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personal

A fantastic trip and some deep thoughts

Right now I am at an airport bar with my wife, having a cold brew and waiting for my red eye back home. I have been in Seattle for the past five days visiting my brother, who just moved out here a few months ago.

It’s a trip that has been amazingly relaxing and has allowed for a lot of deep reflection and thinking about where I’m headed. Already there has been a lot of changes the past few months and I’m preparing to make some more in the future. It has never been more important to me to have control of my life so I can live it to its fullest.

Time to kick the next phase into gear.

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personal

Write and create something

I’m wide awake, several hours before I normally wake up.

The world silent around me, partially from the early hour, partially from the snowfall of yesterday dampening the landscape. Laying here in bed, without anyone expecting anything from me at this moment. I could aimlessly surf the web and my many apps. I could just lay there and not do a thing.

Or I can write and create something.

I had not kept up with writing over the past five years or so. Much of that was due to my career in customer service and sales engineering. I used every ounce of my writing capacity for years to craft words to help my customers. With tens or hundreds of correspondence over the course of the day that have to be written in a certain style, with no mistakes acceptable. And make no mistake, I was damn good at it.

Yet depleted any desire I had to write for fun. To think deeply on my own time and record it in “pernament” format, about any subject that came to mind. When’s the last time I got up early to write? I can’t recall. I’m sure if I queried this blog for my earliest in the morning posts, this would be one of if not the earliest ever.

What’s the conclusion here? I don’t want to end with a grand promise that I will almost certainly break. I’m just going to enjoy the moment and write some more.

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personal

That place that is home

I grew up in a small town in western New Hampshire, with just a blinking stop light, one store, and not even a school within its borders. Growing up, all I really knew was the small circle of towns that surrounded where I lived. It was a simple life, no excitement, and no chance of progress. Everyone I knew wanted to leave this town.

Then I laid my eyes on the Internet when my father went back to college in the early 90s. Combined with my mother bringing a Mac LC II home thanks to being one of the early PC Connection employees. It completely opened a new world and brought me on a long journey that resulted in me working for one of the most critical Internet infrastructure companies in the world. This has made me who I am today.

My family eventually moved away from the town I grew up in, just down the road to the town I went to high school in. A town that has deep family roots for over a hundred years. A town that just seems perfect and fitting of small town New England, with a perfect lake, a mountain that watches over you, and history around every corner. A town where my family and friends are always there for me.

Whenever I visit my hometown of Sunapee, life slows down and I am reminded that someday, I will live here again.

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personal

Boston

Today I head into Boston to depart on a business trip to San Francisco, I can’t help but wish I could spend even a few hours walking around my favorite city on Earth and marvel at what someone attempted to take away from us.

There is just something about Boston that pulls on every New England’ers string, a melting pot of so many different cultures meshed together with what makes America great: a steadfast resolution to never give up, even when the going gets tough and the odds are stacked against you.

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personal

Running on empty

My wife and I hadn’t taken a vacation together in almost two years. Sure we had taken “time off” during this time period, but none of those for vacation reasons and never both of us officially enjoying that time together for an extended period of time. It’s been a year and a half of unbelievable highs and the lowest of lows.

In the past year we have experienced the death of my aunt and a few months later, my grandfather. The lead up two their deaths bringing unbelievable stress as two people I loved dearly had their health deteriorate before my eyes. My mother-in-law had one hell of a health scare, including us receiving a horrible update while flying down to see her (good news is she has fully recovered in the past year).

It wasn’t all bad news though, but even the good came with stress and huge time commitments. We sold our condo, found & moved into a new house in an intense 45 day period that even had us literally driving to our closing not sure if it would actually happen (it did, barely). My career and employer absolutely took off beyond my wildest dreams, causing many long hours and intense concentration on my part as I elevated me and my team’s game. I’ve traveled eight times this year for work (twice to England), even nice with my wife despite me working the whole time.

Point is, I’ve been running on empty for quite awhile, both emotionally and physically. Without realizing it. And it has taken a true vacation, with no commitments (other than family with a perfectly timed and much anticipated Christmas) to finally realize it.

With just under a week left in my 10 day vacation, I’m enjoying every second of it by taking pride in the little things I can do at the pace I want to do them at. Simply put, I’m letting my brain unwind and regenerate the energy I need for 2013 to be successful. My wife and I have spent some much needed time with just the two of us without a commitment in the world. It’s probably the last time we will be able to say that, so we are enjoying it while we can.

What I hope 2013 will be is…normal. No moves, reasonable among of travel, stability personally and professionally….

…and God willing, no deaths.

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personal

Thirty

I’ve been lucky enough to be on this earth for thirty years. It’s been a learning process and I’ve still got much to work on, but I think it has turned out rather OK.

Here is to another thirty (and hopefully many more)!

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personal

Hard work pays off

Hard work pays off, but no time to rest.

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personal

Thank You Steve

When I think of Steve Jobs, I don’t think about how great of a salesman he was, the market cap of Apple, or the fact that he resurrected a company left for dead in the biggest turnaround in corporate history. Although he certainly did pretty well doing the above.

I think of his endless drive to make computers devices that people want to use and have fun using. To make it so my grandmother will not be intimidated by a computer. So someone can have their entire music library available with one touch of a finger on a click wheel. Seeing a 2-year-old figure out an iPad and begin learning because of how intuitive it is.

There is the attention to detail that is unrivaled in the industry. When you pick up an iPhone, you are just in awe. Same thing with a MacBook Pro. Same thing with an iPad.

It was always weird to me that most people called computers running Windows “personal computers.” The only true personal computers were products who’s idea was directly influenced by Steve Jobs. My iPhone is just as much of a personal computer as my MacBook Pro. No one else has had the vision to make devices that work so well at what they do for the vast majority of people who need such a device. There is a reason why so many people have personal connection with an Apple device.

The world lost someone special today. His vision will go on.

Godspeed Mr. Jobs.

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personal

Two weeks to go

Two weeks from today (September 30th), my wife and I will hopefully be the owners of a house. Whoa.

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personal

The most important lesson a 6-year-old can get

My great-grandfather was one of those people that no one ever forgets. Everyone knew him and he knew everyone. One of the nicest persons you would ever meet. The hardest worker you could find is what I always heard about him. For a 6-year-old at the time, he also taught me a very valuable lesson the hard way.

I don’t have many memories of him, but I have a few. I remember visiting him at work at a doctor’s office next to New London Hospital. He was a maintenance man there that helped maintain the facilities. He would often pick me up and put me on his riding lawn mower as we went around the yard there. We would also go to his apartment that he shared with the love of his life, my great-grandmother. The apartment wall was covered from floor to wall with pictures of family. Nothing meant more than family to him. I remember hearing his stories. About what, I don’t remember, but I remember sitting on his lap listening.

A long time smoker of Camels, he had quit smoking when he found out cigarette prices went from 25 cents to 35 cents. Right in the store, with my grandmother who happened to be tagging along, they both agreed to quit cold turkey. My grandmother is still here today because of their joint vow.

It was too late for him though. In 1989, he was diagnosed with lung cancer with only months to live. It devastated everyone. This man, who seemed indestructible, would only have a few months to live.

As a 6-year-old, I never experienced death before. My great-great uncle Alberton passed away three years prior, but I was just three. But my great-grandfather, I had real recent memories with him and I was about to learn a hard lesson about death. I was told he was sick because of smoking. I watched him as he kept getting more weak and sick. I wish I remembered the last time I saw him. I probably never realized at our last meeting that it was our last meeting.

He passed away on September 6, 1989. I woke up for my first day of first grade and my mom told me the news. I got the talk of how he wouldn’t wake up from sleep anymore and how he was in heaven.

As a 6-year-old, something about his loss shook me to the core. The first promise I ever made to myself I have kept and will keep the rest of my life: never to smoke. I’ve refused to do it in the face of peer and society pressure.

Thinking about it now, I am sure he would list this as one of his greatest legacies: the fact that someone he cares about never smoked because of him. He saved my life.