Showing posts with label Cycle of Life. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cycle of Life. Show all posts

August 29, 2019

Go Years of Retirement

Thought this was an interesting perspective on retirement.

There are three phases:

1) Go-Go:  You retire and are eager to enjoy your newfound freedom, and you spend the time and money to really do the pursuits and travel that you always wanted. 

2) Slow-Go: After the initial adventurism and spending, you settle in some more and spend your time on quiet activities, socializing, and relaxing. 

3) No-Go: This is the wind down phase, where you spend most of your time at home and at a certain point, may need some assistance to do everyday activities. 

Obviously, the last phase is sort of depressing, but it too is a part of life.  

Like a bell-shaped curve, we are born, grow, mature, and then decline.

This is the cycle of life for every living thing. 

It takes maturity and courage to face it and to make the most out of every single moment that we are blessed with.  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

July 18, 2018

Rain From Heaven

Took this photo yesterday in the courtyard during a thunderstorm.

It is the first time that I was actually able to see the rain almost in a slow motion.

They weren't drops, but literally streaks of water zipping down from the sky.

The feeling was so pure and refreshing to clean the air and the ground. 

To replenish our reservoirs, ponds, lakes, rivers, and oceans. 

To nourish the fruit of the Earth and make it grow. 

We use up and make dirty, but G-d replenishes and makes clean! ;-)

(Source photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

June 1, 2018

Expect Less <> Appreciate More

I thought this was a great saying in the Wall Street Journal book review today.

"Expect Less, Appreciate More."

Many people in their late 30s and early 40s become disillusioned with life. 

They have been on the treadmill chasing love, fame, and fortune for so long. 

But reality sets in and they don't get everything they think they have coming to them.

Hence some level of mid-life crisis sets in. 

However by the time people reach their 50s, things seem to shift again, and a happiness or peacefulness sets in. 

People start to expect less and instead appreciate more from the blessings they do have. 

The treadmill becomes a long walk along the beautiful beach or park trail. 

We don't need to chase success, but rather just see the great lives in so many ways that G-d has already bestowed on us. 

The U-shaped curve of life--where we start all bright-eyes and bushy tailed in our younger years and which descends into disappointment and disillusionment in mid-life, comes up once again to happiness and a fulfillment in our later years. 

Over the course of our lives, we learn that life does not ask, but rather it tells us. 

And if we just listen, we can find meaning and contentment amidst it all. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

March 16, 2018

Homeless DC

So aside from all the Washington, D.C. weighty monuments to our esteemed values of democracy, freedom, and human rights.

And aside from all the prestigious institutions and people of great power that formulate the policies and rules and keep us abiding by them. 

This is what I see in D.C. 

The plight of the poor, homeless, and downtrodden. 

Those that have fallen by the wayside.

People who are down on their luck.

Human beings--that's right human beings--that need and deserve help or even just a chance.

Why does anyone have to live--if you can even call this living--like this a couple of blocks from the White House. 

I know there are people all over the world who are hungry, homeless, sick, and abused.

Yet, nowhere is this more stark an example than in the U.S.A where there is such an enormous divergence between "the haves" and "the have nots" and where our values are supposedly bound up with equality, human rights, charity, and kindness.

Yes, we are supposed to be equal in treatment and in opportunity, but we all know that is not really the case. 

Sure, some work hard and others are perhaps lucky/blessed, but then are those that are born with a "silver spoon in their mouths" and excel through a tight weave of corruption, narcissism, nepotism, and abuse.

Yet a real chance for everyone, a living wage, and basic dignity and respect should be afforded to all.

Money and power is ephemeral.  

Those with it, that abuse it, shall see it pass between their fingers ever trying to clutch unto it with dear life. 

Only the way we treat others will last in this world and in the world after. 

Everything goes around and comes around. 

This is the cycle of life and the lot of those who abuse their good fortune as well as those that harness it. 

G-d will judge with His mighty hand and bring to bear the deeds and intentions of those that mock His holy will. 

Because His children lay in rags and heaps, while others dance their folly jig. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

December 17, 2017

Failing Forward

There were 2 inspirational student speakers today at my daughter's graduation from American University.

One spoke about how he got sick soon after starting college with a serious vascular disease, but despite numerous hopsitalizations, treatments, and falling behind his peers, he persevered and was graduating today and in very good spirits. 

Another women spoke about her many failures leading up to the success today of her graduation. She described how her father used to ask her: 
"What did you fail at this week?"

Why?

Because even though we don't like to admit it, most people have many, many more failures in life than successes.  

Even Thomas Edison, the inventor of the light bulb is said to have failed 1,000 times before getting it right.

This women explained how failure is actually something to celebrate--does that sound crazy?.

But it's really not, and here's why?
"To fail is to learn.
To learn is to grow.
To fail is to grow forward."
Now, I had heard about failing up, but never failing forward. 

Many who fail still manage to advance themselves in the process. 

But failing forward is different. 

It's not taking advantage of the failure, but legitimately learning from the experience so that you can grow yourself, and advance yourself, by becoming a smarter, stronger, and more capable person from it. 

Sure, it hurts to fail. 

Who would normally want to celebrate failure?

But if we understand life as a journey and not a specific destination, then we enjoy every blessed moment that we have to become better today and tomorrow than we were yesterday. 

In this case, failure is not the opposite of success, but rather is part and parcel of achieving it. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

December 15, 2017

Slow Build - Rapid Demise

It takes time to build in life. 

Or as they say:
"Rome wasn't built in a day."

But it's not always easy to have patience. 

We all have to start somewhere and usually it's at the bottom.

And then we have to claw our way up (like Rocky).

Unless of course, you're one of those people born with a "silver spoon" in your mouth. 

The funny thing about building and climbing is that it can all be destroyed in a split second. 

One silly mistake, one stupid word, one indiscretion, one lackadaisical moment, a turn of bad luck...or a series thereof. 

It takes so much time and effort to build as we lay one brick of success upon another. 

And it takes just a split second to destroy it all. 

So watch-watch-watch your steps, because they can so easily turn into a rapid, spiraling, and even most deadly a fall.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

September 15, 2017

Management Is A Privilege

So some people have this notion about management that is all wrong. 

- Management is not a right or entitlement.

- Management is a wonderful privilege!

The privilege comes with responsibility and is earned by knowing how to manage and treat your people right.

That means:

- Acting with integrity

- Treating people fairly, with dignity, and respect

- Showing you value them

- Helping to develop them

- And of course, achieving results together!

I heard it said well like this:
"If you don't treat people well 
you won't be a manager for long."
Again, it's a privilege, not a right, to manage and lead others. 

Those who abuse their privilege and people--it's like the cycle of life. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

September 5, 2017

The Meaning Of Pain

Wow, I am so impressed with my daughter.

I spoke with her this evening and she has grown into such a smart, mature, and good person. 

We were talking about some hard times.

And she said to me so smartly (and I am so proud of her):
"The reason that we have pain is to avoid more pain."

Wow...think about that for a moment. 

Everyone gets physical, emotional, and even spiritual pain in their lives. 

Even little things like stubbing your toe, getting a small burn, or a paper cut--these things give you a instant or more of pain...but it jolts you into attention of what to avoid and to action how to protect yourself to prevent further and worse pain down the road. 

A little pain now can fortunately save you a lot of pain later!

(Or in the gym they say, "No pain, no gain.")

My father used to say about difficult life lessons:
"Better to cry now than to cry later!"

He was right--bad situations generally don't get better with age. 

Continuing the discussion with my lovely daughter tonight, she said to me:
"A person becomes better when they struggle. I've become better by struggling."

Again, like little pains, even larger struggles in life challenge us to learn, grow, and become better and stronger people. 

I remember as a kid--when we went through those growth spurts--it would actually hurt a little--some muscle aches here and some cramps there--whew, a few inches taller already. 

Growth hurts, but it's kind of a good hurt that only someone with the emotional intelligence to understand maturity and betterment can really grasp. 

No, I'm not advocating for self-flagellation--just that we know when pain and struggle is a defining moment in life--like shaping and sharpening a great sword in fierce fire. 

It's hot, but the heat is healing and necessary sometimes to grow as human and spiritual beings. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

June 17, 2017

Happy Father's Day

So it's Shabbat and that's one of the wonderful times to look at old photos in the albums and boxes. 

Yes, this was before digital photography!

I came across this art that my daughters had given to my father and mother when they were still alive--I think it was plastered on their refrigerator for a while. 

This photo seemed to bridge the past, present, and future for me. 

My parents are gone now to Hashem--already 2 and 3 years--and I still can't believe it. 

At the annual Mother's Day and Father's Day--it's just another time of year to remember how much I miss them all year long. 

For me now, it is also a chance to be grateful for my lovely children that G-d has so gracefully blessed me and Dossy with. 

Smiles, hugs and kisses, love and caring for one another--this is what life is all about.

Father's Day to me is not about the gratefulness of my children to me, but rather of me to Hashem and them to be blessed to be a dad and have the chance to give back to such lovely children--to the next generation that greatly supersedes me and mine!

So I'm crunched in the middle in time between wonderful parents and beautiful children and as my dad would joke, it skipped a generation (hopefully, not really). ;-) 

(Source Photo: My Girls)
Share/Save/Bookmark

May 16, 2017

Going Down B4 You Go Up

So a really special person that I know is going through some major life changes...

And they told me this interesting, wonderful, and faithful perspective.

"Sometimes you go down before you go up!"

Like the Wheel of Life (Gilgal Hachozer), what goes down, thank G-d can and does tend to go back up--it's a return to the mean and then some. 

When you realize that challenges and even hardships are part of the cycle, and that these test and grow you and your ability to overcome, then you can face them knowing that you can rise up and hopefully to another level of maturation and happiness. 

Yes, know that nothing is easy in life!

Often we take a step back to take two forward or a step down to boost ourselves further up. 

It's the nature of progress.

Don't be afraid to go down a little right before you're about to go way on up. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

July 15, 2016

Aging Yet (Hopefully) Always Helping Each Other

I just love this drawing of the parents and child. 

My daughter found it on Instagram and sent it to me. 

As a little kid, my wife and I used to hold her hands and swing her between us when walking (like in the above illustration)--she loved that!

Now as we get older, we still try to be good, helpful parents (not too intrusive or helicopter-like--well maybe a little), but we can certainly see a day down the line when the cycle of life goes full circle. 

My daughter used to joke (I think) about putting me in an old age home--she knew that after seeing what my mom went through there with Parkinson's, that is truly the last place I would want to end up. 

Of course, sometimes there really is no choice when a person just needs so much care that it is beyond what the family can do any longer. 

Frankly, what I have learned is that the most important and precious thing that parents and children can give each other is...time!

So is that child in the bottom illustration helping his aging parents along or is he dragging them off to the nursing home?  Perhaps, we'll never know until it's too late. ;-)

(Source Photo: Rebecca Blumenthal from Instagram Unlimited Knowledge)
Share/Save/Bookmark

June 7, 2016

Now You See It and Now You Don't


Took a little hike on Sunday through Sligo Creek. 

It was an absolutely gorgeous day. 

Walking along the creek, we saw a mother and child wading in the water. 

(Not sure that I would do that based on how clean or not it is, but they seemed to be cooling off and having fun). 

Then crossing a little footbridge, we came across someone tossing this pretty big bolder over the side and into the same creek. 

There was another guy at the bottom who seemed to be looking out for the big splash (or perhaps anyone happening by who would get clobbered by this thing). 

Anyway, this was just a stark juxtaposition of people (including children) having fun in the water and the potential hazards from above.

This is life, one minute everything can be sunshine and roses, and the next bing bong!

Got to be grateful for every minute of peace, health, and prosperity-they are truly gifts and nothing is owed to anyone from the Almighty. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Share/Save/Bookmark

May 24, 2016

This House Is For The Birds

Beautiful simple birdhouses in Downtown DC.

We all need to live somewhere.

Too many people in shelters and on the streets. 

Started giving money to some of the homeless on the way to the Metro. 

My friend's father used to say, "If they ask then they need it."

Perhaps what's needed is a little more kindness, TLC, and compassion for all G-d's loving creatures. 

While it's nice to look up to aspire and climb the next rung of life, it's as important to look down and remember from where you came and where you can still go again. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

May 20, 2016

What Beauties

What beauties these purple flowers are?

Tall on the thin green stem. 

And then ballooning and budding out into these futuristic spherical lattice-shaped flowers. 

Almost like soft clouds that we can reach out and touch (and touch too hard, and the flowers just fall off into the breeze).

But think again with technical imagery and these can be an advanced interconnected living neural network that with "big data" can solve all our information and artificial intelligence needs. 

Each flower computing, sensing, processing, analyzing, and problem-solving. 

A swarm of living and dying nodes and sprouting forth again with a natural processing function. 

A gorgeous flower, but you can imagine it as so much more. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

February 17, 2015

From Stability Comes Instability

I remember hearing the phrase (not sure from where), "everything and the opposite."

I think it refers to how within each thing in life are elements of the exact contrary and opposing force. 

Similar to the interactions of ying and yang, the world is an interplay of opposites--males and females, black and white, fire and water, ebb and flow, good and bad, optimism and pessimism, and so on. 

Everything has a point and it's counterpoint.

It was interesting to me to see this concept expressed in terms of the financial markets (Wall Street Journal), where bull and bear contend in terms of our finances.

But what was even more fascinating was the notion from the economist, Hyman Minsky, who noted that the very dynamic between stability and instability was inherent within itself.

So for example, Minsky posits that a stable economic market leads to it's very opposite, instability.

This happens because stability "leads to optimism, optimism leads to excessive risk-taking, and excessive risk-taking leads to instability" (and I imagine this works in reverse as well with instability-pessimism, retrenchment and limiting risk to stability once again).

Thus, success and hubris breeds failure, and similarly failure and repetitive trial and error/hard work results in success.

It is the interflow between ying and yang, the cycle of life, life and death (and rebirth), the seasons come and go, boom and bust, and ever other swinging of the pendulum being polar opposites that we experience. 

The article in the Journal is called "Don't Fear The Bear Market," I suppose because we can take comfort that what follows the bear is another bull. 

But the title sort of minimizes the corollary--Don't (overly) rejoice in the bull--because you know what comes next.

Go cautiously and humbly through life's swings.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

September 15, 2014

Just About Says It All



Story of human civilization in 2 minutes by Joe Bush

History majors can probably add some, but overall completely awesome!

Maybe this is a glimpse of what it's like to have a G-d's eye view of the world--where time and space are inconsequential. 

Looking at this, are we almost at the end or are we just on the verge of a new beginning?  ;-)
Share/Save/Bookmark

January 2, 2014

Looking Forward, Backwards

Farhad Manjoo argues in today's Wall Street Journal that "there's plenty" of innovation going on, despite the grumblings that their isn't.

His main argument is that "the smartphone and the tablet 'are' the next big things."

Manjoo tells us to "grow up" and calls us "spoiled children," because we are not satisfied with these and simple future enhancements of this. 

He would have us accept that there won't be "anything as groundbreaking in a generation." 

Well, looking back at past innovation and calling that as our current and future innovation is like looking back at our past successes and simply resting on our laurels as good enough.

Unfortunately, no business can rest on their past successes--they must constantly innovate to stay relevant in the marketplace and meet their growth targets for revenue, profit, market share, and customer satisfaction.

As they say in financial prospectuses, "past success is no guarantee of future success."

Similarly, as individuals we do not just settle for past success, but we strive everyday to make a contribution, to learn, and to grow as long as we have the strength to try.

When we stop striving, we may as well be heading downhill in the cycle of life, because as we all know, "if you are not moving forward, then you are moving backwards."

Life is not stagnant, and yesterdays innovations are not todays creative breakthroughs or tomorrows leaps forward.

The rate of innovation is no longer measured in generations in the 21st century--and for those who think it is, they would have us accept defeat in this highly global, competitive marketplace. 

While we should not be greedy, why are we so ready to say good enough, instead of really critiquing ourselves (e.g. calling a dry spell, a dry spell) and continuing the tough journey into the future. 

At least Manjoo cites incremental work in privacy, enterprise technologies such as cloud computing, and robotics as tech trends - so maybe there is still hope. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

September 15, 2013

Giving--Coming Right Back To You


I love this video!

It is about a giving man who helps a hungry child pay for food that the child had stolen. 

The man throughout his life cares and provides to those in need. 

Later in life the man gets deathly sick and needs an expensive operation.

The doctor in the hospital provides a bill to the man's daughter, but all the charges are zeroed out. 

It turns out that the doctor is the hungry boy from years ago and he recognizes the patient as the man that had saved him.

It is now his turn to pay it forward to the man who gave all his life. 

One act of giving can influence and spark countless other good deeds. 

Never underestimate the power of giving to others. 

It is the one thing that we can do universally to help. 
Share/Save/Bookmark

June 12, 2013

The Money Pit

So I'm visiting this absolutely delectable Italian bakery in fancy-schmancy Las Olas.

The Sicilian pizza by the way is amazing.

We are there for a while enjoying the food, conversation, and ambiance. 

My wife offers to take a picture of me in this great place. 

The lady behind the counter is so nice and let's me join her behind the counter for a moment.

In comes an obviously wealthy customer and as he sees me going to take a quick photo, he makes a big "Hmmmmm!"

The lady graciously says "Just one moment sir."

And irritably waiting for just this brief moment, he blurts out, "I'm the customer and my money comes first!"

When he said this, another lady in line made a huge shocked face--as did we all.

It is incredible how some people's money goes to their head and they don't realize it all comes from G-d and can just as quickly be taken away.

Wealth, health, our loved ones, and happiness--they are ephemeral and we should be ever grateful for them for as long as we have them.

Being arrogant and thinking we are better than the next guy--that we are somehow more deserving or above it all--is a huge fallacy and G-d sees all. 

Maybe this rich guy's money comes first to him, but I imagined the Master Of The Universe hearing these words and having the last eternal laugh. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

April 27, 2013

Who Hasn't Been There?

So I was teaching a course this week in enterprise architecture, and some of the students asked about EA having a bad rap and brand (i.e. that it seems to not work so well in many organizations) and why is that? 

We had a pretty robust discussion around this--why some organizations fail and others succeed with EA.

We discussed the critical success factors that as the CIO or Chief Architect you can impact, and how these can drive planning and implementation for the organization to succeed. 

At the same time, we also acknowledged how--to be frank--not everything is in our control.

This was a class full of CIOs and Vice Presidents, and I gave an example and said you are all successful now in your jobs and careers, but raise your hand if you haven't been there--where you were on the outs and you boss or colleagues just didn't like you?

This was a class of about 20 people, and out of all these highly achieved folks, only one hand went up--a young kid--with only 3 or 4 years out of school, and still learning the ropes. 

Yes, this one person had not yet been on the losing end, but everyone else--all these successful people had been--ALL of them!

The point is not to say that success is just a chance event--it isn't! 

You have to work hard and try your best-- but no matter how much you think of yourself--it's even more important to remember that you don't control all the factors of your life that determine whether you succeed or fail.  

The same people that now had big, successful jobs, were the same people who had in a prior job or time been the person who could do no right at work. 

I tell myself to remember that there is personality, chemistry and fit at work; there is timing--and it is everything!--and there is how the stars are aligned. 

It helps a lot to be humble and learn, grow, work hard, never give up, have fun--and have faith in a mightier power above. 

From what I've seen, life is a cycle and today you may be down, but tomorrow you will be up (and the opposite is true too--so don't kick the person that is down and hurting). 

"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heavens." (Ecclesiastes 3:1)--for everything and for everyone. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)


Share/Save/Bookmark