I have had lots of jobs: limo owner and driver, accountant, computer programmer, office assistant, hotel desk clerk, youth minister, pastor, and the list goes on….but the only job I could finally stand is that of a Therapist. I think I always wanted to be a Therapist, but I had to rule out some other things first. I always felt I had the knack for doing therapy, but other things took precedence, like thinking I wanted to make a lot of money. I found that money only motivates me so far and then I’m left wanting. Doing therapy is so rewarding because I get invited into peoples’ lives and see sides of my clients others never see. It’s pure joy to get to do a job I’d probably continue to do even if I won the lottery. Not that it isn’t draining, it is. Not that some days suck, they do. But I would not go back to anything I’ve done previously because nothing else fits like doing therapy. I don’t even know if I’m really making a difference in peoples’ lives, but I hope so. I hope that God is working through me to challenge others to be their best. I hope that I can inspire others to see what life can be.
I decided to get an old school automatic watch last Christmas. Actually, I asked for it for Christmas from my wife and it magically appeared under the tree. It is a Seiko 5 Automatic watch, the one pictured here, SNK793, and has a blue dial. It is a thing of beauty. I went with the Seiko 5 because it was recommended by HODINKEE whom I follow on Instagram, as a good watch under a couple hundred bucks. I am very happy with it, now. At first, it would stop working overnight sometimes even after I wore it all day and all night. I figured it was broken. So I sent an email to SEIKO to find out about getting it replaced. They told me to make sure it was completely wound (duh) and that that might help. Alas, it seems to have done the trick. After I sat shaking the watch for 15 minutes at a stretch a few times, it seemed to work fine after that. I really love it. I went old school because I used to have a Stauer Atomic Watch that kept perfect time, but I tired of getting new batteries every couple of years. It may not seem like a big deal to get a new battery every couple of years, but where I live, there are not any jewelers close by. It’s always a hassle and I don’t change batteries myself, so as not to lose the watertight (mostly) seal that my watches have. So anyway, I decided to chuck the atomic timekeeper aside and pursue the magic of automatic winding. The Seiko is not as accurate as the Stauer, but I don’t have to worry about ever changing the battery. I also like the fact that time is a bit of a looser concept now that my watch may be a couple minutes fast or slow from time to time. It helps me keep perspective on life. Also, it feels like I’m able to disconnect from the Internet if I want to and not have to look at my phone for the time from time to time. It’s strangely liberating, but mostly, it feels like a throwback. I feel complete with just a self-contained mechanism on my wrist that operates separately from the Internet of Things and the official atomic time clock in Denver, Colorado.
My dad was the best. Of course, many people might say the same about their own fathers. My dad was so earnest. Oscar Ernest Manz, he was. He was humble, he didn’t have an ax to grind, he was successful at what he did and had the admiration of people from around the world. More than that, he cared deeply for his family. I am the youngest of our clan and most definitely benefitted from my position in the family. However, all my siblings admire my dad. Dad died in 2012 at age 84 shortly after learning he had cancer of the liver. He and my mom decided not to try to fight it as it had already spread rapidly. By doing so, they showed remarkable courage in following what they felt was right for them. It was not an easy decision. Dad died with dignity and with his mental faculties in place. I miss my dad, but I’m grateful he saw what I had become so far in life.
I want to share how his being shaped who I am. In the midst of a wrecking ball of a presidential election, I feel compelled to relate that everything my dad represented was the antithesis to the current Republican Presidential Nominee. My dad was satisfied with what he had. He was confident in who he was, without being arrogant. My dad had deep respect for others. My dad wasn’t perfect, but he was damn near. He just loved life and learning. Learning about fly-ash, a by-product of coal-fired electricity plants, and of how to mix just the right amounts of it with aggregate and cement to create the perfect concrete for any occasion. He also loved hearing peoples’ stories. He just had all the time in the world to sit and listen to someone he just met tell his or her life story. If I resemble him in my appearance, it’s genetic. If I resemble him in spirit, I’m deeply blessed. My life has been a series of experiences that have helped define me. My father was a relentless chaser of experiences, intended to widen his view of the world and to stimulate his intellect. I could have had no better male role model than my dad. He taught me to be caring, tender, faithful and most of all, authentic.
I heard this phrase recently from a friend who left his job as a pastor of a large church and is wanting to recalibrate his life. It made me rethink my own journey from being an accounting major in college, to working as a youth director in a church, to taking on secular business roles, to going to seminary, to working full time as a pastor and then changing paths to pursue being a therapist in recent years. All of this is to say that, either I can’t decide what I want to do when I grow up, or God is planning for me to put all my experience and education together to serve the world in a new, previously unimagined way. I hope it’s the latter.
I’ve been incredibly lucky to have a wife who supports my mid-life crisis change in career plans. Her willingness to go back to work full time was the linchpin for making this all work. For her I’m incredibly grateful. For my kids, too, who don’t have all the material possessions in the world (they’re doing just fine in spite of that) and wondered why their dad was still going to school in his mid-forties. I feel our family has had to recalibrate some of our priorities and make do with a little less. You might say we were getting back to basics. And it’s been good.
So here we stand on the precipice of a new reality. What does God have in store for me, for our family, for the future? We shall discover it as it’s revealed to us all in God’s time.
My brother Scott shaped who I am and is dearly missed
To know me, is to know my brother Scott. Scott died in 2011 at the age of 48. He had Crohn’s Disease and was suffering from depression, in my view. Scott was an amazing person. He was 8 years older than me, a lifetime in the eyes of a young boy, and my mentor. He cared for me and always, always had time for me. Although he moved to Utah when I was still in high school in North Dakota, he often paid for me to fly out to visit him on school breaks. He was always paying for stuff for me. He was generous to a fault. I really miss him, especially today, on the eve of what would have been his 54th birthday, September 10, 2016. He was a dreamer. He envisioned himself working on the Space Program with NASA as a young boy. Eventually, he became a Mechanical Engineer and worked with Thiokol Corp. on the Space Shuttle Booster Rocket Program. He was a rocket scientist. He had a heart of gold. He would stop and help strangers on the road having car trouble. He was protected by many guardian angels. He is deeply missed by those who loved him. He will forever be in my heart.
A Personal Coach creates a safe holding space from which to explore possibilities
A travel trailer acts as a holding space for those who seek adventure. Personal Coaching seeks to assist individuals in attaining their highest level of personal development. A Personal Coach, then, provides a safe emotional holding space for a person to use while traversing an ever changing landscape, the human soul. Personal Coaching differs from traditional counseling in that it doesn’t assign a diagnosis where there is none and does not start from a medical model which pathologizes abnormalities. It is a strength based approach which begins and ends with identifying and strengthening the gifts and uniquenesses that set each person apart from every other person on the planet.