Living Eulogy: Intro

For many years, I had noted that I hadn’t really lost anyone close to me. I had lost grandparents, but growing up, I never had an exceptional relationship with any of them. Besides, as a kid, it’s sort of a natural process. Anyway, I always found it hard to relate to losing someone because I had never experienced the emotions myself…

Unfortunately, that’s no longer the case. I recently lost my Uncle Fred. I wouldn’t say that Fred & I were “the best of friends”, but Fred did mean a lot to me. You see, my dad’s family has always been the foundation for family values for me. My dad’s father passed away when he was very young. My dad was left to tend to his mother and three sisters at an early age. This created an amazing bond within their family. As the sisters, and my dad, added spouses to the mix, it only seemed to build the family bond.

We lost my grandma while I was in college, and to be honest, I just didn’t realize the impact it had on my family. I’ve always been a bit slow to mature emotionally and haven’t been super strong in understanding others feelings until just recently; and I’ve still got a long way to go…

So, to my point:
When we lost my Uncle Fred last month, it hit me hard…real hard. I guess it was a combination of many things; as most grieving is. The first, and foremost, was the impact his loss would have on our family. The second, selfishly, was that I didn’t get the chance to really understand and love my Uncle Fred as I would have liked. Like most of us, life is just a series of moments that string together as time passes. I spend a good amount of time trying to “live to the fullest”, but there are so many amazing people in my life, I just can’t seem to find the time to express my gratitude and love to each of them.

As a result, I’ve decided to start a “Living Eulogy” series of blogs. The goal of these will be to express my understanding, appreciation and love to those who are important to me. The format will be in a traditional eulogy form, with a third person tone. However, I hope to give it enough personal anecdotes to make it perfect.

Now, some may say this is a personal subject that shouldn’t be shared with the world. Obviously, those some don’t know me. I’ve decided to go public with a good deal of my emotions for the benefit of others. I’m not exactly sure why, but others seem to understand / empathize with the inner workings on my heart and head; and I hope this to continue with that trend.

My overall goal for this exercise is two-fold; 1) To let those in my life know how important they are to me…while I still have the opportunity. 2) To encourage others to evaluate those who are important and tell them; before it’s too late…

As always, I can only hope you enjoy and find value in my ramblings…

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Positivity & State of Mind

My last blog talked about staying positive and keeping a positive outlook on life.  One of the comments asked me to explain how I did this in certain situations.  He asked me to help give examples of how you can turn something negative into something positive.  Well, you’re in luck…I’m having a rare bad day and I’ve decided to use my blog to help me think through my struggles.  So, here we go…

The details of my situation are private to me, but it doesn’t matter.  What matters is how I feel compared to most days.  I feel worthless.  I feel crappy.  To quote my journal entry from just a few minutes ago:

“I just feel like sh*t.  I just want it to be over.  It’s a bad situation.  It’s one that I created and I need to resolve.”

Ok, so as I continued my journal entry, my goal was to think through all the things flying around in my head and get them out on paper.  The first thing I did: write a “Best Case” / “Worst Case”.  I listed the absolute best scenario as well as the absolute worst case.  No matter what happens, it will be between these two extremes.  Now I know my boundaries.  From here, I can determine the severity of this situation that has me so concerned.

Here’s a quick digression.  I look at all concerns / issues / problems by the repercussions of the decisions / outcomes.  Here’s a simple way to solve this equation:

Will I remember this / will it affect my life in:

One Hour

One Day

One Week

One Month

One Year

Five Years

Ten Years

Fifty Years

Forever

This helps me understand touch base with reality.  Am I just having a bad day, or is this really a big deal?  For example, my driver’s license was once suspended.  During that time, I rated the severity of the suspension.  Although it was suspended for 90 days, I was in the midst of a job where I traveled extensively.  How would this affect my work?  I came clean with my partners and we derived a solution.  Now, its two years later and nobody remembers.

At that time, some were shocked by my lack of concern, but if you look at it on the grand scale…it’s really inconsequential.  I think, at the end of the day, that’s the key: perspective.  You have to keep it all in perspective.  If your boyfriend breaks up with you, that sucks…but, it’s not the end of the world.  If your husband of forty years cheats on you and walks out on you and your five kids with a mortgage payment and bills to pay…that’s a bit of a bigger challenge.

However, that brings me to the next segment of my “finding the silver lining” process; remembering what’s important in life.  As I write this, I have a song on repeat: Hello World by Lady Antebellum.  This song is my “remember what’s important” song.

“All the empty disappears.

I remember why I’m here.

Just surrender and believe.

I fall down on my knees…

Hello World…

Hello World…

Hello World.”

Now, by definition, I’m not a religious person.  However, I am a very spiritual person.  I have Faith and a defined belief structure.  I suppose that’s worth another digression…

Faith is a key component to surviving through the trials of life.  While most assign Faith to religion, I assign Faith to belief.  For a long time, I had Faith in my industry.  I believed that if I did right by my fellow racer, that my fellow racers would do right by me.  I have Faith that if I pay my taxes and I abide by the laws set forth by this country that this country will protect me as a citizen.

Bottom line, Faith is internal.  I don’t want this to turn into a religious conversation, so we’ll stop here.  However, having something to believe in is key.  It can be anything; kids, hobbies, loved ones.  Having Faith simply means that you have something to live for….something that matters.

So…back to the problem at hand.  Hello World reminds me of what’s important to me.  With respect to this current situation, I’ve already outlined my worst case scenario.  If this worst case scenario were to play out, this could have ramifications on my life for easily ten years.  Ten Years?!?!  Holy Crap!!!  That’s a long time.  This is a big deal!!!!

Or is it…?

“Hello World.  How you been.  Good to see you, old friend…”

Right now, I’m already better.  Here’s why:

The list of important things in my life goes like this:

1)     Love

2)     Family

3)     Respect

4)     Inner Peace

5)     Meaningful Relationships

Although my current dilemma may affect my life for ten years or more, I sit here today in love with a woman.  I’m more in love than I ever thought possible.  I have a better relationship with my family than I have ever had.  I feel like those around me respect me for who I am and the decisions I make.  More importantly, I have self respect.  I’ve changed the way I think.  I’ve changed the way I react.  I’ve changed the way I treat others.  At the end of the day, this is what matters.

Sure, my current situation could allow others to judge me…but, does that matter? Nope.  What matters?  Oh yeah, those five things above.  Does this current situation affect any of those five things?  Nope.

So, at the end of the day…how big of a deal is this?  Ah, it’s not that big of a deal.  Sure, it may change my life…but, it won’t change me.  I define me.  I define my happiness.  In ten minutes, the love of my life is going to walk through my front door.  At that moment in time, all the world will disappear.  I’d give everything I own for that kiss…

It’s alright.  I’m gonna be ok.

***Oh, you’re still here?!?!***

Sorry about that!?!?!  I guess a blog isn’t any good if it’s not sincere.  Ok, so I made myself feel better.  But, this isn’t about me…it’s about you.  So, maybe your problem isn’t so easy.  Maybe you let someone down that you love?  Maybe you hurt yourself or someone in a manner that seems unforgivable?  Well, I’m sorry, but not all problems are easy to solve…

However, here’s one last bit of advice:  Take Responsibility for Your Actions.

If you recall the statement from my journal, “It’s a bad situation.  It’s one that I created and I need to resolve.”  The first step to solving a problem is defining the problem.  To properly define the problem, you have to be honest.  Honest with yourself.  Honest with others.  Honest.  100% Honest.

Once your honest, you can go about making progress towards positivity.  It’s just like any personal strife, admission is the first step.  Cheating your way to a solution doesn’t help anybody; in fact, it compounds the problem.

My current problem is magnified because I’ve ignored it for years.  Now, it’s bigger.  I was a coward and afraid to deal with it.  Now, I’m ready to deal and I have to face that I created it…and only I can solve it.

The Conclusion

I feel like this is very scattered and not very well put together.  In a lot of ways, it’s not…it’s me, straight from the heart.  However, if you ignore most of my words, just take the root ideas and use them as you can to help find the positive in a situation.  You have to be objective about your thinking and think logically about your situation.  Once you’re being honest with yourself, use the following steps to finding a silver lining:

1)     Define the root problem

2)     Admit your role in the root problem

3)     Define the “Best Case” / “Worst Case” Scenario

4)     Determine the potential long-term affects

5)     Determine what’s important in your life

6)     Cross-Reference what’s important to your current problem

7)     Sit back and evaluate the severity

Now…if it’s still bad, you’ve got to start working on solutions.  This is a whole separate topic for a later date.  But, hopefully, this takes the emotional pain out of most situations…

I’m sorry I can’t solve your problems.  I only hope there’s at least something in this words that will help YOU solve your problems…

Remember, I’m always here for specific advice.  If I can help, I will…just ask.

Good Luck!

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Energy & Momentum

“When it rains, it pours.” I recently got this text message from a friend.  This friend went on to explain all of the bad things that were happening in his life.  It seems like a pretty common story.  When life gets tough, it just seems to get tougher.  Fortunately, I believe it works the other way too; just when you think life can’t get any better…it does.  That’s my topic for today’s journal entry: Energy & Momentum.

In basic physics terms, “An object in motion remains in motion unless acted upon by an external force”. Quite simply, once you’re moving in a direction…you keep moving in that direction until something changes your path.  Have you ever noticed how bad days seem to only get worse?  Some days, it just seems like you can’t do anything right?  Well, I think it’s absolutely the case.

While many blame outside influences when they’re having a rough time, I believe the root of your energy comes from within.  Ultimately, we determine our path in life.  Now, I’m sure the nay-sayers are already screaming… “You just have it easy; you should meet my boss” or “Yeah, right, try telling that to my mother-in-law!!” Well, for the most part, I believe it doesn’t matter.  Now, before you tell me I’m crazy and de-friend me on Facebook, hear me out…

There’s another famous quote that I live by; “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change; courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.” While it’s religious in nature, I believe it applies to all our problems.  In fact, I even use it in solving engineering problems.  It’s simple: look at the problem at hand, find the root of the problem and then determine your options.  It’s not likely that you can change your boss’s management style…and, there’s absolutely no way in the world you can change your mother-in-law!!!  So…what do we do; throw in the towel be miserable for the rest of your life?  If it’s up to me…absolutely not!

“Accept the things I can not change” is only the first part of the quote.  What about that second line; “courage to change the things I can”?  Ok, here comes the nay-sayer again: “But, Dave, you just said we’ll never change our mother-in-law!!!” Well, Mr. Nay-Sayer, you’re right, you can’t change others.  However, there is something you can change…YOU!

Ah-ha!  You see how I did that?!?  I started with you…and came back to you.  Guess what, it’s all about you!!!  You control your own destiny.  The key is to focus on being positive.  Just like negativity breeds negativity, positivity breeds positivity.  Positive or negative…you decide.

Let’s go back to Newton for a minute.  “An object in motion remains in motion, blah blah…”  Earlier, I used this to describe how bad gets worse.  I think we all agree that this is the case.  So, let’s find a way to stop this energy before it gets into motion.  We’ll use another physics term; Kinetic Energy.

Kinetic Energy is “the energy an object possesses due to its motion.”  In simple terms, it’s the energy from within.  Some call this momentum.  Ok, one more time from the nay-sayers, “But, Dave, that’s the same thing.  Momentum is Newton’s Law.” You’re right again, Mr. Nay-Sayer. (Man, you’re a smart guy!!!)

So, let’s go back to my engineering problem.  If it’s hard to stop something in motion, when is it easy to stop something?  When it’s not in motion!!!  Ta-Da.  My work here is done…see ya later.

Oh, no…wait.  This is the most important part.  If I’m starting to lose you…take break, grab a beer…and come back to me.  This is it, right here.  This…

It’s easy to stop something before it’s moving.  Hmmmm.  How does that apply to my life?  Guess what, it goes back to you!!!  Every morning, we wake up.  It’s a fresh new day.  We open our eyes and a series of events throughout the day will determine whether it’s a good day or bad day.

Uh, oh.  It’s Mr. Nay-Sayer again!!!  “HA!  Dave, you can’t predict what happens in life.  Even religious people believe you can’t control your own destiny!!!” Well, Mr. Nay-Sayer, while I hear what you’re saying…for the first time today, you’re wrong.  I just have to use semantics to prove it.  While you can’t control outside influences into your life, you CAN control how you react to said influences.  This is my final theory; and it’s one that is the key to the energy you have in your daily life.

I believe “Life is 10% circumstance and 90% reaction.”  While we can’t control others, we can control ourselves. (Sound familiar?!?)  Have you ever heard the phrase “kill ‘em with kindness”?  That’s a great place to start…

YOU decide whether it’s positive or negative.  YOU control your own destiny.  Pull in our momentum again for a minute.  Let’s pretend you are a skateboard on the top of a large hill.  On each side of this hill is a road.  One road leads to negative…but, the other leads to positive.  Both roads are identical.  You start the day sitting still, high atop the hill.  Look out over that sunrise, isn’t it beautiful??  Man, wouldn’t it be nice to have a great day??  Hmmm, ok…let’s do it.

Now, it’s up to you.  How do you get to the positive good side of the bottom of this hill??  You choose to roll that way.  It’s that easy.  Happiness is a fish that you can catch!!!  Here’s the key…start the day heading in the right direction.  Remember momentum, it’s a lot easier to push a crooked-faced-little-fat-guy on a skateboard down a hill than it is back up it…

If you are positive, others around you will be positive.  If they’re not, it doesn’t matter…this fat kid is already heading down the hill.  See you later, suckers!!!!

I know you think I’m crazy, but isn’t it worth a shot??  I’ll tell you, it works for me.  Don’t get me wrong, there are days I end up on the wrong side of the hill.  I’ve learned to live with them.  Shut my mouth, ride it out…and wait for another chance tomorrow.  If you still don’t believe me, send me an email.  I’ll share some stories with you that will inspire you.  Every day, I mount my extra-sturdy-fat-kid skateboard, point it in the direction of that positive side of the hill and I take off…and, every day, I’m amazed at the greatness this life gives me.

YOU can do the same.

 

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My Crooked View?

For most of my life, people have commented on my view of the world and life.  Some disapprove of it, others question it and some even marvel at it.  For several years now, I’ve wondered what it is about me that is so different.  Obviously I have a unique storied past, but that’s not truly life-altering…or is it?

Recently, I’ve had the honor of being a part of the “I Know Dave Dusick” phenomenon.  Started as a joke by a friend, it quickly evolved into something that is truly life-changing.  While everybody knows I’m different looking, not many knew why…until the IKDD Collaboration was created.  Not understanding the scope of our new venture, we decided to donate all the proceeds to Riley Hospital for Children rather than profiting from this unbelievable craze.  In doing so, a website was created and I told my story in a public forum for the first time.

You know, it’s funny, I guess I always just assumed that there was a ‘word on the street’ that sort-of lingered about and let people know why it was that I look different.  However, come to find out, there wasn’t.  There are literally thousands of people who know me but have no idea what made me different…

So…just like that, my story was out there.  Now, ten months later, there have been over a thousand visitors to the website and we’ve got over one-hundred t-shirts distributed.  Unfortunately the entire reason for creating the project, donating the ‘proceeds’ to Riley Hospital, is not exactly a successful venture.  However, the good news is that so many other great things have come from this project.  I am reminded on a daily basis how incredibly fortunate I am to live this life.  From the emails claiming that I am an inspiration to stories from other Riley Parents who relate and rejoice in knowing that hope is not lost, (and…here come the tears…) there is a great amount of positive energy making its way into my life.

Ok, enough of the mushy stuff…moving on to the point.

So, as I sit here today with an excess of eleven-hundred Facebook friends, a hundred-and-some people joyfully wearing a t-shirt with my name on it and a social life that resembles a B-Roll Hollywood actor…I still ask the same question:

Besides the obvious physical appearance, what makes me so different?

Over the last year, I’ve spent several afternoons and countless hours pondering this exact question.  Based upon the massive amounts of positive feedback from our IKDD efforts, I’ve decided to take these evaluations and make them public.  After all, I thank the IKDD supporters for changing life in a positive direction and I can only hope that a truly collaborative effort can help us find the true meaning to a successful life…

Now, the word “collaborative” insinuates that this is an effort that includes you.  Many of you have already written emails or sparked conversations regarding how my life story has changed yours.  At the risk of sounding arrogant, I’m asking you to continue to do this.  If you feel like my life has had an impact, positive or negative, let me know…

Furthermore, if you have a problem you just feel like you can’t solve…shoot it to me.  I have no idea why, but it seems that many find my ideas to be helpful in tough situations.  Don’t worry; nothing about your life will be made public without your approval and encouragement.  This is a positive effort and we’ll do everything we can to keep the results encouraging…

So yeah, get to work!  Visit www.IKnowDaveDusick.com, https://davedusick.wordpress.com and/or send a submission to crookedview@davedusick.com.  I am anxious to see this evolve and am excited to see where we may land…

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