Live Your Life

Follow whatever signs to fun you find on the road to happiness.
Rick Ream and his loved ones.

The great thing about my relationship with Signs of the Times is that we’ve been working together for so many years (decades now), that they pretty much give me free rein to write about any subject I want to share. 

In that light, this month’s column is different than any I’ve written before. I don’t want to talk about a particular project nor even the sign business in general. Rather, I’d like to speak to you about our life here on this planet and how we live it, especially because, no matter how long we live, life is short.

With the pandemic, 2020 has been an historic year for this entire planet. People the world over have been through so many difficulties or disasters with their businesses, their finances, and even the loss of loved ones in the wake of this virus.

And though not COVID-related, recently, my best buddy on the planet, my business partner Rick Ream, sadly lost his father as well.

In the early morning hours of Oct. 1, a healthy, 87-year-old William Richard Ream grabbed his cup of coffee, sat down in his favorite chair in his Port Orange, FL home, and simply closed his eyes one last time. Shocking as it is to all of us, his passing was peaceful and he did not suffer.

In stark contrast, 10 years ago my father endured eight months of agony, being prodded and poked in his hospital bed, as the packs of cigarettes he’d smoked his entire life finally took their toll. 

KINDRED SPIRITS

When two events like these take place, your mind can’t help but churn over those fundamental differences, and together Rick and I have decided, while it’s better for us to have the time to spend with a loved one and prepare ourselves for death’s eventuality, it was so much easier for that person to just simply fall asleep and transition into their next reality, whatever we believe that to be. 

Of course, the abruptness doesn’t allow us the time to say goodbye or process everything so quickly, so either way is ridiculously difficult to accept. 

Over the last 20 years, Rick and I have enjoyed a great partnership, one that most partnerships do not experience, and I believe that harmony is due in large part to how both of us view our lives here on this planet. 

William Ream, father of Media 1 Vice President, Sign Fabrication & Installation Rick Ream, who passed away Oct. 1.
William Ream, father of Media 1 Vice President, Sign Fabrication & Installation Rick Ream, who passed away Oct. 1.

We realize that we are only here for a very short period of time, and that the entire goal of the human existence is to experience as much joy, fun and laughter as we can possibly squeeze into these few decades of our lifespans.

It’s not just about monetary success, it’s not just about raising a family, or traveling the world. It’s the culmination of all those things! Everything that we (individually) place importance on. It is our choice what to do with our lives, with the only guiding force being our happiness. 

If you want to create a business empire and forego having a family, that’s great! But the converse is equally true. If you want to jump out of perfectly good airplanes for fun, nobody has the right to tell you you’re crazy.

The key is the fun part.

POSITIVE VIBRATION

And Rick and I both believe that our shared outlook, that goal of being happy, is what drives our business success. Why? Because this is the life we chose to live, and we are happy in our paths. You just have to decide that being happy is the ultimate goal. Once you vibrate that feeling, all other good things can come to you. 

Some of you might be rolling your eyeballs over this Pollyanna viewpoint, but can you tell me that any rational person on this planet is not chasing happiness? It’s why we pursue goals, why we get married, have kids, host BBQ’s on the weekends. It’s why there’s beer!

Happiness is the source and the answer to all of our questions. Enjoy your life. Have fun. Appreciate all the good things, and don’t spend so much time on the bad. 

I dedicate this column to my friend, Rick Ream, his family and his awesome outlook on life, which makes being his partner so damn easy. I love you, brother!

The days are long, but the years are short, my friends. We only have so much time here. Be happy and enjoy this crazy ride.

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