Breaking the Chains

Reminiscing upon my college days, I had to remember a true story that my psychology professor told the class one time. While he was working towards his Ph.D. , a fellow classmate asked him if he would like to spend the Christmas break with her and her family, since he was far from home at the time. He gladly accepted her offer and they drove to her family during the break.

His classmate came from a somewhat poor family and region, which did not bother him. Upon arriving with his classmate at her home, the mother greeted him with warmth and hospitality. But then, the sister of his classmate came into the room singing “You may have a Ph.D., but you still ain´t got no J O B.”

My professor´s former classmate was quiet about the incident with her sister, because the sister was right in that what she had said. The sister´s motivation, however, was degrading in that she expressed that thought in front of strangers. Second of all, the sister did not see the sense in her sister studying for a higher education. Such ideas were a waste of time and money in the eyes of this particular family. In other words, the values of this family were actually holding themselves back from being more prosperous in life and their futures.

I remember, from my own experiences, a former colleague of mine telling me something like, “I was born poor, and I will die poor.” What a stupid thing to say!

I believe strongly that our words have a lot of power, which many people do not understand. That means that whatever I speak, I have given it power to become true. When I think about it, that gives me a very large responsibility as towards what I say and think.

Think about this; if you express love, you may not necessarily receive love in return. But if you express hate, you will definitely receive hate in return from most people. After all, you get what you sow.

Getting back to the topic of breaking the chains, it is a two sided coin. Are my words and actions putting chains on somebody? As my children were very young, I would say “yes”. But today, I almost have the urge under control. Of course their mother has a lot further to go.

Perhaps you are an employer. Are you giving your people the freedom and the tools to do the job? Or are you a blue or white collar worker who is afraid a another colleague looking better that you? Are you helping that person to develop like you would hope that he would help you? Or are you putting chains on your coworkers?

Or are you frustrated because you see the mountain to climb, but you are just not getting there, or getting there fast enough? Of course we all have chains in one form or another. Mortgage,  bills, family, car, sickness, etc. are also chains we have to carry as well as our past experiences and our upbringing. They may hold us back, too.

No matter if we were raised to be winners, fighters, survivors, or whatever; if there is something worth reaching for, should we not work hard to get it? Only the very few have it served to them on a silver platter.

Those are my thoughts, and I would be interested in reading yours´too. But no whining!

Getting old is not so bad

I love being from the older generation. It gives me privileges that I did not have as a younger man. At least I have that in my memory. I would like to start briefly with the past.

Living in Germany is something that I never imagined as a younger man, but life is not always predictable. I fell in love with a German girl about 1983, and my life was changed forever. For the better, if I might say.

Heidi, my wife, and I love the local music scene here, and were enjoying some bands playing in a small club in Karlsruhe, near where we live.

I don´t remember the names of the bands that were playing that night, but I do remember an older couple in their late 70´s , I figured, who were also there until late in the night to enjoy the music. Rock N´Roll, beer, cigarettes, this couple was enjoying life. They had something that very few people have in any age _ passion. They loved and enjoyed the time they have to live.

Later in the evening, I sat down with them to talk a little. I am that way. My boys say that I have a habit of talking to strangers. Well, yes I do like to talk to and meet new people. Maybe that comes from working waiter jobs for years, or from being a policeman in my youth. Does not matter. I learned from the couple that they have a son, who is in a tribute band for Gun´s N´Roses, which I immediately registered as a connection to the couple I was speaking with. I have seen this couple before! No doubt! Ivan, from the Band Dead Horse . . My Wife is a fan.This couple found the fountain of youth. They rocked to the music, drank their beers, went out to smoke their rolled cigarettes, and stayed young.

Ivan, if you read this, you have the most amazing parents. God bless you all.

For the rest of you readers; If you should be blessed with so many years, use them!




Camping in Verona, Italy

My wife and I just came back home to Germany after a four day camping trip to Italy and I can´t get all the memories and impressions out of my head. We stayed at the campground Camping Castel San Pietro in Verona. Alone the campground is an adventure. This campground is in a very old fortress on the edge of old Verona and is now a botanical garden. Disadvantage was the sounds of all the birds so early in the mornings. Okay. Camping is nature. The first night, I had only three hours sleep due to the rounded tent ground. That was done in order to allow the spring rains to run off from the tents. Problem was, I kept sliding and rolling down hill within my tent. Advantage was that, on the second day, it rained very hard; but we stayed dry. Speaking of the second day, that night brought us an unforgettable night with piano music at three in the morning. Due to the old walls of the fortress, the acoustics are very good for hearing every sound. My wife woke up, despite wearing earplugs, heard the music of the piano and had to wonder briefly if she was in heaven. No. That was not the case; however, it was a beautiful experience that may never come again. I love towers. Whenever my wife and I are in a new city, we do a tower in order to get a good view of the city, as well as the countryside around it. I am including pictures of the tower we visited in Verona, as well as pictures of our campground and everywhere else we visited on our four day trip. I hope you all will take time out in your lives to break out and travel. See the world. Learn new things. Don´t just work. Enjoy your lives. The world has so much to offer.