FREEDOM TO BE LOCAL

Here is a picture of the local July 4th celebration in West Allis Wisconsin, where I live. I believe the group is called ‘The dancing Grannies’. I think it is awesome that seniors continue to be active and it was even better to hear people applaud and cheer for them as they went by. In this country July 4th is celebrated as Independence Day, or the day in which this country began its self-rule.

Here is me enjoying the parade with my mother and her husband. I had such a good time and do not remember enjoying a parade that much since I was a child. It got me thinking about individual freedoms we either take for granted or choose not to take advantage of. Such as who we share our time with. Ideally, this picture would have included my lovely Margie, not only would that have added to the joy I was feeling, it would have added beauty to the picture as well. Alas, she was not able to join us due to prior obligations. I could have watched the parade by myself, or even with any of the great friends I ran into. I chose to watch it with my mother because lately we have been going for walks in nature and sharing some great conversation and fun times. The freedom of who to spend your time with is a very important one to exercise.

Here are pictures of the food truck and the tasty treats that I enjoyed from it. Do you realize how many more options we have when it comes to what we eat? Only 100 years ago small local grocery stores carried a handful of options. Now, we have stores that have thousands of items to choose from. Some from halfway around the world! We can choose to eat healthy or we can choose to eat…well…pizza. Even when cooking at home recipes and even videos guiding us through how to make exotic dishes are at our fingertips.

These are pictures of the party they held at a local park after the parade. There were things to eat as you saw in the above paragraph, as well as a band, children’s games and beverages. This brought up one of the most important freedoms of all. In a world that has headlines dominated by terrorism, racism, hate and violence, a lot of people are afraid to walk the street. Sadly, that is exactly what those committing violent crimes wish for. It is my belief that one of the best ways to combat a world that seems filled with division is to get out and meet your neighbors. Holiday celebrations are a perfect place to do so. On this day I met great neighbors such as Kristin, the mayor of our fine city, my neighbor Dan and lots of others. Do yourself a favor. As you are enjoying that hamburger, sweet corn or even that frosty beverage, take a second to introduce yourself to neighbors. If you happen to see Margie and me out enjoying the holidays, feel free to introduce yourself to us.

THE SECRET TO A PASSIONATE LIFE

Everyone wants a life filled with joy and vitality. I believe the quickest way to accomplish that is to increase your passion. How do we do that? Find a ‘why’ to your life. What does that even mean? What it means is finding a reason you want to get up in the morning. Why going through all the tough times will be worth it.

I have asked a lot of my good friends what their ‘why’ is. When asked most of them don’t know. Some give me answers such as “If I don’t I will be fired”. That is not very motivating.  Ask yourself that very question. What is it that gets you out of bed in the morning. I must confess there are days not much will get me out of bed. Still most days I have a compelling reason to put both feet on the floor and begin moving. This blog is part of it.

We all need something that stirs our soul. Usually it is something bigger than just ourselves. I am not advocating you quit your job and move to the tropics, although I must admit that thought crosses my mind several times a day. No, you don’t even have to change your career. You may eventually want to, but you can always begin chasing a dream part time. Maybe begin writing that book you have always wanted to? Start your own YouTube channel doing videos on a topic that excites you. (Mine can be found by searching Neil Panosian). There are also plenty of volunteer opportunities. My mother recently retired and will begin volunteering at our local zoo.

The point is all of us, I don’t care who you are, were born to do more than just pay bills and die. We each have a unique gift and passion to share with the world. Nelson Mandela once said “Action without vision is only passing time, Vision without action is merely dreaming, but vision with action can change the world”. I don’t care if your passion is attending state fairs. Perhaps you can recommend ways in which they can be improved. Maybe write a book about your different experiences, or create a photo book? The point is no matter what your passion is, sharing it with the world will accomplish 2 great things. One, it will bring joy and fun to countless people who share your passion and most importantly it will set your soul on fire. These are two things the world desperately needs, people sharing their passions and people living their passions. Once you start, your life will never be the same!