Please Donate to the Jan Landy 2025 (or sooner) Retirement Fund

June 2012 is now in the past! July is the present and will be for another 31 days. Just think that there is only a few more days and we Americans will be celebrating our Independence Day on July 4th.

I have been thinking about the 4th of July and what Independence Day means to me. Having traveled as much as I do, I have noticed that wherever I go, the United States is still the place where almost everybody that doesn’t live in the United States wants to live. How their vision of what it is to live in the US is based on television shows and photos from the news. True our standard of living is higher than most, but not everybody living in the United States is living the “American Dream”.

I guess before you can determine if you are living the “American Dream” you must define what the “American Dream” is. Is it the same for everyone? Is there a standard definition?

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia defines it as: The American Dream is a national ethos of the United States; a set of ideals in which freedom includes the opportunity for prosperity and success, and an upward social mobility achieved through hard work.

The idea of the American Dream is rooted in the United States Declaration of Independence which proclaims “all men are created equal” and that they are “endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights” including “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Lets go with that definition, not only because I believe that it is well stated and correct, but it transcends me to exactly where I want it to take me and that is my life and my pursuit of happiness.

Sure I work hard! Sure I put in the time! Long hours and hard work, I say, “Bring it on”. I don’t think there is a soul that knows me that would not agree that I am one honest hard working individual. It is built into my DNA and belief system that lives by the fun is in the journey towards accomplishing worthwhile goals.

I also believe that I have achieved by all standards of the definition that I have obtained the dream “prosperity and success, and an upward social mobility achieved through hard work,” but to quote Oliver, “Can I have another”?

What I mean by that is, sure I own modest house, a Mercedes, and a Rolex, but, and here is the big question, “Do I have enough to retire and not worry if I will have enough to make it to my end days in the lifestyle I am accustomed to?”. My answer is always the same: “Only if I want to live in a third world country and live to 70”. Not the answer I want to hear.

It is with that thought in mind that I have come up with the ultimate retirement strategy all based on a 1967 Beatles’ song: “With a Little Help from My Friends” written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, released on Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album sung by Ringo Starr. And may introduce to you the one and only Jan Landy 2025 (or sooner) Retirement Fund.

My plan is simple, if there are enough people out there that I have provided with service or advice without reward, or anyone that has nothing better to do with a dollar or more, now would be a good time to repay the favor and go to The Jan Landy 2025 (or sooner) Retirement Fund and assist me to obtain a better life style in retirement.  I thank you, and the people in that third world nation (who will be happy that I am not living there) thank you.

Childhood Friends

Just spent the last 2 days with one of my closest childhood friends (we have known each other for over 55 years) and loved every second of it, except when he left. It is amazing how much there is to do in Vegas, if you put your mind to it. And yet, last night we stayed in and cooked dinner and talked. Talked and talked and talked and it could have been the best night I ever had since I have been in Vegas.

I could not not help but think of the line from John Lennon “Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans.” and Harry Chapin “She was going to be an actress and I was going to learn to fly.”

I wonder how many people actually live out their childhood dreams of an occupation? I am happy, but I am not a cowboy, maybe because I am not a cowboy. 

The feeling that I experienced was worth the wait. We set up the plans for this visit about two years ago. That was due to Gary’s schedule, not mine.  I find it hard to plan for anything more than a week in the future, but Gary does not seem to have that same infliction as he has his life travels planned way into the future. It is good to have money and it is good not to have to work except when you want to and if you want to.  I do not have that luxury, I have to work if I want to maintain my current standard of living, which is a scary thought if you take into account my age. How many more working years do I have left? and do I want to work them all.  Some people I know have no choice, they work until they drop, I might be one of those, but it bothers me to think that I am, so I work hard, save my money and play hard and spend my money.  What a life I am living. Las Vegas, Rio, NY, and one day Paris. But I digress. 

When I made the plans with Gary, I was living in Vegas & Rio de Janeiro every six weeks I would bounce back from one city to another. I am truly fortunate that I have been able to set up my business that I can run it from anywhere in the world that I have a high speed internet connection and my tools, my MacBook Pro, Vonage & Skype, iPad and iPhone, portable scanner, a jar of peanut butter, Gatorade G2, my meds and face cream.

Now my life seems to have changed as I have a met and fallen in love with a Brazilian woman that does not have a visa to the US and I am finding myself spending more time in Brazil then ever before. Because of this, I had to plan to return to Vegas to meet Gary as agreed.  That was much harder to do then I thought it would be, as I miss my love more than I thought I would.  But being a man of commitment or at least so I think I am, I arrived back in Vegas, before Gary and was here to meet him when he arrived. 

I had not seen Gary in two years.  The last time we met it was up in Portland, OR and I was dating a woman that Gary was right about, she was no good. Gary on the other hand was dating the perfect woman for him and as it turns out somewhere in the last two years, they got married. 

I was not sure what to expect when I saw him, although we chat on Skype regularly, it is just not the same as being close enough to feel the presence of another. The interesting thing about being with an old and dear friend that knew you before you knew yourself and knows how you got to where you are today, is that the adjustment period is non existent. The second your eyes meet and you exchange that warm and sincere hug that it is good to see you and be in your presence again, it is the second that you cannot remember what it was like not to be with that person. Its like you were never separated.  There is no awkward moments. You are accepted and cherished instantaneously and vice-a-versa.

One of the things that happens when you get together with someone that knows you since you have been five is that you can share every thought that comes to your mind without the fear of being judged.  It is so enlightening that it becomes magically and spiritual. There are times when you don’t even have to speak, but, just a glance in certain way or a raise or lower of an eyebrow, or just a smile. And I guess with the physical change of aging that happens to us, the one thing that does remain the same is your smile. How wonderful is it to see someone you love smile. 

Gary arrived on Thursday night at 5 pm and just left Sunday morning at 8 am. A short stay at best, but a wonderful experience. I am so happy to have had the opportunity to bond with him in person again, it has renewed in my life the feeling of belonging to a club that is exclusive and rare and meaningful. In a world where so many friendships are fleeting or motivated by a need or business necessity, I feel so privileged to share a 55+ year old friendship based on love and understanding.   

Words alone cannot express, how much I look forward to our next meeting.