I Am Thankful For

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and I have a lot to be thankful for. I am healthy. I just had my annual physical, and all my blood work came out perfect. My body is working just the way it should and maybe even a little better. I feel energetic, and my mind is sharp. It doesn’t mean I don’t always walk into the kitchen and remember why I am there. Those are just the little things that we put up with as time goes by.

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What I Am Thankful For

It took me a long time to learn to be grateful for everything I have. After spending half my life and law enforcement, it was hard to see the brighter side of life. I spent every day, for most of the day, living on the darker side of the world. I saw some of the worst parts of humanity on city streets and in the jungle. When you spend most of your time in darkness, seeing the light becomes difficult.

I am grateful that God gave me the ability to separate my two worlds. When I arrived home after work, the first thing I would do was take off my badge and gun. I became a different person. Much like the comics I read as a kid, I would take off the bat-suit and become Bruce Wayne. I would hang up my cape and be Clark Kent. At the door of my house, I would leave the title of Special Agent. I became Scott, husband and father, one person living in two different worlds.

30 Years

I didn’t talk about work with my family because I didn’t want them to be exposed to what I saw. It was my choice, my calling to be a Special Agent. I am thankful that I could serve people for 30 years. Even though I’m retired, I am still connected to the dark side. There are still people to be helped. The good news is I spend much less time there. I am positive and grateful nowadays.

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This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for also being called to create InspireChief. It has opened my eyes to living a life full of love and gratitude. I am thankful for being able to help and serve people in a different way than I did before. You should always be grateful for what is going on in your life right now. It is your choice on how you react to what is happening to you. You can choose to face it positively or through negativity.

Forward

Every day isn’t sunshine and rainbows, and sometimes life hits you square in the teeth. When it takes you to your knees, get up. Keep moving forward, don’t stay where you are. Keep moving until things get better. They will. God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.

I am thankful for the ability to keep moving forward through the good times and bad times. I want to continue to use InspireChief to help and serve people. Encouraging people to rely on faith and keep fighting brings a smile to my face. I will continue until my last breath.

Thank You!!

I am thankful for everyone who reads, comments, likes and follows InspireChief. I’m deeply humbled to be part of your community.

I wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving and a joyous holiday season. No matter where you are in the world, take a moment out of your day tomorrow and reflect on everything that you are thankful for. Begin to write a gratitude journal daily and see how it changes your life.

Breaking Down The Age Barrier

Today I’m going to talk about something that happened to me last weekend. The concept is a little difficult to understand. It’s the difference between living your life spiritually and living physically. The event was simply a conversation I had with a young lady. I don’t believe this connection would have happened if I was not living spiritually in the Now. Therefore, I want to talk about being in the Now and breaking down the age barrier.

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Breaking The Age Barrier

Physically, I know that I am 61 years old. I have a birth certificate that tells me that. Although, when I look in the mirror, I see myself as a young man. I don’t look over 30. That is because, in my mind, I don’t have an age. I don’t dwell on the past or spend much time on the future. I try to live in the Now and experience life as it is happening.

Every Saturday during football season, I meet up with fellow alumni to watch the game. Most of the time, the same crowd shows up and, we are in the same age group. This past Saturday, a young lady in her 20s joined us and sat next to me. We had the most engaging conversation. During this conversation, there was no difference in age between us. We were conversing on the same level.

How Do We See One Another?

I did not feel as if she viewed me as an older man and, I looked at her as no different than me. The difference in our age, as well as our gender, race, experiences, etc., were broken down; they disappeared. This happened because I was living in the Now.

Now is the moment in time that I am experiencing, right that second. I am not thinking of my past or my future. Most of our thoughts focus on the past and the future. We are not thinking about life as it’s happening. When I live in the past and the future, I think about age. How many years have passed, and how many I have left.

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https://unsplash.com/@nathananderson

Thinking Spiritually

If I would’ve been thinking physically, I would have focused on the difference in our age and not on the conversation. I would have looked upon this young woman as a child, someone who needed my knowledge, more like my daughter. Instead, by breaking down the age barrier, I viewed her only as the person she is. I was talking to a person, not someone of different age.

It has always been easy for me lately to engage in a conversation with people my age. As humans, we seek out people similar to ourselves. By only being around similar people, my focus would be on our age. We could all sit around and tell “war stories” of our past.

Living In The Now

Living in the Now and breaking down the age barrier, I can experience life through someone else’s eyes. They can talk about their experiences and share their stories. By listening as a person focusing on the Now, I gain an understanding of what others are feeling at this moment in their life.

I have followers of all ages. When I read their blogs, I learn so much about what they are going through. I can learn as much from a 17-year-old as I can from a 70-year-old. I don’t know what it is like being a teenager in another country today. By living in the Now and breaking down the age barrier, I read the articles as if we are the same age.

Keep Sharing Your Experiences

We all have something to teach one another despite our age differences. You never know who you can help with your experiences. If you feel the inspiration to write, then write. Live in the Now. Experience life as it is happening right now and embrace it. Good things or bad things may be happening. No matter what is happening, embrace the experience.

Bad times never last forever. Embrace all times and give thanks. Better times are ahead! So, when you find yourself near someone of a different age group, look at them as the same as you. Live in the Now. You might make a new friend. Always remember, age is just a number.

Cites

https://unsplash.com/@nathananderson

https://unsplash.com/@lgnwvr

Overcoming Despair

Overcoming despair is my podcast today. Gloom, Despair, and Agony on me. Oh, how those words brought back a lot of great memories. I use to watch a TV show with my mom and dad back in the 70s called Hee Haw. It was a show with country comedians and musicians that would perform various skits. One of those skits had two performers singing the song Gloom Despair and Agony on me. Then they would say something funny about their trials and tribulations. They would repeat the song until another funny story. It was one of the funniest skits, and it makes me laugh today thinking about it.

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Overcoming Despair

The beginning of 2021 had not been kind to me. Nope, not one bit. Most people could not wait for 2020 to end. I, for one, would not mind going back. Yes, this is me, the guy that is always talking about moving forward. I am that guy, but I would gladly rewind the clock and go back a year.

BOP, POW, ZOINK!!

Why do you say? Well, I’ll tell you. It seems as if life had put me in her crosshairs since the beginning of the year. I had taken blow after blow after blow. Every time I overcame one punch and thought things were getting better, she threw an uppercut. Hit me right on the chin. It had been so bad I began to feel despair. The words to that song flooded my brain, Gloom Despair and Agony on me. I knew I had to find a way of overcoming despair.

Despair

Despair is defined as loss of hope; a cause of hopelessness. It is what I was feeling just a few months ago. People have called me a lot of different things in my life. The one thing no one has ever called me was a quitter. So I fought on with every weapon I had. I was not losing ground but, I was not gaining any either. Overcoming despair was my goal.

Salvation

So as I continued to take punch after punch, bad news after bad news, I began to wonder what was coming next. Luckily I do not ever take on these battles alone. I have my family, my friends, and God. On one particularly bad day, I went to bed, and as I always do, I picked up a devotional guide, Feeding On Jesus by Jennifer Arimborgo. Jennifer is a wonderful person who is a missionary in the Amazon Jungle in Peru. Her website is feedingonjesus.com.

The devotional I turned to that night was Isaiah 35:4, “Say to those who are fearful-hearted, ‘Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God; He will come and save you.'” I immediately was lifted out of my despair. God knows when you are feeling hopeless and places hope in front of you.

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https://unsplash.com/@carrier_lost

Life Ain’t All Sunshine

I knew right then that everything was going to be okay. In the words of Rocky Balboa, “The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place, and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. It is not how hard you hit it is how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward” I knew I had to take the hits and keep moving forward.

Control

I cannot control what life throws at me. Neither can you. Two things I can control are my attitude and effort. I can focus my thoughts and not give in to despair. I believe and have faith that things will turn around. Some situations are too big for you and me to handle. These are the ones I turn over to God.

There have been several times in my life that I have sailed through troubled waters. Each time God has sent me a sign to tell me he is there and everything will be all right. I am lucky I have this great team of family, friends, and God. Together we can get through any storm. Because of them, I have been able to persevere through the difficult times in my life.

Better Times Ahead

Even though the beginning of this year had been a struggle for me, I knew there were better times ahead. The years to come will be filled with difficulty but also with much happiness. Whatever life wants to throw at me in the future, I am ready for it. I have God by my side. In the end, the good times will far outweigh the bad.

Open Your Heart For Infinite Energy

Learning to open your heart for infinite energy is essential in your journey to personal improvement. You can do all the right things and not see improvement. For example, verbalizing positive affirmations and visualizing your future daily, yet you still don’t feel you are improving. Something is holding you back. It could be that your heart is closed, and you are blocking your inner energy.

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Open Your Heart For Infinite Energy

Almost everything you do externally and internally requires energy. Just like it takes physical energy to exercise, it also takes an expenditure of energy to control your thoughts. Dealing with your emotions also requires energy. Getting through the day he asserts a lot of energy. It can be exhausting.

I’m sure you have experienced times when you don’t feel like you have much energy; you are drained. If you feel low on physical energy, rest and a healthy meal can recharge you. Unfortunately, food will not supply you with energy if you are mentally and emotionally drained. Where does that energy come from? Inside you. Yogis call these energy centers chakras. We all have an infinite supply of inner energy.

Love

Have you ever been in love? Those first days of a relationship fill you with physical and emotional energy. You feel as if you could take on the world. The same thing happens when you start a new project; you don’t even think about eating or sleeping. The infinite energy that comes from within you keeps you going.

Conversely, if your relationship ends after a few months, you lose your energy. You become sad and depressed. Much of the energy you do have is spent trying to figure out what went wrong. You don’t need much and spend way too much time in bed.

Where did the energy go? It is still there inside you. You have blocked it. By closing your mind and heart, you have blocked the flow of energy inside you. Learn to open your heart for infinite energy.

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https://unsplash.com/@burzik

An Unlimited Supply

Have you seen those people who seem to have an unlimited supply of energy? They are happy and productive. You always see them out and about. They are positive, glass-half-full people. In contrast, we all know someone that never has any energy. They are the complainers and hardly ever have anything positive to say. If they can bring you down with them, they will. Their hearts have closed and blocked the energy flow.

My Experiences

I have experienced these different energy flows many times in my life. Have you? There have been times when my heart is open, and the energy is abundant. Then there were times when I blocked the energy and closed it off. It happens because we are programmed to open or close based on our past experiences.

If I see a sunset, hear a song, or smell a certain scent that reminds me of a happy time, my heart will open. On the other hand, if those stimuli invoked a memory of a past negative experience, my heart would close. By learning to keep your heart open and let go of your past; you can keep the energy flowing. This energy comes from within your being. It is your Chi, Shakti, or Spirit.

How To Keep An Open Heart

How do you learn to open your heart for infinite energy? It’s simple, don’t close it. Decide that you want to keep your heart open. When you feel your heart closing because of a circumstance in your life, stop, relax, and open it up again. Do not allow it to close. Recognize when you feel your heart closing and open it up.

Life Happens

Don’t allow the circumstances of your daily life to take away your inner energy. Think of life as if you’re standing in a river. Life flows all around you. Experiences happen, but they are only experiences. Like the water, they keep going, ever-changing. Life is a series of experiences that happens to us every day. They are always changing. The river water flows around you, touches you, and then it’s gone. The same water molecules don’t come back, different ones flow behind it. In life, we experience the circumstances, and then they’re gone.

Experiences only stay if we hang on to them and don’t let them go. In the times we react negatively to these experiences, our hearts become closed, and we block our energy. Decide what matters more, an open heart and infinite energy or hanging on to negativity. Keep your heart open and let all things happen. Experience them and let them go.

Cites

Singer, Michael A. The Untethered Soul: The Journey beyond Yourself. New Harbinger Publications, 2013.

https://unsplash.com/@cris024

https://unsplash.com/@burzik

Connect With The Universe

Today I want to talk about the subconscious mind and its connection with the universe. When I am talking about the universe, I mean God or infinite intelligence. This post is a continuation of Napoleon Hill’s book, Think and Grow Rich. Properly using your subconscious mind to connect with the universe is the 11th step in acquiring riches.

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Connect With The Universe

Your subconscious mind is the key to living the life you want to live. Controlling your subconscious mind is necessary for accomplishing goals and acquiring wealth. You can acquire happiness as well as build great relationships.

Hill states that your subconscious mind stores every impulse of thought that reaches your objective mind through your five senses. These thoughts may be called upon later through your memories. Your subconscious mind never stops working. It is there 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

Infinite Intelligence

Your subconscious mind is your connection to infinite intelligence. It uses the power derived from infinite intelligence to convert your desires into their physical equivalents. It uses the most practical means to accomplish this conversion.

You cannot control your subconscious mind completely. Inadvertent thoughts do find their way into your mind. The control you have is accomplished by voluntarily thinking, speaking, and visualizing your plan or desire. It takes time to connect with the universe through your controlled thoughts. So don’t get discouraged.

Trust The Process

To connect with infinite intelligence and turn your dreams into reality is a process. You must trust the process because mastering this process takes time. Patience and persistence are your best friends.

Since your subconscious mind never stops working, you must train yourself to control your thoughts. Your subconscious mind stores your controlled thoughts, but also works inadvertently from your uncontrolled thoughts. It can bring you fear and poverty as easily as it can wealth.

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Develop a daily practice of controlling your thoughts through positive affirmations and meditation. The more you practice, the more you will begin to believe. Continued practice will turn your belief into faith.

Persistence

You must be persistent until you have reached the level of faith. Once you reach the level of faith, you will control the negative thoughts and replace them with positive thoughts. For example, let’s say you receive an unexpectedly large bill. Without faith your first thoughts will probably be fear, and how will you pay for it. With faith, your mind will be calm because you know that the money will come to pay it in full.

Your subconscious mind works best when your thoughts mix with feelings and emotions. It doesn’t work as well with thoughts coming from the reasoning part of your mind. As I discussed last week, sexual desire is our strongest emotion. Tapping into this emotion will increase the output of your subconscious mind.

Feel The Emotions

Hill further states, “There is evidence to support that the theory that only emotionalized thoughts have any actionable influence upon the subconscious mind.” Therefore, don’t just think about your desire. Feel the emotions that you will have after manifesting that desire. Before visualizing how your life will be, think of something that evokes an emotion in you.

Positive Or Negative

Remember that emotions can be positive or negative. Here is a list of the seven major positive and negative emotions.

Positive Emotions:

Desire

Faith

Sex

Enthusiasm

Romance

Hope

Negative Emotions:

Fear

Jealousy

Hatred

Revenge

Greed

Superstition

Anger

Positive and negative emotions cannot occupy the mind at the same time. Only one can dominate. Avoid negative emotions. Make sure that positive emotions become your dominating influence in your subconscious mind to connect with the universe.

I hope this provides you with a little insight into the subconscious mind and its connection to the universe. Don’t forget to like, comment, and follow. I appreciate each person who reads my posts and listens to my podcasts.

What It Takes to Be Number One

Vince Lombardi was a great leader who knew how to motivate men. He was an American football coach, winning many championships. He was the head coach of the Green Bay Packers when they won the first Super Bowl. In fact, the Super Bowl trophy is named after him. Lombardi was famous for his inspirational speeches. One of his most famous speeches is “What It Takes to Be Number One.”

Lombardi was known for his drive and determination, but he is remembered for his leadership. Lombardi was driven to be the best and demanded the same from his players. “What It Takes to Be Number One” was first given in the locker room at halftime. Since then, Lombardi gave this speech many times to businesses and at political conventions.

I have always admired Vince Lombardi. You could say, he is my “go-to” guy for inspiration. “What It Takes to Be Number One” is one of my favorite Lombardi speeches. I have it on a card hanging up in my office. Every now and then, I take it down and read it. Vince Lombardi has been such an inspiration to me I even married a girl named Lombardi. That’s Sofia’s maiden name.

The Speech “What It Takes To Be Number One”

“Winning is not a sometimes thing; it’s an all the time thing. You don’t do things right once in a while; you do them right all the time. Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.”

By doing the right things all the time you will find yourself winning more often than not. Develop the habit of winning in everything that you do

“There is no room for second place. There is only one place in my game, and that’s first place. I have finished second twice in my time at Green Bay, and I don’t ever want to finish second again. There is a second-place ballgame, but it is a game for losers played by losers. It is and always has been an American zeal to be first in anything we do, and to win, and to win, and to win.”

You won’t win every time, nobody does. When you don’t win it should drive you to come in first the next time. Only one team is having fun at the end of a championship game. The winning team.

All In

“Every time a football player goes to ply his trade he’s got to play from the ground up, from the soles of his feet right up to his head. Every inch of him has to play. Some guys play with their heads. That’s O.K. You’ve got to be smart to be number one in any business. But more importantly, you’ve got to play with your heart, with every fiber of your body. If you’re lucky enough to find a guy with a lot of head and a lot of heart, he’s never going to come off the field second.”

Giving it everything you’ve got is how you win. You cannot do things halfway.

Win

“Running a football team is no different than running any other kind of organization, an army, a political party, or a business. The principles are the same. The object is to win and to beat the other guy. Maybe that sounds hard or cruel. I don’t think it is.”

The objective of any business is all the same. It is to make a profit. If you are not making money in your business, you have a hobby.

Compete

“It is a reality of life that men are competitive and the most competitive games draw the most competitive men. That’s why they are there, to compete. To know the rules and objectives when they get in the game. The object is to win fairly, squarely, by the rules, but to win.”

Competition makes everyone better. It doesn’t have to be nasty and you don’t have to cheat. Do your best and win fairly.

Grind

“And in truth, I’ve never known a man worth his salt who in the long run, deep down in his heart, didn’t appreciate the grind, the discipline. There is something in good men that really yearns for discipline and the harsh reality of head-to-head combat.”

Embrace the grind and everyday challenges. Learn to love the daily routine of making yourself better. Championship teams put more emphasis on practice. They embrace the difficulties of the daily grind. Championships are won during these times.

Read

The final paragraph of his speech is the most important part for me. It sums up what it takes to be number one. Read it many times and let his words take hold of you.

“I don’t say these things because I believe in the “brute” nature of man or that men must be brutalized to be combative. I believe in God, and I believe in human decency. But I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, his greatest fulfillment to all he holds dear, is that moment when he has to work his heart out in a good cause and he’s exhausted on the field of battle, victorious.”

Cites

https://unsplash.com/@sgc908

The Dash

It was a cool, breezy morning. The cemetery grounds, once a beautiful bright green in the summer, had begun to be covered with fallen leaves. The smells of autumn were in the air as Jim looked down at little Tom kicking the leaves. Jim scanned the grounds trying to remember where the gravesite was located.

“I think it’s this way,” he said.

Little Tom looked up and smiled mischievously. “Come on, dad!” Off he ran in the direction Jim was pointing.

Jim hurried to catch up, and when he did, he grabbed little Tom and twirled him around. They were both laughing when something caught Jim’s eye.

“This is it! This is the one we’re looking for,” Jim exclaimed!

In front of them was a headstone that read, “James Scott Walters.” Underneath the name were the dates, August 30, 1960 – December 29, 2060.

“Who is that,” little Tom asked?

“That is your great-grandfather,” Jim replied.

“Wow, he lived for 100 years,” said little Tom.

“He sure did, and he lived a full, rich life,” Jim said.

“What did he do,” little Tom asked?

Jim replied, “He lived an exciting life and went on many adventures when he was young. He served his country and helped many people. Helping others became his passion. He taught your grandmother, his daughter, how to live life the right way. As he became older, he began to write down his experiences and lessons, sharing them with the world.”

As little Tom stared at the headstone and ran his fingers over the carved letters and numbers, Jim knelt next to him.

“Do you see those dates?”

Little Tom pointed to August 30, 1960, and started tracing it with his finger.

“Those two dates are not the most important things on this headstone,” Jim said. “The two dates simply represent two moments in time. The day your great-grandfather took his first breath and the day he took his last.”

“The most important thing is the dash in between the two dates. That little line represents his life and everything that he did. There are 100 years in the dash. Every headstone in the cemetery contains a dash, and they represent what everyone did with their life.”

Jim continued, “Your great-grandfather’s dash is filled with good decisions and bad. Happy times and sad times. The births of children and the deaths of friends and family. It represents everything that he did in his 100 years. He lived life to the fullest. I don’t think everyone’s dash would tell the same story.”

Little Tom gazed upward at Jim and quietly said, “How can I make sure my dash is as full as my great-grandfather’s?”

“Make sure you live your life like your great-grandfather lived his. We can read about him when we get home. Are you ready to go,” Jim asked?

As they walked through the cemetery towards the car, Jim looked down and held Tom’s hand. “Son,” he said, “Your great-grandfather accomplished many wonderful things in his life. One day, he told me that the most important thing he ever did was learn to love. That was why we are put here on earth. God didn’t give us life to be divided and hate each other. We are here to love one another. If you can learn to love, then your dash will be full.”

Jim and little Tom climbed into the car and buckled up. Jim started the engine and began to pull away. He stopped and looked back at the headstone. A smile came over his face as he said, “The old man will never stop teaching us lessons.”

the-dash-cemetery-autumn-American-flags

Photo Credits

https://unsplash.com/@capturelight

https://unsplash.com/@anakin1814

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Gaining Control Of Your Life

I missed posting an article last Sunday. This is the first time I have missed posting since I was in the hospital in February. Even when I travel, I have been able to schedule my posts ahead of time. I don’t have an excuse for not posting. I just didn’t have it in me, and when I sat down to write, my mind was blank. Today I want to talk about what happened (or didn’t happen) and gaining control of your life.

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Gaining Control

Last week, I felt like my connection was off. There was just something missing, and I cannot explain it. That was last week. Today is a new day and the beginning of something big! One thing I know about not feeling connected is that it is only disconnected on my side. God/The Universe is always there and is always connected.

To begin gaining control of your life, you must realize you have full control to reconnect your mind. For example, take the electricity to your house. A lamp might not work because the plug came loose. The electricity is still flowing, but the connection has been broken. Plug the lamp back in and the connection is complete. The lamp works once more.

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https://unsplash.com/@kellysikkema

What Went Wrong?

Now that you know you have full control of your life, you just have to figure out what happened to your connection. For me, it could be that I was exposed to too much negativity through the media or other people. Possibly, I spent too much time away from my morning routine and broke the connection. Maybe I didn’t read enough or at all.

Negativity

Negativity is everywhere and impossible to escape for me. I continue to work on handing it better and quickly turning back to what is important to me.

Meditation and Prayer

My morning routine is important. I believe that it is responsible for the positive changes I have made in my life. It is why my relationships with my family have improved; why I am a better husband and father. Also, why I am a better person overall.

Reading

Reading is also a major factor in my life. It also has brought about positive changes in me. The knowledge I acquired by reading helps solidify my beliefs. It also teaches me new techniques. The books I read provide me with different ways of looking at my life which helps me grow.

Traveling

Getting away from my routine and reading frequently happens when I travel. Time away from everything is wonderful. I love traveling with my family and see new places. Sometimes we revisit old places and reconnect. It is great to put everything down once in a while and do nothing. It makes me feel energized and refreshed.

Continue Positive Habits

When traveling, it is important to continue with your positive habits. For myself, I will do a better job of taking time every morning to connect and stay focused even when we are on the road. It is like staying healthy. It is better to live a healthy lifestyle every day than to try to start over again and again. That doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy unhealthy food or skip my workouts once in a while. I just do them in moderation.

After all, life is supposed to be live to the fullest. Enjoy every moment of it. It flies by all too quickly. Only don’t forget about the habits that you have developed. Incorporate them into your life when you are home and away. Keep working on gaining control of your life.

Cites

https://unsplash.com/@rohanmakhecha

https://unsplash.com/@kellysikkema

5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Retirement

I have been retired for seven years now, and I enjoy every minute of it. I retired when I was 53 years old but could have (and should have) retired at the age of 50. There has been a lot to learn in my retirement. I can describe my retirement in one word, options. There are unlimited options for me now that I didn’t have when I worked for the government. I can be or do anything I want now. Listen and learn about 5 things I wish I knew before retirement.

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5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Retirement Episode 9

When I was working, I attended a pre-retirement seminar a couple of years before I retired. We were allowed to request attendance five years before our minimum retirement date. At the end of the seminar, I wrote on my evaluation that it was great information. The only problem was we needed the information sooner. It was too late for a lot of people to do what was needed for a comfortable retirement. Here are five things to do for a comfortable retirement.

  1. Begin Planning Early.
  2. Develop Specialized Knowledge and Skills.
  3. Find a Good Financial Planner.
  4. Begin Saving Early.
  5. Pay off Your Mortgage.

Start Planning For Retirement Early

When I started my career, I was 23 years old. Two things that I never thought were going to happen back then were: I would retire; I would get old. When you are young you never think about getting old, but it is inevitable. It happens to all of us. Starting your career is when you should start planning for your retirement. Begin thinking about what you want to do and how you want to live when that day finally comes.

Beginning your plan early will allow you to adjust to everything life throws your way. Sometimes life throws you the good things, marriage, children, etc. Other times the bad things are death, injury, sickness, etc. Good things and bad will affect your retirement. By planning for the future early in your career, you can minimize the impact.

Things To Do Before Retirement

During my 30 year career, I developed certain skills and knowledge. After I retired, I learned that most of my skills and knowledge did not transfer to my new life. If you have generalized skills and knowledge, you will learn that every retiree has the same skillset. There is a lot of competition. Finding your niche will help you stand out against the competition. I suggest that you research, throughout your career, skills that are needed in the private sector. Take courses and study those skills to gain the knowledge that you need.

Find a good financial planner. Unless you are an expert on finances, you will need a financial planner. They can help you make the right decisions with your money. This step will allow you to keep as much money as you can before retirement. It is a big change to go from knowing a check comes every two weeks to a smaller check arriving once a month. You will need to supplement your retirement with other sources of income if you want to maintain your current lifestyle.

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Save

Begin saving as early as you can. The earlier you begin, the more money you will have in retirement. I always put money into my Thrift Savings Account, which is the government 401(k). If I had to do it over again, I would maximize my contributions. In retirement, you can use your savings to supplement your retirement. I withdraw a certain amount every month. Because the stock market has done so well, my savings have increased.

Saving early is probably the most important thing you can do. I recommend setting a goal for the amount of money you want to save before retirement. For me, the best thing was having it withdrawn from my paycheck and placed into my account. Out of sight, out of mind. Since I never saw the money, it was like it never existed. My savings account would grow every two weeks without me doing anything.

Pay Off The House

Pay off your mortgage. My mortgage is my largest expense, as it is for most people. Since I transferred a lot during my career, I was not able to pay off my last mortgage. I bought houses and sold houses; made and lost money. If I had stayed in one location, in the same house, I would not have to worry about a mortgage now. I think about what I could do in the places I could go if I did not have a mortgage. If at all possible, pay off your mortgage before you retire.

These are just 5 things I wish I knew before retirement. I am not an expert on retirement or financial planning. I hope you will begin thinking about retirement now that you are young and not wait until it is too late. Do your research, make a plan, and find a financial planner to help you. Always remember to start saving early.

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A Trip To Colorado

You can find inspiration anywhere. All you have to do is fire up your senses and be aware when inspiration presents itself. I’m going to tell you how I found inspiration on a trip to Colorado. We saw so much in this beautiful state that I will share it in several blogs.

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Our Trip To Colorado Day 1

On the first day, we were dropped off at the Fort Lauderdale airport at Zero Dark Thirty. The purpose of this trip was to attend the wedding of Sofia’s friend’s daughter. I just wanted to get away with my beautiful wife and relax. I wasn’t intending to look for inspiration on a trip to Colorado.

After an uneventful four-hour flight, we arrived in Denver at 10:30 AM. We found our way to the rental car shuttle bus. The friendly driver helped us load our luggage, and off we went to pick out our vehicle. As we left the rental lot, I noticed an extreme lack of mountains. I always pictured Denver as a mountainous city. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Where were the Mountains? Luckily I found them after just a short drive out of the city.

Red Rocks, Colorado

We drove to Red Rocks Amphitheater, about a 30 to 40-minute drive west of the city. It is an Amphitheater cut into the side of a hill. It is surrounded by large rock formations which are colored, you guessed it, bright red. As we entered the area where the food vendors are located, there was music playing. The acoustics are phenomenal.

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$6.60 to see one of the greatest bands of all time!

We toured the museum and saw pictures of a lot of the performers who had played there. Most of the great musicians have performed at Red Rocks Amphitheater. Even the Beatles played there on their first American tour in 1964. Attending a concert at Red Rocks Amphitheater was instantly put on my bucket list.

Golden, Colorado

Our next stop was the town of Golden, Colorado. It is a lovely little town to walk around and enjoy. The streets are full of bars, restaurants, and shops. Golden is the home of the Coors Beer Brewery. After stopping to eat, we walked to this photogenic bridge and creek at the edge of town. It is the perfect place to stop, take a few selfies, and realize how lucky I am to be married to Sofia.

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Golden

Evergreen, Colorado and Walkabout Ridge

We left Golden and drove to the town of Evergreen, where we were staying. Evergreen is a quaint small town that ranges from 7200 to 9000 feet in elevation. We found our B&B located on a mountain a few miles outside of town. I steered the car along a winding, long, gravel driveway. I was thinking that all Scooby-Doo cartoons and horror movies begin like this. At the end of the driveway was a beautiful two-story home with a sign in front that read Walkabout Ridge.

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Walkabout Ridge Bed & Breakfast

So Relaxing

We met the owners, Wilhelmina and Paul. They are lovely people, gave us a tour of the house, and showed us our room. Coffee was ready at 6 AM, and a continental breakfast was from 7 until 10 AM. We sat outside on the deck that evening, enjoying the view of the mountains.

While we were sitting on the deck, I particularly enjoyed soaking in the cool mountain air. What a relief from the stifling heat and humidity of South Florida this time of year. We both slept great with the windows open, enjoying the cool breezes.

Our room faced east, and in the morning, I awoke to the most beautiful pre-sunrise sky. The colorful sky gave me the inspiration I needed to get up and start our day. To be continued.

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First Light