Friday, February 22, 2008

Time Gives & Time Steals

This computer screen was black, and every stroke cuts away at the dark.
I was wondering what I might tell you this week, what was on my mind and then I went to type and it all went blank.
My fingers start moving and white letters start subtracting away from this void that was this computer screen, and it re-teaches me that even if I’m not sure where I’m going, what I’m doing or what I want to say, just starting breeds accomplishment.
The screen was blank only a moment ago, and with time now the letters are beginning to spell progress.

There is so much to say, but how do I say it and where do I begin? What have I been up to in the last few months on up to this very week?
Rest? No, not really.

It’s a blur on the inside, and the only thing I’m sure of is that I will keep trying.
I guess that’s the key, isn’t it?

My wife is wondering what I’m doing now, that seems to be more important than laying down to watch TV with her.

I have so much to do everyone else.
My situation is not so different. We all feel like we’re overloaded sometimes. Life is the spider web we always seem to find ourselves tangled in. I am not independently wealthy so I need to keep working my day job. I am only an apprentice so I need to keep studying until my architecture exams have all been passed.
It is a bit of a guilty feeling, stealing my focus from concentrating on one thing at a time but I have never really done one thing at a time.
All through out life it has always been multitasking for me. It makes me slower...yes I know, but in the end I believe I have learned so much more through the experiences of running myself ragged, as I have become more rounded. Time is part of the journey. Until then I will remain an apprentice and keep inching ahead.
On my back there is a tattoo which is written in Latin. Part of it says "TU ES ULTIMUS FINIS" which translates loosely to "You are your own ultimate challenge". This can also be taken to mean that "the race is always with yourself". In my race if slow and steady is what works best for me, then that’s the speed I need to keep in order to succeed.

What else have I been up to? Hummm let me see.

One of my relatives has worked hard all through life and has helped me at points through mine, so I have been drawing plans for his vacation home on Grand Cayman. It’s beautiful. When I tell you it’s a castle...I’m not lying. It really is. There is currently one castle-like home on the island, and his goal is to build one which is even more romantic and still have the aire of a stone fort from the old days.
I have also been drawing plans for my brothers home addition. He and his wife are expecting a baby any day now and the should really have a little more room for the family to grow. I’m sure when the plans are approved my family (all my uncles and some of my cousins) will be there on occasion to drive nails into the backdrop of the stage being set on a new life for a little someone we haven’t even met yet.

I am a firm believer that you can give to friends and family but you should try never to take, so when ever possible family works for family - for free. They can always use a hand with things and I believe it should always be made unconditionally available to them. Doing this does of course move my life ahead at a somewhat "slower pace" then it could go if I would abandon everything which is extracurricular in life to focus on my own family. Even though this would absolutely simply family life in my own will never happen. Doing so means leaving these people to fend for themselves at the hands of a stranger when by a little effort of my own their goals can be reached and then enjoyed.

Let me see, there must be something else which has been keeping me so busy lately.

I’ve also been researching an idea for a business of my own. Strangely enough it’s not architecture. Even more strange is that the architecture I may seem to abandon after pursuing it through the last 23 years - will still be there for me in this business. Maybe I’ll burn the bridges behind me and force myself to move ahead with it sooner than I think. I love the idea and I work a little more at it every night, dividing the time between studying, & drawing. Someday soon it will happen.

I’ll make it happen.
But, it is a bit of a guilty feeling stealing my focus away from a commitment to do my part in helping to conquer Alzheimer’s & Parkinson’s disease.

I’m sure I’ve said it a hundred times before, but I really wish there was someone to give me advice when it comes to what needs to be done next with our charity efforts. This is not such a simple world to maneuver through even when your goal is simply to raise awareness and funds to help conquer Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

It started out as one climbing expedition to "The Wettest Place on Earth". It was a mountain called Wai’ale’ale, and it had not been reached on foot for more than 28 to 30 years. That wasn’t a big goal was it? In the midst of all the emotion I was feeling there in the jungle, I thought, "Damn, this hurts! But you know what? I think I can do this again, and again until a cure is found". My friend Ken and I fell short of reaching the summit, but in this failure was born the idea for the 10 Mountains - 10 Years (a quest for the cure) project. As a bonus we did play a roll in helping two other climbers to reach the summit only one day later, but that’s a story for another time.

Even though I decided to link 10 years worth of charity climbing expeditions together in this newer bigger project I still thought it would be simple. Climb mountains & Conquer these diseases.
What a surprise I had.

It was like discovering all the intricacies I already knew went into designing the dream house and country estate for someone wealthy enough to want a simple life away from the city. The interesting thing is that the simple life takes a lot of thought, planning and work ahead of time. It’s not simple for everyone involved in making it seem that way.

My simple expeditions have become lesson upon lesson, laced with trial and error, tough luck, and stubborn determination.
Organizing an expedition, meant learning everything possible about your mountain, your gear, your route, the logistics, etc. It meant collecting a team and having patience enough to sift through all the people who say they want to climb with you, then back out at the last minute. It’s funny because at times I might have 2 dozen people who all want to be a part of the action for the charity on the mountain. They come across as so hard core serious about doing it, then one after the next they fall off the bandwagon for a thousand different reasons and excuses. Some just don’t even bother to tell me they are no longer following through on their promise to be a part of the team’s effort. I used to get mad it the lack of commitment, following the heavy "I am so serious for this" facade. Now I have learned that people just break sometimes, and they can’t be faulted for it.
Lucky for me, I have collected some good team mates who have come out time and time again and have also helped to coordinate some of the logistics.
But, climbing is not the beginning and end of it all.

It seems everyday I need to learn a little more about how to simply raise awareness, which as it turns out isn’t simple.
There is marketing,
there is writing,
there is research,
there is staying current on your subject (Alzheimer’s & Parkinson’s),
there is public speaking,
there is mailing,
there is Emailing,
there is creating graphics which will inspire people,
there is real politics, there is association politics, there is team politics,
there is learning to recognize when someone has that little extra spark which has the potential to really burn brightly with a little encouragement and cultivation,
there is learning how to deal with the new and varied personalities involved in helping my cause, there is learning how to create and keep relationships,
there is this, there is that, there is the other thing.

Then there is evolution.
By this I mean that at the urging of my team mates we have now branched out to doing more than just climbing expeditions to raise awareness and funds for research. We have spent months sorting through, then developing ideas for social events where anyone interested in the cause could join us in a great old time while raising fund for the Alzheimer’s Association and the Michael J. Fox Foundation (for Parkinson’s Research).

I never imagined 4 years ago that my team would do anything more than climb, but apparently we’re only just scratching the surface of what can be done to raise awareness in public and the funds needed for research. Every day it seems we write our own "How To" guide book on interesting ways to support the cause.

It’s all so exciting, sometimes scary, and always a little confusing, but we’re finding our way.

I always think to myself, this is no place for someone who grew up as a shy kid; who would rather hide behind his parents legs than say hi to the person he was being introduced to when he was young.
But here I am anyway.

If these diseases are to be conquered we’re all going to have to come out of our shells and push harder against our own shy, docile or introverted manner in order to succeed. Before we can go on to conquer anything in this world, we must learn to conquer ourselves first.
I still have quite a bit of a guilty feeling stealing my focus away from my wife who sometimes not so quietly waits for me to drop the world and lay still to relax and watch TV with her.

Time gives, and time steals.

World up,


The Regulars said...

Hey Enzo,

Great stuff, thanks for sharing...

Your comments on where to go from here are right on the money, and something that has been on my heart and mind for a few weeks now.

Personally things have been all a jumble the past month or so, but getting on track now.

April is 'Parkinson's Awareness Month' and I am planning on making a talk or two during that time about the Team, and how others can help.

As a Team and on an Individual level this could be a great time to get the word out in a coordinated effort!


The Regulars said...

When we find a cure i'll summit Wai’ale’ale with you.