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Archive for the ‘philosophy’ Category

Ninety-one years. I’m sorry you didn’t get to celebrate today with those who love you most.

You are terribly missed and frequently thought of. The love you shared with me and all of your beloved family members will never be replaced, but I’ll always remember you for your kind words, thoughtfulness, huge heart and ability to make me forget about my troubles.

Because of you, I better appreciate the little things in life. A tasty meal that I cooked and shared…the smell of fresh-cut grass in the spring…a first snowfall. You taught me to pay attention to the things right in front of me and for that I’m eternally grateful. I’m a better man because of you.

So Happy Birthday, Mom. Know that you’re loved more than ever.

-end-

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It’s an upward spiral that seemingly will not end any time soon.

I’m talking about the cost of health insurance and specifically the cost that you and I – Joe and Jane consumer – get to bear to have adequate health plans that take care of our families.

In this Wall Street Journal story, reporter Avery Johnson notes that the costs employees are expected to kick in to get health insurance through their employers continues to increase – at an alarming rate.

Knock on wood, I’ve generally been a healthy individual throughout my entire life. No broken bones. No chronic conditions. No major hospitalizations, save for a three-day stint of pneumonia that put me in a hospital bed in 2005. I didn’t like it. I’ve not gone back.

My two teenage kids and beautiful wife are also healthy people. So when we open-enroll for health insurance each October/November, it’s usually a fairly quick discussion and selection of the health care plan that includes a higher than average deductible and lower monthly premiums.

Pretty easy until now, that is.

Seems crossing the 45-year-old threshold has me thinking more about health costs as well as retirement planning (which needs to include saving for health care expenses needed after I end my career as a wage earner).

For the past several years I’ve worked in the health care industry. First for the world’s largest medical device manufacturer and now for the world’s largest health plan insurer. My eyes are open to the ways of health plan coverage and the costs associated with them. I’ve developed strong opinions on the use of medical technology to prolong life.

And as health care reform goes into the implementation stage during the next several years, I hope the very industry I work in gets smart at finding ways to help individuals manage their own care intelligently.

  • A focus on health and wellness early in life.
  • Assistance with the obesity epidemic in a way that makes sense (personal health coaches are already being offered through many work plans, but at a cost to everyone not just those who are affected).
  • Common sense approaches (and cost savings) for families and individuals who are above average on the health front and take the necessary measures to stay healthy.

By putting the onus on individuals to adopt healthier lifestyles, stay healthy and make smart health care decisions, Americans should be able to get the care they need when they need it at a cost that is affordable. Sounds so simple, but my gut tells me we remain a long, long, long way away from making that a reality in our country.

As with any major change, it happens in small steps. We first must get everyone pointed in the same direction before the big flywheel will start to turn (aka Jim Collins, “Good to Great).  This happens through various agents including our own federal government launching new laws and programs. But people, we can’t rely on the government to make the change for us.

In the end, our health and well being is up to each of us. Truly. We own it. And if we expect to have access to the best health care in the world, then we better start taking care of ourselves.

-end-

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My Dad marched to the beat of his own drum. He set his own standards, and while they changed through my childhood years, the bar and his expectations were always higher than I was tall.

rhg-wwiiDad was a product of a rough and tumble father and a mother who only knew how to love and care for others – no matter what. I guess his lack of emotion, his inability to truly display love, only became evident in hindsight – because as a kid, even when he failed to properly parent, I felt loved.

We didn’t spend a lot of time playing ball in the backyard, because Dad owned a small business and put in long hours. So instead, I often biked to Dad’s shop and swept or cleaned the work benches until he was ready to lock up – usually after Mom’s third or fourth phone call. On the way out of the shop door, he’d drop a dime in the pop machine and hand me an Orange Crush Soda for the short ride home.

My best Dad memories, though, involve the after-hours deliveries we’d make on warm summer evenings. Dad sold outdoor equipment and he would drive within a 100-mile radius to deliver a lawn tractor to a good customer. I’d help unload the equipment off the trailer and he would demo the machine, chatting up the new owner while I kicked at the stones eager to head back home.

We’d climb back into the red Dodge van he drove (purchased the year I was born) and he would steer us down Northwest Iowa county blacktops – back to Spencer. At five or six years old, I marveled at how many people knew my Dad as we made these trips together. I’d see a car or truck approaching us and nearly every single time, the driver in the oncoming car would wave – and Dad waved back.

“Who was that?” I’d ask him eagerly.

“I couldn’t quite make out the face,” Dad would say with a grin. Or, he’d say, “I think that was Jim from the hardware store,” or he would make up the names of other people he knew, completely BS-ing me.

Eventually, it dawned on me that we were out in the country and these other drivers were just being friendly, waving as they passed every car they met. But for a few years, at least, I believed Dad was the best-known man in the state of Iowa – or at least our corner of the state. He was my well-connected Dad and I was proud of him.

Dad died on Sunday and he’ll be buried back in my hometown today. We rarely spoke these past couple decades. Distance created distance and days lapsed into years.

But I’ll call upon the best memories I have of him. And if there’s a Heaven, I know my Dad has been greeted by the hundreds who waved at him on those summer evenings when it was just the two of us on the road.

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Top Five

This old blog is coming up on two years in the blogosphere – that’s eight years in Internet time according to my e-marketing friends.

In these most recent 24 months, several blog posts have risen to the top as “most popular or frequented,” at the Land of 10,000 Perspectives. While they aren’t necessarily my favorites, I’m proud of the page views they’ve generated.

The Top Five Frequented Posts include:

1. Friday Philosophy – Shivering (11,195 page views). Here I lament about the sub-zero temperatures Minneapolis dips into each January. But really it’s the picture of frostbitten fingers that most visitors are after.  Can you say purple and black?

2. Crazy for Madonna – Or Just Crazy Madonna (7,572 page views). In the post about the Material Girl, I compare her early good looks to her witchy 50-year-old smile. I’ve received a lot of hate e-mails about this post from Madonna lovers. I just can’t get over the fact that she looks haggy. Guess all that material wealth hasn’t helped in the looks department.

3. Cities 97 Sampler Volume 20 (3,025 page views). For 20 years, local FM radio volume-20station, Cities 97, has produced a CD of indie, rock and alt songs. The CD sells out in the Twin Cities in a matter of hours. Its popularity has a cult following and I’ve seen the entire set of CDs sell for more than $350 at charity auctions. By the way, proceeds from the CD go to charities in Minnesota.  Nice goin’ Cities 97!

4. “Skinny Love” – Bon Iver (2,771 page views). Wisconsin native Justin Vernon issued his “Forever For Emma,” CD eons ago, it seems, to much critical acclaim. This post gets hits because I’ve posted the lyrics to the song, which I am want to do with most of the tunes I post on the site.

5. Cities 97 Sampler Volume 19 (2,650 page views). See previous graph about Volume 20. By the way, my favorite Sampler CD of all time is Volume 14. You can check out all the Samplers and their song lists here.

There you have it. The Top-Five all time greatest posts on my blog.  More to come, so bookmark the page and stay tuned.

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When 2009 began, a lot of positive mojo filled my world. Enough so that I made this commitment to be more bold in how I lived my own life. Nearly eight weeks later, my general drive to amp boldness each day has become a habit.

Satisfaction in who we are and what we do only descends upon us if we live the way we want to live. Being bold in my professional and personal relationships – hell, in every aspect of what I do – helps me get to the person I desire to be. I’ve tapped a new river of confidence and ability relying on learnings from life that serve me well when I need them most.

Bold gets noticed. The counsel and recommendations I provide to executives I work for are welcomed, accepted, expected. The same holds true for relationships I share with those closest to me. They appreciate candor and honesty – and that is something I can  deliver. It’s much more satisfying than the former rut I’d been in of biting my tongue and reading between available lines.

And in a life-is-short, I’m-keenly-aware-of-my-own-surroundings mindset, I’ve discovered initiating the first handshake or kiss or compliment generates far more points in the plus column than standing back and obviating opportunities I’ll never get back.

If being bold can generate such positive results in a mere handful of weeks, imagine what the rest of the year – the rest of life – presents.

-end-

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As I recently shared with someone who means a great deal to me, if there were one singer/songwriter’s CD that I was allowed to have on my iPod, I’d select David Gray’s, “White Ladder” record. So many good tracks on that effort.

There’s a silver lining on all aspects of our lives, no matter how hard you question, wonder, or worry. No matter how dark it may be at any given moment. If we just remember and keep a watchful eye open for it.

Here’s Gray’s “Silver Lining.” No one sings it like he does.

Lyrics

Take this silver lining
Keep it in your own
Sweet head
And shine it when the night is
Burning red
Shine it in the twilight
Shine it on the cold, cold ground
Shine it til these walls
Come tumbling down

We were born with our eyes wide open
So alive with wild hope now
Can you tell me why
Time after time they drag you down
Down in the darkness deep
Fools and their madness all around
Know that the light don’t sleep

Step into the silence
Take it in your own
Two hands
And scatter it like diamonds
All across these lands
Blaze it in the morning
Wear it like an iron skin
Only things worth living for are
Innocence and magic, amen

We were born with our eyes wide open
So alive with wild hope now
Can you tell me why
Time after time they drag you down
Down in the darkness deep
Fools and their madness all around
Know that the light don’t sleep

Woah, wooah

Time after time they drag you down
Down in the darness deep
Fools and their madness all around
Know that the light don’t sleep
Know that the light don’t sleep

-end-

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I’m Open

Open to learn. Open to love. Open to parent. Open to hope. Open to change. Open to passion. Open to care. Open to help.  Open to innovation. Open to failure. Open to success. Open to understand. Open to listen. Open to believe. Open to health. Open to teach. Open to laugh. Open to share. Open to be. Open to faith. Open to watch. Open to wait. Open to opinion. Open to freedom. Open to choice. Open to rights. Open to mistakes. Open to sarcasm. Open to improve. Open to acceptance. Open to kiss. Open to intimacy. Open to risk. Open to work. Open to play. Open to rest. Open to travel. Open to warmth. Open to give. Open to create. Open to act.

Open to live.

-end-

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