FIT@50 / week 75

FIT@50 / week 75

Just Look Up:

I was back in the pool this week. It was incredible, and although the skills had diminished over a few years, I was still able to comfortably crank out laps. Except for when I crashed into Liliana Hart because she decided to stop and fix her hair in the middle of a lane. Though I think it was on purpose for both of us. I’m going to do a short-course triathlon later this year with our 14 year old daughter, and needed to get back to my own training to teach her.

If Michael Phelps and USA Swimming inspired me to do anything recently, it was to enjoy the training and fun of swimming, and to never be ignorant enough to make up a story about being robbed by cops.

I’ll let you in on a little secret. I was always weary of water. No, not drinking water or bath water, but big bodies of open water. Sure the movie Jaws contributed to it too, but other than the dog paddle or treading water, I swam like a block of led.

Therein lied the dilemma. For many years, I thought about completing a triathlon, but since swimming was like the first one-third of the event, there weren’t many ways of getting around it. And unlike the one person who actually walked on it, I wasn’t getting away without swimming through it.

Something about having nothing to touch just below both feet while my body tentatively bobbed atop shifting currents bothered the bejesus out of me. I wasn’t going to be limited by this fear. So, I did what any motivated person would do. I YouTube it, and then I bought a book on swimming.

I began swimming before and after grad school classes and work in nice four foot deep lap lanes. I was able to breaststroke over one mile without stopping, so I entered my first triathlon. Guess what? Whitecaps, other swimmers and a pool-only breaststroke resulted in near open water disaster. But I lived to bike and run and was hooked.

I had great friends teach me but the freestyle swim stroke still eluded me. I dedicated one year to swimming four to six days a week. One night in a YMCA pool, I grew agitated and slapped the water in defeat.

My training partner asked what was bothering me. I confessed that while I could do the technique, I still couldn’t rotate to catch a breath. I’d panic, or swim with my face buried until lifting my head for air while both legs sunk and stopped my forward motion. I’d read the books, watched the videos and practiced, but I still had that gnawing fear reminding me that if I stopped, or grew tired or sucked in water instead of air, that I’d find myself where the deep, dark waters waited.

All I ever focused on was what was below. My friend asked what did it matter how deep the water was? We’re up here on the surface. Then he pointed to a pipe running across the ceiling’s peak. He said when you need to rotate for air, just look up.

That night I swam two miles without a single break. I did it freestyle the entire time, and had a blast skimming across the surface while rhythmically doing what I should’ve been doing all along – Looking Up.

Being FIT@50 has taught me that even the things we may want most can have the potential for adversely focusing our attention on the deep, dark negatives of obtaining the goal. Sometimes all it takes is a friendly reminder to Look Up.

Do Good,

Scott

Chief Scott Silverii, Ph.D.

FIT@50 / week 73

FIT@50 / week 73

Kinda Weird:

We came back to Louisiana for a few days while the kids were tucked away at summer camp. There were things left to do right before school resumed. Had it been notebooks and rulers, we would’ve knocked out quick. It was more involved – it’s always more involved.

Thanks to an unscrupulous builder (much more on that later) we’ve no base camp with Max heading back to the grind next week. With the helpfulness of our community, finding digs was no problem.

For now, Liliana Hart and I are checked into a hotel. It’s nice, but it’s a local hotel. One night we decided to walk across the parking lot to the Sonic for a snack. A big cup of ice cream type of snack.

It was super humid with the stale scent of impending rain wafting through a windy night. I walked to the big order screen and mashed that iconic red button. Soon we were recipients of late-night goodies.

As I looked around the parking lot, it fell over me like a moist sheep’s skin just out of the microwave – Reality.

“You know, it’s kinda weird.” I mused.

“What’s that?” Liliana replied with the expectation of never knowing what I’m about to say.

“It wasn’t long ago that I was the Chief of Police here. Now, I’m living in a hotel room and walking across a vacant parking lot for ice cream.”

She huffed, “True. I bet people would think, man, the Chief fell on hard times.”

Walking back while wishing I’d worn a tugged down baseball cap, I thought about how different my life is versus the way it recently was. Then I thought about why it mattered if people saw me walking back to a hotel room in my own home town. I was with my wife after all.

About half way through the rain puddled parking lot, and just as I fished out the last pieces of Snickers topping my ice cream, the realization returned.

I really didn’t care.

I was in a city I love, with the woman I love, eating the snack I love. Matter of fact, even the late summer’s humidity was nice to soak in once again as we kicked through warm rain water.

Come to think of it, it really doesn’t matter who you were or what you did or where you did it. What really matters is that you did your best while doing it, and now you get to enjoy life because of the effort once given. Even if it means walking from your hotel room to push the red Sonic button.

Do Good,

Scott

Chief Scott Silverii, Ph.D.

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FIT@50 / week 68

max meat
FIT@50 / week 68
Talk, It’s What’s For Dinner:
 
Liliana Hart & I eat out. A Lot.
It’s what we do and what we enjoy. We work at home, so our chance to avoid being creepy homebodies is to go out and socialize with other humans. I love talking to people, so it’s a natural fit for me. I actually chased down the mail carrier to say hello.
 
The kids also eat out. A Lot.
It’s what they do, and what they enjoy. Besides it’s easier and much quicker to feed eight than to buy various foods to satisfy all. Plus – no dishes to clean up.
 
Then we bought a grill. Probably more on a dare than an actual desire to hang out in the Texas heat over an open flame.
 
Night 1 was sorta odd. We had to force the kids to come outside. They were like aliens leaving the mothership for the first time. The meat was cooked. A Lot.
 
Last night we had our final family feast BBQ, and not only was the food amazing, but the process of dinner time had become incredible as well. Over the weeks of cooking out almost every night, each kid found their niche from seasoning the meat to cleaning the grill. It was a joy to see their pride in doing their best and in contribution to the family good.
 
We’d spend hours outside in the preparation, grilling, eating and then talking. Yep, those were brakes screeching across your website – I said talking.
 
Talking.
 
Liliana Hart & I’d just sit there, full of wonderful meat because we’re meat eaters, and watch, but mostly listen to little voices laughing, and reading to each other, or one would wander off into the dark imagining he was Ironman, while they watched lightening bugs spark throughout the wooded backyard.
 
I know she’d agree that no amount of travel, adventure or success has or ever will match the incredible summer our family spent outside.
 
We head to Europe for July, but it isn’t without heavy hearts and hesitation. So I ask the friends we’re going to visit and see during our work and play – if you have an outdoor BBQ grill, how about we avoid the fancy French cafe’s and toss some beef across a flame!
 
Do Good,
Scott Silverii
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FIT@50 / week 66

buzz

FIT@50 / week 66

True Power:

When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace.” – Jimi Hendrix
 
This week I received two notices about Chief of Police positions in Louisiana. My immediate thoughts were “No thanks.” It was about this time last year that I’d announced my August 28th retirement date.
 
I would’ve never in a million years thought retirement from the only job I’d known would’ve been a reality. To be honest, I just assumed, and was happy with the idea of dying before retiring. I was in the catbird seat and had no intentions of relinquishing the position as my city’s top cop.
 
Then it happened – My life changed.
 
It was no longer about conquering careers, giving orders or fielding offers to run much larger agencies. I transitioned into working as an equal with a partner I loved and respected. No longer was having my picture on the front page or official statements of any consequence.
 
I’d learned a long time ago that power and authority are two very different dynamics. Neither were important to me any more. Becoming a husband and dad were. Surrendering the spotlight to stand in the shadows applauding my wife, Liliana Hart and kids’ accomplishments became the new normal.
 
It’s been almost a year since I walked away from the facade of a powerful position to the reality of an important one. Sure, times like this week’s Orlando massacre make me miss being in blue to help the public, but I know there are almost 900,000 others who serve with the same passion as I did.
 
My place is where God led me. Does it mean I don’t train as hard as I used to just in case of a crisis, or that I’ve forgotten the skills and training that came with wearing the badge – No.
 
What has changed is my definition of true power, and it’s found within the love and support of family.
 
Do Good,
Scott
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The Eulogy: 2015

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The Eulogy: 2015

Over the last few days I’ve witnessed so many who’ve cursed or eulogized the last year; yes 2015. Instead of rejoicing in the 365 days of life God allowed them, they dismiss the gifts of grace in hopes of happenstance instantly or magically changing their circumstances.

What makes a person believe that the tick of a second-hand tock is going to erase the hardships, the failures, the could-have-beens, the should-have-beens and the never-have-beens?

Good things happen, bad things happen, terribly horrible things happen and yes; wonderfully fantastic things happen. This is what we call “Life.”

Were there hard times in 2015? Sure. After 15 years I still miss my mother. After 8 years and counting, I still cheer-lead for my son with Down syndrome to live an amazingly fantastic life. Day after day I still watch my dad as the effects of diabetes and dementia take their collective toll.

This is called “Life” and it’s a gift; rejoice in it. Psalm 118:24 – This is the day that the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.

While attending a funeral recently, an 89-year-old gentleman graced me with conversation. In sincerity and optimism he looked squarely at me and said, “Chief, life is too short. Enjoy it.”

What do you say to that?

I thought about the many who hurriedly stowed away 2015 in hopes of better times, the comment I could not respond to on life’s brevity, and my own take on the passing of one calendar year to the next.

I’m going to be honest with you; am I where I wanted to be on several levels at the end of 2015? No, not at all.

– I wanted to increase my walk with Christ

– I wanted to be a better father

– I wanted to be a better son and brother

– I wanted to be a better friend

– I wanted to be thinner and healthier

– I wanted to not be so guarded

– I wanted to cycle more, and eat ice cream less (debatable)

Am I bitter? Have I plastered Facebook with admonishments over a 2015 unlived, have I darkened others’ days with tales of “unfairs” over the last year? No. Not at all. It was a fantastic year. It was a 365 day blessing of mercy that God gifted me. It was yet another year in my life well lived.

This is not a criticism for pessimistic postings. It’s a reminder that if you think back over the course of the last year you will find;

1. The bad things that could have been avoided, possibly required more of our time and attention.
2. The horrible things that could not be avoided, we should be thankful that we’re still in this life to grieve, learn or recover.
3. The good things that happened probably resulted from our hard work and dedication.
4. The fantastic things that happened probably included someone else’s support along the way.

If you sat on your thumbs in 2015 waiting for what you thought owed and were disappointed, then sitting on your thumbs in 2016 will probably only result in much more soreness and even more criticisms come next New Year’s Eve.

Don’t be so quick to eulogize the passing year for its failures, as they represent the “you” who experienced it. Instead, embrace the positive and learn from the each opportunity.

Failure is not getting knocked down. It’s refusing to get back up.

See you at the end of yet another superhero’ish calendar year 2016.

Do Good,

Scott
Originally posted at scottsilverii.com – The Eulogy: 2013 / 2014

FIT@50 / week 40

boots

FIT@50 / week 40
Big Shoes
 
Facebook launches these memories and top posts apps along with other fun and invasive things every so often. I admit, I fell for it. My top 3 posts for 2015 was my retirement as Chief of Police, my marriage to Liliana Hart and Max & me.
 
It was the perfect trifecta. Those three simple pictures illustrated the Big Shoes approach I take to life. It’s not about outdoing anyone else. It’s about being present in the lives of others.
 
It’s about leaving a giant footprint wherever I’ve been placed in my life. Giving everything I have to doing the best job I can. Now that often means finishing last in a race, or second on a test, or maybe having a book release that tanked in sales.
 
No matter. It’s the effort that matters. Did I give everything? When I crawl off of life’s many battlefields, did I take anything with me that I could have left out there in the way of effort?
 
I appreciate the sentiment of working smarter than hard, but I treasure the ethic of hard work. I recall raking leaves until my 7 year old palms blistered and bled. You’d thought I’d been bitten by a shark, but my dad would send me back out until it was done and done right. Those are lessons that benefitted me in the toughest and most dangerous of times.
 
I don’t get today’s tenor of neither working smart nor hard. When did that become dishonorable? When did an honest day’s work get exchanged for this false sense of entitlement? When did pussyfooting around life’s responsibilities replace two feet firmly planted in reality?
 
Leave the biggest footprints you can in this life. Work so hard that they will never be filed without an equal or more Herculean effort. And when they are, make sure you acknowledge that person, who too, still honors the American ideal of honest effort.

FIT@50 / week 39

bayou bridge

FIT@50 / week 39
Let’s Walk
The water in the background is Bayou Lafourche. Growing up in Cajun Country I swam in that bayou, paddled a pirogue in that bayou, fished in that bayou and played in that bayou.
I never once in 50 years ever walked across that bayou. Not until recently. It was a Saturday festival downtown and we looked for the rare space to park.
I suggested we walk. And we did. About half way across I stopped and told Liliana Hart it was the first time I ever walked across this bayou. Of course we had to take a pic to memorialize the event that was 1/2 a century in the making.
Becoming FIT@50 I’ve stopped worrying and conquering everything in my path, squeezing into the closet parallel parking spot and getting everywhere 15 minutes early.
How many bridges are there in life that we avoid walking across because we just gotta get there fast?
It’s a simple picture on the surface, but on this Saturday afternoon I actually walked across water – Bayou Lafourche.
Do Good,
Scott
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