Wednesday, May 9, 2012


This year, 2012, has been a period of reflection for me. Taking stock. Looking at what I’ve accomplished and what I still want to achieve. Revisiting and revising my goals. I’m not sure if this reflection is the result of losing a dear brother, days shy of his fortieth birthday and seeing what it did to my family. Perhaps it’s seeing my son finish high school and knowing a chapter is closing and another beginning. Maybe it was because I almost died. Any or all of them, most likely. Whatever the reason, I’ve been thinking about past, present, and future.

In case you were wondering, Manu Forti is my clan motto. My father’s family also had a coat of arms and motto, Non Sans Cause.  That motto dates back, according to the family tree passed down through the generations, to the 13th century, with the Lord of Prideaux (he was one of the knights that came over with William the conqueror) and was awarded lands in Cornwall. Many of his descendents settled in the Devonshire, England. My paternal, many times great, grandfather, Walter Geere, married a daughter from the house of Prideaux (late 1400’s).

A Family tree chart
I mention this because both sides of my paternal family have some pretty tough mottos and have had some tough and strong people living them. My mother’s family have never been slouches when it came to stick-to-it thinking. They were real rebel rousers, literally, in the 1700’s in this country. Not particularly liked by the crown during the revolution. But they fought for what they believed in and very much a part of making this country free and independent. Two went on to be presidents—a father and son duo. Hey, we predated the Bush family by several generations, lol!

As a family, we’re not the type to give up easily. I’ve been taught that all my life. Determine a course of action, set your goals and do it. Be willing fight for what you believe in, what is important to you, and don’t give up. Strategic retreats are okay, but only for regrouping.

These mottos and all the stories surrounding them were the backbone beliefs that went into our immediate family. And there were lots of stories told of bravery, courage of convictions, and deeds of valor. One of these days I’d like to write some of those stories. Or use what I know as a basis for stories I want to tell. There were definitely heroes and villains and a good measure of happy ever after.

It didn’t matter what it was, we were taught to fight for what we wanted and stand for what was right. If you can envision it you will find a way to make it so. But we were also taught another lesson. Don’t just look out for your self but pay forward. Give a helping hand where you can, not for the accolades and praise, but because it is the right thing to do. Don’t ever compromise your principles.  I call that honor and having principles. 

Those principles and mottos worked well for my career, finally having a child, building a life I wanted, more or less. I can definitely apply that to writing as well as other pursuits. Yes, I’ve retreated more than once and there’s no dishonor in that. I set up strategy, made plans and regrouped—always with the plan of moving forward. I’ve maintained a sense on honor, chosen the right path based on principles. I’m teaching my son to do the same.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Use your experiences of the Past, in the experiments of the Present
To achieve your expectations for the Future. 
Personal goals work that way too. You have a goal and you created reasonable steps to accomplish that goal. Don’t give up when the going gets tough—and it always gets tough at some point. Retreat if you have to. Regroup, employ strategy, and move forward.

Conclusions? I like knowing my past. It determines my present, which determines my future. I’m not in control of my past or my future. I have a measure of control over the choices I make for this day. They are only small steps towards the future. But I know, the best things in life; be they large or small, are worth fighting for. 

Giving up is not an option.