A Look Back at 2019 and Ahead to 2020

[Advance notice/warning: This is a personal post about my annual goals and accomplishments. If you’re not interested, which is understandable and highly likely, feel free to move on to my next post.]

Overall, 2019 was a very good year. At the start of this year, I envisioned that 2019 would be a year of no commitments. That didn’t happen – not even close. I ended up being in four musical ensembles and officiating 40 weddings, even though at the beginning of 2019 I cancelled all of my advertising with the four websites I have advertised on in previous years. In 2019 I wanted to focus on simplification and writing. I entertained this fantasy that I would finish my book, The Quest for Retirement Utopia, in March. LOL! I finished it in December.

Let’s take a look at how I did based on my goals for the year.

Continue reading “A Look Back at 2019 and Ahead to 2020”

50 Years After Stonewall: the Good, the Bad, and the Tacky

This year (2019), there has been noticeably more emphasis placed on Pride Month. One obvious reason is that this year marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riot in Greenwich Village, New York City.

Aside from that, I think this year is just the next step of an accelerating trend. This year more than ever, rainbows are on display everywhere, from store windows to the screen of the ATMs at Wells Fargo. For the past several years my former employer, Intel, has flown rainbow flags outside each of its offices, including some in foreign nations.

As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, it’s amazing to think about how far our society has evolved with regard to accepting and respecting differently-oriented people, particularly in the U.S.

Continue reading “50 Years After Stonewall: the Good, the Bad, and the Tacky”

10 Ways to Make This Your Best Year Yet

Regardless of whether or not you embrace the practice of making new year’s resolutions, the start of each new year presents an opportunity to reflect upon what went well and not so well during the past year. 

Of course, any time is a good time to assess your life in its current state and make adjustments. You don’t have to wait until one year ends and the next year begins to consider what changes you would like to make and what new projects or adventures you would like to embark upon.

One reason many people don’t make new year’s resolutions is that most of them tend to fail – usually within a few weeks. So rather than making idealistic and overly optimistic resolutions, try evaluating your daily and weekly routines and consider what you’re willing to change. 

After all, your level of satisfaction with your life is determined more by how you spend each day than by the occasional big trips or special events you experience. 

In this article, I will offer ten ideas for how you can alter your approach to your day-to-day life in order to make this new year your best year yet. Some of these suggestions will resonate with you and some won’t, and that’s fine. I hope you find a few that will be valuable.

Continue reading “10 Ways to Make This Your Best Year Yet”

The Adventure List: What it is and Why You Need One

By now, you have almost certainly heard of the Bucket List. That’s a list of things you hope to experience before you pass away or “kick the bucket.” Perhaps you even have one.

I do. I think they are a good idea.

But while the concept of the Bucket List is good, it has its limitations. You probably think of your bucket list in grandiose terms. Your list is probably filled with big-ticket items and stretch goals, like taking a trip to Japan, visiting every national park, or jumping out of a perfectly good airplane.

There’s nothing wrong with that, but the reality is that unless you are diligent in your pursuit of your bucket list items, you will probably run out of time, money, or ability to achieve all of them before you actually kick that proverbial bucket.

The time you spend experiencing your bucket list dreams will comprise a relatively small percentage of the rest of your time on Earth. And while major events are memorable and satisfying, your overall happiness is going to be determined more by how you live your life on a day-to-day basis.

As writer and cartoonist Allan Saunders said (and John Lennon later sang), “life is what happens to us while we are making other plans.” And one of my favorite quotes is this one by Annie Dillard: “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”

So how can you ensure that your life is enjoyable and fulfilling during all that time between each of your bucket list experiences?

Continue reading “The Adventure List: What it is and Why You Need One”

30 Years Ago: Remembering the 1987 National March on Washington

Today, October 11, is National Coming Out Day. This day could have easily come and gone without my remembering it had I not seen a post from someone else on Facebook. I’ve been “out” for so long that this day holds little meaning to me anymore, and I have done little over the past couple decades besides note its passing. I’m sure there have been a couple years I have forgotten.

But this year is different. Today marks the 30th anniversary of the second National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. (The first took place in 1979.) National Coming Out Day was established in 1988, on the first anniversary of the 1987 march.

I was there. That was a momentous weekend for the LGBT movement as well as my own life. I haven’t thought about the march for years, but the memories have been flooding back all day.

Continue reading “30 Years Ago: Remembering the 1987 National March on Washington”

The iPhone is 10 Years Old Today

Ten years ago today, the first iPhone was released. It’s hard for me to believe that it’s only been ten years. And it’s hard to imagine that a piece of technology could change our lives so dramatically – mostly for the better, but in some ways for the worse.

At the time, the idea that one device could combine a telephone, a music player, a camera, and an internet communication device, all accessible by touch rather than with little buttons, was revolutionary. Today we don’t think twice about it.

Just think about how many aspects of our day-to-day lives are totally different now due to the smartphone. (While there are now more users and more apps on Android devices, most new capabilities came out on the iPhone first.) Smartphones also paved the way for the tablet (led by the iPad) which further bridged the gap between computers and telephones.

Continue reading “The iPhone is 10 Years Old Today”

How to Survive and Thrive for the Next 4 Years in Trumpistan

Like many of you, I was devastated by Donald Trump’s surprising upset victory in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. As I write this article on Inauguration Day (January 20, 2017), I can’t help but feel extremely apprehensive about what the next four years will bring.

One thing that’s certain is that it will be full of surprises. Sadly, I suspect that there will be far more unpleasant surprises than pleasant ones. We are now in uncharted territory.

But life goes on. You and I can choose whether we will be happy or stressed, depressed, and miserable for the next four years. I choose happy.

Continue reading “How to Survive and Thrive for the Next 4 Years in Trumpistan”

Death and Despair as 2016 Draws to a Close? No Thanks, I’ll Pass

A lot of my friends are distraught over all of the celebrity deaths that have occurred during the closing days of 2016 – and throughout the year, for that matter. Maybe you’re one of them.

Many of my friends are posting on Facebook that they can’t wait for 2016 to be over – often in much more colorful language than that.

It does seem as though there have been more notable deaths than usual lately. But I suspect that the obsessive attention being paid to this topic is partially attributable to social media (especially Facebook) and the overabundance of 24-hour news/entertainment/gossip websites that are hungry for more clicks (read: revenue).

In other words, the deaths of famous and semi-famous people are being communicated farther and wider and with lightning speed, and many people are amplifying the message by re-posting, re-tweeting, and piling on their own wailing and gnashing of teeth. In the past, a death was mentioned in the local newspaper the next day or on the 6:00 news. Then, lacking a means to chime in and spread the news, we moved on to the next topic.

People may or may not be dying more these days, but it seems like they are because we are hearing a lot more about it in our hyper-connected world.

I refuse to buy into it. I refuse to allow myself to become depressed by participating in the echo chamber of death and despair over people I don’t even know.

Continue reading “Death and Despair as 2016 Draws to a Close? No Thanks, I’ll Pass”

On Holding Hands in Public

Last weekend, on Friday night at about 9:45, Jeff and I were walking several blocks back to our car after enjoying an evening of theatre in downtown Phoenix.

It was a pleasant evening, only slightly hot. There were only a few other people on the street, but the two people who drew our attention were a pair of young men, probably in their 20s, who were walking twenty feet or so ahead of us holding hands.

My first thought was, “how sweet!” It’s always nice to see two people in love. Of course, I have no way of knowing if they were still in the giddy throes of a new relationship or if they have been a couple for one year or five. But I admired how they felt comfortable enough with each other and with their surroundings to hold hands.

My second thought was, “how brave.” Granted, we were in a pretty safe neighborhood. For those who are not familiar with Phoenix, the blocks just north of the downtown area are rapidly being gentrified with attractive new apartments and condos. But it was after dark, and there are still plenty of homeless people in the area as well as some rougher neighborhoods not too far away.

Continue reading “On Holding Hands in Public”

Today I Let Go of an Icon from My Past

Today I sold a souvenir from my past; something that represented a turning point in my life regarding coming to terms with myself and discovering who I really am.

Jeff and I are in the process of downsizing our possessions. You can read more about that here.

We are not planning to move to a smaller house anytime soon, but we are finally divesting ourselves of possessions we have been retaining for many years, even though we have not had any need for them in years.

Continue reading “Today I Let Go of an Icon from My Past”