Put Your Phone Away

It's okay to put your phone away.

While in Italy, on the chair lift at Mount Solaro, Anacapri, I couldn’t help but notice people who had no interest in the beauty around them mostly because they were looking at their cell phone.

I found it sad.

It’s okay to see the beauty around you. Put the phone away.

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(Picture is from Anacapri, Italy)

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Losing Your Top

Losing your top never makes you look cool

I heard once that if you wanted to help yourself control your anger you should, once the anger begins to build, image how you look getting angry. Even better would be to have a video of yourself during the complete transition from calm to angry because that would show you exactly how silly you look.

While some folks may think this car looks cool, with no windshield imaging the bugs in your face as you drive. Not so cool now, is it? Kinda of like when you get angry.

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(Picture is from The Big Island, Hawaii)

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Don’t Question Other’s Grief

“What?”

This was blurted out in tandem, by me and my wife, as she was fast-forwarding whatever we were watching and somehow landed on a graphic showing, “Kobe Bryant, 1978 – 2020.” 

“Kobe Bryant died?”

The rewind button was quickly pressed and there it was, the “breaking story” that Kobe Bryant had died in a helicopter crash.

The initial shock came to me, a seeming pause in time, as is normal when you hear of the sudden death of someone, whether they be a person close to you or even a celebrity.

I headed to Twitter where my feed instantly changed from blurbs about the impeachment, computer programming, and utter nonsense, to about 20 straight tweets of disbelief and hope the news was incorrect.

Grieve

I found myself stunned but not really sad. I felt bad for his family and the families of the other people who died in the crash. I kept checking if there was more news, maybe a reason for the crash, and then I caught the stories of visibly grieving people, folks who most likely never met the man but only experienced him as a basketball player. I have to say that my first reaction seeing them was to wonder how they could find themselves so emotional about a person with whom they had no direct connection except maybe through basketball.

Then I remembered my reaction upon hearing of the death of Clarence Clemons back in June, 2011. 

Yup, some tears came to my eyes back then, and I remembered him with a Facebook post, “RIP Clarence Clemons. Thank you for your saxophone playing, and for being one of The Three Most Important People in the World.” Some of my friends caught the reference to his roll in “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.”

It was one of the few times I actually acknowledged the passing of someone I didn’t really know.

The odd thing was that in the world of my life Clarence wasn’t that much of an influence, at least I never thought he was, until he died. Up until then he was always just a member of the E-Street band, and I liked him in the few movies he was a part of. For whatever reason, and maybe it just hit me at a time when I didn’t want to think about my own mortality, his death had an emotional effect on me. I grieved, if ever so briefly.

It's okay to grieve.

In reflecting back on my experience I re-understood how the people could get emotional over Kobe Bryant, someone they didn’t personally know. For me Kobe was a great basketball player, but to others he was much more. I’ve also realized those people needed their time to grieve, it wasn’t my place to wonder about it, and better they grieve at the moment, for, from The Daily Stoic and a quote from Seneca, “It is better to conquer our grief than to deceive it. For if it has withdrawn, being merely beguiled by pleasures and preoccupations, it starts up again and from its very respite gains force to savage us.”

Me, I’m hoping to try to be less judgmental the next time I see stories of people grieving over a celebrity, because, heck, I have to remember that I did it, too. In the end it is never our place to understand why someone might grieve but to support them, and if that grief begins to, as Seneca put it, “savage” them, our responsibility is to urge them to seek out others who can help them conquer that grief.

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Bad Hair Day

Smile Even if you are having a Bad Hair Day

There are things out of your control, and, at times, one of those things might just be your hair. You are having a bad hair day.

Don’t let it get you down, tomorrow is a new day, and suddenly your bad hair day will be a memory.

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(Picture is from Herrick Lake Forest Preserve, Wheaton, IL)

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It’s Okay to Rest

It's Okay to Rest. Even Nature Gets Tired.

When I came across this tree, it was near the end of a rolling hike, about 3/4 of a mile up, and I was tired. I mentioned to my wife, “Look, that tree is tired, too.”

While I understand the tree just grew that way, to me, at the time, it just looked the tree needed a rest, much like I did.

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(Picture is from near the Thurston Lava Tube, Kīlauea, at Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park)

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Just the Right Time

I keep a list of quotes I’ve heard. Some of them I put in my Inspire My Awesome app so they pop up from time to time, and others are just on this list that I revisit. It’s funny to me, though, how at just the right time one of those quotes will present itself because it’s what I need to help me break through a barrier.

The barrier might be a bad mood, the barrier might be self-doubt, or the barrier might be fear, but for some mystical reason the universe knows just what I need. It makes me revisit my thoughts, suddenly things are a little bit clearer, and I can move forward.

Save That Quote

Looking back with regret is a young man's game. - Rick Rubin

One of the quotes that just resonated with me recently was from Rick Rubin, “Looking back with regret is a young man’s game.”

I can’t remember what podcast he said it on, I think it was from “Broken Record” when he was talking to Brandi Carlile and Tanya Tucker, but at the time I heard it I thought, “That’s a cool quote,” and I saved it. It became tucked away on my list.

Lately I’ve been in that regret trap of looking back at “could’ve beens.” I think it’s because of the change to a new year and reflecting on the past. The two “could’ve beens” at the top of the list were my old website, “Entertainment Ave!”, and “The Entertainment Ave! Podcast” I used to record. I was reflecting back on how much I enjoyed both of them and how, at the time, they were cutting edge as I started Entertainment Ave! back in 1996 and the first podcast was back sometime in 2006.

Old Podcast Icon

While I still putz around with Entertainment Ave!, the podcast is long gone. Back in those old days the website was just starting to gain traction as the place for entertainment reviews. The podcast, while it had no traction, was at such an early stage most no one knew what a podcast was so its possibilities were limitless. The regret comes around when I think how “cutting edge” they were at the time, and if I had just put a little bit more effort they might have had the chance to “become something” as one might say.

No Effort

The thing is that I didn’t put in the effort, and I know it. That is what I was regretting and letting get me down. And then Rick Rubin’s quote decided it should show itself again, popping up on my app just in time to reset my attitude.

“Looking back with regret is a young man’s game.”

While I’m not an old man, I’m not a young man either, and thanks to that quote I have been able to change the regret thoughts back to the thoughts they need to be, “That’s the past. You can’t change it. Learn. Move forward. Live.”

If you are young and reading this, go ahead and let a regret super-charge you to your next level. You still have a chance to let the few regrets you might have help you redirect your path. If you are not young and reading this you don’t have time for regrets any longer, you just have time to live.

Don’t let today be another regret. Move forward. Live.

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Stay Calm

Stay Calm Even if Things Are Bugging You

There will be times when everything around you seems to bug you. Stay calm, eventually you will get through the bugginess and back to calmness.

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(Picture is from a deck, next to a river, with bugs swarming around a light.)

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