It's Confession Time...
And It Isn't Sunday

There I was out on my bike on a hot September day. Biking around the lake twice, which totals about 10-miles. It takes a little less than an hour. I ride or kayak around the lake for several reasons. My cardiologist told me to do so, I want to outlive George Burns, and I want to be around for my family, most of whom have had decades with me. However, Jack and Owen are my two youngest grandchildren, and we have had only five and three years with each other. I want more time walking down my yellow brick road of life with all my family but especially with the youngest two.

Description: We are off for a walk

Therefore, hardly a day goes by that I am not pedaling or rowing around the lake. Speaking of the lake, another reason for exercising near or on the lake has to do with a relative of the Loch Ness Monster, which I saw quite clearly a few weeks ago.

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However, there is not much that I can do while exercising aside from moving either my legs or arms, avoiding cars, or a relative of the Loch Ness Monsters. Having said that, I think while exercising, which happens all the time. I cannot explain the phenomena, but some of my most creative moments occur while working out. It is precisely what Steve Jobs said about creativity.

Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn't really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while.

Jobs is correct. The process of connecting the dots creatively just happens while exercising. Ideas, many ideas, merely pop into my head. Nonetheless, nearly all of the ideas pop out of my head by the time I get home. I attempt to memorize key phrases or thoughts, however apparently they get sweated out of my head like perspiration.

When I get home after exercising, I really feel inane about not being able to recall great ideas that I had a couple miles ago. Then it happened while being upset about not recalling a creative moment, another creative moment occurred. Next time, I will take a pencil and a piece of paper to make a few notes. On the following day, my neighbor, Chuck, took this picture of me jotting down some creative insights.

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I was mulling over a long list of problems while biking that I faced me. I looked back upon my life and understood what I have accomplished. In addition, I processed what I still wished to do in my time remaining in the world. These are not insignificant issues about which I want to achieve. They range from personal to professional concerns. Aside from taking care of my own wellbeing, there are others who are financially less fortunate than I am. Granted, I am not able to change the world. I do not have the time nor money even to change a small village or town. Nonetheless, I can help change the lives of some individual that I know personally both here and overseas.

I watched the news that evening on the television and saw droves of refugees flooding into Europe from Syria and North Africa. Thousands of refugees were braving often life-threatening problems on their way to a better life. The camera just happened, as it panned across all the thousands of people, to pause on a young mother holding her six-month-old child in her arms. The expression of concern on that mother's face for her child rattled me emotionally. I mean that; I was upset. Here was just one woman with a baby...suffering.

You and I do not have enough time nor the money to help all the world's refugees, let alone all the other people who are hurting in this world. Having said that, we can help some. I do know personally people locally and internationally about whom I care and want to help.

Aside from teaching and writing, I have attempted to respond to assisting those people. To do so, I need to find additional income and other resources. Case in point. I wrote about Agnes a month ago. I had gone to a consortium of importers/exporters excited. I explained my desire and what I wanted to do. I was enthusiastic and motivated. I had plans. I had ideas all of which were expressed to the group.

Nevertheless, I left that meeting in San Diego dejected. Agnes was not impressed at my being driven nor what I wanted to do. To be blatantly honest with you, I was disappointed with Agnes. She was not going to help me improve trade, which is her organization's reason for being. Agnes was majoring in the minors of people's lives both here and overseas. She did not care about my drive as I care to some people in another country.

I won't tolerate that indifferent modus operandi in my life. I will not stop trying. I will not solve the world's problems, but I can help some people. As I look back upon my life, I clearly see those who have helped me. I call them mentors. People have helped me. It behooves me to do the same for others. I will not quit.

The issues that lie ahead of me are the issues that drive me. Agnes could have acted; she had the power and resources but did not. Now, I could get fixated upon her and the other Agneses of life. However, I need to forget the Agneses personally and professionally. Additionally, I would not trade places with any of the various Agneses in my life. I am happy with who I am already and who I wish to become.

Interestingly, while mulling over this situation, I recalled an English assignment that I had when I was in high school. Each year, I had to memorize several hundred lines of poetry or prose each semester. The following came to mind that I memorized over fifty years ago. It is from Shakespeare's Hamlet. Polonius is bidding farewell to his son, Laertes, who is going to Paris.

This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Farewell, my blessing season this in thee!

Polonius told his son and the reader to be honest with all people. However, start with being honest with yourself. I look into the mirror while shaving every morning, and I am happy with who I am. Granted, I have not been successful in every endeavor. Many times, I have failed. Even in areas that I have had some success, it is not enough. In spite of not being perfect, I am driven to help at least some people in the world.

Finally, this is another confession. I do not know whether I will succeed or fail. I am serious. In the time that remain for me to fight the good fight, I might lose. I do not know whether I will accomplish all the tasks or even some of them, which lie before me. As I write this, I recall another paragraph of prose that I memorized back in high school. It is Teddy Roosevelt's, Man in the Arena, which is a single paragraph of a very long speech. No one remembers the speech, but people do recall this particular paragraph.

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

Man, I tell you this honestly. I know how the man in the arena feels. I may fail, but, if I do, I failed while daring greatly. In the end, when I am gone, I would rather have on my gravestone that I dared greatly. That will not be on the headstones of the Agneses of life.

PS This is one final confession. Nearly a quarter of a century ago, I was on the cutting edge of the Internet. I had a webpage about thoughts and ideas that I had. There were not many people that had their own webpages back then. I used the webpage for teaching and hoped that other readers would benefit.

Several years ago, China, my web administrator, said that I needed to utilize social media like Facebook and Tweeter. Her comment fell on my deaf ears. It took me several weeks to comprehend that being on the cutting edge with my webpage a quarter century ago did not mean that I was close to being even near the cutting edge today. I get it now, and realize that social media is a great tool.

I challenge you to let me know about ideas that you might have that could assist me while I am in the arena. I need to find additional ideas of where and how best to work on reaching my goals. I am still teaching college students, but I need another job or two. Additionally, I need ideas, contacts, suggestions, etc. to help others.

I am aware that you might not have an idea that might assist me. However, within your social group, there are people that might and from whom I could benefit. Therefore, I want you to share with them this essay and my dreams. I need your help and/or their help.

Join me as we dare greatly together.

Just email me at

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