Chance Decisions

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It’s funny how simple chance decisions can make significant changes to your life.  A year ago I would spend many an evening watching television with my wife.  We had so many shows we’d watch together.  I was a bit of a really addict.  I would rarely listen to music, preferring instead to get lost in a good story.  Then one day while on YouTube, one of my favourite websites, I made a decision that was to have a major impact on my life.  I was a frequent visitor to YouTube even then.  I’ve always had something of a nostalgia streak so I would often watch old shows on YouTube.  Especially shows from my homeland, England.  I do have a lot of British shows on DVD but I would often watch a lot of comedy shows on YT.

One evening I must have been listening to a movie score on the site.  On the right hand side were links to other videos.  The top two or three were popular classical music videos.  On a whim I decided to watch one of them.  It was out of idle curiousity.  I wanted to see how many clips I knew.  As I listened two things struck me.  First, I knew every one of them.  There were probably ten to fifteen snippets of classical music pieces ranging from Beethoven’s Fifth, to Dvorak’s New World Symphony. 

The second thing that struck me was how much I enjoyed the music.  I watched a couple more videos of the same nature with equal enjoyment.  Then I started to wonder what I was missing.  This was the popular stuff that everybody knows.  I wanted to delve deeper.  So for the next two weeks I went to YouTube each night, picked a different composer and listened to that person’s works.  First night was Beethoven, next Mozart, then Tchaikovsky, on to Chopin, Dvorak etc.  By the second night I was hooked on classical.  I only watch a few television shows these days.  I prefer to lose myself in classical music.  I listen each night.  I can’t help it?  I just have to.  The music is just so relaxing and exhilarating.  It has been said everyone likes classical music, they just don’t know it.  The music is often used on movies, television shows, even on commercials.  A lot of the background music you hear that appeals to you just might be classical!  The music has so many different eras and styles ranging from Baroque to Romantic to the modern era.  I would recommend to anyone who is curious about classical to try it the way I did.  You probably won’t like it all.  I know I don’t.  But at least this way you can find out for yourself and it won’t cost you anything but time.

The point of this blog is you never know when a simple seemingly innocuous decision is going to transform your life. To think if I hadn’t made that chance decision to click on that popular classical music video that night, I wouldn’t have such a passion for this amazing music now.  This year has been a year of change.  I became a vegan and became a huge classical music fan.  I wonder what 2015 will bring…

My First Vegan Thanksgiving

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It just occurred to me that I haven’t blogged about my new vegan lifestyle for a couple of months.  I don’t want anyone to think I’ve fallen off the wagon and am afraid to admit it.  I haven’t touched a single slice of meat since I gave it up in June.  I’m continually surprised by how easy it has been.  I always used to say I could never give up my bacon.  I used to be a demon for eating meat.  I especially loved bacon cheeseburgers.  I cringe now to realize that for me to eat that, two animals had to be killed.  A cow and a pig.  I feel so sad to think how many of those I’ve eaten in my life. Oh if only I could turn back the clock and change my eating habits earlier.  But I can’t.  All I can do is keep up my new lifestyle.

And I will!

So next week is my first meatless Thanksgiving.  It’s time to go cold turkey.  Or make that cold tofurkey.  To be honest this will only be my 10th Thanksgiving.  I’m English.  I moved to the US in 2005.  In England I always ate turkey at Christmas.  So this Christmas will probably be the strangest of the two upcoming holidays.  We always have big family get togethers at Thanksgiving.  My wife and I are the only non meat eaters in the family.  So we’ll probably bring something to go with the veggies and potatoes.  And we’ll bring our own potatoes with vegan milk and cheese.  My wife always brings her special vegan stuffing.  I’m on the lookout for a special vegan recipe to bring with us to replace the turkey.  Hopefully we’ll come up with something good.  Suggestions would be very welcome. 🙂

I’m looking forward to showing the family that I am vegan for life.  So far they have been mainly supportive.  Although the mother in law keeps suggesting I could eat meat once in a while.  I guess some people just don’t understand. 

I’m looking forward to Thanksgiving this year.  I enjoy the occasions when the family gather together.  I never had that growing up.  My family was scattered far and wide.  So in case I don’t blog before, though I probably will, Happy Thanksgiving for next week to all who celebrate it. 

The Dream Stealers

Sometimes the people closest to you can do you the greatest harm.  They can be the ones who hold you back from realizing your dreams.

Oh, sure, they mean well.  They think they’re protecting you.  They want you to preserve your status quo. 

“Don’t take unnecessary risks.”

“it’s only a dream.”

“It’s time to face reality.”

Face reality.  That ‘s probably the greatest dream stealer of all. 

Reality is whatever you make it.

If you believe your reality is the daily grind of the 9 to 5 then that will BE your reality.  Wake up to an alarm clock.  The ‘rush hour’ crawl.  The right hours of stuck behind a desk or whatever your job entails.  All this to make someone else money.  And what do you get out of it?  Just enough money to pay the bills and to keep a roof over your head.  In the meantime you’re someone else’s slave.  ‘Time off?  Whatever do you want time off for?’. Not to mention the lack of job security.  There’s no such thing these days, is there?  Corporate ‘downsizing’. Company mergers.  Shipping your job off overseas to save money.  This is the reality of the job market.  My wife and I were laid off from our jobs within months of each other.

We work to live.  But companies expect you to live to work.  How many of you out there work 60 plus hours a week.  How many of you are missing your children growing up because you’re never able to be home?

So you dare to stick your neck out.  You dare to dream of a better life.  America is the country that extols family values but doesn’t give you the time or opportunity for a family life! 

There has to be a better way, right?  Whatever your dream may be, there will always be someone sitting there with a sharp pin ready to burst your bubble.  And it will always be someone close to you.  A family member or a close friend. 

“Don’t stick your neck out.”

“Don’t try to be different.”

“Conform!”

“Join us!”

“Join us!”

When faced with these dream stealers you can do one of two things:

You can let them steal your dreams.  Let their reality be your reality.

Or….

You can use their negativity as fuel to launch your dream.  Use it to drive your ambition. 

Ordinary people want you to be ordinary too.  Life is not meant to be boring.  Life is not meant to be dull.  Life is meant to be lived.  Go live your life!

Let the dream stealers have their ordinary existence.

Go have an extraordinary life!  Whatever your dream may be, make it your reality!