Celebrating 60 years during a global pandemic

I turn 60 today - in an isolated yet virtual world of a global pandemic. Because of the self isolation I’ve had more time to pull together a slideshow which was no small feat; my father was handy with a camera and I of course sport a professional classification. I’ve managed to curate hundreds of photographs, arduously scanning and collating from thousands of images to convey my life up until this point. It was a bit daunting but I managed to come up with something cohesive. Turns out that was the easy part. The hard part is the missing: There’s little evidence of my existence from 1974-1979 when I was child slave labor for a cult, no graduations to celebrate, and the sadness I felt pulling together that segment was compounded by the loss of so many loved ones, including close friends and colleagues that were dear to me.

Encapsulating my journey into an eight-minute video put many things into perspective including my philanthropy and coming to know so many remarkable people who have beat the odds and achieved the American Dream. Working for a substance abuse center has heightened my awareness on the challenges that young people face today: When I walk the hallways of our youth facility and encounter the kids in recovery, I know my life could have taken a very different trajectory: Most aren’t there because of a genetic condition - they are there because of child abuse. In my case, travel and photography beame my drug of choice. My challenging past is helping to advance the conversation on the devastating effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences, an insidious pandemic that coats the dark underbelly of modern society. I have lived it, my cohort has lived it: We do not wish the same fate on anyone else, and those who have not experienced this sort of abuse sometimes find it hard to fathom, which is why it’s important to keep building awareness. You never fully recover - you cope.

I have come far despite my handicaps for which I am grateful, I am also thankful I have the capabilities to tell my story. With so many at home looking for a distraction hopefully my video will give you some pause. It’s not all melancholy - because….. tramps like us, baby we were born to run!

Celebrating 60 years during a global pandemic


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