That Would Be Enough

“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.” ~ Plato

Walk into my home at any moment throughout the day and there is a 98.7% chance there will be music playing somewhere in the house. Depending on the day, and on the listener, it could be anything from classical to hip-hop. My selections are probably the most eclectic. My wife prefers songs that she already knows but has branched out through the years. Our youngest likes anything with a beat and once the beat drops, watch him move. Our oldest prefers pop music but since we watched the musical, “Hamilton,” a couple of months ago he listens to at least a portion of the soundtrack each and every day. We now know all the words, sing lines of specific characters, and each of us has our favorite songs.

A while back I posed the question on an IG story asking what others favorite songs were from the show. It was pretty unanimous that “You’ll Be Back,” (King George’s first appearance) was a hit. At the time any song with Daveed Diggs (Lafayette & Jefferson) were my favorites, specifically “Guns & Ships” and the Cabinet Battles, and my favorite line from the entire show is still, “You are the worst, Burr,” from “The Story of Tonight (Reprise).” But the more we listen to the soundtrack the more I connect with “That Would Be Enough,” Eliza’s plea to Hamilton to let her be a part of his life and enjoy the life they are building together. And isn’t that what makes a great song, the connection that the listener has with the words, the story that is being told.

It may be a slow, less exciting part of the play but I connect with this song because each line brings out emotions and feelings that I have felt in my relationship with my wife over the past 14+ years. Each line reminds me of a time where we struggled, where we had doubts, where we were there for one another. Each line is our relationship, our life together. So, as we just celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary this past weekend, I’d like to explain this connection.

We’ll start here,

Hamilton: Will you relish being a poor man’s wife, unable to provide for your life?

Eliza: I relish being your wife.

As you may know, I’m a stay at home dad. What you may not know is that I have struggled with that, and with the stigma that our society has placed on certain gender roles. Don’t get me wrong, I love being able to be here for my children, being a part of their every day, but too many times in the past three years I have seen the looks that others give when they ask what I do for a living. Our society still thinks it’s taboo for the man to “take care of the house” and the woman to “bring home the bacon.” MMMMM, bacon…sorry, back to my point. I’ve always been insecure about the fact that I am never going to be able to provide the finer things for my wife. Insecure that the world doesn’t see me as fitting the mold of “man of the house/provider.” But one thing my wife has never done is express any feeling that I’m not doing what is best for our family. Day in and day out she reminds me that the experiences that we have together as a family would not have been possible if I had been out chasing that dollar. And for that I am grateful.

Eliza: Look around, look around. Look at where you are, look at where you started. The fact that you’re alive is a miracle. Just stay alive, that would be enough. And if this child shares a fraction of your smile, or fragment of your mind, look out world, that would be enough. I don’t pretend to know the challenges you’re facing, the worlds you keep erasing and creating in your mind. But I’m not afraid, I know who I married. So long as you come home at the end of the day, that would be enough.

I’ve only shared with a few people the struggles that I have faced with depression, mainly because I have always thought, “What do I have to be depressed about? Everything has been given to me throughout my life.” But the fact of the matter is, I always felt like I was letting someone else down. With every decision I made in my life I felt like it was what everyone else thought I should do, or wanted me to do, so I never made a decision for myself, scared to let others down, be seen as a failure in their eyes. Then I met my wife and for the first time in my life I felt like there wasn’t anything expected of me other than to be there for her. The life that I imagined others thought I should live, the ideas that I built in my own mind were no longer an expectation. Then my boys came along and my life had true meaning, I found my purpose. The depression still comes and goes but because of my wife and my boys I have that need to carry on. I finally found my worth.

Eliza: We don’t need a legacy. We don’t need money. If I could grant you peace of mind, if you could let me inside your heart. Oh, let me be a part of the narrative in the story they will write someday, let this moment be the first chapter where you decide to stay. And I could be enough, and we could be enough, that would be enough.

In the beginning of our relationship things were rocky. I was trying to get over a break-up with the person who I thought I would marry, who I had been with since I was 16. Because of feelings I still had for my ex I didn’t fully let my wife in, she didn’t get my full heart. She gave me time and space, and even though it hurt, she let me figure things out on my own. She wanted to be a part of my life but wanted me to ultimately be happy, even if it was not with her. She never asked for anything more than to be a part of my story. That was the first chapter where I decided to stay. I decided to stay because of the trust, the forgiveness, the love she gave me even through the worst. We are never going to be financially rich. We are never going to keep up with the Joneses. But I hope that we will leave a legacy. I hope that others see the deep love we share for each other, for our boys, for our community. I hope we will be remembered. I hope we will do good, and we will be good.

That would be enough.

How Do You Support Another While You Yourself Are Crumbling?

Back in April I was going to share some posts for National Poetry Month, but as you can see, I failed. As the world was turned upside down as we dealt with a pandemic, stay-at-home orders should have made it easy for me to find the time to write as much as I was compelled to. What I didn’t take into account was that the issues behind my own poetry were heavy, and sometimes dark. I wasn’t ready to unpack those emotions. I wasn’t ready to let anyone see that part of me. Even as I sit here now I know that I will never be ready. Some things are always going to hurt. Some things are better just left in the past. But I’m still going to share them hoping that by sharing them it will help parts of me heal.

So here it goes…

Picture a man pushing a shopping cart around the back aisles of Costco. Since his son is at preschool he’s taking his time picking up the things that he needs, and the things he doesn’t because you know, it’s Costco! His wife is out of town of town on yet another work trip. Washington, D.C., Alabama, New Mexico, it’s hard to keep track.

As he turns down the detergent aisle he gets a message from said wife asking if he has a minute to talk. Since he is just mindlessly wandering the chasms of Costco, of course he has time. While they talk she tells him that she was late so she took a pregnancy test just to make sure, and to her surprise, it came back positive.

The man is speechless. As tears begin to well up in his eyes he tells her that even though they weren’t trying, he is so happy. They say their goodbyes, and as he stands there in the back aisles of Costco, the emotions wash over him like a river. He can’t hold back the tears of happiness any longer, and as other shoppers pass by him, he openly weeps in front of the bulk paper products.

That man was me. I cried in Costco. But little did I know that in the coming weeks I would cry tears not of happiness, but those of loss and sorrow. After a doctor appointment where the heartbeat was slow and faint, we waited anxiously for another week to find out that instead of planning for a life with two children I would have to watch my wife go through the heartache and pain of a miscarriage.

A part of me died that day. A part that I will never get back. An emptiness that, even with birth of our second son two years later, will never be filled. Days and weeks went by where I simply went through the motions. When I was alone I couldn’t help but break down. I was lost. I became a shadow of myself. I became distant. And what I didn’t realize at the time was that I had completely abandoned the one person who needed me and my support the most.

Distant looks and furtive glances
Days go by and so do chances
To lift you up and hold you close
You break down but no one knows
As you go on completely shattered
I search for something that matters
You feel so alone even by my side
No one knows a part of us has died
The light has gone out in your eyes
No warm welcomes, only hollow goodbyes
You cry out, needing my shoulder
But as I die inside I grow colder
And as we lose our little creation
You need your rock, your foundation
But I can’t be what it is you need
Because I can’t even be there for me

To this day, one of the things that hurts the most is knowing that as my wife went through the mental, physical, and emotional anguish of the miscarriage, even though I was physically there, I wasn’t truly there for her. I didn’t know how to support her as I myself crumbled.

It has taken a long time to forgive myself for drowning in my own grief and not recognizing that of my wife’s. Instead of being there to help keep a light burning, I retreated into the darkness, leaving her alone to find her way.
We never got to meet that combination of us, and to this day we both suffer in our own ways. We are blessed to have the family and life we have built together. We are blessed that even through that dark times we eventually found our light together. But still, there is that emptiness inside each of us that can never be filled. There will always be that scar on our heart reminding us of what we lost.
Ten little fingers,
Ten little toes.
Your daddy’s smile,
Your momma’s nose.
The heart of a lion.
As cunning as a fox.
Eyes as blue as the sea.
With wavy blonde locks.
Full of compassion,
Full of wonder.
As bright as lightning,
As loud as thunder.
You could have been
All of this and more.
Have traveled the world,
Seen every distant shore.
But we never held you,
Never saw you grow.
And our hearts still break
More than anyone knows.

I wish in those hard times I would have been better for my wife, and for myself. But because of those hard times I will continue to strive to Be Good and Do Good.

10 Things I Learned From You

“You can’t just give up on someone because the situation’s not ideal. Great relationships aren’t great because they have no problems. They’re great because both people care enough about the other person to find a way to make it work.”

Wow, 10 years goes by quickly! So much changes in 10 years, yet so much stays the same. Ten years ago, September 26, 2009, my wife, Christine, and I stood in front of our family and friends to dedicate our lives and our love to one another. As I stood at that alter I knew I probably couldn’t do better than her, and I figured that I was probably just another part of her charity work. Obviously, I’m joking. I’m one hell of a catch!

But seriously, from the beginning of our relationship she has saved me and stood by me countless times. She inspires me to expand my spectrum of thinking, to be a better person – something I fail at more often than not, yet she’s still here. She’s always been there, through all the highs and lows, teaching me what it takes to be a better person.

So, in honor of our 10th wedding anniversary, and since people used to say she looked like Julia Stiles (10 Things I Hate About You), here are 10 lessons I have learned from my wife over the years.

  1. Accepting another’s beliefs doesn’t compromise your own. We are all different but that doesn’t mean we can’t coexist. We can accept others without losing our own identity. 
  2. Unless you invest in yourself no one else will. If you believe in yourself, others will follow. Christine exudes confidence even when she doubts herself. I believe in her because she makes everyone believe she can move mountains.
  3. Emotions don’t make you weak, they build strength through understanding and compassion. Vulnerability is the basis of growth. Showing your emotions shows your vulnerability. It shows that you are human.
  4. Your past doesn’t define you, the lessons you learn from it do. We all make mistakes. We all have a flawed history. But that doesn’t mean that those mistakes will create a flawed future. Learning from those mistakes will make you better, wiser, and more prepared.
  5. Comfort zones are for the complacent. We are only given this one life so make it an adventure. By stepping out of your comfort zone you learn what you are made of, what truly gives you joy.
  6. A soft tone is the key to parenting. This may be the most important and the one I struggle with the most. When I lose my temper with my son, not only does it make him feel worse, it makes me feel like $#!+ as well. I’m still learning and with her help the soft tone will become standard.
  7. There’s nothing that a fire, a glass of whiskey, and a conversation can’t fix. Tell me a time you didn’t feel better around a campfire. It promotes conversation. It promotes understanding. There’s something to that Kumbaya mumbo-jumbo.
  8. Run toward, not away. It doesn’t matter if it’s Halloween, or we’re on Pleasure Island, we can’t run away from our problems. They will be there until we run toward them to solve them and move on.
  9. It’s never too late. Whether it’s finding happiness, chasing your dreams, or going to Blue Karaoke, it’s never too late in life, or in the night, to live your best life.
  10. Just breathe. Even if you can’t because you just broke your ribs, remember to relax and “just breathe.” Everything will be ok.

Thank you for the last 10 years. Thank you for all the lessons. Here’s to the years to come, and remember to Save The Last Dance.

And as you always do,

Be Good. Do Good.

I Hear You, I’m With You

“You’re not a victim for sharing your story. You are a survivor setting the world on fire with your truth. And you never know who needs your light, your warmth, and raging courage.” ~ Alex Elle

Cue the music. Dim the lights. Set free the lions.

No we have not come to the Big Top. No we are not watching the greatest show on Earth. This is not the circus, although at times it seems that is exactly what we are watching. No, we are here to see the viscous, carnivorous, unrelenting beasts that are the men who hold power. We sit and watch the persecution of not the predator who roars to intimidate others, but the already wounded prey who must recount the attack. And as the prey opens up to show their scars, the lions sitting high on their rocks of power attack the prey once again saying the original attack never happened, or that the prey wanted the attack to happen and is now the one attacking their fellow innocent lion.

Does this sound familiar? It is the scene that plays out over and over again. It is the scene that has played out in the most important Supreme Court Justice appointment we have seen in decades. And whether you are Conservative or Liberal, Republican or Democrat, the scene we saw yesterday should have left you with a look on your face much like that of the women in the room as Judge Kavanaugh recounted, or failed to, the happenings of his early life. Just by taking the eye test, everyone should get out their red marker and place a big F at the top of the page.

I don’t want to break down the whole hearing but let’s just take a look at a few things that should raise red flags across the board:

  1. “Devil’s Triangle” and “Boofing” – Let’s face it, the guy knowingly and clearly lied about the meaning of these two terms which were referenced on his 36-year-old calendars (more on these in a moment). It’s like he forgot that we are in an age where in seconds you can go to the internet to look up whatever your heart desires, like the definition of certain slang. If you aren’t offended by his assumption that we are all idiots then you are just that, an idiot.
  2. The Calendars – He kept calendars which are as old as I am! We have heard it over and over again, sexual predators like to keep something to remind them of their “conquests.” Why would anyone keep 36-year-old calendars unless they want to have record and reminders of their shady experiences? It’s not like he kept it in a journal. These are calendars! Everyone should be saying, C’mon Man!
  3. The Yelling – The most obvious defense mechanism of a liar is to get loud and bang your fists to distract and intimidate the accuser. Add to that the playing themselves off as the victim, and it turns into a game of “smoke and mirrors” where it is easy to lose sight in what you believe. And that is all a liar needs, a sliver of doubt in what the true facts are. A liar can take that sliver of doubt and insert their own “facts” to confuse and distract, and that is just what we saw.

We could go on and on about this but that is not what I wanted this to be about. I just wanted to bring it to light to show that we are in a fucked up world where predators can be seen as victims, and victims can be seen as vengeful and vindictive. A world where some men because of their status, position, or power feel they have a right to make any woman their next conquest. A world where women have to be ultra-aware of every single choice they make from their actions, to the way they dress, to the way they carry themselves just to give them a better chance of keeping themselves safe and not being attacked physically, verbally, mentally, or emotionally.

It’s scary to think about having to raise a young girl in this environment. Giving her all the skills, precautions, and confidence to not be afraid to tell a man no. Helping her see that her self-worth is not determined by the “love” or opinion of a man. Assisting her in finding her own true self so that she not only carries herself in a manner she can be proud of but also in being an advocate for the women who are victimized by a society that sees them as a sexual object. To all of you parents of young women and girls, I’m with you.

But it’s not only scary trying to raise bright, confident women. It is just as scary trying to raise a boy/young man who won’t grow up to be an ass hole who preys on women, or sees them as objects instead of an individual who offers more than just a good time between the sheets. As parents of young men we have just as much responsibility, if not more, in teaching them to respect and advocate for the just treatment that every woman deserves. To all of you parents of young men and boys, I’m with you.

This brings me to my final thought. I am not ashamed to say that I have only been with two women in my life. Both were loving, long-term relationships. I don’t feel like I ever pressured either to do anything they did not want to do, but if I did I am deeply sorry. For any woman who I may have offended or made to feel uncomfortable by a look, a remark, or simply by my presence, I truly apologize.

To every woman: You are all more than what others can see. You are the strength of this world. The strength that even through the fear that this world can bring, goes out each day to make it a better place. Don’t be afraid to stand your ground. Don’t be afraid to fight back. Don’t be afraid to say NO! And never forget, I HEAR YOU, I’M WITH YOU.

Be Good. Do Good.

Heroes, Trolls, Idolization, Condemnation

Heroes, Trolls, Idolization, Condemnation

“I think a hero is any person really intent on making this a better place for all people.” ~ Maya Angelou

Who were your heroes growing up? Who are your heroes now? I bet for many of us the answers to these two questions are quite different. I know in my case that is definitely true. Growing up my entire life was centered around sports. My heroes were athletes. Steve Young, Peyton Manning, Chipper Jones – their performances on the field were what made them like Hercules to me: not quite a god, but more than a man.

As I grew older and more mature, although minimally, my idea of who my heroes were changed. I started to appreciate the every day moments and acts of others that were anything but ordinary. Like my parents working hard every day to give my sister and I a life where we never had to worry or want for anything. The fact that they never missed any of my sporting events. Even after moving a thousand miles away, my mom still came back to Michigan for three months each spring to watch me play Junior College baseball. Or that they both dealt with major medical issues but never made it seem like our life was any different than the day before. They are, and forever will be, my greatest heroes.

This doesn’t mean that I don’t still idolize others, some of whom are sports figures, but it’s now for what they do in their communities and in helping others. And I think that happens for a lot of us – we grow up and our views on the world, on what/who is important, changes. Our parents and their sacrifices to give us a better life. The first responders who put their lives on the line each day. The men and women of our armed forces who defend the liberties and freedoms which many of us take for granted. Doctors, teachers, volunteers who devote their time to ensuring that we are healthy, educated, and have the basic needs of life.

What sparked this post has nothing to do with my heroes, although I do respect the individuals it was based off of. What sparked it, and the reason for the title, was a picture I had posted on social media of my son in front of the Yellow Jerseys from the Tour de France that hang on a wall in Hincapie Sportswear’s headquarters, and a comment by a random individual.


As you can see, an innocent picture of an innocent kid. Even my caption has nothing to do with what the “troll” decided to comment on.

“#minime says he wants a #yellowjersey hanging on his wall some day! Thanks for everything @hincapiesports! He can’t wait to wear the H with pride! #ridehincapie #hincapiefamily”

His comment:

“Omg!! So many things wrong with this picture your hero’s should not be sportsmen/women especially those who cheated there way to the top, there no role models, 😦 :(“

If we get passed their lack of punctuation, the lack of understanding of when to use  there/they’re/their, or that the comment was off topic and unsolicited, we may be able to have a discussion about their ideas on heroes and parenting. But since I never said any of the winners of the coveted Yellow Jersey were my son’s heroes (because he wasn’t even born yet when any of these were won) their comment is simply that of someone trolling to make themselves seem righteous among the flawed. But the comment made me think about our ideas of heroes/villains. It brought me to this thought:

We are so quick to idolize an individual but we are even quicker to condemn them.

The rise and fall of the winner of seven of those Yellow Jerseys, Lance Armstrong, is the perfect example of this. He became the American golden boy on a bike by becoming the first American to win the Tour de France since Greg Lemond. But not only did he win, he did it after surviving testicular cancer. If that doesn’t put someone in Herculean status I don’t know what does. He went on to win seven Tour de France, more than any other cyclist in history. But then there was the black cloud of PEDs (Performance Enhancing Drugs).

There were suspicions throughout his years as champion that Lance and his teammates were using PEDs which was, and still is, against the rules of cycling. Eventually, enough evidence was amassed, and enough people came forward that Lance was stripped of his victories and he was banned from cycling – a sport that grew immensely during his time. Throw on top of that, Lance became a pariah not only in the cycling community but in everyday society. He was asked to step down from his position with the Livestrong Foundation (remember all those yellow bracelets?), the foundation he built that raised millions for cancer research. He was essentially told, “we don’t care about all that you have done for our organizations, Sir, you must go.” And maybe that was fair for the way that Lance treated people and all the lies he told but it is unfair to forget all the good because of a few mistakes. But that is our society – today’s gold is tomorrow’s trash.

My thoughts on whether or not Lance should have been punished so severely is a topic for another day. Today I want to focus on two things from this example of idolization/condemnation and the troll’s comment.

  1. Why is it that we are so quick to put an individual on a pedestal but then even quicker to knock that pedestal out from under them, happy to watch them fall?
  2. Isn’t it our responsibility as parents to give our children the facts about the individuals who they idolize and look up to?

We love our heroes but when they fall we act like they stole our first born. There are some cases where the swing from love to loathing is justified, but for many their indiscretions didn’t effect 99% of the people that came after them carrying torches and pitchforks. And that is my main problem with the mob mentality of the Lance Armstrong detractors. Yes he lied and so often attacked those who were against him, but did his cheating and lies really hurt many of us, or effect our lives in any way? If it did, then hate him all you want. But if you are claiming that Lance Armstrong, George Hincapie, etc. taking PEDs effected your life and you weren’t involved in the sport in any way other than a fan, all I have to say is you need to reevaluate your priorities in life because in the end it’s just a game.

Now, I’m not saying I condone their cheating and the lies that followed, I’m simply saying you can still respect men like Lance Armstrong and George Hincapie for all the good they have done. Lance gave hope to so many individuals battling cancer. He made time to listen to those who wanted to share their story with him, to tell him what an inspiration his story was, to tell him that it pulled them out of the dark times and encouraged them to keep fighting. Whether it was all a farce or not, those individuals benefited from his story. They didn’t give up on life because of his story. And like I said, his story generated millions for cancer research and awareness. George has helped build a successful, family run business that gives back to the community in a number of ways.

So, why shouldn’t they still be considered heroes? If we go by Maya Angelou’s quote above, their lives have been filled with the intent of making this a better place for all people.

And that brings me to the final point, that it is our responsibility as parents to tell our kids the good, the bad, and the ugly of those they admire and then let them formulate their own opinion as they mature. The troll is only focused on the ugly. They didn’t take into account that MY SON IS 5! They don’t know that when he grows up he wants to be a firefighter, veterinarian, pro cyclist, and construction worker. He’s five, so I’m going to let him be five. We can’t change the fact that we idolize individuals who do things we only dream of, but we can take comfort that for most of us, as we grow older and mature, we realize that so many people around us in our everyday life do heroic things, inspire us, and effect our lives for the better.

Be Good. Do Good.


The Big Bad Wolf of Negativity

“Negativity is cannibalistic. The more you feed it, the bigger and stronger it grows.” ~ Bobby Darnell

We all know the story of “The Three Little Pigs.” One builds a house of straw, one builds a house of sticks, and one builds a house of bricks. The Big Bad Wolf comes along to the house of straw, asks to come in, and when the pig refuses the wolf huffs, and he puffs, and he blows the house down. The pig then runs off to the house of the second pig which the wolf also blows down. Only when the first two pigs get to the home of the third pig with the brick house are they safe from the wolf. When the wolf can’t blow down the brick house he attempts to climb in through the chimney and falls into a boiling pot becoming wolf stew.

This fable easily translates to the negativity in our lives. The Big Bad Wolf being negativity, the houses are our minds/emotions and their defenses to said negativity, and the pigs are all of us.

The Big Bad Wolf comes in many different forms: toxic relationships, lack of support, our own anxieties, negative expectations, self doubt, and surroundings. The wolf feeds off of our inability to cope with the different negativity in our lives. As negativity affects us the wolf becomes stronger and breeds more negativity. And just because we resist one negativity doesn’t mean that it won’t come in other forms (climbing through the chimney).

Each one of us has a different type of house in terms of our ability to cope with the negativity in our lives. Those with “straw houses” tend to be overly sensitive and are easily affected by all types of negativity. Those with “stick houses” are able to resist certain types of negativity, or can withstand all negativity until they reach a breaking point. Those with a “brick house” are mentally and emotionally strong, those who can withstand a world of negativity.

If society was entirely of pigs with straw houses it wouldn’t take much for negativity to feed and strengthen. But when we surround ourselves with others who have brick houses we have safe havens of positive influences to counteract the negative.

So, take a look at your own life.

What type of “house” do you have?

What types of “houses” are in your support group?

If you are surrounded by straw and sticks, negativity will blow through like a hurricane/tornado/wild fire and destroy everything in it’s path. If you are the one with a “brick house” take the time to shelter those who may be feeling negativity washing over them. Give them the advice they need to “build their own house of bricks” because you never know when there will be an earthquake that destroys your house.

We are all affected by negativity differently but it’s important that we don’t let it cannibalize and grow stronger.

Be Good. Do Good.


How We Came to This: A “Rebranding” Story

“The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are.” ~ Chauncey Depew

Happy New Year!!! Each new year brings new resolutions, transformations, change. We make resolutions that we are going to change certain things in our lives to improve ourselves physically, mentally, and/or spiritually. I have always found this practice to be kind of odd because if it is something we truly want to change we should make the resolution to do so the moment we determine the change needs to be made whether its January 1st, December 31st, or any day in between. That being said, I still make New Year’s resolutions.

One of those resolutions/goals is to get this blog going and to post regularly.  In doing so I felt I needed to make a change to the title. This blog is a way for me to talk about parenting, cycling, and life in general. SAHD Cyclist, the original title, seemed like a great way to explain my life as a part-time stay-at-home-dad (SAHD) and a cyclist. But I had a couple of problems with it.

First, SAHD is a horrible acronym. When you say it out loud what you hear is ‘sad,’ and much like other stay-at-home-dads, I am far from being sad. I love the time I get to spend with my son. Second, when I looked at the backlog of topics I want to write about, a pretty lengthy list, only two had anything to do with cycling. So a change needed to be made. New year -> New title -> New commitment.

That brings us to the result – ‘This Life of Balance.’ When I decided to change the title my first thought was ‘Life of Balance.’ It was exactly what I was going for when I wanted to start this blog. I wanted it to be about my life and how I try to keep it balanced, just as you try to stay balanced on a bike. But was already taken, as was alifeofbalance. Then it hit me. By adding THIS to Life of Balance, it added a level of individualism, a personal touch. It says, “this is me, these are my words.” So, ‘This Life of Balance’ came to life.

I look forward to sharing this journey with you. Some topics will be controversial, i.e. my first post. You may not always agree with what I write but I hope it will help to generate conversation and deeper thinking because that is what will make us all better humans and a better society. So, just as I will always open with a quote that relates to my topic, I will always leave you with this:

Be Good. Do Good.


This Isn’t What Our Veterans Fought For

“Honoring the sacrifices many have made for our country in the name of freedom and democracy is the very foundation of Veterans Day.” ~ Charles B. Rangel

On this 11th day of November we celebrate Veterans Day, Armistice Day, Remembrance Day.  We thank those who have given their lives to protect the freedoms which we hold so dear.  We thank them for fighting for those who could not fight for or defend themselves.  The sacrifices that they have made were not only for the betterment of our great land, but for the improvement of the lives of all throughout this world.  For those sacrifices they deserve to be honored.

But we do not honor them with our actions of the past days, weeks, months, years, decades, or even the past century.  My favorite Charles Rangel quote, “The promise of the American Dream requires that we are all provided an equal opportunity to participate in and contribute to our nation,” is exactly what our Veterans took up arms to protect.  They stand up for our basic human rights so that we all will have the same chance to participate and contribute to improve our lives and the lives of others.

Our most basic right as human beings though is to not have to live in fear.  Unfortunately, in the past days people of color, Muslims, those in the LBGTQA+ community, have had to live in even greater fear all because the words of our President-elect have given credence to those who believe they are superior because of their race, religion, or social class.  They spew hate because our society has again made it “socially acceptable” to spread the hate and segregation our future Commander-in-Chief built his campaign upon.  By passively allowing this rhetoric to infect the minds of our youth we set a path for our country that we have seen in the past (see: Nazi Germany).

I have heard too many times over the past three days from conservatives that the liberals of our country need to “calm down and support our President.”  This simple statement is not only offensive but is extremely hypocritical as they have spent the last eight years in a rage not supporting President Barack Obama.  And before you say, “Oh, it’s another liberal crying about such and such,” I have voted Republican for the presidency in every election up until this year.  Liberals aren’t upset only because their candidate lost.  They are upset because a man who has said he would take away the rights of some was elected into office.

On the flip side, our Veterans fought to protect our right to free speech and to peacefully protest, not to vandalize, loot, and incite panic and mayhem.  The riots that have sprung up around the United States only fuel the perceptions and hatred of the liberal side by the extremists of the right.  These actions drown out your voice, and more importantly, your overall message.

Our Veterans deserve a more honorable display than what we have shown in these last few days.  They deserve to know that what they fought to protect isn’t being oppressed by some, leading to the violence by others.  So, on this day, thank the Veteran in your life not only with your words but by living a life that contributes to the betterment of our great nation.

~ Rob Snyder