What do you want to remember

As I’m jolted awake by another swerve of the car avoiding some hazard on the road, I open my eyes. The sun is directly shining down on me and a beautiful pasture out my window.

I flip over in the back seat of my compact car and ask “what state are we in now”.

“Virginia……I think Hahahaha” is the reply.

Driving 15 hours for two nights of bar hopping and shenanigans may seem ludacris to some, but to some buddies and myself….why not?

You’ve only got one life, and everyday we are a little closer to dying, and when you sit back and look at your life, taking your last breathe…..

What do you want to remember?

-Lil Kevy

Age vs. Experience

“Yeah, I dabble in blogging.”

“Oh cool, what is your blog about?”

“General Shenanigans, and life lessons and what not.”

“How old are you? How many life lessons have you dealt with kid?”

I have had this conversation with multiple people on multiple occasions about how someone so young can speak intelligently on life lessons and lessons learned.

What it comes down to, is not judging a book by its cover….

At the ripe age of 23, I’ve bought a house, started two successful careers, graduated college, dabbled in the graduate school world, been to three continents, played almost every sport, started a small business, experienced love and experienced loss just to name a few.

Many societies value the elderly, and I do not disagree with this. The elderly must be doing something right to be able to stick around that long. Our grandparents and parents, aunts and uncles have all experienced more than us, because they have been around a lot longer. However, there is a huge difference between going through the motions of life, as opposed to experiencing life, drawing from those experiences, and learning something from it.

A 20-year-old could have handled the same things as a 40-year-old. Some children have had to step up in the absence of a parent and be the parent. Some children have to step up and work, or take care of their parents. Someone could have grown up in shelters their entire life, and when they become an adult, they get knocked because of their aggressive nature.

The truth is, you never really know someone until you talk to them and understand their story.

When you understand someone’s past, and understand their present, then you can judge their experience.

I had a conversation not too long ago with a woman who was a few years older than me. While chatting about life, she was shocked to find out I was 23 based on our interaction (don’t worry, the bald head is a choice….for now haha). What she said to me stuck out “Someone that young must have had a large amount of experience in their life”.

Age is a metric, a measurement of time, a gauge of how long we have lived and breathed and existed on earth.

But experience, experience is the contact of events; to experience something is to understand.

To experience something is not to just go through the motions, but to understand what is occurring.

And from there, you take your experiences, and from there, you draw life lessons.

The last story I will leave you with, is this: As a person who has sold their soul and worked at a job they hated, but the money was good, I had shared this lesson with a group in a passing conversation. A few months went by and out of the blue, one of the females in the group texts me and says…

“I was just stuck between choosing two jobs, and I picked the one where I am going to make less, but I think I will be a lot happier, so thank you” Out of the blue, on a sunny Wednesday, I got that message, from someone who I hadn’t talked to in months, and yet still made an impact on.

At the end of the day, don’t just go through the motions. Live your life and learn some lessons, so maybe one day you can pass it on and help someone out too.

To those who matter, they already understand, and those that don’t…don’t matter

To the ones who matter, they shall understand

I make inappropriate jokes, both in content and in timing. I have a really loud laugh. I like to send 7 text messages instead of 1. I call people at random times for random reasons. I’m loud. I’m somewhat of a spaz. Many a time, I don’t care what other people think. I’m forgetful, and I don’t always pay attention. I am messy. I complain about things I can change. I can be impulsive. I catastrophize.

I am unapologetically me.

We spend so much of our lives looking at our faults and trying to fix them. Worrying about how clean our house is when company is over when they don’t care. Worrying about our organization, or embarrassing ourselves or others. But to the people that matter to you and that you matter to them.

They don’t care if your dirty socks are on the floor when they come to visit.

They don’t care that you forget things, they go out of their way to remind you.

They don’t care that you laugh too loud, because they are the ones laughing with you.

There’s an old quote, something along the lines of we wear three faces.

1. The one we show the world

2. The one we show our close friends and family

3. And our true selves, the face we wear that only we as an individual know

I’d argue that number 1 is a perception. The face we show the world is who we are, but it’s more of a perception that’s other think of you. By how you dress, how you speak, how you act, and so on.

But that face isn’t yours, that’s the face that others see, and make their opinions off of.

The second and third faces are a lot more intertwined. We are ourselves, behind closed doors and in front of others.

Yes there are small things that we know only about ourselves that others don’t, but those who are close to you, understand your face.

And they like your face. They choose to be around you through your faults and talents.

No one in this world is perfect, but to own who you are, and to be self aware, is a step in the right direction.

To those that matter in my life, they know my faults, and they accept them and welcome them, and don’t waste your time with those that don’t. Those that see the face they make opinions on, not knowing who you really are.

You shouldn’t have to explain yourself to anyone, as those who matter, are the ones who can understand with no words.

I am unapologetically me.

-Lil Kevy

A pep talk at 20,000 feet

A pep talk at 10,000 feet

As I sat down on the airplane, I immediately groaned seeing as I was stuck in a middle seat; no arm room, no leg room, and now I had to prepare for the awkward elbow/armrest battle on two fronts.

After a few minutes of sitting there settling in, a petite, middle-aged, Indian woman came down the aisle and said she was sitting next to me. I got up, let her into the window seat and sat back down reading my book, “Capitol Punishment “ by Jack Arahamoiff.

As I continued to read, I noticed the woman was staring. I wasn’t sure if it was at my book or at the tattoo on my arm.

She then says “What is your book about?” I explain to her about lobbyist and politics and she seems intrigued.

“Ah, when I saw the title I thought it was going to be about law; my husband is a lawyer”.

We then spent the next hour and half talking like two old friends who hadn’t seen each other in a lifetime.

We talked about our work; she was a general surgeon who frequently travelled for her job, she was a Harvard graduate, a pilot, and had even summited Mt. Kilimanjaro at the age of 40.

We talked about how medicine and the military are similar in that work can take over your life; it is hard to shut off work so it is important to compartmentalize. I explained how I had gone from running 24 hour operations to sitting at home with my dad watching TV in a 24 hour time period.

She completely understood and had a similar story of telling a patient’s family that there was nothing more she could do and that the patient would not survive and then 2 hours later she went home to make dinner for her family and spent hours discussing her son’s homework with him.

We talked about my job in risk management and the feelings that doctors go through, as during this process, we are both on the same team. She spoke of her being sued in a medical malpractice case, and how the stress and process can be draining on even the most resilient of people.

Resiliency transitioned into talking about climbing and she spoke about how her husband had climbed Mount Everest. We talked of the Masai tribe, and the beauty of Tanzania, a place we had both travelled.

I burst out laughing as she told me the horror story of her leaving her headlamp on the bottom of her poorly packed ruck-sack, and when the darkness of the Tanzanian night came in, she was cursing up a storm trying to find it while scaring the local guides with her tirade.

As she rose to each camp going towards the summit, she was the last one into the camp each day. She went up with a group of 13 that included a triathlete, among others.

But when the time came to reach the summit, she was one of only two people in her group to actually make it to the top.

With all this going on I asked her about her family, and she spoke of how it is difficult to balance, but how the secret to success is meeting the right partner. She had met her husband at 17, and they both grew together, continually pushing each other to success between his law degree and her attending year after year of medical school.

As we began our descent, we discussed careers; I told her of my current career path, bouncing between risk management and the military, and how I wasn’t sure where I would end up. One day a lawyer, the next I have ambitions of being a lobbyist, to then scouring the internet looking for lobster boats to start my own company; I am all over the place. We talked in depth on high reliability organizations and human engineering.

We rambled on about seeing the big picture and appreciating the little things in life. The appreciation lesson I had learned at 17 through the military and she at 40 while climbing. She then told me of taking her son back home to India to visit relatives, and how they had no running water or bathrooms. When they returned from their trip and the boy was on a play date, they began to eat vanilla ice cream. As her son’s friend began to eat, he quickly pushed the bowl away, and exclaimed “I don’t like vanilla.”

Her son then said “you would if you were in India, as a lot of people don’t have refrigerators and don’t get to eat ice cream at all.”

His mother was shocked and proud, as her young son, who at the age of seven, had just learned another great life lesson.

What she said next is continuing to stick with me “you’re too smart to waste your life being a lobsterman (no offense to any lobsterman out there), but you could go into law or medicine, find something but don’t waste your talent.”

And I blushed and she smiled as my jaw dropped.

Here I am, a 23-year-old kid wearing a “just another Sexy Bald Guy” t-shirt, covered in tattoos and being told by a woman, who has done more in the last 5 years than most have done in their lifetime, that I was intelligent, that I had passion, and that I was destined for greatness.

A woman who has saved and lost countless lives, who has flown airlance and literally climbed mountains…. and she believed in me.

She very well could have sat down and slept the whole flight, as she had flown in at 1 AM earlier in the morning and was flying back out at 10.

She could have shrugged me off as a kid, or a goofball.

She could have looked out the window, or read her book that she was very passionate about.

But no, she decided to speak with me and engage in some of the most intelligent and goofy conversation I have had in a long time.

We touched down on the tarmac and everyone quickly rushed to grab their bags. She turned to me and we said our goodbyes and she wished me luck on my future endeavors as I did the same for her.

And just like that, we both departed the aircraft, went our separate ways and slowly assimilated back into the masses of people rushing around the airport.

Never judge a book by its cover, because if you don’t, you might just Segway into some life advice, and a few laughs along the way

-Lil Kevy

Rocking Chair Stories

The first motorcycle I bought, was when I was 19, and I still lived at home with my parents.  They were very against it, and since I was under their roof, it was a tough sell.

However, I did what any rational person would do and I gave them a powerpoint presentation on the benefits of me owning a motorcycle.  I compared gas mileage to my vehicle, how my girlfriend at the time (who they were quite fond of) would approve, and my final reason, was for the rocking chair stories.

When I look at life, or decisions to be made, I have a few criteria.  Is it feasible, realistic, affordable and logical are usually the criteria everyone thinks of.

However there is one criteria that is often overlooked….

The fun it will bring you.

The hours of enjoyment.

The memories to be made.

We spend so much time thinking about what makes the most sense and not taking risks, that we sometimes for get to live.  The concept of “rocking chair stories” is when I am sitting on my porch at 80 years old, all the grand kids gathered ’round, does grandpa tell a story about how at 19 he had 1000 dollars saved in the bank?

Or does grandpa speak of the motorcycle he bought, the hours he spent tinkering on it, the freedom of a windy road and being gone with the wind.

As long as you’re not living beyond your means, it seems like a no-brainer to me.

And ill never forget the look on their faces, when that sweet 2003 Buell Blast blessed our garage. #powerpointsforthewin

Bottom Line Up Front: When you make decisions, and look back at your life, make sure you lived it.

-Lil Kevy out

Beauty is all around us

In this world of fucked up people

And fucked up times

Sometimes it takes so much

Just to free our minds

It’s the little things in life

That make up happiness

And this is all in my head

And time to get it off my chest

The little things make you happy

They warm your heart and soul

Living in the moment

Now isn’t that the goal

I sit here alone

But that’s really okay

Because you don’t need people

To be happy everyday

What is this happiness

That runs through your veins

For everyone one it is different

Whether it’s stagnant or change

Some need grand gestures

Just to make themselves feel

While others minor things

Ensure they know it’s real

For me to see the beauty

In the little things in life

I turn to look outside

And I see it’s all all right

I see a lake that lays there

So calm and serene

I see a successful mother

To her family she is queen

I see an angry man

Whose heart would never be tamed

Wide eyed and in love

For he has found his dame

I see a young soldier

Held up by family

Who triumphs through all

Which the eye can clearly see

I see a young woman

Fighting off the booze

Who little steps each day

Shows she will not lose

Everyone has their demons

Their nuances in life

However we can prosper

If the choice we make is right

What plagues at night

People not self-aware

Whether they choose not to

Or they simply do not care

For when you know your demons

And what makes you tick

The solutions in life

Will just simply click

Look around you

At the end of the day

And there’s a small chance

You’ll understand what I say

Finding beauty in the small things

It can make you feel

That if you look around us

The beauty in life is real

3 reasons to surround yourself with success

3 reasons to surround yourself with success

What does the opening line of “The Departed” and my right arm have in common?  Thought you would never ask!  As you clean your life up and put something in your mouth other than Guinness and Jame-o, take a minute to reflect on this quote.

“I don’t want to be a product of my environment, I want my environment to be a product of me”

Reflect some more, and then some more.

One of the reasons I love this quote, is the more and more  I read it, the more I realize the different areas of impact it has, and to the extent it can reach.

Surround yourself with success.  In my mind, there is no greater way to succeed.  If you create your culture, your ethos, your environment as an environment of success, then the ability to be successful increases exponentially.  This is for multiple reasons:

1.  You create that environment around you, that climate, that aura, and that allows your mind to be proactive.  So much of our lives are spent in a reactive climate.  Something bad happens, and we complain and gripe and then set out and find a solution.  However, when you are being the conductor in charge of dictating your own environment, it helps to eliminate these problems.  You become more proactive as opposed to reactive.

2.  You are a snowflake.  Not in the sense of weak, but in the sense of no two snowflakes are exactly the same.  So there is no one size fits all solution to success.  You need figure out what works for you, and your solutions and then implement those successful strategies.

3.  Many of us admire and aspire to be like certain people, whether it be money moguls, celebrities, humanitarians, whomever.  So why not surround yourself with other goal-oriented and striving for success folks.  When your group of friends, which for many of us is a decent sized part of our “environment”, just wants to sit around and do nothing, you are going to want to sit around and do nothing, and even if you do not want to you probably will.  However, when you find others who are striving to success, who are self-aware and constantly thinking and working, you create that environment with them.  You have a support system, you have people to bounce ideas off, people who want to see you succeed.  

In this chaotic mish-mash of life, there are only so many things we can control, however, when you dictate your environment through personalized goals and strategies, become more proactive, and surround yourself with other successful people…

You Will Succeed.

​It’s beginning to look alot like F@$%-this

Finding beauty in everything
As I rock out to “Beer Money” by Kip Moore, I go to put my window down in my car and get smacked in the face with cold, icy, miserable snow.  

I hate the snow.

I hate the snow.

I HATE THE SNOW!

In the winter, its cold and it snows.  When dealing with the cold, it is doable.  You layer up, you wear gloves, mittens, and that scarf that great aunt Dorothy knitted for you 10 years ago that you find in the bottom of your closest.  

But the snow….. it’s awful.  It covers your car, it covers your driveway, and it covers the road.  This makes it nearly impossible to get anywhere in a reasonable amount of time.  

It cancels schools, and work (or if you are unlucky like me you have to work extra), so even your day off can only be so productive.  

However, snow is beautiful.  A fresh coat of snow glimmers brighter then a summer night.  It covers the trees and makes it appear like your everyday surroundings seem like a foreign world.  

For those of us who deal with the snow year after year, we take it for granted.  We curse the traffic delays and endless shovelling, when there are people who have never seen it before, or love it.

The point is: Just because you hate something, or have a tedious task you don’t like, find the good in it, especially if it is a beautiful view in between dodging the impending doom from a snow plow.

-Lil Kevy out

A house of lopsided tables

A house of lop-sided tables

I like to build, to tinker, to create, to fabricate etc.  To have a pile of wood or pieces and to make something of beauty or function.

I like to build.

Building does not like me….

Whether its building a sketchy stand for a craigslist jet ski that barely rolls, putting 10x the recommended amount of spackle, or even building a lopsided table, building does not like me.

However, who cares!

I like to build, it is something that brings me peace.  It is a challenge, to figure out will work and what will not, how things work mechanically.  I am fascinated by movement, structures, processes.

I have built (more like attempted to build) many things, from a scrap wood projects to shelving units to bars.

The secret to this, is to do what you love, and do what makes you happy.  If you want to build a table, or a chair, then go out and do it!  Find some plans online or do my personal favorite “wing it”  (Warning, be prepared for things to collapse and break if you wing it)

But also know your limitations.  Be smart enough to know what you are capable of and what you could use help on.  Im confident I could a night stand tomorrow, however, building a load bearing wall, I may require some adult supervision (See “Pretending to be an adult” post).

At the end of the day, I like to build things, no matter how flawed they come out.  It is an expression of me, of hard work, of being self sufficient.  It is a task you see all the way through, and roll through the trials and tribulations of it.

So go out and build something!

And to my future wife and kids, I am sorry in advance, I know you will be supportive, but be prepared to have a house full of lopsided tables.