cuz that’s what he does). We were all so proud. He was having fun, and the progress was extremely visible. 

DBD41A4E-FE8C-47A4-89ED-33894574411AThe next few games were a lot of the same. Just aimless 3 year old basketball. It culminated a few weeks ago on game day when he simply wasn’t bothered, laid down during the game, and called it a day. It was a good reminder that we all have our moments, and that as much as I love the motto “No Days Off”, we all need them. 

A0367F4E-6611-4CFD-8653-CA7562FBEE9ABut he kept at it. I was secretly prouder about this than anything in my life. And then this past Saturday, we invited Grandma, Granddad, and our friend Tina to see the big man play.  I told him before the game what I always tell him. Have fun. But then I added that it would be cool to score a basket for Grandma and Granddad (he hadn’t scored all year long). Just like his dad, the boy loves a good audience, and no sooner had the game started had he scored his first basket. Momma, Grandma, and Granddad screamed with excitement, while I could feel tears streaming down my face. 

Tina arrived a few minutes later, to which Banks was well pleased. As they entered the 4th quarter, I gave him a hug and told him it would be really cool to score a bucket for Miss Tina. He immediately got a bounce in his step, grabbed a rebound, and by sheer will dribbled (kind of) down the court and made his second shot ever. They all screamed, and I was back to crying. 

Watching not just Banks but the whole team improve has been so rewarding.  Two other kids made their first baskets last week, and I was so happy for them and their parents as well. 

41852B09-512A-45C6-8056-16EB1B67D8DFI know it is just 3 year old basketball, but it has been a bona fide inspiration to me about how someone can go from not being able to hold the ball over his head two months ago to dribbling, passing, and making two baskets. 

As we ate lunch afterwards, my mom mentioned how she wished that she had those two baskets on video. But she caught herself, just as I was about to pipe in. “But we saw it with our own two eyes, and nothing beats that!”

I’ve seen every step of the journey with my own two eyes starting about two months ago, and I have never been prouder of anything in my life. 

By the way, does anyone have a tissue I can borrow?

Have a great week.-Benj

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Finding Your Happy Place

BCDA253C-0160-4136-9224-53C04EF246C9I have begun to group potential travel destinations into 6 categories: water (beach, lake), mountains, big cities, international, specific purpose (wedding, conference), and completely random. To keep it fresh, I try to rotate them, but man, it had been a minute since I had really been to the mountains. So, luckily, that was this weekend’s destination for our annual fall family shenanigans.

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I have a bit of a strange relationship with the mountains. I spent four years there in undergraduate just north of Asheville, NC, by my own admission completely ignoring their beauty. I was on crutches for two of those years and completely focused on playing soccer for the other two. So I am attempting to fall in love again (or maybe for the first time).

446E13C0-D5BC-48AB-BE4C-440C508CFE18Over the past few years, nature, as my son would say, has become one of my best friends. As I wrote last week, I am completely dialed into how it affects my five senses. Let me give you a peek into what I mean.

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Behind our rental house in the woods, the small river was roaring. I wanted to smell a smokiness that would remind me of Football Friday Night in the Carolinas, but it never appeared. The weather dropped well into the 40s, jolting my skin alive and allowing me to see my breath for the first time this year. I saw many beautiful critters, leaves that had not yet changed, and stunning views from Boone Golf Club.

B4337CF7-EB47-4B32-A402-1141D123CE35I also ventured through Appalachian State’s campus, taking me back to middle school when I spent the entire summer there. I tasted tangy BBQ, bacon in my beans, cheddar in my grits, and cinnamon and plum in my cider. The body was alive.

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One of my favorite conversation starters is to ask people where they would ideally spend each of the four seasons. I think many people call this their happy place? Well, news flash, mine is not Boone, NC, but I did very much enjoy myself this weekend.  I can’t say that I have one specific happy geographical location, to be honest.  Maybe I’m still searching.  But I do have a happy place.  It used to be on the soccer field, but that era is slowly coming to an end.  It’s now firmly on the golf course (and/or deep in a plate of BBQ).

DC185A26-3EA5-4826-BF0D-3ED25D6763E0

I honestly enjoy putting on a crisp golf outfit that is neither corny, stodgy, nor sloppy.  I enjoy arriving early and getting a good stretch in.  I enjoy the sights and the sounds and the smells of nature, still preferring to find the amazing in new courses, but appreciating more the familiarity of ones I’ve played many a time.  I enjoy the obstacles on every shot.  I enjoy that 2 weekends ago it was 100 degrees in Las Vegas when I teed off, and 14 days later in NC it was 48.  I enjoy visualizing and feeling not just where I want the ball to go but how it is going to get there.  To have something that can be so frustrating at times beg for me to try to do better tomorrow?  That is my happy place.

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I am quite obsessed with the question I posed above.  Ideally, where would I spend spring, summer, fall, and winter?  I’m often at odds with myself, because I think I would enjoy finding those actual happy places, but I still swear by the new and undiscovered.

If you have the luxury of having a happy place, let me encourage you on one thing.  Happy place and comfort zone seem to sometimes be synonymous, so I want to delineate.  Happy places are simply that, but offer you the ideal environment to laugh, recharge, create, and grow.  Comfort zones?  It’s just where the flowers go to die.

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Enjoy your happy place.  Embrace your happy place.  Utilize it to grow and thrive and prosper.  If you ever encounter me in mine, we are going to enjoy each other’s company.  But we are also going to dive deep, grow, and really try to figure this out.  And then, of course, we are going for a big plate of BBQ to wash it all down.

51D4972B-E2B6-4EC9-B969-F52C6CA01194

Have a great week.-Benj

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The Moment, the Memory, and the Picture

Team, we are going to have a little fun this week.  Keep it light.  As you know, I am not big on strict rules, but I am going to have a few this week.  Here they are.  No one take offense.  Laugh at ourselves a little.  Pay attention.

As you may know by now, societal jargon annoys me.  So much of it makes no sense, and I oftentimes wonder if people even know what they are saying.  My example and topic this week is the phrase “making memories”, which I have overheard no less than 10 times this week.

64A7F39C-7BED-4718-B25F-0DE6C519A9EEI think I understand what people are trying to say here, but let me give you my take.  Whatever memory you are making and with whomever you are making it with, please be present, enjoy their company and savor the moment.  Like, in real time.  Let the memory be the byproduct.  Let the picture be the byproduct.  The time spent in the moment is the goal.

0CE5D845-290F-458C-96DB-F7DD24EEED8EAs a former major offender, here’s what I have started doing.  When there is a “moment” happening, I put the phone down.  Period.  I take whatever it is in real time with my five senses, and really focus on the sight, smell, touch, sound, or taste.  That interaction is much more powerful and long-lasting than a picture. As an example, my favorite thing to do when I first walk outside of the airport of a new city is stop and consciously take in the smell.  If for whatever reason I ever need to think back on this memory, I don’t pull out the picture.  I summon it from my body.  Much, much more enjoyable.  Try it.

B1EFE569-F9C2-4007-96B3-BF9958F2C48AMy favorite example in recent memory was at The Blue Lagoon in Iceland.  These damn people, hundreds of them, could not wait to get the perfect picture with the perfect background with the perfect lighting.  I sat in the water for probably two hours soaking it all in cracking up.  I savored the warm, healing water contrasted against the 30 degree outside temperature.  I enjoyed a cold Icelandic beer. I took the above picture as a joke.

7EDC7858-E772-4935-8CFB-A28BFF910E0A I honestly don’t know if these people had any idea where they were and how cool of an actual experience it was.  (Interrupting a brilliant human moment for a picture is even more mind boggling, and please don’t get me started on Facebook Memories.)

71CB1C75-AE5D-4908-A1DD-D970871872FBI had this novel idea that the blog would primarily show you what I am seeing with my eyes, that maybe you could experience it with me.  If I’m showing you Reykjavik, I want you to see Reykjavik, not me in Reykjavik.  It’s like an extension of my eyes.  I just assume you would know I was there.  It’s why I killed the fashion blog early.  Selfie overload.  It just felt tacky and insecure.  Yes, your picture will get less likes without you in it, but is that really a problem?  (My ultimate goal is to have a post so good that no one likes it but that may truly inspire someone else in their life. Think about that.)

Listen, ya’ll are all cooler than me.  Maybe the joke is on me.  Or maybe everyone else is thinking the exact same thing as me, and we can just secretly agree.  Are we missing out on ridiculously cool human experiences at the expense of taking photos and “making memories”?  It’s just a strange phenomenon, isn’t it?

So, in conclusion, everyone exhale. Relax.  It’s okay.   I’m just messing with you.  Take your selfies.  Take your pics.  Take your vids.  Make your memories.  I certainly do.  But do put the damn phone down at some point and experience whatever and whomever firsthand.  Take in the moment.  Breathe it in. That is where the magic lies.

EBBC5F6C-D0AC-4672-A43E-096B1A17185EI honestly just don’t want you to get home, look at your pictures, and say this to yourself.  “Wow, that looks magnificent!  I wish I could remember how that experience made me feel, but instead I was taking some goofy-ass pic.”  Been there.  Done that.

25756780-5BC9-4A87-B842-D7CF69935842

Have a great week.-Benj

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