Learning From The Past

Where were you in 1975? 1983? 1991? For me, it’s easy to recall. My family moved to San Diego in 1975. I graduated from high school in 1983. I wrote my first book in 1991. I’m sure you also have your milestone years. What I am trying to do as I move from milestone to milestone is become a better person and not make the same missteps over and over again.

In many ways it’s painful to look at past mistakes and realize many were avoidable–knowing what I know now. Maybe if I make it public, others will admit that they too have made some of the same wrong moves and learned valuable lessons. So I will go back in time and look at what was happening and what I’ve gleaned from the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s.

• What happened in 1975?
“Wonder Woman” first aired this year which was fitting since 1975 was dubbed “The Year of the Woman”. The movie “Jaws” drove people out of the water faster than you could yell, “shark!” (I remember seeing this movie at a matinee for under a dollar.) Jimmy Hoffa disappeared (but not from a shark . . . at least not a real shark.) Microsoft was founded, VHS and Betamax were invented, and the first patent for a mobile phone was issued to Motorola. People listened to records by KISS, Aerosmith, and ZZ Top.

I learned that change is good. I fought like heck to not move to San Diego. Looking back, it was the best thing that ever happened to me and I shudder to think what my life would be like if we didn’t come out west.

• What happened in 1983?
Chicken McNuggets were introduced. The Police and Michael Jackson were the most popular cassettes to own. People went to see “National Lampoon’s Vacation,” “Flashdance,” and “War Games” in theaters. Microsoft Word was first released and the terms “bug” and “virus” took on new meanings. Carrie Underwood was born. The Redskins won the Super Bowl and the Orioles won the World Series.

My high school girlfriend and I broke up after two years in 1983 and I thought I was going to die, so I fought hard to win her back. Now that I have been with my wife (and my first true love) for 25 years, I am thankful my ex-girlfriend moved on . . . so I could, too.

  • What happened in 1991?  

A gallon of gas was only $1.12. The World Wide Web was first made available as was the first web browser. Grunge music took over the airwaves as Nirvana and Pearl Jam turned music on its head. The Twins were champs in baseball and the New York Giants were tops in the NFL.

I did something in 1991 that would change the course of my life forever–I joined Toastmasters, a group that helps people become better public speakers. I have never been a “joiner” before, but for some reason (fate) led me to a meeting and not only did I learn how to polish my presentations, I met my mentor (Mary-Ellen Drummond) whom I owe my career to.

Read the next article for more of the lessons I learned along the way.

Learning From The Past

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