Life is Like Spaghetti

I woke up craving spaghetti.  Probably not the best choice on a day when the temperatures will push 90 degrees, but that’s how cravings go.

After Church I made my way to the grocery to pull together all the ingredients I would need.

As I wandered through the produce aisle getting mushrooms and onions and peppers, I began to ponder,  life is a lot like spaghetti.

If you think about it, we are the noodles.  The part of the dish that pulls everything else together, and as noodles, we attract all the good, the vibrant colors, the bad and the ugly in our lives and allow them to stick to us like the sauce of a good dish.

The vegetables in the dish are the moments and seasons of life that make the taste explode in our mouths, those small moments that make life what it is.

Like the onions and mushrooms, these everyday ingredients fill our life with the perfectly needed chunks that blend together with our “sauce.”  Not always perfectly sliced or diced, but needed to make a quality serving.

I enjoy a combo of garlic, green, yellow and red peppers in my spaghetti.  Like the little pops of life that sometimes catch us off guard with levels of punch.  Like the garlic and peppers, our lives are filled with moments and situations that sneak up on us, but when we accept those moments will come and incorporate them into the other flavors we experience on a daily basis, the pepper moments give us the opportunity to learn and grow.

I don’t make a homemade sauce.  In my mind those sauces in a jar are as good and less time-consuming than pealing tomatoes and adding the perfect blend of spices.  Like life, we can sometimes find easier ways of doing things that enrich us and allow us to use what’s available instead of going through the arduous task of making life happen.

The final ingredient in any good spaghetti is the meat.  I use turkey, not always the popular choice, but for me it works.  In my own life, I have not always followed the way of others, I lead an independent life that others may look at and think it to be out of the norm, but again, it works for me, it’s the life I was given.

After all the ingredients are prepped and put into a large pot they start to cook, just like life.   There are moments when the sauce boils and others when it slows to a simmer, needed moments in life to give us a perfect blend.

Sometimes the smell of garlic may be overpowering or the big chunks of mushrooms may not be very pretty, but as the ingredients all mold together and work with each other to create a perfect sauce, magic happens.

Just like life.  Sometimes life is messy, sometimes it is ugly, but most of the time it is a glorious gift and when you dig in and taste the wonders built on planning, preparation, simmers, boils and all the delicious ingredients pulled together, not much can beat it, even on a day when the temperature is approaching 90.

The good, the bad, the ugly and the vibrant colors all come together for the perfect dish and then you add the noodles, allowing everything to cling together, just like life.

So today, I decided to make a pot of spaghetti, a dish that reminds me of life.

Life’s Playlist…… Vacation by The Go Gos

Everyone who works at the store is on vacation…… except me!

With that in mind…. y’all have fun, I’ll hold down the fort!

 

 

 

 

Movin’ On…..

Six years and ten months ago I started the most rewarding career adventure of my life.  On Friday it ends.

In August of 2010, I was hired by Berman Enterprises as Marketing Director for a struggling shopping mall in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida; Downtown at the Gardens.

The adventure that began that summer was more exciting, demanding and fulfilling than I could have dreamed.

 

I went to work for six young guys who had purchased the property in hopes of breathing new life into the failing shopping center.  We did that.

Those six young men were the best guys I have ever worked for.  They cared about what they did, they cared about the properties that they owned and they cared about those of us who worked for them.

I felt part of an extended work family that made me want to do my best everyday.  That familial spirit that was instilled in all of us from Kevin, Adam and Casey, Jeff, Brian and Ben Berman was something each of us carried with a sense of pride.

For almost four years we thrived.  From a property that was only slightly over 40% leased when Berman Enterprises purchased it, to a property that was at almost 100% leased four years later is a testimony to all of our hard work and the leadership of our owners.

In 2014, the property was sold to Excel Trust, a management company headquartered in San Diego, my employment was part of that sell.

As a member of the Excel team, I was given the ability  to expand my reach and work with a variety of properties along the east coast of the United States.

During this time of expanded responsibility, I moved back to Georgia, settled into life in my hometown and continued to do work that effectively improved properties across the company portfolio.

For two years, I loved working for Excel.  Six years of an amazing career filled with respect, challenges and opportunity from 2010 – 2016.

In 2016, Excel was sold, my employment went to the new owners.

This Friday, I will put my company issued laptop into a Fed-X box and send it back to the company I have worked for over the last several months.  I resigned last Monday.

As I move into the next phase of “what I will be when I grow-up,” I am at peace.

I have complete peace in knowing that I am doing what is best for me.  I am stepping away from a large salary and benefits for a peace of mind and self-respect to see what opportunities lie ahead.

I’m going to devote my time to my store Impressed, I’m going to write and yes, I am going to write that book.

Over the last months I have been putting more and more time into writing and during the last few weeks have been given a renewed spirit that I can’t wait to explore.

I am 53 years old and I’m starting over…. daunting? Yes.  Exciting, DEFINITELY!

To Berman Enterprises, Excel Trust, the amazing co-workers, community leaders and tenants that I had the opportunity to work with, thank you for 6 wonderful years, now it’s on to the next sixty!

Sunday Playlist…. I’m Still Here by Mandisa

Advice to the Graduates….

As the calendar moves from May to June a large segment of our population takes part in their own proverbial turning of the page.

It is graduation season and millions of high school and college students will begin a new phase in their lives.

As these young people start moving on, I thought it would be a good time to get some sage words of wisdom from a member of the “seasoned” community in advice to the young whipper-snappers who are about to take over the world.

Without further adieu, allow me to introduce this honored statesman, intellect and philosopher who will depart these words of wisdom…….

me.

OK, sorry to disappoint but that is the best I could do on such short notice, after all I have only known graduation day was coming for the last 364 days!

Instead of statesman, intellect and philosopher, I’ll just do the best I can.

While not words that will change the world, I do believe these brief thoughts can change a young person’s direction and help make life a bit easier and more enjoyable.

 

DREAM HUGE – this is your moment, don’t let any dream be too big.  Dream your dream and then find a way to make it a reality.  Don’t mistake wanting to do something with making it a reality, dreams take planning and work to come true, but when you make it happen, the hard-work required is worth it…. go for it!

CHANGE YOUR MIND – nothing says that you must have your entire game-plan laid out the day you graduate.  Try something, if you don’t like it don’t be afraid to change your mind…. often!

FIND YOUR TRIBE – as someone who didn’t always fit in during my high school years, I found my “tribe,” during college and my 20’s and these are the people who shaped my life and led me into adulthood.  Find the people who make you your best and then embrace them.

RESPECT YOUR ELDERS – trust me, you will be an elder before you even imagined it possible.

ERASE “I WILL NEVER” FROM YOUR VOCABULARY – I will never be fat, I will never let my kid do that, I will never work weekends, I will never get fired, I will never, I will never, I will never…… yes you will so erase the thought!

GO ON AN ADVENTURE – find something you are passionate about and then drop everything and chase the passion.  Join a campaign, backpack the countryside, run a marathon, just do something.  You will have your entire life to do what is expected of you, do something for a purpose greater than yourself or a challenge that will change you forever.

LEARN TO COOK – no explanation is necessary, just learn to cook.

MAKE MISTAKES – there is nothing wrong with making a mistake, there is nothing wrong with making many mistakes.  The best way to handle a mistake is apologize, move on and try your best not to repeat the mistake again.  We are humans, not perfect, so don’t be afraid to screw up.

LAUGH – every single day, find a reason to laugh.  If for no other reason, than it just feels good!

DON’T FORGET WHERE YOU COME FROM – all I wanted to do when I was young was escape where I came from.  As I got older all I wanted to do was come home.  The people you grew up with will be there when life gives you joy and sorrow.  Don’t forget the people who shaped you and supported you and above all else, shared a common experience that will be looked back on with joy for the rest of your life!

That’s it, sorry I couldn’t find a great philosopher and intellect, just words of advice from an old guy at a keyboard.

Congrats on your graduation, there is a big, beautiful, amazing world out there waiting for you……  go conquer it!