Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Ghosts... Past... Present... Future...

It's Christmas time!

The most famous fictional Christmas story by far is A Christmas Carol.  There are so many adaptations of the story even the Muppets and Disney characters have been involved in Christmas Carol projects.  The story has stood the test of time and the message is loud and clear about not only how we should act during the Christmas season but how we should live our lives all year long.  It is a great message that everyone needs to learn.

As the story goes, Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by 4 ghosts on Christmas Eve.  He is visited by his old partner in business Jacob Marley, as well as the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future.  By witnessing things from his past, present, and future, Scrooge sees the mistakes he has made and what the future will hold for his life if he doesn't make changes.  Luckily Scrooge sees the light and is able to turn things around and become a better person. 

I believe that just like Scrooge we are visited by ghosts.  Ours are a little different but in some ways exactly the same.  Our ghosts of the past come in the forms of memories, and thoughts that help to mold and shape who we are.  Our ghosts of the past are the mistakes that we have made throughout life.  I think we all look back at times and remember things that we said and did that impacted people and ourselves in negative ways. We think about times that people treated us badly and hurt us.  We are able to look back on these ghosts and make positive changes and decisions in our present time based on what our ghost of the past shows us.  We can think about those things and make sure that we don't make the same mistakes twice.   We can be affected by our ghosts of the past just like Scrooge was.

Our ghosts of the present are those times when we pine over decisions we have made or things that we have said that adversely affected us or others.  We may have hurt someone by putting them down or yelling at them.  We may have skipped an important meeting or event and know that we made a mistake by doing so.  These ghosts of the present haunt us and often cause us to have angst, lose sleep, or can even make us physically ill. These ghosts of the present help us to realize mistakes as they happen and allow us to make changes.

Our ghosts of the future are also known as the goals that we set.  No one knows the future and we can't predict what exactly will happen but we can set goals and expectations of what we want to do with our lives.  We have to have drive and ambition in life.  We get that drive, passion, and ambition from our ghost of the future.  The help us to form what we will look like tomorrow, five years from now, twenty years from now, and for the rest of our lives.  Without our ghost of the future helping us along the way we do not have direction.

Scrooge's ghosts were specters that we could physically see in the story. They helped to show Scrooge why he acted the way he acts and what changes he needed to make and could make to be a better man.  I hope that your ghosts help to guide you throughout life.  I hope that you realize that they are here to help and are not something to be scared of even if they show us that we have done something bad or wrong in our past or in our present.  These ghosts make us who we are and it is up to us to learn from them.

I hope you have a great holiday season and when you see A Christmas Carol on TV or DVD this Christmas just remember what I said about your ghosts and try to use all three to become a better person. 

As tiny Tim so eloquently stated:  "God bless us, everyone!"

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Dear Younger Me

Dear Younger Me,

It is weird that I have this opportunity to write to you and give you some advice now that I am older and wiser.  Hopefully you can use this to help you throughout the rest of your life and make some changes that will help to positively affect your life.  I won't give you the winning lottery numbers or tell you who won the Superbowl because that is not what this is about.  I just have some life advice for you.  So here we go!

1.  Except for the 2000 football year, Virginia Tech's football is very hard to watch.  They have their ups and downs and I won't tell you about either but just remember they are only college kids and just need to be supported.  Do however cherish every game of the 2000 series. You could suggest to Michael Vick that he do some charity work at an animal shelter while he is at Virginia Tech.  It could help him later on in life.

2.  The degree you chose in college doesn't really help you out with the career you've chosen.  I suggest a degree in an educational field or something working with children.  When was the last time you went to church?  Are you part of a youth group?  Those two things may help you out later in life.

3.  Maybe try eating some mushrooms and onions more often.  I know you hate them but I can tell you that you are missing out on something that you are going to grow to love.  I know it's crazy but grill some mushrooms and then tell me what you think.  Speaking of grilling.  You should do that more often.

4.  I know you have a great time collecting cards with Dad but I suggest that you turn those cards over quickly and sell them while the market is hot.  Things on that front don't turn out so great later on.  Do however cherish that time with Dad, it is one of your greatest memories.

5. Looking back, Grandpa Swanson had huge influences on who you are today.  Glean everything you can from him including his beliefs. Just remember that life is short and you need to spend time with those you love.

6.  Be nicer to your brother.  You guys have a good relationship but you really only see each other twice a year now a days.  I think a lot of that comes from not having a tighter relationship as kids.  He's a great guy and needs to be your right hand man.

7.  In High School remember the name Valerie and stay away from her. It's pretty simple you might end up with a broken heart if you get involved with her.

8.  Maybe you could do a little better with portion control.  I mean it would definitely make my life a little easier right now.

9. Take an old blanket and cut a hole in it for your head, and two for your arms.  Wear it like a robe.  I suggest maybe calling it a snuggie.  I know it sounds crazy but if you market it you never know what might happen.  That's the only money making advice I will give you besides starting that IRA that Dad says he will match you when you put money into it.  It would be really smart to get that started.

10.  The sequel to every movie is not as good as the original no matter how much they advertise that it is going to be the best movie in the series.  The only exceptions are "The Dark Knight " and the third Indiana Jones movie.  You'll know it when you see them. 

10. Be nice to people.  Don't be selfish.  Love the ones you are with and cherish your time with them.  Always say I love you to any one you truly love because you never know what can happen.  Go visit Grandma and Grandpa more often. Try new things, don't be scared.  God is always with you and he loves you unconditionally.

I could give you a ton more advice and tell you all kinds of things you should and shouldn't do but I kind of love my life the way it is and I don't want you to change it too much.  A little more money never hurt anyone but that's true no matter who you are.  Just love your life and understand that the choices you make affect others.


                                                                                       You? Me? Eric? I'm not sure how to address this!

                                                                                        How about older me?

P.S.  Buy all the Holiday Twist Tic Tacs that you can because they are limited edition and disappear before you are tired of them.  Also do something about your hair cut in High School.  It was horrible!!!  I suggest cutting it short, you really like that look now a days.  Just a thought!