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Monday, May 23, 2011

What I’ll Remember from Oprah

Everyone who owns a television – or a radio, computer, or really any modern device that keeps us in touch with the news – knows Oprah Winfrey is ending her show after 25 years. I’ll admit, I watched the show fairly regularly in what I guess were the “early days,” back when some of her shows rivaled Morton Downey, Jr.’s nightly trash TV fest.

But despite my pet peeve with the Talk Show Queen, I respect what she created. I really don’t see how anyone could feel otherwise, regardless of how they might feel about her show. Certainly, she got a bit preachy from what I’ve seen in the last few days, but she puts her money where her mouth is – literally and figuratively.

In just my second “installment” of my effort to write something positive on a regular basis, I thought it was appropriate to note that the best thing I ever took from the Oprah Show was the idea that everything would be a lot better if everyone just took care of their own – themselves, their kids, family, etc.

Of course, it’s a pollyanna idea, and people will poke holes in it immediately. But most of those holes start with “but what about the guy not taking care of his own.” It doesn’t really refute the idea, because the whole point is that the other guy would do it. But we don’t live in an ideal world, and we do have to worry about the other guy who wants what isn’t his or doesn’t hold up his end of the bargain.

Despite the obvious pitfalls of the notion, it seems like a place to start. I think “taking care of your own business” means something different for everybody, and it may be a goal that even if never achieved is worth striving towards. Believe me, I’m certainly not suggesting I’ve achieved this goal. I’m not even sure I’ve started to work on it, but I’m doing my best.

For me, I think the goal entails trying to stay productive instead of giving into the lack of employment opportunities. It means trying to do something positive for others facing the same obstacles I face. Sometimes I think it means staying active despite my physical disability. In black and white, these seem like rather simple goals, but I see them as baby steps that I hope will lead somewhere.

I know a lot of guys will be taking shots at Oprah as she exits stage left (“for now,” I’m guessing), but I think she leaves at least one message behind worth remembering.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Self-defense Class a Positive Step

I started taking a self-defense class a week ago Sunday. It was a spur of the moment thing. A buddy of mine was teaching it, and I’ve been in a bit of a rut lately, so I decided to give it a shot just to do something different. Quite frankly, I didn’t think I’d get much more out of it than the chance to meet some new people and participate in an extra activity for a couple months.

I’m still not convinced that I’ll be fighting off attackers any time soon. Two lessons in, I probably shouldn’t be convinced of that any way. But there have been a few positives already.

I actually find myself wanting to learn more about the karate concepts I’ve been learning. I even practiced the movements a few times on my own during the last eight days. Nothing major, just going through the movements once or twice. And, just maybe, I’ve learned some things that would keep me safe in the event of a mugging or some other form of attack.

The experience has also sparked a few thoughts. What else might be out there to do? I like the physicality of the movements I’m learning. I still remember trying to wrestle in high school. I only lasted a week for various reasons, but there was that same type of physical nature of it that I’ve often wondered if I should have pursued.

I also got a blog post out of it with a positive feel to it. Sometimes I certainly focus too much on the negative. I’ve been wanting to do something positive with Page 2 for a while, and hope this can be Step One.

I don’t think I could pull off a “positive message of the day” – I don’t want to make anybody hurl, including myself. But taking a chance on something new has already been a plus this month, so I thought I’d take a crack at another something new. I’ll do my best to follow-up with another post with at least a positive thought soon.