Welcome to the second half – the celebration

April 12, 2014

The McCullough family has just disembarked from my 50th birthday Celebration Cruise to the Bahamas (The boat was likely going to the Bahamas with or without us, but I just like to think they did it just for me!).

While enjoying what seemed like endless amounts of food…

Tomorrow I’ll get started working off the extra pounds I brought home.

…getting all dolled up for dinner with the girls…

Zoe will only eat with cloth napkins now!

…Nassau’s top-tier world-class shopping experiences…

Who needs Buckhead?

Designer bootyshorts, I might add!

…and trying to channel my inner Cleavon Little

Next vacation we're doing the bike tour!

Next vacation we’re doing the bike tour!

…the best part of the cruise was the view from our stateroom…

A new day has begun!

A new day has begun!

Much like the sun rising over Nassau, the sun is rising on the second half of this thing called life, and my 50th birthday Celebration Cruise was a great way to kick off the third quarter!

 


Welcome to the second half

April 2, 2014

A week or so back, a colleague asked if I had a special blog post prepared to commemorate turning 50. Up until that point, I hadn’t thought about it. Milestone birthday though this may be, it is still just another birthday. Don’t get me wrong, making it to the half century mark is certainly worthy of celebration. It’s just that I didn’t have any plans to go screaming it from the rooftops.

I’m reminded of a story I overheard 15 or so years ago. A friend, who was turning 50, was on the receiving end of some wisdom from a mutual friend who was on the verge of retirement.  Our more seasoned friend said that hitting 50 was like entering the third quarter of the Super Bowl. The halftime show is over and the second half has begun. He went on to say that if you’re winning, you’ve got to hold on to your lead. If you’re behind, now is the time to put some points on the board.

So here I am. The halftime show is over. Bruno has left the stage, and the third quarter has begun.

Can I get a break on movie tickets when I see Capt. America next week?

Can I get a break on movie tickets when I see Capt. America next week?

I won’t go into great detail and bore you with any Madden-esque analysis on how the McCullough vs. Life scoreboard looks at this point in this epic match up. Let’s just leave it with me saying that I’m blessed to still be in the game, and I’m looking forward to the second half (and the outstanding benefits that come with AARP membership)!


Rock and roll heaven in my mail box

March 29, 2014

Regular readers of these pages know I stay away from topics too close to the 9 to 5. Plus, there are many folks on the web smarter than me pontificating about communications, so there’s no need for me to add my meager opinions to the mix.

But today, I’ve got a marketing bone to pick.

I received a mailer from a local radio station. The piece is promoting one of those we’ll pay your bills if you listen during a certain day part and call when you hear your name contests.

What took my attention away from the copy was the choice of images on the mailer. As you can see two of the artists pictured are dead.

It's not like Mary J is the only living artist this station plays!

It’s not like Mary J is the only living artist this station plays!

This particular station brands itself as Atlanta’s Best R&B. Couldn’t the promotional folks come up with ‘Best R&B‘ artists who are still alive?

I wonder if I’m the only recipient of this piece in metro Atlanta who feels this way?

It’s been a couple of decades since I’ve had anything to do professionally with radio broadcasting, so I might not be in the best position to criticize. It just seems to me that if you are trying to get your audience excited about your station (or product or service) you might not want to add a creative element that could possibly distract from your message.

I know, it’s probably me over thinking things again, but the minute I grabbed this piece out of my mail box, it saddened me because two of the artists pictured were great voices who left us way too soon.


Retirement Envy

March 28, 2014

“Envy is the ulcer of the soul.”
Socrates

I have a friend who shared with me the story of a recent weekend trip (Yes, it’s really a friend. I’m not doing that ‘say it’s a friend to hide that I’m referring to myself gimmick’).  She traveled to New York to hang with some buddies she’s known since high school.

Several of these folks are retired.

Upon her return, she says, she felt a sense of envy because a couple of her closest friends get to see plays, travel and otherwise have fun whenever they want because they have made the choice to retire, while she’s still working for the man five days a week.

When I caught up with my friend after her weekend jaunt, she told me that she returned home with a bad case of “retirement envy.”

Don't fall prey!

Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Since me and my high school buddies are a couple of decades (At the very least!) away from punching that time clock for the last time, I regret that it is hard for me to feel any empathy over my friend’s situation. Although I do understand how easy it is to feel a sense of envy when you perceive that someone is in a better situation than you.

O.K. pass the acetaminophen (No brand names, please, because I’m all about the generics!). I’m about to do some deep philosophical thinking which always gives me a headache!

For me, envy is a motivator. Rather than getting upset, depressed or jealous over someone who you think is doing better than you, why not turn that negative energy (Look at me getting ‘new age’ in my ‘middle age’!) into active energy. Notice I didn’t say positive. Don’t just be ‘positive’, get ‘active’ and do something!

Taking action is not always easy, but it certainly beats sitting in a corner pissed off.

My friend is taking action (and I’m excited to be helping). Me? I feel pretty motivated as I enter decade number six.

 You?


Sharing my pen

March 17, 2014

I’m enjoying the pleasure of putting my dubious writing skills to good use by helping a some friends in need of an extra pen. I can’t go into great detail on these projects – at least not yet. I’ll be able to chat about one in the next several weeks. The others may take a bit longer.

These efforts came out of nowhere and they are totally different, which adds to the challenge. The content I’m helping create – much more meaningful than the digital pollution I spew in these pages – gives me a wonderful opportunity to write outside the 9 to 5 box that keeps the lights on. writing11

I won’t call it moonlighting or side work, because, believe it or not, in these cases it’s not about the money (Damn! Midlife kicks in again, because ‘not about the money’ ain’t something I would have said 20-25 years ago!).

Forgive the quick change (sort of) of subject. John Sr. was a chronic moonlighter. A chef by profession, he had a steady side gig and would pick up additional work doing catering whenever he could. I have fond memories of working a couple of gigs with him when I was a kid.

Compared to how exhausted John Sr. was at the end of a job, there is no way I will call what I’m doing moonlighting!

O.K. Where was I?

Oh yeah! It’s always been a desire to do more writing. I’m just happy to be able to stimulate this soon to be 50-year old noggin with yet another creative outlet, but I’m even happier that I can help some friends tell a story, pitch a service, craft a message.

Every 18 months or so, I’ll pick up my guitar or plant myself in front of the piano. For me, notes and scales are no picnic. Sitting down with a pad and pen (old school all the way) is much easier and a lot less frustrating.

You’ll forgive me if I’m absent from these pages from time to time while we knock out these projects. I’m not going too far, just taking some time to help my friends!


Sometimes it gets the best of me

February 28, 2014

That ‘it’ is the curse of overthinking.

Why is overthinking a bad thing? Because – at least for me – overthinking is often followed by its pesky partner second guessing.

5937020-the-thinker-statue-by-the-french-sculptor-rodin

I need to relax more

This week at that place that I don’t write about – where I spend eight to 10 hours at day – I caught myself overthinking something that by all rights should have been an easy decision. But instead, I overthought, overengineered and ultimately second guessed.

Forgive the awkward analogy, but I walked around the block twice when the answer to my situation was right at my doorstep.

One of the wonderful things about life in the middle ages is the wealth of life experience we have to tap into. For me, I have to work hard to remember that when I start banging my head against the wall over easily solved matters.

The curse of overthinking – sadly – has found its way onto these pages.

It’s why I sometimes fall short of posting as frequently as I’d like. I hate to call myself out, but I’m guilty of overthinking topics to share, overthinking ways to be funny and witty instead of simply writing what comes to mind – much like I’m doing now!

Of course one might argue that this rant is just me overthinking overthinking!

Maybe.

But I’m viewing this post as a wake up call – a shout out to the man in the mirror.

Relax, rely on your gut, stop wringing your hands, think – of course – but just don’t get crazy about it!


Where are your expectations set?

February 10, 2014

Expectations are interesting things. You can set expectations high. You can keep expectations low. From time to time, you may not have any at all.

I find that my views on expectations tend to be in contradiction to my overall views on life.

More often than not, I calibrate my expectations dial to a medium to low setting, and therein lies the contradiction.

I pride myself a very optimistic person. I’m generally pleasant, but when it comes to setting expectations, I have a hard time getting it up – the expectation, that is.

Half-full attitude with half-empty expectations

It’s not that I always expect the worst outcome in a situation; it’s just that tends to be my baseline.

If the outcome is favorable and exceptional, wonderful! Things are better than I expected, and I’m therefore happy.

If the outcome is poor or just so-so, wonderful! Things are just as I thought they would be so – again – I’m happy — and not surprised (and thanks to being mentally conditioned for an outcome in the toilet, I’m better prepared to respond).

The old adage goes, hope for the best yet plan for the worst.  Me? I tend to hope for the just O.K. and build from there.

Sadly, I think this is a factor of my advancing middle age as my view of the world metastasizes from optimistic to realistic.

Influenced by the experience and hindsight that comes from travelling around the block more than a few times, it’s hard to set expectations too much above medium.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a negative person. I think I just like to gird my loins in preparation for any and all worst case scenarios.

If life’s knee to the groin is off an inch or two, great! I’m happy, but if that crotch shot comes in straight for the jewels, I’m braced and ready thanks to my expectations being set accordingly.

That’s my challenge and a question for which I’m seeking an answer. Can someone live hoping for sunny skies, but clutching an umbrella at the same time?

We’ll return to our regularly scheduled, lighter, less philosophical fare next week.


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