They Grow So Fast


Look how far they’ve come.  It’s a helpless feeling to see how fast they grow.  It feels like falling.  It feels like that nightmare where everything spins.  Everything spins so fast you could puke from the lack of control.

I think about how they will soon be like us: constantly lost and searching, worrying about the obstacles, doing their best: broken.

It’s painful to think about how fast we age.  Soon we’ll be old, and they’ll be everything we wish we were again — youthful, full of life and wonder.  We’ll live vicariously through them, and they will ask us all questions.  They will learn to speak and think about all possibilities.  We won’t know the right answer to most of their questions just like our parents never knew.  We will use our experience to answer in a way we hope will lead them on the right path.  Our deficiencies will be built into these answers.  Luckily they know us better than we know ourselves.

We will do our best like our parents did before us to build a system that will last.  A belief system, a trust, a methodology.  We will do our best like our children will do after us.  Maybe not our absolute, unwavering best. But a real version of our best given the changing nature of things.

We can’t be great all the time, and we need to be okay with that.  Humans are fallible but resilient.  We can’t be too hard on ourselves, and we always need to get back up.  We will be defeated more times than we can possibly remember.  Our worst defeats will be burned in our souls, but they will make us who we are: for better or for worse.

Our children will know we’re coming from a place of love as long as we continue to strive to give them our best.  Maybe not our absolute, unwavering best.  But a real version of our best given the changing nature of things.

They’ll understand why we fight for them, but they wont understand why we can’t sometimes just get along.  They’ll only see the best in both of us.  It must be our duty to never break their trust.  It must be our mission to show them how to love, how to care, how to do a good job and how to work hard.

Strong trees don’t become strong without having survived strong winds, hard winters, cold nights.

Don’t Walk Away For Too Long

You are at the beginning.
Things will happen in time.
Experiences teach lessons.
Try to remember them, but don’t beat yourself up over it if you don’t. They will come again.
Never walk away from the struggle too long.
Heal, regroup, and attack again.
Never walk away from the struggle for long.

A Letter To Weston – January 14th, 2016

I’m grateful this day comes each year. It forces itself upon us whether we want it to come or not. I try to remember, I try to be grateful, I try to communicate, but it’s all getting harder with time. When the memories were fresh, it was so easy to reminisce and to feel you. Now, it seems faded like old photographs, and it takes focus and effort to remember. It’s sad, but gone are the days when you’re on my mind constantly. I’d love to think about you every day, but new obstacles and new blessings now occupy my mind, and the responsibility and honor of raising another one as good as you weighs. I’ve become distracted. Some days I just forget. I want you to know the last thing I want is to replace you. You will always occupy my mind, my body, my spirit. I will use my memory of you in my every effort of molding Ava. I promise I will try to remember our time together more often. I promise I will never forget.

It’s confusing to have something to look forward to in this world and to have something to look forward to in the next. It leaves me ambivalent, and really all I can do now is watch in wonder as I experience what Mom and Dad experienced watching you grow up. I now have a tiny speck of perspective to imagine the pain they must’ve felt when you left — the pain they still feel. I’m grateful for all you taught me, and I have no doubt Ava will grow up to be strong, loyal, and passionate: just like how you showed me to be.

I know you’re still here: still waiting, still watching, and still laughing right alongside us. Growing older sometimes makes it harder to feel the magic that is all around us. Sometimes it just takes dedication to focus on seeing what’s not easily seen. Sometimes we just need to have faith and believe. I know you understand why and how things have changed. We’re all lucky to have had you in our lives while you were in your physical body, and we’re still lucky to have you watching over us. I look forward to when I get to see your spirit firsthand again. We won’t need those old photographs anymore.


Thoughts From A Rambling Mind

There are times when I feel like I can’t lose, and then there are times when I feel like I can’t win. It depends. I’m still not sure on what it depends, but it depends. I don’t know if it’s the difficulty of my opponents, the variability of the game, the position of the planets, or the mental and physical state I’m in.

What I do know is that when I’m in the middle of a losing streak, it’s very easy for me to adopt a losing attitude. My ability to maintain a positive and winning mindset in times of extreme pain and struggle is extremely limited. It’s not fun anymore. I want to yell like a little shit and punch holes in walls. I want a release. I want to give up. I feel a sudden urge for back to back cigarettes and two Heady Toppers.
Poker players refer to this as tilt. Emotion comes into play and decisions are based more on visceral discomfort than on sound logic. If I feel like shit, my results are shit.

As I’ve failed and failed throughout my life, one of the greatest gifts I’ve been given, one thing I’ve continued to do is play. The great thing about the human experience is we get to experience the same failures over and over again. Even if we aren’t the best or the fastest learners around (I’m neither, not pro material), we eventually catch on. We eventually improve.

Whenever I feel like I’m getting good at something, I’ve found it extremely helpful to acknowledge that I will eventually regress to the mean. I try not to dwell on it because negative thoughts seem to attract negative results and it’s best to ride the waves while they’re good, but understanding less desirable results may be around the corner helps me when those times come. By anticipating the pain, I’m more mentally prepared to withstand it and recover.

Another thing I’ve noticed is my brain seems to like to give me credit for everything good that happens to me. Whether it’s winning a game, having a good day at work, or having a positive interaction with a valued friend, my brain attributes that success to me. My lazy brain likes to say, “Yes, Evan, you’re brilliant and awesome. It’s all because of you, and everyone should know.”

In reality, its persistence and effort that have led me to the successes I’ve been so blessed to have. I’ve never been the most talented, I’ve never been the smartest, but I do have a pretty good work ethic. I do have the toughness to bounce back from painful experiences. Whenever my brain says, “Oh, you’re a friggen genius, bud”, it’s time to reset my attitude, to stay humble, and to remember that it’s my hard work that has gotten me to where I am.

Remember that when you’re on top of the world, you start driving blind. Confidence is amazingly powerful, but on the flipside, it can be dangerously debilitating. You start neglecting negative indicators, and you rationalize threats with hubris.

So my thoughts from this rant are this: Stay humble when you’re winning. When the odds are in your favor or you see something that others don’t, bet the farm. And finally, don’t be tricked by your own mind. It’s dumber than you think.

Are You An Owner Or A Victim?

“You’ve got to think about big things while you’re doing small things, so that all the small things go in the right direction.”

– Alvin Toffler

Some people like to think impending doom is always knocking on their doorstep, and because their mind and heart is emotionally engaged with that experience, it becomes their reality regardless of its initial truth. Depending on the time, persistence, and intensity the person interacts with these thoughts and feelings, it will become true sooner or later. The actions their thoughts and feelings perpetuate ultimately produce the results which they were trying to avoid all along.

Other people like to think great success is imminent. Because their mind and heart find opportunities to learn in each moment and because they see obstacles as stepping stones rather than some fate driven dream-crushing force, their success through their perseverance and long term vision becomes inevitable. With each failure, a new insight comes to light. They learn which actions and thoughts to avoid. With each success, a greater confidence and belief comes to be. The feeling of what was possible before becomes small. New and bigger goals take birth. The sky becomes the limit.

Be mindful of your thoughts FOUR they are creating your reality without you even knowing it. Going through life on auto-pilot is like driving a car without thinking about where you are going. It is best to have a destination.

Remember that it is useful to willingly put yourself in stressful and difficult situations in times of peace, so you have the emotional wherewithal and tools to work through the obstacles that undoubtedly will present themselves. Rest, but don’t rest too long. Rest until you are ready to push yourself again.

As the saying goes, “The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war.”


Rediscovering Yourself Through Nature

The hustle and bustle of everyday life can drain you both mentally and physically. Between the pressures of work life, the emotional hurdles and unpredictability of the dating scene, financial burdens, empty freezers with no ice cream…you get it, life can be “tough”.

But I’ve gotten a hell of a lot better at noticing when these activities become a serious energy suck and focus on redirecting my actions elsewhere. The last thing you want is to lose your sense of self — which can be very easy to do.

One way I like to refuel and refocus is to escape the confines of the city and spend some time in nature. I strongly believe that nature is one of the best healing tools out there. Its simplicity forces you to focus on that very moment — allowing you to just, be. And it enables you to let go — trusting that the universe will bring whatever and/or whoever into your life if it’s meant to be.

by Chris Garafola, Founder of Stop Breathe Bump.

“Life is too short for bad music.”

The Winds Always Change

by Evan Lea

The winds always change. Sometimes they blow at your back, pushing you supportively towards your goal. Sometimes they face you head on, forcing you to take cover or work through the resistance. Whichever wind is blowing in your life, it’s best to be conscientious and prepared for the inevitable change.

Think about your winning streaks – those times when it seems like nothing can go wrong. Whether it’s a series of great social interactions, twenty made jumpshots, or just your emotional well-being: those moments of flow and groove are some of the most enjoyable we experience as humans. It’s almost as if our brains shut off, our soul takes the wheel, and we are just along for the glorious ride. As Bagger Vance put it, we “stop thinking without falling asleep”. If only we could sustain this state. Unfortunately, in my experience, that’s not a realistic expectation.

Instead, torrid weather eventually rolls in. It’s hard to pin down exactly what causes this change, but the fact that it always remains true is something worth paying attention to. Identifying the change in wind is all the more important. It is our job to be prepared. It’s important that we’ve enabled ourselves to acknowledge, survive, recover, and thrive from these headwinds.

They come in many forms. Whether it’s temptation, a regression of standards, being burnt out from going too hard for too long, unfavorable circumstances out of your control – whatever the reason, knowing yourself and how you’ve historically reacted to these setbacks is critical. Now that’s not to say you should always be looking for the bad in life, but just be aware of the fact that sometimes, we are predisposed to counterproductive forces. Thinking about them constantly will only bring on more of them, but having a plan for handling them when they arrive will keep you from great harm. Hope for the best, and prepare for the worst.

It’s important to know which activities to enjoy when the weather is favorable and which to avoid when all things are askew. By recognizing the patterns of the universe and of ourselves, we can learn to work with the wind instead of against it. This leads us to be much more effective, happy, and successful.

“Spend each day trying to be a little wiser than you were when you woke up. Discharge your duties faithfully and well. Step-by-step you get ahead, but not necessarily in fast spurts. But you build discipline by preparing for fast spurts. Slug it out one inch at a time, day-by-day, and at the end of the day – if you live long enough – like most people, you will get out of life what you deserve.”

– Charlie Munger

Find Your Purpose

Everyone loses their way.
When we feel defeated, fucked, broken, shot, helpless,
We need to look to our elders, be unselfish, and reassess what our self is.
Get back on our feet and be shelters for others, while we preach what they spelt
Out for us, it’s easy as algebra, grab a sword and shield and change the world is the outcome for us.
To be indefinitely determined to destroy fear.
Fuck fear. Steer straight through our worst to be clear, minded. They’re here to tell us that we can find it:
The life that was grandiosely designed for us.
Kindness, peace of mind, and time to listen,
Gives shine to young minds who are tryin’ to glisten.
Sometimes we go broke, sometimes we die.
But at the end of the book, we always will fly.

Why Self Worth Is Vitally Important

Never put anyone on a higher pedestal than yourself — ever. KNOW YOUR WORTH. Believe your worth. No one is greater or more worthy than You.

People who allow themselves to be controlled willingly give up their power to others. People will use you. Hurt you. Manipulate you and take you along for THEIR ride…but no one can take your power unless you let them. No one on this damn Earth can control you once you’ve empowered yourself with courage, discipline, responsibility, and most importantly, SELF RESPECT.

When times are tough, keep going. Never settle. Believe that God has greater plans for you and that eventually, everything will all make sense.

by Chris Garafola, Founder of Stop Breathe Bump.

“Life is too short for bad music.”


There were once four brothers. They were a tight knit group and they always promised that when they grew older, they would have their way with the world. They always worked hard, training and planning for the future. They were led by their brother Weston. Weston always lived with the certain fire inside of him. Hell, you could feel the heat if you were close enough. He pushed the other brothers to always try their best and to push their limits. There was no being lazy. Weston did whatever it took to get them in training. They engaged in competitive games and business propositions. They built their mental and physical strength. They improved their skills and challenged each other to be better. They lived with purpose and they were happy because of the progress they made. There was a certain magic in what Weston created for those 3 brothers.

As they grew older, Weston was shipped off to prep school. One cold, wintery night, Weston and his friend, Michael D’Amico were walking to the convenience store. A drunk driver came up behind them and blindsighted them both in the back in the quiet town of Holderness, NH. When Wes and Mike died, the 3 brothers got together and vowed to continue chasing the dream that was originally imagined by the 4. It has been over 10 years since Weston has died, but the 3 brothers still strive to accomplish their magnificent mission. The 3 brothers truly believe that he is here, watching over them. Although tragic, from Wes’ death came a strong bond between a large group of people he affected. Great souls from everywhere came to become part of the family that is destined to change the world. This is 44Life.

Burlington, VT