President’s Column - July 2017 - by Mike Hodson

Mike Hodson


  Dreams can be wonderful, taking you places and allowing you to do things never thought to be possible. My personal favorite recurring dream is where I can fly anytime and anywhere, with only my willpower to make it happen.

   Living the very fortunate lives that many of us do, dreaming about having basic necessities is never an issue. Blessed with an abundance of material goods, our thoughts wander towards solving intransigent problems that confound the most brilliant minds.

   Turning back the clock can be a beautiful dream, the goal being to recapture quality of life lost with the passage of time. Vanity can be a monstrous problem as the years take their toll, despite our best efforts at denial, procrastination or more drastic measures. Health issues, physical or mental, sap our strength and resolve, making us dream of the “silver bullet” to cure our affictions.

   As with everything in our lives, keeping our dreams realistic and achievable will do much to avoid frustration. Many, many years ago, I dreamed of playing professional baseball, as many young men do. As I progressed through the various organizational levels, it became clear that I did not have what it takes to succeed at that level of competition. Although disappointed, I knew that very few make it to the big leagues.

   Looking back on my working career, dreams of happiness, satisfaction and balance were more important than monetary gain. Having seen my father overwork himself into an early grave had a huge impact on me. Going from nothing to a life of financial success was everything to him. My goals were different, in large part due to my secure upbringing, which gave me a completely different perspective. Sometimes role models are positive examples to be followed; other times, you choose a different path for your life.

   My first Porsche quickly turned from a dream into a nightmare. After a tiny bit of shopping, with no research or expertise and lots of raw emotion, I proudly (or so I thought) purchased the wrong car. “Rode hard and put away wet” was too kind a description for that 1969 911T, and the financial pain lasted for years. At the time, everyone told me that I could not afford that car, and they were all correct. Fleeting moments of pleasure were overwhelmed with almost endless grief. But like any valuable lesson, the hard way proved to be the best way.

   They say it is not important how many times a man falls down. What is important is how many times he gets back up. Our dreams compel us to take chances, which brings the risk of failure. If we never take chances, we never fail -- but we also never succeed, which may be worse.

   My most important life dreams have all come true. I have a wonderful, lovely, understanding wife. Our children are happy and independent with great futures. Every day is filled with rewarding activities shared with good friends. Blessed with great genes and a reasonable fitness regimen, our health is beyond excellent. Dreaming of anything above and beyond what I enjoy now would be madness.