Monday, October 1, 2012

Why are some of us travelers and others are builders? Even today we still have our nomads..read and see what I mean

Well for those of you who are avid readers of my blog you will note that September was an awful month for me with tons of set backs and of course the blog suffered for it greatly.  As many of you are aware I took an unexpected trip to Atlanta that didn't turn out at all as was planned or expected. However, I will say that a few decent things came out of the trip, some are note worthy and will be explored more in-depth here in the annals of blogdom.  However for today's entry I want to take you on the trip that I had to see the doctor this morning.  Because for some reason on these trips is when my brain seems to go into hyper-drive and I think of some of the most obscure and deep rooted thoughts.  Maybe it is the open road and my love to travel that opens my mind up to the inner and outer awareness and consciousness that I need to focus my mind and intellect into.

Whatever the reason, I took it into my head to explore my incessant need to move around to not plant roots of a lasting sort.  While it is true that in my younger years I was content to grow as Orlando grew, I soon realized that there was much more to the world than my little pond and I wanted to see it and explore it first hand.  I believe it is for that reason alone that I joined the Navy right after high school and was disappointed with the fact that I got assigned to a ship that was in dry dock and undergoing refit for active duty.  The last time my ship had seen any action was for a few years during the Korean War.  She had been mothballed shortly after WWII and was activated for a brief tour during the Korean War only to be put back away in the Naval shipyards once more.  It wasn't until President Reagan decided that we needed a 600 ship fleet to protect our country that the mothballs were put away and she was rolled back into active duty. I was fortunate to be a member of the precommissioning unit, and was made a plank owner of the U.S.S. Wisconsin (BB-64) the last of the Iowa class battleships.  Being a plank owner gives you certain rights and a piece of history to boot.  We were each given a piece of the original teak deck and our names are forever written in the history books as members of the team that brought the old girl back to life.

My need for travel and the exploring of the world would have to wait for several years but it was worth the wait I can tell you.  I experienced a different sort of Navy than most traditional sailors. I was made a flag member of the MWR team (Morale, Welfare and Recreation) I had the captain, command Master Chief and the XO's ears, I had meetings with Admirals and other Captains and did things that no other 20 year olds can claim to have done.  I got to travel before the ship to exotic ports and set up recreational activities for the crew and I had a power that was unparalleled. I came in on the ground floor of the movement and was in charge of everything.  It was hard to leave that post and move on, yet I did.  Only to head back to it over and over again throughout my career.  I received a Navy Achievement medal for my conduct and activities and my name was well known throughout the Navy. I parlayed the networking skills that I learned in the Navy to different occupations I held after I got out and I can't complain, I did pretty well for myself all things considered.

But, my story doesn't end there, I returned to Orlando after the Navy to battle cancer, but was only there for a short time before I moved on to the big city life of Atlanta. I found myself working for different Governor's and holding quite of bit of power for a little time.  However, as all good things do it passed.  I got sick again with Cancer and Radiation disease from my treatments with the first bout of cancer.  In the blink of an eye everything I had worked for and built up disappeared around me.  This was the first time that I realized how fragile and fleeting life can be.  But also how wondrous and fulfilling it can be at the same time. See, I learned that a person can live a lifetime in just 10 short years and accomplish things that take others a lifetime to build.  I also saw how fast it all can disappear depending on the situation and circumstance one finds themselves in.  Years have now passed since then and I am embarking on a new chapter of life and a new phase, yet the transitory calling of my nature is still there.  I often wonder what my life would have been like if I would have stayed in Orlando and did things differently.  One thing I realize is that I wouldn't have met some of the most extraordinary people that I have met in my life, nor would I have cultivated the vast network of friendships that I have amassed over the years.  See I count myself lucky, I am in contact with most of the people I went to High School with and served in the Navy with.  This is something that was brought about by the internet and Facebook.  But, also through the endeavors of those of us that struggled to find and reconnect using the tools available to us as provided by the current technology.

The world hasn't changed much except that information is now more available than it ever was, yet, it is still controlled by the powerful and what was once opened, is now becoming closed.  It has taken me a while to understand that life is but a series of cycles and circles that repeat at intervals, that our lives are nothing but a series of patterns that we follow.  Let me digress here for a brief moment, because my background is in Information Technology, the Internet and E-commerce. However, something amazing and yet heinous is happening with our technology.  See we went from single computers that were housed in a single unit, like the TRS-80 which was one of the first computers I learned to program on back in the 80's. Now in 2012, I see that All-in-one computers are making a come back. However, with some minor adjustments.  There are now hard drives and wireless cards, modems and network cards installed on all of the new machines, things that were not even thought of in the past.  However, it is plain that technology that society is embracing is that from an older era.  Cloud computing is just another utilization of what was once called main-frames and smart terminals.  There was a time when the main frame was connected by dumb terminals, but now each computer has it's own processor and access to the internet or what it is morphing into.  There once was a time when the information super highway was just that a series of webpages posted in the ether that could be reached by addresses.  Now we are back to fencing off that open area with our smart phones and apps.  Fences and walls are being built around the point of service. This is to provide instant and reliable information, with less loss of data.  See in the old days when we used the web to get around packets were sometimes lost, this was deemed acceptable at time because information was the goal. Today we want information at our fingertips with speed and accuracy hence the advent of apps to bring that data to you through a closed platform isolated and separate from the information stored on the world wide web.

If you are following what I am talking about you will begin to see that the old is coming back with just a different bit of style and sophistication added to it, more bells and whistles, but it is the same and the information and data is once again being controlled by corporations like Google, Apple, Yahoo and others.  But, this is just one point of many that I want to make, what comes around goes around as the old saying goes.  Soon you will be seeing other things from earlier years making a comeback and the nostalgia buffs in us will embrace it, however, don't be fooled into thinking that anything new or genuine is being offered to you because it really isn't, they are just dressing up what was done before and repackaging it for greater exposure and the capture of the almighty buck.    But let's continue talking about what I really wanted to talk to you about in this blog entry, before I digressed.

What I wanted to talk to you about was how you find some people that have lived in an area their whole life, they never wanted change or to experience anything different from what they had expected.  I am not one of those people, I was born a nomad of some sort apparently because I have no roots or ties to any one area. Yet,  I have family and friends that have never left Pennsylvania nor do they plan too. They have made their life there and have been content and successful.

I could see if my family was close to a big city and career opportunities, but they weren't they remained and maintained a life in the rural and suburban areas of the state. I wonder how they accomplished that, I often think they are the lucky ones, the ones that will have a legacy to leave once they are gone, what will I have to show for my time on this planet.  Not much, no family home to leave to a relative or excess of money from my pursuits.  The only thing that I will leave behind when I go is the legacy of my writing which I found late in my life.  So what makes me different from my family, why were my parents different from their siblings and family and what caused them to move around and strive to build something away from the nuclear family unit that gave them life and sustained them.  Now, one thing that I have recognized is that the family that remained behind remains close, they communicate with each other and get together when it is possible.  Those of us that have drifted away from the core family are not included in these events or get together's and I am wondering if it just happened that way or was there a bond that was severed when the family moved away.  It is impossible for me to tell you at this point as this is just something that I started thinking about today.  I can tell you that when my grandmother was alive things were different. It seemed that as the Matriarch of the family she held it together with her will and love alone and when she passed the communication and closeness of the family seemed to suffer greatly. Though others have tried to pull the family back together over the years after her passing it seemed like an impossible task.

What I have learned is this the family that remained behind and close, have a network between them that supports and uplifts them. They help each other and have a fellowship that those of us that have moved away lack.  Not saying that our satellite families are not close, because my family is pretty close and we all talk often.  But, it is the aunts, uncles, cousins, and other family members that we lack contact with.  Our roots have been shunted and we drift aimlessly.  Or at least in my case that is what I do.  As I said earlier, I was thinking on the drive over to the doctors today why did I choose to move around and not plant roots?  Why am I still without a base of operations and I am in my mid 40's now?  Answer, is that I don't have the extensive family network that my nuclear family has, I am not as connected to my cousins, aunts and uncles like I was when I was younger and my grandmother was still alive.  I also realized that my goals and perceptions were different from the rest of the family. They wanted to have children, homes and grow together, and I chose to follow money and my own personal glory instead of investing in family and home and a base of operations.  This I believe is where I have made the choice and this is the place to which it has led me.

I can only speak from personal experience and from what I have seen in my own life, but those of us that uproot and move ourselves away from the core family are transitory in nature, nomads by choice and choose to follow money, glory, fame or recognition.  Sometimes the path that our feet initially are place are by our parents and you have to find your own way back to the core family if you want to experience the growth and life of having one.  I was seven years old when my dad moved my family halfway across the nation to start a new life, it isn't till now that I actually have thought about what that decision meant and what path it put me on.  Had I take the time to consider what I was doing with my life and explored a little more on my own I might have come to the realization much sooner in my life.  I am not sorry for what I have accomplished or where I have been, nor what I am still yet to do, I just see that the choice that was made all those years ago could have been undone by my making a conscious choice to go back and find out. Yet, I chose to follow the nomadic path that I was on and chase after the money.  Funny about that is once you find it and achieve it, there never seems enough and you are driven to other things.  I was fortunate that fate or God took an active role in my life at the point in which he did, because I could still be in that world and bashing my head against the grind and striving to make more, have more and attain more and never be truly happy.

I learned back in 2007 that easy come easy go, see I have had my fortune, built it spent, built it again and lost it.  But in the process I was never satisfied and I always wanted more, strove to do better, it became a game and an obsession and it could have easily destroyed me, but because my health took a turn and things worked out differently for me, I have learned and what I have learned I became determined to share with others.  So I started helping those around me that were less fortunate than I was, and guess what I found everyone was less fortunate than I and I still messed things up. Gave away more than I could and hurt myself in the process. However, it was well worth it for the lessons that I have learned and now I help hundreds more in my new way than I ever could doing it single handed and headless of my own regard. See I took what Jesus did literally and tried to walk and help the down trodden, what I didn't know was how easily it was to become a target and labelled a sucker.  But again, I cannot and will not complain about anything I have been through because I learned and that is what life is all about.

The point that I want to make to you is this, you have choices that are open to you that you may not even be aware of.  If you want to build a lasting family and home then that is what you should focus on. The money and other things will come once your priorities are in order.  Trust me when I say that God provides because believe me he always does, and it comes when you need it the most and you least expect it.  Be open to change, embrace it, trust me it is nothing to fear and only good can come from it.  Take each experience you have and learn from them. Grow from them and build upon them, and you will see that you are well on your way on the philosophers journey toward enlightenment and spiritual wisdom.  Nothing is ever what it seems, but always take things at face value and when you find the hidden meaning you will grow from it like I did.  Money is not the end all be all and doesn't ensure happiness.  The search for it and the seeking of it can be your undoing.

Be wary of the path your are on, ask yourself questions and grow that is what we are here for.  You can make a difference in the world no matter where you are at.  In a small town or in a big city, it is all up to you and how you handle the things that life throws at you.  Keep in mind that anything worth having is never easy to achieve, and if it was you wouldn't appreciate it anyway. So work hard, live hard, and play fair and have fun. That is what life is all about.

As always my thoughts and dreams are with you,

Uncle B