Thursday, March 30, 2006

Return Of The Jedi

Although I didn’t have time to really get out and do as much as I normally do while in Las Vegas, it was still nonetheless a great trip. I really didn’t want to go because I had a lot of stuff to sort out in my life, but it turns out I found a lot of that time there. A brief change in venue helped so much more than I realized it would. Rather than answer all of the comments from the previous post as I usually do, I give you this new post that will give you a more accurate view on my current state of mind. (Btw: I really appreciate all of the support that many of you give!!!)

So I arrive in Vegas on Sunday afternoon. I wasn’t feeling great as I felt I was leaving too many unresolved issues behind at home and was thinking this trip was going to make matters worse. To make things more interesting, I knew that I would be spending most of my time with the few people in existence that I just don’t get along with well at all. Overall, the forecast of the trip looked extremely gloomy from the start!

That night we had a nice reception and dinner for several hours, giving me a chance to see people (old friends) I haven’t seen in ages!!! Among a few of them was Todd who’s a district manager in Dallas, TX now (ok, I just saw him a few weeks ago, but it was very limited in time, so we didn’t get a chance to catch up), Kevin who’s a store director in Irving, TX (one of the best store directors I’ve ever worked for), and Doug who is a region vice president now on the west coast (he was by far the very best district manager I’ve ever worked for.) The only person who could have topped these wonderful people who I respect above all others would be Charles (the best store director I’ve ever worked for and possibly one of the best people in the world!)

Anyway, spending time with these old friends (who always have a special place in my heart) really brought back some great memories. More than that though, they really helped me… more than they realize. I didn’t talk to them at all about how miserable I’ve been, but without knowing how depressed and lost I felt, they really helped me!

Some of them would refer to me or introduce me to others as “the guy who can do anything,” or “the guy who makes doing the impossible look easy,” etc… the ridiculous nicknames go on. This really just floored me!!! This person they were describing (me)… I didn’t recognize this person. That’s not who I am right now. I don’t know if I was really ever that person, but I’m clearly not that person now.

To continue this avalanche bewilderment, some of them even continue to tell others how I inspired them by many of the business and personal adversities that I had overcome and conquered. These people who are so very special to me, who I look up to, who I admire… they’re “inspired” by me??? They’re inspired by how I have and live (or really had and lived) the mindset that anything is possible??? Who is this person??? Again, I’m completely flabbergasted at who they think I am, or even was. I’d really like to meet this person who they were claiming I am (was.)

That first night I really didn’t sleep. I walked the entire Las Vegas strip. For those who have been to Vegas, you know that the strip is really long… yet I walked the entire thing that night into the morning. There’s a lot to look at all down the strip, but I honestly don’t remember seeing anything that night/morning. I was too focused on trying to figure out why I changed so much over about a year’s time.

In the end, I decided that the circumstances at work and in my personal life that lead me down this dark path over last year aren’t the issue. The issue is why I allowed myself to change in the way I did due to these circumstances. Why did I empower these few adverse situations to have such a negative impact on my life? I don’t know. I used to have a powerful mindset that allowed me to overcome most the most difficult and unpleasant situations. It was my frame of mind that anything is possible… the only impossibilities were the ones that I would allow my mind to create.

Seeing all of this in retrospect with the help of a few friends (who have absolutely no idea how much they helped me), I see the path I need to return to. I need to refocus my mind back to that old mindset I used to have. I know it’ll take some time… after all, it didn’t change overnight to what it is now. I journeyed down this dark path over the course of a year. So I’m completely aware that I have quite a ways to go before I can return to my old way of thinking that anything is possible.

“The undisturbed mind is like the calm body water reflecting the brilliance of the moon.
Empty the mind and you will realize the undisturbed mind.” – some Tibetan quote. (Don’t know who said it! Hehe!)

This trip truly gave me the opportunity to clear my mind in a way that would have been too difficult to do at home. It gave me the time I needed to truly and honestly self reflect on who I am, who I was, and who I want to me. I don’t want to be who I am now… this person depresses me. I don’t necessarily want to be who I used to be, as obviously that person, as open as their mind was, still fell down a dark path. I want to be a person with the mindset I used to have, but with the knowledge that I currently have… the knowledge learned from failure… the power learned from failure. I want to be this person who others believe I am.

I know it’s going to be a rocky and difficult journey to get there, but I’m willing to go there. The first thing I need to change to get there is the fact that I am alone. I do everything alone. I succeed and I fall alone. I don’t want to go on this journey alone. I need to learn to ask for help. I need to allow myself to be at least somewhat more dependent on others. I need to be willing to accept help, not just give it. I need to allow the people who are close to me to truly be a driving influence in my life. This too is something I know won’t happen over night, but I’m willing to take the journey there as well.

Enough about that!!! I’m sure I’ve already bored you to tears with my greatly needed self reflection. Now for some frequently asked questions and answers about the trip…

1. Was this “business trip” really about business in Las Vegas, or was it just an excuse to party all the time?

Work started at 7am each day and continued thru 7 or 8pm each evening. It was really tedious work and grueling meetings… but they were productive. After work was done each night, then we could do whatever we wanted to.

I had the clear advantage of the group. I already was only getting like 2-3 hours of sleep a night, so I handled the lack of sleep MUCH better than everyone else. As exhausted as I still was, I was much more coherent all day each day. (Turns out the several weeks of virtually no sleep came in quite handy!)

2. Did you gamble?

I did, but very little. I only gambled about $40, of which all I lost! I’m not really a big fan of losing money for no good reason. I watched Todd loose $500+ dollars in a matter of 5 minutes. I sure as hell wasn’t going to do that!!!

Now that being said, I don’t have a problem wasting money. I bought a bathrobe and a nice new shirt (that were clearly over priced, but still looked great!) I also had the opportunity to get a few little trinkets for several of you guys!

3. Do you do anything scandalous in Las Vegas?

Here’s a very brief (and overused answer): What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas!!!

4. Did you get along with some of those few people who you never get along with?

Surprisingly, yes. We actually all kind of bonded in a very odd and dysfunctional way. Though I didn’t spend a lot of my free time with these few people, I think we all came to a mutual understanding and respect for each other.


celtgirl said...

Vegas is very cathartic - in a weird sort of way. It's one of the reasons that I go there and make sure to have a day or two with just me - no one else. Maybe it's just the time away from the routine that's cathartic - but it helps to be in a place where the rules are limited (if you're into that sort of thing). :)

Elemmaciltur said...

Hey Frank...glad you kinda sorted out your brain. You know how to reach me if you need to. *hugz*

Mad Munkey said...

Trinkets? My prescious loves trinkets... LMAO

Frank said...

Celtgirl - Of course I'm into that thing... I have a major oppositional defiant disorder!

Elemmaciltur - Thanks! Your highly supportive emails are always a wonderful pick-me-up!

Mad Munkey - Trinkets are the best... so are knickknacks, gewgaws, gadgets, doodads, gimcracks, playthings, thing-a-ma-bobs, and whatnots.