Is Home Truly Where the Heart Is?

​It feels like forever since I’ve blogged and shared what has been on my mind. Life’s struggles force us to hide what we feel and be guarded with what we say. Blogging, although it is so public and out there, is the greatest way to share one’s feelings and decompress. 
Over the last year and a half, I’ve definitely had my fair share of trials and tribulations.  It has strongly affected me that I lost my dad, my hero, and one of my best friends. The plans that we had and the memories that we shared are just so difficult to let go of.
Going through everything and truly thinking out loud I seriously question, where’s home? For as long as I could remember, home was always my hometown of Lansing, Michigan. My city of birth, city where all my siblings were practically born, but also the city where we laid our parents to rest. 
Now I know the home is where the heart is and all that crap, but when you sit down and truly ask yourself; where is home? Is home either of the following:

  • Where you work?
  • Where you live?
  • Where your family resides?
  • Where your parents last visited before they perished?

I guess for me now, I feel homeless in a sense. The city where you once had parents living, is now a city where they’re both simply buried and have nice tombstones to visit and leave gifts and flowers on. Inside that city also lies the childhood home that I could visit when coming back into town, yet it’s no longer home and just a distant memory.
Going back to my original question to myself, what is home? Home is slowly evolving into something so much different than before. As I see it now, home is now any place where I can:

  • Share a laugh
  • It is not a physical location
  • Not a house
  • A state of mind 
  • Being calm and free

In conclusion, home will never be what it was before. I’ve come to accept that and will learn to evolve and accept the good with the bad and be a better person for having done so.

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Professionalism

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When you look at celebrities in today’s society,  you tend to embrace them for their style and huge amount of success.  Unless a celebrity has legal issues or goes into rehab, we as a society tend to almost put celebrities on a pedestal.  Celebrities can almost do no wrong, and will typically be seen as handling things in a professional way.

Over the past couple of weeks, Americans have been galvanized in the epic departure of Michael Strahan from Live with Kelly and Michael.  This national phenomenon focuses on something that happens everyday in the lives of working Americans. Everyday in our professional work world, we run across people who will switch jobs and leave for a variety of unexpected reasons. 

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Reflecting on the issue, I have a tough time seeing where Kelly is providing a great example of anyone on a professional level.  While Kelly is being praised for sticking up for herself and demanding respect from her employers, I completely disagree with everything that she’s being praised for.

Demanding a heads up – While having a heads up that things at work will change or your coworker is leaving would be great to know, this almost never happens. Transparency for such actions would be great in a perfect world, but things change all the time in the workplace.
Refusing to show up – Refusing to show up might work in Hollywood, but not in the real world. Sure, we most certainly have the right to be upset about things and not show up to work. However if you do this and proceed to miss work for a week, you’ll likely find yourself jumping on LinkedIn and looking for a new job.
Demanding an apology – At the end of the day, your employer and coworker owe you nothing. Things will change and people will come and go. However, no one person owes you anything. While you may be hurt by company changes and coworker leaving, nobody owes you an apology.

On the flip side of the conversation, Michael Strahan should be praised for his approach. He was a consummate professional throughout the entire saga that has played on with Kelly’s demand for respect on an off air.  Instead of following in Kelly’s route and putting his side of the story out there, Michael took the high road as we all should in the workplace. Michael continued to do things that we all must do when things get tough in the workplace. Although he’s leaving the show, he stayed committed, and put work issues aside.

In conclusion, no matter who we are or what industry we’re in, you’ve got to be a professional in all that you do. Although things might not always go your way, demanding answers and not showing up for work will likely end a whole lot worse in comparison to Kelly’s approach.

Connect or Disconnect??

Breaking Phone

Taking a small break from my Bucket List blog to reflect on my experience of being connected versus disconnected from social media, family, and just overall US news and media while away.  I have to say that it was truly a much different experience, but a good one that I wish I had done much sooner.

Being Connected

Thanks to my US carrier, T-Mobile, I had the ability to send and receive text messages, and unlimited 2G-3G data in practically every country in Western Europe.  Being a firm believer in technology and being connected regardless of borders and distance, being connected while on vacation was a must-have for me.   While being connected, I noticed a few pro’s, yet a few con’s at the same time:

Pro’s

  • FB access from anywhere – Regardless of which country I was in, I could see how family and friends were doing half a world away, and I could share unbelievable moments and experiences at the touch of a finger.
  • Communication – Outside of FB, my group and I were able to message via FB Messenger and text message to communicate while in different parts of the city of the country that we were in for the day.
  • Yelp and Google! – Instead of just taking food and places for face value, we were able to read reviews, view pictures, and get a little inside view into what exactly we were about to do or eat.

Con’s

Too Much Access – While being connected was amazing, I felt a little bit too connected.  I found myself sometimes oversharing experiences, versus taking them in and enjoying the experience without using technology.  Yes, I only have one Con, but I think it’s a big one.  Being too connected had me focused much more on technology versus really enjoying the experience.  Traveling is an experience best enjoyed by making the most of the moment, not just tweeting or posting about it.  I enjoyed sharing the moments when I could on FB while my phone was still running, but sharing too much became a bit tiresome.

Being Disconnected

In hindsight, I never planned on being disconnected.  I was disconnected from the sure fact that I would either end up with a dead battery, or no proper outlets to charge my phone, so it forced me to be disconnected.  Although I never planned on it, it was probably the best to have happened to me while on this trip:

Pro’s

  • A Unique Experience – I say it was unique because instead of looking for the next best moment to capture or share on FB, Instagram, and Twitter; I actually just took the experience in and had a chance to look around and enjoy my surroundings.  In today’s society, we’re so consumed with capturing every moment instead of just really living in the moment and then sharing the experiences after the fact.
  • Real Life Communication – With being disconnected from my friends and family via my smart phone, it forced me to keep the real life communication going with my group of family traveler’s that were on this epic journey with me. We had amazing conversations that I would’ve never had a chance to heard or experience if I was still dead set on being connected.
  • More Pictures! – After just accepting that I didn’t want to be connected anymore on the trip, I made the firm decision to put my phone in Airplane Mode, and actually have enough battery life to capture the moments and sights that I was looking at. Running into a battery issue forced me to prioritize what was important to me.  Ultimately, capturing moments with my family was far more important than keeping my data on and seeing what new accomplishment or where my friends just ate at back home.

Con’s

  • Lack of Separation – With being disconnected, my group and I could still split up to view the sights and sounds of the city and country, but we could only do so within reason. We weren’t exactly able to split up across Paris, but we could do so within reason.  If you’re connected, you can afford to relay train line or bus information, and then send your geolocation over to your travel buddies and be able to explore more parts of the city.
  • No Pictures – Outside of being completely disconnected, if my battery was dead, I wasn’t able to capture any videos or pictures. While my family still had the traditional camera’s to assist in this department, there were just some moments that I really wanted to capture on my own but couldn’t cause my battery was dead.

In conclusion, I certainly didn’t plan on being disconnected.  Overall, it was a very humbling experience because it forced me and the group to do things that were simple, effective, and very much outside the social normal of today’s social media driven society.  It was great to be disconnected and truly was an experience that humbled me on my long journey.