Kansas/California (or anywhere else for that matter)

It’s been awhile since I’ve blogged and I’ve had several ideas in mind for the latest one, including a reference to an earlier post, “Sense of Community.” After thinking about it, I’ve come up with something a little different but with a tinge of that particular topic. I call it “Kansas/California”, which refers to the journey I’ve taken going all the way back to 1975.

After my mother passed away in 1972, our family was basically ripped to the core. In those days, especially with my family, the mother of the family was a key part of the team. After she passed, I got into troubles here and there, nothing serious, which is typical for most teenagers but in my case, it got progressively worse as the next few years went by. By 1975, at the encouragement of several family members, I moved to northern San Diego county and attended my last two years of high school at Torrey Pines H.S. in Del Mar, CA. The rest, as they say, is history. I took to it like a duck to water. Literally. My Dad’s sister, who taught at Torrey Pines in those days, still talks about how I seemed to have been energized by the transition and the lifestyle. Eventually, it led me on to college, finally graduating from San Diego State in December 1982 with a degree in Business Administration. After 8 years though, I grew tired of the traffic, the culture, and longed to return home. Eventually, I did. After 2 ½ years in my first job after college with ITT Financial Services in Montana and Colorado, I returned to Tribune, KS. once more to farm with my Dad and to set out what I really wanted to get into. Banking. So, on that momentous day, October 6th, 1985, I began my career with The First National Bank of Tribune, starting out as their insurance agent. Over the next 23 years, I gradually moved up the ranks, eventually becoming senior loan officer and vice president, with a large amount of responsibility and stature within the organization.

Now that I’ve returned to the same area where my life took off 35 years ago and thinking of all that has happened during this time, it brings a lot of memories to mind and topics I can share. When I started this blog and website in early April of this year, I really had no conception of where I might go with it. Like everything else in my life these days, things just continue to “happen”, and this blog is no different. Shortly after creating the blog, I covered a topic of keen interest to me; “Sense of Community.” For those of you reading this current post, that one is dated May 4th, 2010, if you care to refer to it to refresh your memory. Basically the thrust of it is the seemingly lack of that “sense” here, totally unlike back in Kansas, where “community” is so ingrained in the lifestyle. Kansas and California are different in so many ways, most of which are obvious to the casual observer; flat, dry, windy, and sparsely populated versus luscious vegetation, moderate climate, and densely populated. But something so much different and which is subtle at first is the difference in this “sense of community.” Back home, everyone knows one another, everyone is your neighbor, and everyone is in the same boat when it comes to agriculture to drive the economy. The people are so intimately “connected” that that feeling never goes away, even after you leave and come back after many years. For example, I just returned to SoCal from a trip to Kansas to visit with family and friends during the county fair in Tribune and I was stunned by the experience. It was as if I never left. People came up, talked, asked questions, and the visits were non-stop.

Here in SoCal, as I mentioned in the May 4th entry on Ramblings, you can live next door to someone who is literally less than 10 feet away and not even know their name, much less visit, or consider yourself as friends or even neighbors. Everything seems as if each one of us here is their own island. So, in spite of our close proximity to each other, we don’t really KNOW each other. Everyone has their own agenda and it’s rare when I meet someone who seems to really care for their fellow man in every sense. People hide from each other in a way, staying in their own little world, tucked inside their homes, apartments, their cars, and wherever they go, they seem to be alone. That’s sad because it doesn’t have to be that way. For instance, I’ve discovered that my open nature, my open heart and mind, has opened doors for me personally I never thought possible when I came here. I’ve met new people, REAL people who care, and the reason why is simply because I’ve opened up myself for them to come into my life. Funny thing is, everyone can do the same thing. I’m no different than anyone else; you have feelings, dreams, aspirations, fears, and hopes just like I do. What IS different is I’m more open now, open to new ways of living, new ideas, and trying to live a dynamic life. Question is then, why? Why aren’t more people willing or able to do the same?

Before I give my answer to that question, I’ll let you in on a little secret. It’s no different than in Kansas! There are people there just like here; afraid to come out, unsure of themselves, unwilling or unable to open themselves up to new ways and new ideas. The answer lies in two words, PRIDE and FEAR. Two words that keep any of us from leading a dynamic life, WHEREVER we may live. For me, and given my experience over the past two-plus years, I’ve discovered a miracle of life. Once I dropped that wall of pride and the wall of fear, doors have been flying open right and left, both personally and professionally. It’s truly amazing and somewhat of a miracle to be honest. Here’s something else. I have no doubt, NONE, that many people from Kansas could come here to California, and vice versa, and feel totally at ease and comfortable in creating a new life and new friends if they had the same mindset as I do. Show no fear. Drop your egos and your pride and just be yourself, the one God created you to be. Each one of us was once a child. You remember what that was like? Look at a child now, say 5 years of age to say, oh, age 10 or so. Do they show any fear? Watch them closely. They speak their mind openly, laugh loudly, and play with one another, oblivious to what others may think of them. It’s only as we get older that the walls of pride and fear are built. It’s a sociological progression we experience as human beings. As if we have no choice because we think that’s how we should be to survive in an “adult world.” Think about it. You can change that; in fact you can reverse that, just open your heart and your mind, drop your pride and show no fear. The world then will be yours. And like it says in my 24 hour a day book, “The power released within yourself will change your outward world.” YOU have the power. YOU have the choice. All you have to do is try. “Just do it.”

“Gusto”

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