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Time & Rhythm – By Joel Eschenbach

This post was submitted by Joel Eschenbach of Notion Design as part of my 30 Days of Thought Creative Writing Challenge.


Time is a measurement

It’s a tool that we use define the constant expansion of the universe. It puts a framework on something we don’t understand, a movement that never stops. Time is constantly pulling us forward, forcing us to change whether we like it or not. Time reminds us that we are headed somewhere and that we can look back and see where we’ve been.

We track time, we manage time, we try to control time, we try to make the best use of time. But like any other linear measurement system, it just tells us the same thing over and over. We say things like “time flew by” or “time stood still” – all the while knowing that time itself, the way we’ve defined it, hasn’t changed – just our perception of it.


“If we’re honest at the deepest levels, we’re afraid of time.”

– Joel Eschenbach –


Time is our frenemy

Time fights us every year. The older we get, the more we are aware that time is against us. When we were young, time couldn’t move fast enough… “I can’t wait until Christmas!”, “My birthday is only a week away!”… My kids are constantly asking me about future events and looking forward to time moving as fast as possible in their favor. But then at some point, we grow up and are faced with our mortality.

That’s when the quest begins. We begin fighting the curse of time on our bodies and minds. We work harder and faster, we try to eat better and workout, we invent all sorts of ways to trick ourselves into thinking that time has no affect on us. We discuss and fight over things like eternity, afterlife possibilities, and what happens after our lifetime is over to give meaning to time.

Time is a distraction

We’ve all had those moments (maybe more times than we’d like to admit) when we are here, but not here. When we are with the people we love but our mind is thinking about the future or the past. We time travel constantly in our minds. I think it’s part of the reason that time travel is so fascinating to our modern culture.

We think back to things we could have done differently in the past or, if you’re like me, constantly imagine the possibilities of the future.

Then, there are those other moments in life, the times when you are aware. When your mind/heart/soul/spirit are present and you feel and sense everything on a much deeper level. Cultures and religions throughout history have defined these experiences many different ways. Whatever you want to call it, being present in the moment is an amazing experience. It’s VERY HARD, but worth practicing.

Time has no beginning or end

Like a race, we sometimes think of time as having a start and a finish line. But really, it’s just that we started measuring time – and there may come a time when we stop measuring it. Even before the universe existed, time did – and long after us it will keep moving.

Our own lifetimes become the center of our personal universes. Even though we try hard to understand time and space objectively, at some point, it will always come back to our own lives. This is not a bad thing. It helps us define our existence. It gives us a way to think about our days that makes sense. It gets us up in the morning and tells us when to go to bed at night. It helps us classify and organize our experiences and gives us a measurable framework to look ahead to the future and cite from the past.

But, there might be something better than time…

What about rhythm?

The day begins, the day ends. The seasons come, then they go. There’s birth, then death. The leaves are green and vibrant and then they fade and fall to the ground. We breathe in and out. We work and play, strive and rest. We live and then we die. There is a rythym to everything.

What if we could view our lives and everything in our universe as a rhythm? Time has it’s place and is necessary, but rhythm… Rhythm gives us balance. It gives us a way to be present in the moment AND have times to think about the future. It allows us to stop obsessing about time and immortality and gives us the space to rest.

Our lifetime is a big metaphor for our small daily lives. We experience little deaths and new beginnings all the time, and rhythym gives us the assurance that the pendulum will always swing back again. What if instead of managing time, we worked towards a healthy rhythm in our lives? One that’s less defined by our phones and watches, but more defined by what’s important to us and others.

Time might be our enemy, but rhythm is our friend. The hope that even bad days will end and new ones will begin. The hope that years of difficulty will be followed by years of peace. The hope that pain is just one half of the story. We might measure our time in days, months, and years, but we measure rhythm in the back and forth, the push and pull, the give and take.

And, if the rhythm of the universe is true, we might find that when we reach the end of our time here, it might be just another beginning.


This post was submitted by Joel Eschenbach of Notion Design as part of my 30 Days of Thought Creative Writing Challenge.

Do you have something to say about time? Register for the challenge today, share your thoughts with us, and have your work featured right here on Raymmar.com

Watch the creative prompt that sparked this conversation.

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Join Me for 30 Days of Thought

Join me for 30 Days of thought to connect with your inner artist and challenge your creative thought process. #AskHardQuestions

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30 Things I learned After Writing Something New On My Blog Each Day For 30 Days

What I learned while writing my #30DoT

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9 Reasons Why You Should Quit Your Job & Become Your Own Boss

I just talked to the boss. He said your raise is effective just as soon as you are.

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Have I Become Unhireable?

Being your own boss can be hard, but it can also provide the ultimate pay off.

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God Sent Me To Piss The World Off

People get so offended when you challenge their thought process. Me? I live for it.

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Am I Analog Dating in A Digital World?

How to date when you cant relate. An open exploration of our current dating paradigm.

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Is Everything You Know About Religion Wrong?

Your god is not real. I know because he told me!

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Standing Naked In A Crowd

An introspective look at the desire to fit in and the freedom that comes from being yourself.

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Make More Art

Because sometimes an image says more than words ever could! #30DoT

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What Does Your Story Say About You?

This post is part of my 30 day creative writing challenge. Click here to learn more about the challenge or here to explore the other posts in this series.

Why everyone should write their own story in life

Everyone has a story. Everyone has some part of themselves that is interesting enough to share. But the world can often lead us to believe otherwise. Leaving us feeling like little more than a statistic in some marketers wet dream.

Divided and aggregated by demographic information. Sorted by location, age, sex, income, etc. and then marketed too at every opportunity. Always being sold something by someone who cares little about us as individuals, but only as possible consumers. As potential padding for their profits or as a pedestal from which to grab more power.

Why does it work like this? Because the methods work. Because we allow it.

Because even though we all claim to hate the system, we continue to live with, and inside it. And because nothing will change until we decide to change it. Until we decide to start writing our own history in real time.

Which brings me to my original concept of… writing your own story.

You should tell your story because it will separate you from the crowd. Because it can help you remember how unique you really are.

Because, by understanding and defining your story, you can become impervious to other peoples attempts at writing it for you. And when you become confident in who you are, in what you know, and of where you’ve been, you can better know where you are going and how to get there.

Because it is in the moment of becoming that thing when you can actually affect its trajectory. Not while sitting there thinking about it, and not in the dreaming and planning of it, but in the actual state of doing of it. In telling the story by living it each day.

Because telling a story is one thing, but living a life worth telling stories about… well that’s something else altogether.

This post is part of my 30 day creative writing challenge. Click here to learn more about the challenge or here to explore the other posts in this series.

 

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Learning to Let Go

My heart breaks, my body shakes and when I try to tell you, my voice quakes….

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The Game We All Pretend Not To Play

This post is part of my 30 day creative writing challenge. Click here to learn more about the challenge or here to explore the other posts in this series.

Image credit

You walk by and see a glimmer of your reflection on the side of a building You still look good. But who’s keeping score?

You are, that’s who. That’s right, I know you are. We all do. We all judge one another based on first impressions or superficialities. We all walk around with this idea of who each of us is supposed to be, but so often, we don’t even know ourselves.

Looking when we can, fighting for a glimpse of the person we think we could become. Hoping that the world will one day see us as who we might be, not as who we actually are. Hoping that they will believe the person we pretend to be.

But then the facade cracks.

The cloak of cowardice that you have been hiding under will be lifted to expose the real you. But the real you is not strong. The real you has not thought that far ahead. The real you has been too busy pretending to prepare.

Pretending not to be flawed. Presenting perfection to the public in order to bask in the glory of popularity. Hiding under your make up and materialism. Hiding the emptiness that has consumed your existence.

But this game will end. And when it does you will know true loneliness, because your entire existence has been built on the pretense of prosperity. Because you have not learned how to handle the hurt. You have just learned how to hide from it.

If you enjoyed this post, please share it with a friend. It’s the best compliment you could ever give me.

This post is part of my 30 day creative writing challenge. Click here to learn more about the challenge or here to explore the other posts in this series.

 

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The Desire For More

This post is part of my 30 day creative writing challenge. Click here to learn more about the challenge or here to explore the other posts in this series.

You hate it. Every time you have to go in on a Saturday or stay late on a weekday. Every time you have to work a few extra hours to get the job done. You are “so much better than all of this!”

You’re not perfect but life is hard and others wouldn’t understand what you’re going through. I mean, your story is different. You are hurting inside, more than I could ever imagine.

If only the world could see… they’d have to understand… Wouldn’t they?

You want that great schedule and kick ass career, but just can’t seem to get your ass in gear.

You deserve a raise. You feel undervalued. But you continue to give the world nothing to appreciate.

You keep spinning your wheels while repressing the superhero inside of you.

You know it’s in there. You feel it stirring. Trying to shine, dying to be seen.

Waiting for the moment you decide to let it out. When you finally let go of all that self doubt.

But don’t believe the lies. They just aren’t true. Whatever you are in this world, is up to no one but you.

“Oh and, I just talked to your boss… he said your raise is effective just as soon as you are!”

P.s. You’re fired! – With cause.

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So now what? Where will you turn? Will you go back to work and continue to yearn?

Or come out on your own, and show the whole world you’ve actually grown.

Because education is great, but don’t let it fool you, out on the street, the real world will school you!

You want things you are unwilling to give. To set yourself free, to let yourself live.

Stuck in a box, a corner of life. Stuck on repeat. Stuck on strife.

Tell me you hate it, keep on complaining, show me your tears, I’m patiently waiting.

To show you the way, to gain your trust. To give you knowledge and a new type of lust.

Not one for sex or selfish desire, but one of accomplishment, one to aspire!

I’ll push you to work, but not for the machine. And I’ll help you accomplish your wildest dream!

I’ll show you that you are the thing, standing in between you and succeed.

You and your stubborn reluctance to feed. On all that’s around you, on all that you need.

But soon you will starve and then you will see, the lessons of life, the lessons you need.

To get you through, to help you exceed. To be the best you-to-the-world you could possibly be.

Nothing more that what you need, Let me in, I’m just planting the seed.

So water away, and together we’ll see, that we all have the tools, to set ourselves free!

Did you enjoy this post? I’d love it if you shared it with a friend!

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7 Simple Steps To Help Grow Your Blog Traffic

This post is part of my 30 day creative writing challenge. Click here to learn more about the challenge or here to explore the other posts in this series.

So, you’ve been writing for a while now, maybe even started your own blog, but no one is reading what you write…

This article is going to help you fix that!

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You’ve tweeted your post, Facebooked it, hash-tagged it, and even spammed your friends and family with emails linking to your work. You know the world would love what you have written, if only you could get them to read it. But how the heck do you get people to notice your work online?

First, it helps to put yourself in the readers shoes. Think about how you browse the net. Think about how you skim articles, scroll through social feeds, and engage with the content you enjoy.

Once you do that, you can see how easy it is to have people skip right over your work. People are impatient online so it’s up to you to snatch their attention whenever you get a chance.

Don’t take it personal if your writing doesn’t go gangbusters as soon as you hit publish. Writing and articulating your thoughts is an important part of the process, but it’s just the beginning. If you want to get people to consistently read what you write then you have to promote your work and give it the best chance to get noticed online.

There are specific ways to do this right, and blasting your Facebook feed with the same link 10 times a day is not the way to do it. If you’re serious about getting people to read what you write, then here are a few tips to help you attract those eyeballs on a consistent basis.

1. Writing compelling titles

You should spend as much time on the title as you do on the article itself as this sets the expectation for the reader. Everyone online judges book by their cover. 80% of people decide whether to click on a link based on the title alone.

Most of my articles actually start out as an idea for a compelling title. I have a blog concepts folder in my Evernote that is full of ideas and titles for articles that I would like to write. Usually it’s just a concept for the article, some ideas on the title, and a sentence or two about what I would like to delver with that particular post. Then whenever I want to write something, I can just go into that folder and go from there.

Want to read more about how to write compelling titles? Click here

2. Formatting. Formatting. Formatting.

Seriously, if your post is just one long paragraph, I’m gonna click the back button before I read the first sentence.

Short paragraphs work best online and using headings to split up the post is always a good idea. You can also use things like block quotes, call outs and images to break up your content and make it easier to read.

Want to read more about formatting the perfect post? Click here

3. Always deliver value

If you want people to read your words, then you have to give them a reason to do so. To do that, each article should have a specific take away. This also gives the reader a reason to click on your link the next time they see it in their news feed.

Writing personal posts can be empowering, but most people don’t want to read your frivolous rants about life.

However, people love a good story. So if your writing skills are strong enough, then you can definitely deliver a compelling personal story that people will love to read.

Just make sure you write it in a way that allows the reader to place themselves inside of your story. Let the reader connect with you emotionally and you will quickly find yourself in front of a growing audience.

Want to read more about delivering value and blowing your readers minds? Click here

4. Connecting with influencers

Influencers are people who have large online audiences. People who can share a link to your work and help you gain exposure.

All traffic on the internet comes from links. Whether it is a link on a Google search result page, another blog, or social media, the only way to get people to your site is by having other people to link to it.

You can do this by connecting with influencers in your industry and sharing your post with them directly.

How do you do that? Find out where they are and start engaging with them. They are more likely to notice you if you notice them first. Quid pro quo is a perfectly acceptable strategy when it comes to sharing content online and growing your audience.

Want to read more about how to get influencers to share your work? Click here

5. Asking for the share

I always ask for a share at the end of my posts. It usually goes something like this

“If you enjoyed this post, I would appreciate you sharing it with a friend. It’s the biggest compliment you could ever give me! Thanks.”

Adding something like this to the end of your posts is not spammy and is a great way to build your social shares.

Think about it, they just read your entire article. And presumably, we only read things we like, so asking someone to share something that they just read and liked is a pretty logical progression.

Not everyone will share your work, but every extra share means extra eye balls on your post and that is the overall goal.

Want to read more about how to ask people to share your posts? Click here

6. Posting at the right times

Knowing when your audience is most likely to engage with your work takes time but it is something you should think about when publishing on your website or on social media.

For me, I have the most success when I post articles in the mornings, around 8:00 am to be precise. Additionally, Mail Chimp tells me that the best to send my emails is around 10:00 am. But that is all based on my particular audience.

The best times to post for your particular audience may vary, and probably will for most of you. If you want to give your content the best chance at being read, then knowing when to post it is pretty important.

Want to read more about proper post timing? Click here

7. Publishing Consistently

I don’t mean to tell you that you need to publish your posts at the same time each week, or even that you need to publish something new every day. What I mean when I say consistency, is that you have to constantly produce high quality content in order to build credibility with your audience.

Publishing on the same day each week and having a consistent schedule is not going to hurt, but regularly producing great content is more important than posting each article at a particular time.

But remember, frequency is nowhere near as important as quality. Regularly posting crap content is a sure fire way to train people to ignore your work.

Set a standard for the quality of your posts and do not publish anything until you think it meets those standards. It’s hard to gain credibility online but it’s really easy to lose it.

Want to read more about how to publish consistently and not get burned out? Click here

In Closing

These are just some basic guidelines to follow. There are a ton of other things you can do to get your work in front of a larger audience, but the tips in this article are a great place to start out as a beginner. You won’t be held back by a bunch of technical hurdles, and it’s the easiest way to quickly grow your online audience.

Got any tips for growing an online audience or getting people to read what you write? Leave them in the comments below!

And of course, if you enjoyed this article, please share it with a friend. It’s the best compliment you could ever give me!

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Stealing Inspiration: The Truth About Picasso’s Famous Quote.

This post is part of my 30 day creative writing challenge. Click here to learn more about the challenge or here to explore the other posts in this series.

“Good artists borrow, great artists steal.”

Pablo Picasso said that… or did he?

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Supposedly this is a Picasso quote, but this article claims otherwise, and gives us an interesting perspective on what that quote actually means.

As an artist, I have heard this quote many times over the years. I have also heard people discussing its true definition, often with the wrong connotations.

Many people take it as permission to plagiarize or directly steal someones work, but that’s taking the quote completely out of context from the creative mind. In reality, what the quote is intended to portray, is that a great artist steals inspiration, not the work itself. A great artists will see something of beauty, and then understand how to make it more beautiful by adding a piece of themselves to it.

A lesser artist will attempt to accurately copy the existing art, and in the process create a lesser quality knockoff. This can be the only result, because there is nothing to gain from copying something that is already in existence. It just becomes something to do.

There is no innovation or creative process involved in passing someones work off as your own, but to see something of value and then make it yours… That is the sign of true creative genius.

A great artist will find inspiration in everything around them and steal that inspiration to make it the foundation for their art. This is why artists, musicians, writers etc, always need a muse. They need something to move them emotionally. Something from which they can steal inspiration in order to do their best work.

The great artists see the world around them as a vision board. As a concept for what they might create, limited only by the boundaries of their creative brains. The great artist steals from everything they see. From all of their experiences and all of their interactions. We steal inspiration from everywhere we can because we ourselves are inspired.

Inspired to create. Inspired to build. Inspired to change. Ourselves and the world around us.

So the next time you find yourself in a creative slump, just take a look around. There is beauty all around you from which to steal. There is plenty of inspiration to go around and always remember that the sign of a true artist is their ability to steal something and then make it unique. To make something that is the same, but different.

Because there is no real originality. There is only continual duplication. So it is necessary to steal. But only the inspiration behind the work. Not the work itself.

So, if you find yourself stealing directly from someones work, then maybe that means that you are not the great artist you thought you were.

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Determination

“Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough.”

– Og Mandino –

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This post is part of my 30 day creative writing challenge. Click here to learn more about the challenge or here to explore the other posts in this series.

I’ve been good at a lot of things over the course of my life. I have a lot of natural talents, and the ability to learn quickly. I actually feel like there are not too many things in this world that I couldn’t do if I decided to apply myself to them wholly.

But I am not telling you these tings to brag about myself. Quite the contrary actually. The biggest problem over the course of my life, is that I have rarely throw myself completely at anything. Not for long that is.

Typically, I’ll dive into something new head first, get all excited about it and then get bored pretty quickly thereafter. I have a short attention span, I’m impatient, and impulsive. Which brings me to today.

It’s day 16 of my 30 Days of Thought creative writing challenge and a couple days ago the challenge got even more challenging. If you have not been keeping up, you can learn why here and here.

I thought this challenge would get easier as it progressed, but it has been more difficult than I initially expected to write a new article each day, set up the email campaigns that go with them, and manage everything else I have going on in life right now. So much so that I have considered quitting. On multiple occasions.

You see, I’ve quit a lot of things over the course of my life. I have either walked away from, turned my back on or just didn’t see whatever it was through to the end. Usually leaving me ashamed at myself for not sticking with them a little bit longer. For not giving just a bit more effort.

But the stuff I am working on now (this challenge included) is not something I will quickly abandon. Partly because of the insights I have gotten after quitting so many other things throughout life, and partly because I enjoy it all so much. I have finally found something that I love. Something that leaves me feeling fulfilled and something that is perfect for my impulsive, ADD and OCD tendencies.

Web consulting gives me a place to do the same thing every day, but still experience something new each time. Writing gives me a blank slate on which to share my wildest ideas with the world, marketing gives me the ability to use my sales prowess to its fullest potential and art allows me to wrap it all together into one beautiful package of consulting awesomeness.

But even as I write this, I am being tested. As I write about sticking with it, the thought of abandoning this 30 day challenge weighs heavy on my mind. What is the point of it all anyway? And who would really care?

Sure there are about a hundred of you who have signed up for the challenge and most of you are writing along with me, but it is my challenge after all. There are no rules to follow, no income to be lost and really, nothing to keep me here each day. So why not give it up? Why not walk away?

But I refuse to let those thoughts take hold. I refuse to walk away again.

I’m determined to do something different. To find a way to make it all work out. Starting with this challenge and ending with my vision of flipping the world of sales on its head. I’m going to do whatever it takes, to see this dream through to the end.

So if you are struggling with something today. If you are thinking about giving up on whatever it is that is challenging you right now, don’t. Step back into the ring and put your gloves up, even if you know you might catch a beat down.

You owe yourself at least that, and you might be surprised at what you can accomplish when you find a little conviction. When you decide that no matter how bad the beating gets, you are going to stay in the ring until the fight is over. And when the score cards come out, you might just be surprised to find yourself holding up your hands to celebrate the victory.

Because if you stick with it, you at least have a chance. But if you walk away, then you’ve already lost.

 

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Thankfully I’m Not Planning A Funeral, But…

Why is it that something like this to happen before we do the things we know we should be doing all along?

This post is part of my 30 day creative writing challenge. Click here to learn more about the challenge or here to explore the other posts in this series.

Today my heart is heavy. The thought that I should be making funeral arrangements keeps running through my mind. You see, I got a text yesterday letting me know that my dad had been in a motorcycle accident. And usually, a message like that is followed by really bad news.

But the worst of his injuries, as far as we can tell right now, are a broken leg, heavy bruising and some serious road rash. We just got back from the hospital, and don’t get me wrong, I am really happy that the injuries were not more severe, but I can’t help but think about how different this weekend could have been.

As I sit here and write my thought for the day, I can’t help to think about the possibility of life without my dad. Then I start getting mad at myself for being such a shitty son. How come I don’t call more, or visit more often? Why is it that something like this to happen before we do the things we know we should be doing all along?

He only lives four hours away and it took something like this for me to come visit. That’s the only thing going through my head right now. Mixed emotions and the thought that it easily could have been worse.

What if I wasn’t just coming to help him get around a bit while he gets used to walking around on crutches? What if I was here to handle funeral arrangements. What if I was here to see my dad for the last time?

I’m going to try and think about something else now. To not have those thoughts running through my head, but it is hard to push them from my mind. But as I push those thoughts from my mind, I wonder if anything will actually change moving forward.

Sure I’ll have this experience to remind me how much I love my family and how much I often take them for granted, but I have a sneaky suspicion that pretty soon, things will go right back to the way they were. I’ll head back home. His leg will heal. And the void in our relationship will return. We’ll go weeks without talking, I wont come visit and I’ll hate myself while doing it.

But maybe not. Maybe this is what we needed to remember how much we really matter to each other. Maybe we will find a way to make more time for each other moving forward. Or maybe, next time, I won’t be so lucky. Maybe the next call I get will be something more severe. And I will have to spend the rest of my life thinking about how I could have done something different. How I could have loved him more. And that is a pretty scary thought.

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Well Laid Plans

Mike Tyson once said “Everyone has a plan, until they get punched in the face.”

And life has a way of punching us when we least expect it.

This post is part of my 30 day creative writing challenge. Click here to learn more about the challenge or here to explore the other posts in this series.

There’s nothing like getting a group text in the middle of the day to let you know that your dad has been in an accident and is laid up in a hospital. Turns out he was riding his motorcycle on I-95 in Miami when he was struck by another vehicle and flung from the bike. Luckily it was stop and go traffic on the highway so he was not hit while going full speed.

First reports indicate that the only major damage is a broken leg and some bad road rash. Maybe a busted up bike and a sore ego to go along with it all as well.

It wasn’t too long ago that I got a call from my best friends girlfriend. My brother from another mother had been thrown off of his motorcycle that morning. But he would not be as lucky as my dad had been today. He was going full speed when he was flung from his bike. He shattered his pelvis and both wrists. It was a miracle he survived.

Both of these are freakish moments which could have dramatically changed my life. So close having two of the most important people in my life permanently removed from the population. But nope, not this time. And hopefully not any time soon.

I’ve not had to deal with death very often in my life. There was one difficult death in my past, but most of the death in my life has been relatives that I was not very close with, so the pain was not devastating. Even though part of me wishes it had hurt more. Part of me wishes that I was not so estranged from my extended family so that those deaths would have meant more to me.

But today we are not talking about death. We are talking about life.

The news I got today, although initially upsetting, is actually good news. It means that right now I am writing this thought as I head out to go see my dad. Alive.

I could just as easily be going down to handle funeral arrangements, and that would suck. And as cliche as it sounds, that should remind us that there is no guarantee of anything in this life. There may not be a tomorrow, or even a tonight. There is no promise that this moment is not your last. So make sure you do something today that matters.

Make sure you make the most of whatever moments you do have because no matter how well laid your plans may be, there is always the rest of the world to deal with. And that means complete chaos is always an option.