Archive for October, 2012

The Fountain of Youth

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

I would not be the first to state that working out and exercising is the Fountain of Youth.  But if anyone is questioning this, I offer this picture.  The handsome 54 year old man in the center is my friend Bobby Box, and he took this picture with two other friends of similar age on a recent weekend.  So if you're thinking that there is an expiration date to staying healthy and in shape, look again!

 

I honestly believe that most people get into trouble when they stop moving.  They slow down, maybe get a little lazy, and start to make bad choices.  "I'll watch TV another hour rather than getting up and walking or exercising."   "I'll run through McDonald's rather than making a healthy meal at home."  It all starts to catch up with you and starts to make you old.

There can be a lot of pressure in certain segments of our culture to stay looking good.  Of course everyone has their own version of what "looking good" might be, but it's often not "40 lbs. overweight and can hardly make it up the stairs."  That's not sexy or impressive to most people.

So I hope you'll take a good look at my friend Bobby and the other two hunks in this picture and make some smart choices, starting right now….today!  You can do it, at any age, if you make the decision and then take step after step in the right direction.  What will you look like at 54?  It starts with making smart choices, starting now!

The Courage to Vote

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

I voted today!  It was exciting to cast my ballot because I feel so much is at stake in this election — in many different ways, but especially for gays and lesbians.

I've been doing some canvassing, going door to door and meeting many people I would never normally encounter.  Through this process I've learned a lot about them and myself.

I actually was embarrassed when I realized that I was very nervous visiting an impoverished neighborhood…when later everyone turned out to be very kind to me.  It helped me relax when I found that many people smiled when they opened the door and saw my Obama T-shirt, but I'd like to think my friendly smile and snappy haircut didn't hurt either.

What I've discovered is that for many people, just showing up to vote is a major undertaking and, in many ways, a true act of courage.  At one home the Hispanic man I spoke with was very excited about voting, but when I encouraged him to vote early, his face fell and his demeanor changed.  He told me, speaking softly, that he was not sure he could do that.  He explained that many times he and his family and friends were treated badly and questioned roughly about their eligibility to vote.  Of course, his point was that his skin color, accent, and heritage made him a target for bad treatment from certain of his fellow Americans who might be running polling stations.  I tried to reassure him that if he had his ID and was a registered voter that he would be okay, but he was visibly nervous and hesitant.

At an apartment complex last night, one woman opened her door and when she realized I was there about voting, seemed very excited to see me.  She asked me to please come into her house with her.  She needed some specific help about voting.  I saw that she was moving slowly and was handicapped.  As I entered her home I sat at the dining room table, noticing that there was not another stick of furniture to be seen anywhere.  She explained that she was new to Orlando and only in her home 1 month.

Her concern was that the last time she had voted (in another state) she had had a terrible experience.  The polling location had not been handicap accessible, so simply getting into the polling location had been a taxing experience.  Then she had gotten very confused about the ballot and was afraid she had voted incorrectly.  I was able to sit with her for a few minutes as she pulled out her absentee ballot, and I was able to show her how to read it, starting at the top of each column and moving down….even explaining to her about filling in the ovals.  Of course I left her to complete her ballot without me, but she was visibly relieved and appreciative to have this simple explanation.

I'm very happy to be helping in my small way, but the experience has taught me some important things.  I think that we often only think about the inconvenience of having to make it to the polling station on Election Day, but for many Americans it seems that much more is involved in the process.  And for many, it is truly an act of courage to show up and be counted. 

Yesterday Ended Last Night

Friday, October 19th, 2012

I recently got a positive message from that great metaphysician, songwriter Calvin Harris.  Driving in my car, I clicked on the Playlist "Lee's Party Tunes" and the dance hit "Let's Go!" started to play.  I had been trying to lighten my mood and I was pleased to hear the words "It's not about what you've done, it's about what you're doing."  Then he followed up with "It's all about where you're going, no matter where you've been."

I was pleased that a dance tune with a rapper involved was not talking about banging on the bathroom floor or hitting up bitches.  It was all about "Let's go, get your life on track, it's a new day and you have the opportunity for a new start, right now!"

It reminded me of one of my favorite quotes from the great teacher Raymond Charles Barker, "Yesterday ended last night."  Every morning is a new chance, a new opportunity to start fresh and get on track.  Many people carry a lot of baggage and are weighed down by bad choices in their past.  But Dr. Barker's point is that you can start, right now, this minute, to change your life and head in a new direction.  Let all that stuff go and look forward, not back.  It's a new day.  

What do you want your life to be today?  Make it happen!  Let's go!