I'm an Air Force Brat, as we were called. My dad was in the Air Force and flew B-52s for SAC. In my life, I've moved 32 times. Some of those are cross-city/cross-base housing moves, but they were moves nonetheless.
That moving experience has given me some great opportunities in life. By a young age, I'd seen most of the country having criss-crossed it time and again to move between Indiana, Texas, Florida, Alabama, California, northern Michigan, and Kansas and back again.
When I went to Auburn in 1984, I sat down for an interview with then-president Dr. James Martin, who when we finished said matter of factly, "You're a military kid, aren't you." Dumbfounded he knew when I hadn't said, I asked, "How did you know?" His reply, "I don't get many freshman in here asking me about the budget."
All that said, up until my new job began leading me to great cities all across America, I'd only been to New York City twice before in my life. This year, I've been there three or four times already and I'm just in awe of the town. Is it eclipsing my love for Chicago? Hmmm… that's a close one.
Sitting back here in my office in Dallas, I have to wonder a little bit, just a little, about what would life had been like if I'd gotten out of Alabama in the early 1990s and gone straight to NYC with as little as a shirt on my back, and tried to make it there. Skipping past the part of I wouldn't have my wife and kids, I have to think about how my career would have been different. Being in the PR/Advertising/Campaign business, who would I have hooked up with? Answers I'll never know and for good reason. God had a plan for something else.
And so back to the reality of the great life I have. Today I have a wife who truly, truly loves me. I call her my bride for good reason. She's just as young and beautiful looking as the day I met her back in 2005. She's got great kids. I have great kids. Yes, it's a struggle with seven of them, but we love each and every one of them with all of our hearts.
I'm a lucky man. I've had some great opportunities in my career, having worked for two governors, presidential campaign, several state and local races; having served the children and parents of Dallas for six years as the communications director of the public schools–conveying sometimes not-so-pleasant information to them, but the honest, straight-forward truth, and not a brushing aside with a non-informative, lack of confidence building "it's under investigation" comment. It's like Peggy Olson said last Sunday in the season finale of Mad Men, "Just tell the truth, people will respect you for that."
I had a good three days in NYC this week. I saw some beautiful sites. The trees were changing colors in Central Park. I went by the Dakota where John Lennon was killed. I went to the Fifth Avenue Apple Store where there were at least 700-800 people in it at one time. (Hey Apple, I didn't think the workshop thing worked so well in that store. It was way too loud. When a guy has to use a loudspeaker to talk to us at a table just six feet away from him, that's not a good learning environment.)
Today I go back to my One-to-One class in NorthPark Center in Dallas. While it will be somewhat busy in that store, too, I can at least think, and hear myself think, too.
I found a new hotel I'm thinking about trying next time I'm up there, too. It's called Hotel Beacon. Seemed very elegant and nice sized rooms, for a good price. I didn't do The Paramount this time. Rooms were way too small the last two visits, so I did Marriott Marquis in Times Square. My room had to be twice as big as one across the street at The Paramount. And with that size came a little more comfort, which was something I needed being a way from home and knowing my wife was struggling with a cold back home, and "only" four kids.
Okay, time to get cranking for work. I've gotten some great new contacts in NYC from this trip and things look promising for some new programs. Fun. And the prospect of trips back to NYC, even more fun. Smile.