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  • Andre D.

Today I turn 44, and every year when it’s my birthday I kind of reflect and take a pulse check on my life and where I want to be. I remember when I turned like 26 and felt I was needing to do more to put myself out there in my music career, so I started leading my own band, playing gigs in local clubs, recording, and pursuing a music career. Then again when I was 34, and felt like I was getting old (LOL!), so I went back to graduate school and found a whole new world of learning, possibilities, and experiences. Now I’m 44 and this year have recognized that I am exactly where I need to be. With all that has happened in the last year I think it’s also changed my perspective some. Sure it’s nice to strive to be a successful career person at the top of their game in an organization but I’ve realized that's not everything in life. I look around and recognize I am a lucky man in so so many ways and I have much to be thankful for. I have a wonderful wife and family, have a good job, have a roof over our heads, have food on our table, have shared some great experiences and adventures with friends and in life and I don’t think there's much more one can ask for. Sure we all have desires and things we aim to accomplish and I know in many ways it's been a good road and I have been able to succeed at goals I've set or projects I wanted to pursue. Now my goal is to attain balance between work, family, extra curricular activities, health, diet, emotional, mental, and creative passions. For me having peace and simplicity can be more valuable than climbing the corporate ladder and I’ve realized in order for me to be happy I need to be authentic as to who I am for no matter what capacity. 44 is still relatively young in today's day and age but I can’t help but recognize I have a lot more responsibility now then when I was 26. Shoot it’ll be my 30th HS reunion in 4 years!! 4 years??? OMG, where did the time go and what did I learn from the various experiences I’ve had? I’ll say this, in all instances be true to yourself and listen to your heart. You are all you’ve got and have to figure it out for your own path and you will never be happy if you follow someone else's vision for your life, but you can always accept the choices you make for yourself. Also, if you want something bad enough, never give up, adapt and keep on trying until you find a route. In many cases where I’ve had success it never happened in a straight arrow, but went around and around until I found my path through. Reflection is good and helps keep things in perspective, so I’ll say cheers to another 44 and whatever life's adventures may bring and I appreciate you being in my life!

Peace




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  • Andre D.

Along one of the many streets in my town there is an older gentleman of the Sikh faith that sits on the side of the road and waves at cars passing by. At first it was curious to see this older man sitting there and waving at cars but then without thinking I rolled down my window, honked the horn and waved in excitement. We both smiled and then it hit me. We were connected on the same wavelength in a moment of joy and happiness. This is the power of us humans in that we can create emotion and change our view in a moment. Being happy and choosing our emotional state can be attained by how we perceive and what we accept as our reality. This one older gentleman recognized this same fact and that he can bring happiness to others simply by being present and waving to others and brightening their day. Sometimes it's the small things that can make a difference and something as simple as sharing a wave with a stranger reflects on our connection as humans. We have the power and can spread happiness at any time.



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It has been one year since our world has been shut down and COVID has really tested our society on so many aspects. The significant total of the loss of life has been extremely tragic and even today we continue facing this pandemic with a sense of uncertainty and reactive state in real time.

Life as we know it has been upended and replaced with new processes like digital work and virtual meetups. At the beginning of the pandemic, we made a significant effort to come together as a society and for a brief moment we all felt connected as we hoped this would go away quickly. Especially as it was one of the only times I think many of us Generation X, Y and Z have felt a real fear in our lives compared to other generations before us where they faced massive societal events seemingly more regularly.


One of the things that stands out is how our humanity was significantly tested on multiple aspects with this pandemic. First it was the belief that the virus wasn’t even real as there were mixed narratives all over social media and even our very own government. We had nurses and doctors on the front lines begging for people to listen and understand the ramifications yet it became a political tool and sides were drawn.

Meanwhile, you had toilet paper and cleaning supply hoarders who caused empty shelves in stores for over a month. Could you imagine being an older person that wasn’t very mobile and couldn’t find toilet paper or a bathroom to use since they were all closed? Luckily there were some awesome postings on Nextdoor where neighbors were helping others if they needed a couple rolls, and thank god for those selfless individuals.

Next, it became a battle over wearing masks and the effectiveness of them and never before had we even thought about sabotaging something simple as wearing a protective mask but here it was. Meanwhile other countries that recognized this as a significant risk and had embraced and enforced strict measures, were seeing dramatic improvements and low infection rates. All these issues quickly became political and divisive for our country as all of a sudden you had protests and negative social media campaigns about the government and conspiracies.

This is not to take away the sacrifice and the troubles we had to go through financially as it was extremely unfair to small businesses and individuals that were forced to close, or lost their job as a result of the mandatory closures. Not only did small businesses get blindsided, but many corporations also cut and reduced their workforces with extremely bad timing. Finally, we had the rollouts of the vaccine, the main resource we have to fight the spread of this virus that has killed over 500,000 Americans alone. Unfortunately, we’ve witnessed an anti-vax campaign in which many have skepticism and continue to doubt the positive data and effectiveness. After the initial logistic nightmare of the vaccine rollout that the states and counties had to wade through, we are just starting to see the rollout revamped to maximize effectiveness, as it became known after Jan. 20 that there was little of a national plan or strategy.


So, overall, did we care more about ourselves and our bottom line than about working together as a society to get through this pandemic? In some ways yes and in other cases no, but it showed that our human nature and desire to be right in many ways trumped our ability to move forth in the spirit of humanity.

However, science stood strong in the face of adversity, provided a much-needed path forward, and we are starting to see small pockets of light at the end of the tunnel. I can only imagine how our actions will be in the future pandemics but I think we’ve learned how we can be more prepared for this and what we could do differently in the future. This experience has also reminded me of how precious life is, as we the honor the memories and never forget the souls we’ve lost. Let’s continue to come together for humanity and society as we move toward the future and hopefully the significant slowing of this pandemic.


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