Nicknames, I’ve had a few.
As a kid my buddy Ralph called me “the man with a thousand faces.” For some reason I made him laugh, a constant source for his amusement.
During my early teens my buddy Ronnie and his family called me Adams. You see we hung out on the basketball court quite a bit and I remember a specific time where Ronnie Lovitt, his dad Ronnie and cousin Richie were playing basketball against Ronnie Perkins and his dad Ronnie and me. I became “Adams” shortly thereafter.
In my late teens my friend Jeff Haworth dubbed me “Ponyboy.”
You see, back then, nineteen eighty something, I had hair! Actually, quite a bit of it. In those days it was quite the trend to have short hair in the front, long hair in the back. To quote Joe Dirt, “business in the front, party in the back”. Lol. They call it a mullet. I have no idea what that means, but I had one. That mullet morphed into the next trend which was short spiked hair with a rat tail in the back. You know, a pony tail. That haircut led my friend Jeff to call me Ponyboy.
Ponyboy wore a Members Only jacket, acid washed Levi’s, and cowboy boots. Ponyboy was 145 pounds soaking wet.
Not only did I look different in nineteen eighty something, I was a different person. My interests were primarily music and sports. Def Leppard, The Scorpians, and The Police were cassettes found in my Sony Walkman. My Bengals were respectable back in those days as were my Cincinnati Reds and my favorite basketball team, the Houston Rockets.
Seems like the music and the sports were just a distraction.
Looking back, I really don’t think Ponyboy had a care for anyone except himself. That character was angry, critical, judgemental of others.
I’m quite thankful to have left the acid washed jeans behind along with the Members Only jacket. More importantly, I’m glad to have left the self interested, judgemental me behind.
You see, I’m no longer the same person–I’ve grown.
My business allows me to meet lots of different types of people. Almost always when I meet a new client they are going through a major change in life. Marriage, divorce, death, job promotions, pregnancies, and empty nests cause people to move. All of these are stressful events. Not to mention the move itself.
Unfortunately, folks who are dealing with this level of stress aren’t always on their best behavior. As their defender and advocate, I have to deploy empathy for their situation and realize everyone has difficulties that others can’t readily see.
Many years ago I adopted a no judgement policy. Empathy. Radical acceptance.
It’s made all of the difference. It’s made me a better person, a better agent, a better coach.
All of us are at different places in our personal growth. Most of us still have a way to go before we become the people we’d like to be.
Some of us are still trying to get past the Members Only jacket phase.