The Fear of 40!



Affectionately called the BIG 4-0!

I have secretly been dreading my 40th birthday. We’ve talked a lot about turning 40 over the past couple of months in my house. The conversations primarily focused on “how are we going to celebrate this momentous occasion”, and less on moving into the next decade of our lives. It was fun to talk about the parties and exotic trips we would take, but deep down, I was really bothered about 40. Something about it carried a seriousness and a weight that kept making my stomach turn.

I was surprised at how upset I was about my impending birthday. I always had different things rattling around in my head, but getting older had never been on my playlist. This was virgin territory, and in all honesty I thought I had handled growing older like a champ. In previous years, I laughed (possibly even guffawed) when I realized that I had eased into the “Just for Men” demographic. I had even fist-bumped the fact that at somewhere along the way I had become empowered to use the phrase “mid-life crisis”.

Despite my previous acknowledgements, the gravity of 40 would surprisingly creep into my thoughts at any time during the day or night. As my birthday approached the thoughts became more persistent, never clearly defining the problem to be addressed, but always with a significance that would demand my attention.

My mind would race through a rolodex of issues that possibly needed to be addressed: from building a house, to my career, to the season 3 finale of House of Cards. I would think about unfulfilled dreams, and the fact that at this stage of my life I still didn’t know what the appropriate temperature was to wear a vest. But none of these issues would match up to the puzzle piece of a feeling I was trying to deal with, and so, as silly as it sounds the idea of turning 40 would continue to haunt me.

Then at midnight, on a completely random Tuesday (two days ago), I actually turned 40!

I was no longer dreading 40, because suddenly I was 40.

For the briefest of moments, as I took stock of my new age, I had totally clarity and could see that all the angst and anxiety had simply been demanding that I take an incredibly honest look at myself in the mirror. I thought about my amazing wife, my incredible kids, family, friends, co-workers, neighbors. It was awesome!

A split second later though I saw the seriousness of 40, realizing that I needed to take responsibility of my regrets too, not just my blessings. This is what had been bothering me about 40. I knew that it was time for me to take ownership of my poor decisions and the times that I didn’t act the way I knew I should have. All things that I had tried to push down, and forget they even happened.

As I looked closely at all of my regrets, I realized that they all had one thing in common……FEAR.

At some point I had allowed fear to seep in and take over my decision making. It had allowed me to stay silent when I should have spoken up, allowed me to not take action when I should have done something. Allowed me to avoid the hard work, because well “why did it matter anyway”? Fear had given me a way out, and every single time I followed its advice I regretted it.

I started this blog 4 years ago simply because I enjoyed writing, but somewhere along the way I stopped making posts because of fear. I was scared that I would write something dumb, or would say something that would offend someone, or would maybe just run out of ideas. So before I got to that point I would let fear win and just stopped making posts. It was that simple.

I’ve written nearly every single day since my last post, mostly short stories and essays ranging from airport etiquette to the importance of fake mustaches. I’ve written and re-written my first screenplay and even submitted it to Sundance (where they very politely told me it was garbage), and am currently working on my first novel.

Writing is something that I absolutely love to do, but for whatever reason I was scared to keep sharing it. As I turn 40, I now see the absurdity of letting fear win. So I’ve decided now was the time to dust off the old blog, give it a fresh look, and a name that more aptly described what I write about…..stuff. I’m also thinking that 40 might turn out to be pretty incredible.

No matter what side of 40 you’re on I hope that you won’t make the same mistake I did and let fear control your decisions.

The external appearance of internal vision

My first reaction was to correct him and say “No it’s actually a stop sign.”  But something happened on that day, and I finally seemed to have a moment of clarity, finally learning from the thousands of similar experiences over the previous 4 years. Instead of correcting him, I simply agreed and said “sure is, buddy.”  And with that simple phrase I allowed myself to see an entirely new world.  For just a moment I was able to see life through my son’s amazing eyes.  I was able to see a world that is in large part created by the imagination of a 4 year old.  I closed my eyes for a brief second, and when I opened them the big metal red stop sign had suddenly transformed into a red balloon just hovering there for us to see.  We both smiled and laughed, and I realized that while his eyes do not work as well as mine, he very often has the ability to see a much more beautiful and exciting world.

In the 4 years that have passed since that innocent car ride, I have constantly had to remind myself to be quiet and see the world through Patrick’s “misperceptions”.  It is these misperceptions that make up part of his reality and allow me to see things that I could have never imagined.  But as a parent there are also times when I must force my reality upon him. A reality where you can unfortunately get hit by a car if you mistake a stop sign for a floating balloon.  Our life is a constant song and dance between my reality and his.  My reality is aimed at keeping him safe, while his seems designed simply to add magic to mine.

You see Patrick was born 4 months premature and as such his eyes didn’t develop as they should.  His right eye is completely blind, and his left eye has 20/220 vision (legally blind).  I imagine it to be like going through life with a pirate patch over one eye and a piece of parchment paper over the other.  Patrick gets around well, but he also lives in a world that doesn’t seem to recognize body language and facial expressions in others.  Books are incredibly difficult to read, and tv, movies, and video games certainly don’t provide the same entertainment they do to everyone else.
What Patrick has taught me though is that if you remove these staples of entertainment, the only thing left to do is to use your own imagination, to create your own world.  And the world that Patrick has created is absolutely incredible.  Where part of his vision was taken away, it has seemingly been replaced with an abundant love of life that overflows from his little body.  He lives in a world where people are good (except maybe Reid sometimes) and where magical things happen all the time.  He has an undeniable passion for life, and it is this passion that seems to make a permanent impression on everyone that he meets.  It is this passion that gives him far more vision then what his eyes can actually see.
 It was on this day 8 years ago I became a Dad for the first time, and Patrick’s entrance into the world was certainly not the way I expected to enter fatherhood.  At the time I was completely overwhelmed with the complications of his birth.  I would lay in my bed at night worrying about how this little guy was ever going to lead a “normal” life.  How was he going to be able to see all the things that I wanted to show him?  As time has passed though it is painfully clear that Patrick is here to show me much more than I could have ever imagined showing him.
Happy Birthday P!  I love you!

Imagine That

I was having a rough day on the mound, but thankfully the game was almost over.  I only had to get through one more batter.  Unfortunately this batter had rocked every pitch I had thrown at him in his previous at bats.  He was good, really good.  Probably the best hitter I had ever seen.   He had a keen eye, giving him the rare ability to be able to see a 95mph fastball in slow motion.  His gift allowed him to perfectly time his swing, ensuring that the ball would only make contact with the “sweet spot” of the bat.

I looked down from the pitcher’s mound and stalled for a second as I ran through my rolodex of pitches.  I looked back over my right shoulder to check the runner on second base, and then turned my attention back to home plate.  As my eyes met the batter’s, a light bulb went off in my head and I suddenly knew the perfect pitch to throw.

It was the greatest pitch I had in my arsenal, and certainly my only chance of striking him out.  The pitch would take all of my energy to pull off, but a quick gut check showed that I had just enough in the tank to get through this one last pitch.  It was time to pull out the “Supersonic Extra Deluxe Flutter Trick Curve Chocolate Chip Sprinkle Loopty-Loop” pitch.

I wound up and threw the pitch as perfect as perfect can be.  The ball left my hand at a supersonic speed designed to make the batter think it was a fastball.  If you listened closely you could actually hear a little “boom” as the ball broke the sound barrier.  After about 4 feet at top speed, right on cue, the ball would come to a complete stop, pausing there in mid air as if stopping for a sudden red light.  As gravity tugged on it, the ball would begin to flutter.  The fluttering would cause chocolate sprinkles to shake out of the ball, which were secretly hidden in the middle, causing a fog of sorts and masking the exact location of the ball.  Then instead of falling straight to the ground the ball would start into a series of roller coaster-esque loopty loops until it crossed home plate.  As you can imagine the pitch was virtually unhittable.  But unfortunately that wasn’t the case on this day.

My 5-year-old son, Will, never took his eye off the ball and wouldn’t fall for any of the tricks designed to get him to swing early.  He reared back with his giant blow up bat and timed his swing perfectly, knocking the cover off the ball as it soared out of the imaginary stadium.  He raised his hands triumphantly and ran around the bases, making sure to touch each of them:  First base: a baby stroller, Second base: a door handle, Third base: a poster of a little kitten, and Home Plate: a small dark stain on the blue carpet.


Now I’ve played in hundreds of baseball games growing up, but I have to say that this was the most fun game I had ever played in.  Oddly enough it took place in a 12’X12’ room in the back of a Church, with a giant blow up bat, and no ball.  The game had come to life as my two youngest sons and I had setup camp in the Church playroom after my 7 year old had finished performing at his annual piano recital.  (Side note: He nailed it, hitting every note perfectly.  He even took the time to tell his teacher how well he had played as he exited the stage.)  His performance was near the beginning of the recital, and thus there would be another hour and a half of classical music, a little too much for a 3 and 5 year old to handle.  So Game on!  Without the luxury of a ball, gloves, bases, or a baseball field, we decided to use our imagination and we had the time of our lives.

One of the first things that you are supposed to do as a parent is encourage your kids to use their imagination.   It’s right up there with potty training and teaching them to walk.  It’s part of the nurturing process.  Their imagination allows them to dream up new worlds and new friends.  It’s what allows them to see a banana, not as a long yellow fruit, but as a super powered rocket ship.  In short it’s what allows them to be kids.  As a parent I urge my boys to have fun and use their imagination as much as possible.  It’s part of their development but selfishly I also hope that it allows them to stay kids just a little longer.  What I recently realized though is that it is just as important (if not more so) for me to use my imagination too.  For when I do I suddenly become a much, much better parent.

I’ve noticed that it’s basically impossible to think of two things at the same time.  If I focus all my attention on coming up with some new rules for Duck, Duck, Goose, or handing out super powers to everyone, or inventing an imaginary pitch to throw then I can’t be thinking of work, or the mortgage, or sale numbers, etc.  I am often guilty of being distracted when I am with my kids by “work related” issues.  It has become a cliché in our society to have the parent typing away on an iPhone or Blackberry while the kids play around him, and unfortunately I very often fit that stereotype.  Even during “down time”, emails, text messages, and sales reports fly through my phone at warp speed.  When my phone signals a new message, my ears perk up and I start salivating like Pavlov’s dog.  I have become addicted to information, and that addiction often overrides whatever activity I am currently doing.  One of my boys can be talking to me, but amazingly I don’t hear a single word he says, because all I can think of is that email that I need to send, or that new strategy we should try with that customer.

When I encourage my kids to use their imagination, it very often forces me to use mine as well.  I am often the one who comes up with the topic to draw or the story to tell.  As I get more and more immersed into their activity, the emails, phone calls, and text messages suddenly fade into the background, at least for a little while, and it suddenly forces me to be present with my kids.  It forces me to listen to them, to talk to them, to laugh with them, and to play with them.    My imagination allows me to come up with stories that we laugh about and invent crazy games that we love to play, but most importantly…… it allows me to truly be there with my kids, it allows me to really be a dad.

Imagine that!

My attempt at a teaser

I’m currently writing a children’s book and wanted to share the very beginning with you.  I know it’s kind of silly to post a story that isn’t finished, but I figured what the heck.  It’s a story about a little boy that unfortunately doesn’t realize how incredible he is and doesn’t see all the amazing things he does everyday.  It’s my hope that the story will ultimately bring a smile to your face, and maybe, just maybe let you realize how incredible you are too.

The city had spent most of that day getting rained on.

It had been very dreary and grey.

When in a matter of moments everything changed,

and the clouds were suddenly swept away.

Cars and buses came to a sudden standstill,

as people stopped dead in their tracks,

so they could gaze above and get their fill.

And what they saw, was a sight so unbelievably incredible,

that it brought tears to people’s eyes.

For it was simply the most amazingly beautiful thing,

that they had ever seen fill the skies.

People would talk for weeks to come,

about what had taken place.

Some would say it was the weather,

or maybe aliens, or an illusion,

or simply an act of divine grace.

Theories and opinions would come and go.

They would number into the hundreds and thousands,

but none of them, no none of them,

would ever consider that it was because of a little boy named Moe.

I wonder

I wonder, at what point do kids learn how to hate other people?

I have been around numerous babies and have noticed that they are all born with the inherent ability to smile, laugh, and love.  Hate, however, doesn’t seem to be one of the traits that they gained from the womb, and therefore it makes me think that it is a learned behavior.  Something that we are supposed to teach them along the way.

My kids are now 7, 5, and 3 and the idea of hating someone has still not registered on their radar screen.  It’s an unknown concept.  Like the Internet was to Abraham Lincoln.  Now they certainly dislike things, but dislike is not the same as hate.  Dislike is a passing thought.  They dislike peas, picking up their toys, and waking up early for school.  They don’t spend a lot of time thinking about these things though.  Hating someone or something on the other hand is a much stronger emotion.  It is something that marinates in your body and grows a little bigger and stronger each day.  It quickly takes control of your thoughts and ideas and has the amazing ability to change your entire perception of the world.  It stays with you for hours, or weeks, or years, or even lifetimes, and always seems to produce the same result: anger and sadness.

I want my kids to learn from my own mistakes, and as I look back on my life I have never been proud of the times when I have entertained the idea of hate.   It would seem logical then that I should simply erase that from the curriculum from which I choose to teach my kids.  Scratch it right off the list.  Move on to more important learned behaviors like proper technique to making a peanut butter, jelly and potato chip sandwich or how to believe in yourself.

Now I am not naïve enough to think I can cut them off from hate completely.  For as much as we all seem to hate “hate”, we seem to spend a lot of our time focusing on it and talking about it.  It fills our TV’s, our movies, our video games, our emails and our conversations.  I wonder what would happen though if we spent all that energy focusing on things that we loved instead.

No, I know I cannot shelter them completely, but I can try to limit hate from my own life, which will in turn decrease my kids’ exposure.  I can be more conscious of the messages that I spread, the words that I speak, and the shows that I watch.  Who knows if these changes will delay my kids learning this horrible concept, but I certainly think it’s worth a shot.  Sometimes not teaching something can prove to be the most powerful lesson of all.

An (un)broken smile

This past Monday started very early.  Much earlier than I would have liked.  So early in fact that the sun wouldn’t even consider waking from it’s slumber for a couple more hours, and I was already at the airport waiting to catch a flight.  I had a much clearer understanding as to why they called this the “red eye” flight, as I seemed to walk through the airport in a semi-conscious state.  I had spent most of the previous night wrestling with my covers and pillows trying desperately to find the perfect spot to fall asleep.  The spot, along with my precious sleep, would elude me all night long.  I was now supposed to be up and ready to work, but my body was revolting due to the sleep deprivation.   My mind started playing tricks on me.  Every object I passed (garbage can, bench, suitcase, etc.) suddenly transformed in my head into the most comfortable pillow ever made.

I plodded through the check-in process and noticed that the airport itself seemed to share my sleepy state.  What normally would be a bustling hive of activity was quiet and still.  The environment was perfect for the airport employee trying to catch a few last winks while on the clock, but it was not helping build my confidence that I would find the energy to get through the day.

The security checkpoint was as desolate as the rest of the airport, only two people in front of me, a mom and her little girl.  My eyes were so tired and heavy at this point, that I actually pondered lying down on the conveyor belt with the rest of my belongings.  This was definitely going to be the longest day of my life.  I was about to concede defeat even before my day had really begun.

And then suddenly everything changed.  Changed for the better.  The little girl in front of me, who couldn’t have been more than 2 or 3 years old, turned around and did the most amazing thing.  She looked at me and simply smiled.

I don’t know how to explain it but the little girl’s smile was like giant dose of caffeine for my hibernating body.  She only glanced at me for second, but a second was all it took.  I quickly felt an energy tingle in my toes and rapidly spread through my body.  In an instant, I was so unbelievably awake!  It was like I had just jumped in an icy pool, except without the extreme cold or need for me to don a Speedo (sorry for the visual image).  I suddenly felt alive!  I knew that it was going to be a great day!  This little girl was never conscious of her actions or the impact it would have on me, but it made me realize how easily we can make somebody’s day, how very little effort it takes, but most importantly how amazingly powerful the most simple smile can be.  Yes, a smile changes everything.


I know someone who doesn’t like their smile very much.  Doesn’t like the way her mouth turns up at the edges.  Now this was never a person who had been conscious of her smile until a couple of years ago.  You see on a regular day, in a matter of seconds, a virus entered and spread its damage by paralyzing one side of her of face.  The face that had always stared back at her in the mirror was suddenly different, as gravity seemed to tug on one side a little harder.  The paralysis would take a couple of months to overcome but eventually she would regain complete function of her face.   Everyone would look at her and think she was back to normal, but she would remember the calling card of the virus, and would see something different every time she stared in the mirror.  She would see a slight imperfection, a smile that wasn’t quite the same as the one she had come to expect.  A smile that wouldn’t allow her mouth to curl up as high on one side as it had before.  In her mind, her smile had suddenly stopped working.  Her smile was broken.

But you see a smile is not simply the way your mouth contours to a certain position, but a feeling that is projected outward.  It is something that you feel much more than you actually see.  And what she doesn’t know and what she can never see in her mirrored reflection, is how her smile looks through other people’s eyes.  For when others see her smile they will say it is beautiful.  It is magical and powerful.  They would never spot the subtle difference in her smile, as they are too overpowered by the love and happiness that seems to beam from it.

The smile the virus left behind is perfect in every way.  I know this because in the days when I am tired and exhausted and ready to throw in the towel, that smile is able to shine a magnificent light through me.  My eyes see something beautiful, but I know it’s true power lies in the confirmation I get from my heart.  Somehow, someway, that little insignificant act lets me know that everything will be ok, and that today is truly such a great day.

Yes its seems as though a single smile really can change the world.

In the land of the sighted, the blind man can still become king

A couple of years ago I wanted to find a running partner.  Someone to help me pass the miles as the concrete moved below my feet.  I started sending out emails and reached out into the community.  A couple of days after my search started I got a response from a guy named Phil.  Phil stated that he wasn’t a runner, and in fact had never really run but was definitely interested in starting.  Sounded good to me, so I emailed him back and we decided to meet up about two weeks later.  Little did I know at the time but this guy Phil, would have a tremendous impact on my life.

Now I’ve run for years and years and I have always run by myself.  So this was my first time ever running with a partner.  I’ve used running as kind of my meditation time, my time to figure out the ins and outs of my life.  Just me and the open road listening to the sound of my feet hitting the road and entertaining whatever thoughts wanted to pass through my head.

I was excited about trying something new, but was also a little nervous to see if my new partner and I would be compatible.  So on the day of our first run Phil and I exchanged pleasantries and started running.  The run got off to a little bit of a rocky start as we tried to figure out each other’s pace, and I was a little worried, but then we started talking and everything changed.  I found out that running with someone was actually magical, or at least it was magical running with Phil.  Since Phil was new to running he still needed time to build up his stamina and we wound up walking more than we ran that first day.   Regardless, I knew I had just found my new running partner.

Three years have passed since that first run/walk and we have logged hundreds of miles together.  But more importantly than our running is that we have become great friends.  In fact Phil has become one of my dearest and closest friends and has also become one of the great inspirations in my life.

He is that guy that seems able to do everything.  From the second you meet him you know you like him, and his personality often makes him the center of attention.  He’s always cracking jokes and seems to have an arsenal of one-liners ready to be tossed out at just the right moment.  He is one of the most positive people I know and seems able to shine a light on even the most difficult challenges that life throws at him or you.  Phil spends his days teaching disabled youth, and just launched his own business.  He has been a healthcare administrator, appointed by the Governor to work on various task forces, and has sat on the board of directors for several charities, and over the years has even become somewhat of a celebrity around town.  If that isn’t enough he can now run much farther than I can, and just won a snow skiing race in Colorado, after skiing for the first time just last year.  Yes Phil is the total package, and there is little that it seems that he can’t do and do well.

But Phil’s most endearing quality, the one that trumps all the rest, and the one that has inspired me to look differently at my life is his passion to celebrate life.  You see Phil does all of these things while being completely blind.

Phil has had poor vision his entire life but did not go completely blind until he turned 40.  The crazy part (and what makes Phil Phil) is that he often says that going completely blind was the best thing that has happened to him.  What?!!  Yes it’s true going completely blind was a changing point in Phil’s life…..for the better!  The way Phil explains it is that he lived the first 40 years fearing that he would go blind.  Understandably, doing everything he possibly could to delay the inevitable.  Having surgery after surgery, and avoiding any type of physical activity to make sure he didn’t have an accident that would take what vision he had left.  His life was dictated by fear, but when the day eventually came when he would see no more, he suddenly realized that he no longer had a reason to be scared.  Phil had to ask himself “what do you do when your greatest fear comes true?”, and his answer was to celebrate life in the grandest fashion possible!  To celebrate who he was and who he was to become.  To start doing all of those things that he had put off doing for so long.  To start running, riding bikes, snow skiing, launching his own business, and whatever else he had added to his wish list over the years.  His greatest fear amazingly seemed to open the door to a new way to look at life.

Phil at his 7 year celebration

If you spend any time at all with Phil, you clearly see that his life is not easy.  Being completely blind in a sighted world is tough.  Very tough.  But last night Phil celebrated his 7th anniversary of being completely blind (yes you read that right, he CELEBRATED the anniversary).  In fact he did this in typical Phil fashion by throwing a party called “Highballs and Eyeballs”.  The party was filled with stories and lots of laughter, and instead of focusing on Phil’s disability, it quickly became a celebration of all the things that are possible, of all the things that Phil has taught us, just by being Phil.

Our relationship originally started with me as the running guide and Phil as the willing new participant.  We would each hold on to one end of an 18 inch rope and set out for our run.  Phil would put complete trust in me that I would tug the rope at the right time or give him directions to keep him safe.  Having never done this before, Phil would pepper me with questions like “Where do my hands go when we run?”  “How am I supposed to do this and breathe at the same time?”  “Are we jogging or sprinting?”  I was literally teaching Phil how to run, but as so often happens in these situations, the teacher soon transitioned to the role of the student, and Phil started to teach me about life.

His blindness has forced me to look at disablities from a different perspective.  For disabilities are simply those things that “dis-able”us from doing something.  And as I looked closely at myself I realized that I had disabilities of my own.  Mine are not necessarily external, and as obvious as Phil’s, but they are certainly there.  They are often disguised as fear and take shape through my various thoughts and ideas.  My fears are microscopic in comparison to the ones that Phil has faced, however at various times they have still paralyzed me from trying or doing new things.   But as I spend more and more time with Phil, I learn that it is not until we face our fears head on, that we are able to truly celebrate life.  For it is only during the celebration that the disability disappears and becomes your greatest asset toward living the life that you want.

Phil you are absolutely incredible and I want to thank you for being my friend and for all the lessons you have taught me along the way.

Snubbed by the Oscars (again)

Last Sunday I sat down with great anticipation to watch the Oscars.  I was pretty nervous, my hands were a little sweaty and I had butterflies doing backflips in my stomach.  I couldn’t believe the day had finally arrived.  I was finally going to win an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.  I had dreamed about this day so many times.  I wondered how heavy the trophy was, how many steps it would take me to get to the stage, how many people I would hi-five along the way.  I ran it over and over in my head.


I was a little surprised when Sunday arrived and we still hadn’t received our official invitation from the Academy to attend the awards show.  I figured this was a minor glitch and I would probably have to accept my award “via satellite”.  I wasn’t exactly sure how “via satellite” worked but was confident that my iPhone had an app for that.  Instead of focusing on these minor details, I turned my attention to writing and re-writing my acceptance speech. Should I be funny or be serious?  There were so many people to thank and so little time.  I wanted to make sure I didn’t forget anyone and at the same time knew the “get off the stage” music would come quickly.


The show started and my nerves started to kick into overdrive.  Little beads of sweat started to gather on my forehead and trickle down the side of my face.  My palms sweating so much I was scared it would smear the ink on my speech.  I would have to remember to laminate it next year.


And then everything stopped!   It hit me like a bolt of lightening right between the eyes!  I can’t remember the exact moment but it was somewhere between Melissa Leo dropping the “F-bomb” and the Sound Editing award.  I snapped back to reality and realized that I wouldn’t be winning an award.  I wouldn’t win Best Original Screenplay.  I wouldn’t be giving my acceptance speech.  And the reason why?


Well there were thousands of reasons why, but the most blatantly obvious one was that I hadn’t written a movie.  In fact in all honesty I’ve never even tried to write a movie, or anything even close to a movie.  It felt silly to me now that I had amazingly overlooked what seemed at the moment to be a very important detail.


Now with all of that being said, I have dreamed of writing a movie millions of times.  I have been a HUGE movie lover ever since I can remember, and I love every aspect of the movies from the acting, to the soundtrack, to the credits, to the dark theater, to the smell of popcorn around every corner.  But most of all I love the creativity (even for bad movies).  I love the fact that someone had to sit down and write out their ideas and then those ideas came to life on screen for all of us to see.


I have spent countless hours in my car coming up with different movie plots, and a couple of years ago I even started keeping a notebook with all my ideas.   There are now about 50 ideas in my notebook and most are pretty bad but a couple could be pretty good.  So as I sat there on my sofa that Sunday night and watched David Seidler win my award (Best Original Screenplay for The King’s Speech –great movie if you haven’t seen it), I had to ask myself why this was a dream I had never pursued.  I obviously “wanted” to write a movie, but still had never done anything about it.  In asking the question I seemed to be hit with two answers, two answers that seemed to explain why sometimes dreams stay as dreams and never make their way to our reality.


Fragile Package – Handle with great care – Dreams are these amazing things that give us the capability to pursue our highest selves.  They allow us to see what we could be and what we could do.  And while dreams hold these amazing powers, they are also tremendously fragile and need great care to see the light of day.   So in order to effectively care for your dream, you have to give it attention everyday.  You have to add detail to that dream and you do this by taking little baby steps.  For with each baby step, a new sight or sound or color is added to the picture in your head and helps bring it to life.  Suddenly a hazy image starts to become clear, and you can see the trees swaying in the wind and you can hear the birds singing as they fly through the sky.  But not only do you have to add more detail to your dream, but you also have to hold onto it as tightly as you can.  I imagine dreams to be like helium balloons, and once your grasp loosens just a little bit they seem to float away.  For just as easily as you can imagine one dream you can imagine another one to take it’s place.

Over my life I have realized several dreams and I have also had the chance to be around a number of people that have fulfilled some of theirs too (as I’m sure you have also).  Those dreams, no matter how grand, came to be because they were nurtured and held as close as a newborn baby.  Despite the obstacles that were presented they kept adding to that picture in their head, and never let go of the idea that it would come true.  That’s it!  Nothing more, nothing less.

When I relate that idea to why I haven’t taken the chance on writing a movie, I see that I haven’t nurtured the dream at all.  I have used it for entertainment value, to help pass the time in the car.  Similar to playing the game “What would I do if I won the lottery?”.  The idea of actually writing a movie is an outlandish dream for me.  Something too big to actually grasp, and so whenever the dream would grow just a little bit, it would often be let go and replaced by another dream.   Another dream that I could see the details just a little easier.


The destruction of Practicality –  As a child we are encouraged to dream big dreams.  To think of the biggest thing that we can imagine and then multiply it to be 10,000 times greater.  We are often told by adults that we can be whatever we want to be.  We are told that nothing is impossible.  I truly believe all of these things with every fiber of my being and actually tell my kids the exact same things (see previous post).

However as I’ve gotten older I see that in order to fulfill these dreams you will have to face new enemy, a truly destructive beast, that goes by the name of Practicality.

Kids aren’t practical at all.  They want ice cream for breakfast and want to go swimming when it’s snowing outside.  Not being practical is one of the great things that makes kids kids.  But along with growing up often comes more responsibility and as soon as responsibility enters your life, you quickly learn the concept of practicality.  Now making practical decisions certainly has it’s place and value in your life however when it comes to fulfilling dreams it can stop them dead in their tracks.  Practicality is often used in society as a term to denote making a responsible decision, however I think a better definition (especially when applied to dreams) is predictability.  We often make decisions based off of our past experiences and therefore can better predict what the outcome will be. The amazing thing about dreams though is that they are usually things that we have never done before, things that we have never experienced.  So therefore it is hard to make practical (predictable) decisions about these things.

I have no basis for writing a movie because I’ve never done it before.   Therefore it seems very impractical for me to pursue this because I have no prior experience.  Now there are approximately 2,500 movies produced each year (more than 6 scripts a day), and who knows how many more scripts are written and never produced.  So the actual idea of writing a movie is not that crazy, as people literally do it every single day, it just doesn’t register with my reference points.  My practical thinking therefore works everyday to loosen my grip on this dream, and often wins.

The easiest way to defeat practicality though is simply to take baby steps and therefore increase your circle of predictable options.  If I look at my dream of writing a movie, that simply means I actually have to start….well, writing a movie.   Just do this and bing, bang, boom I have a new circle of practicality.   Practicality is no longer working against me, but helping to protect and nurture that dream.



Writing a movie is one of the things on my bucket list.  It is one of those things that I have really wanted to do, but was more comfortable dreaming about it then actually doing it.  After watching the Oscars on that Sunday night, I thought it was time to move forward with this dream.  Shortly after the show ended I entered a script writing contest for a small show that is broadcast on the internet.  The script could only be 5 pages in length, and it took me all of an hour to write it.  The chances of winning the contest are next to nothing, but what it provided me was far greater than any prize I would receive.  For in that hour of writing I added a couple more colors to that dream in my head, and gave my best Heisman pose to the impending army of practicality.


A Letter to my kids (and to you too)

Dear Patrick, Will, and Reid,

Have you ever dreamed of building a city that’s made with trampoline streets,

or inventing vegetables that taste like delicious chocolate sweets?

Have you ever thought of teaching karate to a school of jellyfishes,

or maybe sailing around on boat made of pizza, has been one of your life wishes?

Well this may surprise you, but you can do all of those things and so much much more!!

And this you should know, and know it for sure

from your head to your toes, and right through to your core.

You see you have the power of LIFE, and LIFE is the most incredibly stupendously ridiculous thing,

For it lets you be and do absolutely ANYTHING!!

In fact, truth be told, LIFE is the most amazing Super Power of them ALL!

Now you may not be able to fly through the air, or smash through a brick wall.

But to be honest that doesn’t really matter,

because the power you have been given is ten million times grander.

For you have the ability to create your life in the shape or form that fits you best,

and with this Super Power you are so unbelievably blessed.

You can choose to be,

a Donut dipper, a cartwheel flipper, an omelet tosser, or a bbq saucer

a maker, a taker, a peaker, a tweaker, or maybe a rainbow seeker

an ice creamer, a jelly beaner, madder, gladder, or an in-betweener ,

a tricker, a treater, a cryer, a laugher, or even a wild giraffer

Yes you can move in any direction you choose,

and with that kind of power it would seem hard to lose.

The Life you create is absolutely limitless!

But sometimes, yes sometimes,

so much freedom can actually feel like quite a mess.

And in those times it will be hard to decide who to be,

or what to do,

or where to see.

Sometimes you’ll be afraid and won’t want to make a decision,

and when that happens you’ll start to hear a lot of other people’s opinions.

With all the advice you hear and options to juggle,

making the right choice can sometimes be a real struggle.

So here is a secret that is greater than all of the rest,

and can help you to harness your Super Powers to make them the very best.

Whenever you cross this hurdle, no matter how old you are, or what you’re facing, the best place to start,

is by getting really really quiet and listening to your heart.

You see there is a voice inside all of us that always knows which path to take

and when we stop and follow it’s advice, you’ll know what decision to make.

Now listening to your heart, does not always put you on the easiest track,

and occasionally, can feel like riding blindfolded on a rhinoceros’ back.

But even with all the challenges and obstacles that you will encounter, there will never be a reason to complain,

because following your heart will fill your life with love, and passion, and other feelings that are hard to explain.

So if you ever start to panic, and want to sound the siren,

listen to your heart because it can amazingly see past today’s horizon.

When you trust in your heart, you give the world a great gift, a gift that will certainly ring true,

for it is the gift of being the most amazing you!

It makes the stars shine brighter, the grass grow greener,

and will inspire others to follow their hearts too!

So use your Super Powers to create the most incredible LIFE

Use them to see whatever you want to see,

use them to do whatever you want to do,

but most importantly, use them to be whoever you want to be.

I Love You!



© Copyright 2011 Rich Scott

Defying the Law of Diminishing Returns

I took a bunch of economics classes in college and one of the few things that I actually remember is the Law of Diminshing Returns.  The Law of Diminishing Returns basically says that the more of something that you have the less marginal return you get from each individual unit added.  Economists use the law a lot to figure out production schedules and it sounds complicated but it’s not.   Here is an oversimplified way of thinking about it:  Your absolutely starving.  I mean you literally can’t think of anything except food, and not just any food but PIZZA.  You want pizza and you want it now!  When you finally get that pizza, that first bite is INCREDIBLE!  I mean knock your socks off incredible.  After about 3 seconds you’ve scarfed down that first piece, and you would rank it at the top of your list of all time greatest pizzas.  You go on and eat your second piece, and it is great too, but not quite as “knock your socks off “as the first piece.  You continue eating and eating and by the time you’ve gotten to that eighth piece of pizza, the pizza has lost all of the “greatness” that was in that first piece.  The marginal return has decreased to almost nothing and now you are just working on expanding your waist band.


A quick search on wikipedia shows that the “Law of Diminishing Returns” is one of the most famous laws in all of economics.  So it has some serious street cred, and I would imagine that economists coddle the law like the holy grail.


If you think about your life and your experiences they typically follow suite with the Law of Diminishing Returns.  Your first time doing something or seeing something is pretty magical, but after you’ve done it a couple of times that magic seems to wear off.  Not that it can’t still be great but it just doesn’t have that flare like it did the first time.  In the many hours that I have spent staring through a windshield and thinking about my own life, I have found that there are also things that actually defy this great Law.  Yes there are actually things that retain that magic, no matter how many times you experience them.  Please allow me to present my findings:


  • Rainbows: Don’t even try telling me that you’re too old or too cool to appreciate a rainbow.  Rainbows are badass!!  Rainbows are those things that you only see every once in a while, and when you do spot one you always feel compelled to tell whoever is around you.  Rainbows are one of those crazy things that always make you feel better.  Not sure why, but they do.  I don’t even know what a rainbow is.  I’m sure I could find out by doing a quick Google search, but I choose not to, as I think it would kind of take all the magic out of them. 

  • Slow motion sequences in movies with cool music: This one is pretty self explanatory, but having someone walk or do something in slow motion while cool music is playing NEVER gets old.  That is cool stuff!!  It can literally be a scene where someone blows their nose, but if done in slow motion, with a little Dave Matthews playing in the background, BING, BAM, BOOM….instantly cool! 

  • Sunrises: – Sunrises are absolutely magical things that I have never grown tired of seeing. Sunrises are full of possibilities, full of hope, and full of faith for all the incredible things that might happen that day.   Those incredible things don’t always happen as the day plays out, but sunrises surely point to the idea that they could.  While it is sort of hard to roll out of bed on some days, I have never once regretted being up early enough to see a sunrise (it also helps if you have a cup of coffee in hand).

  • America’s Funniest Home Videos: I’m sorry but I can’t get enough of people wiping out, doing stupid stuff, and of course the often seen baseball shot to the privates.  You know you like it!  Now I will admit the voiceovers usually get a little tiring, but the clips themselves never seem to get old.  The show has been on the air for more than 20 years, and since it still cracks me up, I say in your face Law of Diminishing Returns!

  • Doing a 360 slam dunk over someone: Ok I have to admit I have never done this one (you probably guessed that), or really even come close, as I basically have the “ups” of a turtle.  But can you imagine being able to do that?!  That would never get old!!  I imagine Michael Jordan doing that constantly at his house, even with the simplest of tasks.  360 over his wife to put his dishes in the sink, 360 over the dog to take the trash out.  You get the idea. 

  • Passionate People: I am highly addicted to passionate people.  I don’t even care what they are passionate about.  In fact more often then not, they are passionate about things, that to be honest, I don’t really care about.  I think when people are passionate about something, it is akin to them following their heart.  Following your heart seems to give off an energy that becomes infectious.  In order to get my fix of passionate people, I watch a lot of documentaries on Netflix, (which I understand also puts me in the Nerd Category).   Check out “Exit Through the Gift Shop” if your looking for a good one. 


  • Trump Card: Now it should be noted that of all these things there is one thing that trumps all the others.  One thing that will never lose it’s value, no matter how many times I see it, (and hopefully I see it A LOT).  That is the happiness and joy of my family.  As you will soon find out on this blog, my family means the absolute world to me (as I’m sure your does to you).  There will never be anything better than seeing my kids laughing or smiling about something.  Nothing better than seeing my wife so excited about something that she becomes a kid herself.


  • More random findings: Doing “the impossible”…..Successful execution of a whoopie cushion……Having a street named after you…..Finding a secret treasure map……Having someone laugh at your joke…..Seeing the underdog win…..The Macarena (just kidding, wanted to see if your still paying attention)…..New car smell…..Having someone leave a comment on your blog (hint, hint)……Suprising someone with an awesome gift…..Laughing……….Having your kids think your cool


For the most part these are small things, not peak experiences, not things that I will remember in great detail years from now, but things nonetheless that add value to my life.  It makes me realize that life is really just made up of gazillions of small things.  Small things that I can choose to find value in or not.  On the surface they look like random experiences, but when I look at them collectively I see that they all bring a joy to my life, and joy is the ultimate thing that will never lose value or diminish it’s returns.


What are things that never lose value for you?