Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 in the books, Bring on 2013

WHAT A YEAR.  2012 for me was one of tremendous adversity, some of the most incredible memories of my life to date, amazing times with both family and friends, and a little personal growth and reflection along the way.  Before we officially kick off 2013 I need to get a few thoughts off my chest about 2012, and then some of my hopes for next year. Some have to do directly with the pictures below, some are just random thoughts.

1.) My family is my inspiration. The family I have currently, my mother and father, brothers and sisters, nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts and uncles. All of the people that make up both the Kerkian and Bowler clans are so unique. Every one alike in the blood we all share but each owning such individuality that it makes for an incredibly dynmanic family tree. I love you all so much and take such great strength from what you mean in my life.

Also to the family that I have not yet found. My wife, and my children. I pledge to you that I will pour my heart and soul into being the absolute best human being I can be, personally and professionally. So that never, EVER, in our lives together will you not feel secure and protected. You are the true motivation for my work ethic.

2.) My friends, who are in every sense of the word, are also my family.  There is nothing that I would not do for this group. Literally nothing. The bond we have is forged from the memories we have made together, both good and bad.  Some of you I have known since I was little, some only in more recent years, but all of you share one thing in common.  You are in my heart and in my mind every day.  You provide so much happiness, warmth and love in my life and I am forever grateful for that.  We had some unbelievable times in 2012, and I know that 2013 will be filled with more of the same.

3.) HEALTHY LIVING - 2012 I continued my mission to live as healthy as possible. I feel amazing. I've pushed my body far beyond any place it has ever been, through barriers I did not think I could pass.  I'm 31 years old and I have never in my life felt as good as I do now.  I also worked to harder this year to share this mission with others, and I hope to do even more in 2013. We all need to make this planet, and this country especially, a healthier place to live. That starts with raising our children to eat vegetables, not McDonalds. To play sports or exercise more then they play video games, and about the importance of taking care of our planet. 

4.) Negativity - The older I get the less patience I have for it. There simply is no room for it in my world.  Bad things happen to everyone. Every day is not going to be full of happiness and laughter. But the way we handle adversity says a lot about our character.  Concentrate on the amazing gift of life that we all have, and not the trials and tribulations along the way. We are going to have good times and bad times, but the way we choose to react is 100% in our own hands. A choice you make. Be positive, move forward.

5.) I promise to be even more handsome in 2013 than I was in 2012. Although this probably goes with out saying!

6.) My work family.  2012 was a tremendous year for our business, especially the Monsters.  We took some major steps forwards in our culture, with our people, and inching towards our ultimate goals.  I LOVE what I do, I sincerely care for the people I work with every day.  I am so thankful that when I wake up in the morning I am thoroughly excited to go into the office and be with the team. I would run through a wall for them, and nothing gives me more satisfaction than seeing the people on our team have success. I take a lot of pride in what we've done the last six years, and there are some people in that building that hold a very special place in my heart.

7.) I love gin. I mean I loved gin before, but 2012 was a year where I think I truly began to understand the greatness of nature's most perfect drink. Thank you to my Grandpa Bowler and Dad for introducing me to marvelous creation.

8.) I got another tattoo this year, and it is one of my favorite memories of 2012. With 2013 will come two more, pretty substantial, and they are coming soon.  Stay tuned.

9.) 2013 I will continue to open myself to trying new things, no matter how outlandish or crazy they are. Be open to adventure and getting out of my comfort zone. Really important for me.  Trying something new is such a fun part of life!

10.) CLEVELAND - In 2012 I continued my mission as an advocate of our amazing city and worked hard to become a bigger part of the community.  This city, no matter where I'm living, will always be a part of who I am. I will continue to be relentless in helping bring Cleveland back to life.

10.) 2013 - I want to continue to live free in mind, body and spirit.  I never have, and never will play by the normal "rules" or "guidelines" that dictate so many of the decisions we all make every day.  I live to make memories with the people I love, and when I look back on my life know that I left absolutely nothing on the table.  That I laughed, cried, and loved as hard as I possible could. That I took chances, and lived passionately every single day.  I want to be a positive influence in the lives of others and a leader that people will believe in.  I will not be afraid to make mistakes, and I will never take for granted the opportunities that have been bestowed upon me.  I will continue to work hard to find ways to help other people.

Lastly - I will never apologize for being me.  That certainly comes with a lot of mistakes and with all my idiosyncrysies that drive some of the people in my life crazy. I don't always do what is perceived as "right", as I often make decisions based on my heart and not my head. I might hurt some people along the way, but never intentionally.  I'm wired differently, admittedly, but I don't apologize for it.


Friday, December 14, 2012

In Your Court

Since we're forbidden even to mention the words "gun control," lest we desecrate the sacrosanct lines that constitute our most holy 2nd Amendment, I put the onus firmly on gun lovers to find a solution to shooting sprees and dead schoolchildren.  Fresh ideas are welcome.

Your haste is appreciated,




This world is filled with unbelievable tragedy and we saw a numbing example of that this morning.  Our thoughts go out to all of those involved with the shooting in Connecticut today.  All of the strength and courage in the world can not prepare anyone for something as traumatic at this shooting. My thoughts also lie with those who in some fashion have experienced similar harrowing tragedies in the past.  I know that for so many an event like this will bring horrible memories flooding back to the surface, exposing wounds not yet healed. If I could take on some of your pain to ease the burden you carry every day I would do so without hesitation. 

I didn't really know where this post was going when I started.  I just knew I needed to write.  I could discuss gun control and the fact that this sick bastard found access to military grade ammunition for his automatic rifle.  But I won't.  I could discuss the moral dilemma we face every day in our country of having a 20 year-old willing to walk into a school, and gun down innocent human beings. Children. But I won't.

Instead I am just going to speak generally on how I feel finally having a few minutes at the end of the day to process this.

My feelings and my thoughts lay squarely with all of those who must face the horrific reality of these unthinkable crimes.  At Quicken Loans Arena there was an eerie feel all day following the news, including a spattering of brief conversations between co-workers about what happened in Connecticut, and you could see many drowning in their own thoughts, reflecting on their lives and their loved ones. Everyone confused, dumbfounded, shocked, and an almost universal sense of uncertainly on how to process the nature of what happened.  I'm sure many of you in discussing the shooting today at some point heard the question, "What would drive a person to the point of shooting a child, how is it possible?"  I know I certainly did several times.

The pain in my heart comes from thinking about those families affected in Connecticut. Tonight we will all be able to go home and tell our children, mothers, fathers, sisters, and brothers that we love them.  Those families, and that community however, will not.  They will be faced with coming to grips with the irreversible reality that a loved one is gone.  That the unthinkable has happened right in their own back yard. There are no words, there are no memorial services, there are no cures that will lesson the magnitude of their pain.  Only time will ease the severity of those permanent scars that this tragedy has left; which I know each and every person in that community will now carry with them for the rest of their lives.  I send you all of the strength, love and positive energy in my body. 

My final thought is what I began this post with:  I WILL NOT be scared.  My children WILL NOT be scared.  To all of you sick-minded, disillusioned murderous monsters out there: You will not intimidate me.  You will not alter the way that I live my life.  EVER.  I will go on living without fear, and my children will be raised to live every day to the fullest.  To experience everything that this wonderful life has to offer.  If at some point I come face to face with one of you, and you threaten my family, my friends, or my community; the only the fear that will be felt is yours. 

Love will ALWAYS conquer hate.  Love comes with strength, honor, courage, compassion, and bravery.  Hate is the characteristic of the simple minded, a pathway to cowardice.  Love will ALWAYS conquer hate.