Sunday, October 9, 2011

Today's my Birthday, a New Stage Begins

It's my birthday!  So what celebratory fanfare marked this special day? Well today the weather was atypical and intermittent rain showers kept me indoors--a welcoming change. Often on the run, juggling three jobs and a semblance of a social life, I decided to stay in and just do nothing. Breakfast in bed, feet up (could use a foot massage), reading birthday emails and answering birthday phone calls absorbed my morning and early afternoon.  Aah, to be remembered and feel loved. Too bad there aren't more days celebrating a single person.

So October 9, 2011 was a day of relaxation, reflection and gratitude.  Gazing through my glass doors and beyond my balcony, the city of Miami lay there before me.  What an incredible view.

My view
The dome is the new Miami Marlins stadium, the highway is I-95
and inbetween is the Miami River

Today I give thanks for my health, my job, my family and friends and the ability to balance it all. I also gave thanks for the opportunity to give. Does that sound silly? My volunteer work for helping homeless cats (and dogs) has been the most rewarding experience of my life. I knew this was the beginning of new stage in my life.

Then I begin to reflect on goals for the coming year. Or am I suppose to do that on New Year's Eve?
Doesn't matter.  I'm in charge of my life! (The advantage of being single). So I made a big decision at the unmemorable age of 43. While it's not cemented and I'm in the research phase, I've decided to create a 501c3 nonprofit organization, to expand on my efforts in raising awareness of the plight of homeless cats and reverse the trend.

There are several wonderful nonprofit organizations focused on rescuing cats and dogs from the streets and from euthanasia at the overcrowded shelter and conducting TNR (trap-neuter-return). We are at war and a small army of dedicated volunteers are in the trenches doing their part.

Something is missing. I recall the book Three Cups of Tea. In the US war against Afghanistan, author Greg Mortenson leads us to the powerful solution--education. After a mountain climbing accident in Pakistan, a group of villagers nurse him back to health. In his recovery he learns of the customs and challenges of the remote village.  The children, all the girls, have no education. They are forgotten. The young boys are targets for recruits of the Taliban.  Greg vows to return and build a school and he does. The village people are grateful and an average US resident becomes their hero. He becomes a change agent in the war against terrorism. Education was his weapon of choice.

In my daily routine and in speaking to strangers, the average person does not know about  the epidemic of homeless pets (approximately 400,00 in Miami Dade county), the number of low-cost clinics to spay/neuter pet and stray cats and dogs ($25), and how to recognize the universal sign of a sterilized cat. Imagine if  one in every five people did? What would that mean to half of the stray kittens that die every day under the age of 8 weeks. It would reverse the cruelty and suffering of strays and homeless animal population.

So I begin my homework of the endless legal paperwork to file, the fees (amounting to at least $2,000), and the list goes on. I begin a new stage in my life! Obstacles, more hard work, sweat, tears and joy, all await me.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Steve Jobs a Legend

My heart is heavy today in learning of the passing of a great American figure, Steve Jobs, the driving force behind one of the greatest American brands and business models, Apple.

So much can be said and is being said by the media and bloggers and users of Apple products from the young to senior citizens...I imagine a new record may be set in tributes to this icon who was a visionary leader and humble at the same time. Everyone admired Steve Jobs.

Steve Jobs exemplified numerous qualities. What inspired me the  most is a rare personal moment that he shared during a commencement speech at Stanford University. In referring to his ousting at Apple "When I was rejected, I was still in love".  Even though the Apple computer company pushed him out at its pinnacle (the first wave), Steve still had a passion and followed it. He still had ideas and no one, no company, nothing would stop him from following his true love. In continuing to prove his incredible talents and vision at Pixar and other companies, Apple brought him back and Apple rose to meteoric highs.

For some, coming from a lower middle class family, money is a motivator. For Steve, not lacking in basic necessities, technology occupied his fascination and motivation. At the age of 17, he even picked up the phone and called the President of Intel for computer parts.

Steve became rich not at the expense of shareholders, but with shareholders. So when he returned to Apple, he did not earn a typical six or seven figure CEO salary with gross bonuses. He was content with $1 a year. ONE DOLLAR.

Steve Jobs provided "jobs". A technology that broke new ground and found users in all age groups  demanded a premium and customers were willing to pay. He went against the grain that Internet content should be free and charged a dollar or two. But $1.99 x  the number of people who downloaded an iTune translates into HUNDREDS of MILLIONS of dollars. Genius.

Greatness like Steve Jobs come once in a lifetime. There is DaVinci, Thomas Edison, Sam Walton, and in my adult lifetime, Steve Jobs. I am honored and will remember his words during times when I feel alone and defeated in my quest to follow my heart and make a difference.

Below is a video from ABC News recapping his life. To quote Jobs about death, as life's "single best invention of life", as a change agent, to clear out the old and bring in the new, "You are already naked, there is no reason not to follow your heart".

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