Thursday, December 3, 2009

We're all "On the Road" to Somewhere

I heard an interesting speaker this week. She's Henry Kissinger's partner in their consulting business. I asked her a question: "In the past year what questions have your clients asked you that have been surprising?" After complimenting me on it being a good question the first thing she mentioned was that they get calls from their clients when the client has read some news on a wire service (she said there's one in particular that is really bad) and they want Kissinger to tell them if that info is correct. She said that the amount of unreliable (i.e. wrong) information that is floating around on the web and wire services is a bad thing (I agree that responsible journalism of any sort is an oxymoron).

She also talked about the global issue of "food security" (a country having enough food to feed it's population) and about a trend that was news to me of a foreign country buying farmland in another country to grow crops to export back to their homeland. She asked us to visualize how we'd feel about any country buying farmland in Iowa and putting a fence up around it. Clearly the issue of feeding humanity is big and sadly, as it seems it is with many big problems, there's a lot of talk and little action to prevent so many people, especially children from dying each day/week/month/year.

The more I think about it the more I'm sure: life is simply a series of decisions. Of course, when we're young, we don't get to make the decisions ourselves but it's not all that many years into our lives when we do start, if not making them, influencing them. Some are decisions on big things and some on small things although looking back some of the decisions I made on small things ended up having big impact (or consequences as it were) on my life. And throughout our lives, decisions keep putting themselves in front of us, sometimes when we least expect them. I've been thinking about my own decision-making process knowing that I have definitely made some bad ones and hoping to not repeat them. Sometimes I go off and just think, all by myself. Sometimes I will fold a paper in half the long way and make a list of the pros and cons (this actually is a good exercise especially when it's a career related decision). Sometimes I'll speak with people who I trust and who I know care about me. Sometimes I'll reach out to someone who I know has been through a similar situation and ask their advice (or at least have them relate their own experience). But no matter what the process and where you choose to get input (could be from books or a spiritual advisor as well) when it comes down to it, at the end of the day, the decision is yours to make.

Over the years, I've had ideas about things I wanted to do but for one reason or another, at that time in my life, I was not in a position to be able to do them, generally due to responsibilities. But then, as things evolve, or as time goes on, in some ways it seems we have more responsibility to ourselves than to anyone else. You also have to like yourself and make a decision that you have only one life to life and how you do it is up to you. But decisions are not anything these days? And things tend to get complicated (even if you try your best to Simplicate™). Sometimes getting away from things, the proverbial mountaintop, where it's just you and the earth and the sky is the answer. But too often, what seems to happen is that we just put our heads down and keep on with what we've been doing and push the decision off until it's too late or until we just give in and accept our lot in life. I guess it's all a matter of decisions and whether we want to have regrets about not doing something when it really becomes to late. I guess "in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make." And it's up to each of us to love and respect ourselves because when the sands run out the only person we can look to and say 'shoulda done this or that' is the person we see every morning in the mirror.

Feedback: Someone wrote me about last week's column suggesting that it was insensitive to follow a paragraph about a friend committing suicide with content about real estate and other stuff as in a matter of fact way. I agree and apologize to anyone else who might have been disturbed by this.

Although I've lived in Napa, CA for more than 10 years I only really know three wine guys personally. They all make good stuff. After a tough year why not treat yourself to something special:

1. Whetstone Wine Cellars ( & Jamey Whetstone

2. Larkin ( Larkin

3. Patz & Hall ( Patz

Photo: Sean Felix's first 'piano.'

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