The flowers made me do it (or not do it)


, , , ,

I had a date with D. on Monday night.  My intentions were of telling him in person that he needs to get his life resolved first and then we can actually began the process of getting to know each other.

Up to now we have been meeting for a quick lunch or dinner and lately just a quick drink, once a month.  A quick kiss at the end of every date. He is a great guy and has been honest with me from the start.  He lacks the time right now to invest in a relationship, but keeps promising me that once the house sells and the divorce is finalized that he can be available 100%.

I lack the patience to hang around.  I also don’t want to give him the impression that I am all in since I don’t really know him well enough to know what I want.  I was excited in the beginning, months ago, by now my interest has waned while his seems to be more intense.

In the past I have told him I am continuing to date and he responded with: okay, that is fine.  But I don’t really think that he has been listening.  I think that he thinks this is more than what it is.  I wanted to let him know how I felt in person.

“Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.” ― Henry James

So on Monday I was fully resolved to let him down easy.  I walked out of my building and came face to face with him holding a bouquet of red roses (they were deep red even though they look pink in the picture above).

I am a woman and I don’t have icy water running through my veins, so my heart sank.  Who doesn’t love to get flowers? I am always happy to get them but in this case I wish I didn’t.  And with that my resolve was gone.  I just couldn’t do it.  I couldn’t tell him good bye.

It is as if he knew what was coming.  He said:  I want to bring you flowers every time, but I am always running late, or the florist is closed.

What do I do now?  We never really text. He will text a hello every now and then. I really wanted to do it in person but it maybe kinder to just send a text.  What do you think?

“Attitude is a choice. Happiness is a choice. Optimism is a choice. Kindness is a choice. Giving is a choice. Respect is a choice. Whatever choice you make makes you. Choose wisely.”  ― Roy T. Bennett


What not to say on a first day


, , , , , ,

“Trust your heart if the seas catch fire, live by love though the stars walk backward.” ― E.E. Cummings

Last Thursday I decided to accept a spur of the moment invitation for coffee.  This is a person that I had just started exchanging messages with and didn’t know anything about him.  I wasn’t that interested but thought I could spare 10 minutes and see if there was any chemistry.  After all, how bad could it be?

BAD! It was really bad.  I am normally able to get something out of any date I have, except this one.  It is common for me not to have any chemistry but to like the person enough to want a friendship, but not with this one.

As soon as I sat down, and by the way he sat on the chair and I had to sit on top of the air vent.  As he studied my face he asked: Do you only wear glasses? Do you plan on getting contact lenses?   I said: no.  I was a little taken aback by this question.  He pressed on: Why not?  You never considered it?

I said: No, not really.  On my list of things to do or to change about myself, contact lenses comes in at the very last, if at all.

He seemed disappointed and proceed to tell me how an ex-girlfriend once convinced him that everyone looks better without glasses.  No matter how beautiful someone is, glasses are never a good look. So he now wear contacts. Then, sounding disappointed he added:  but you already said you have no interest.

I changed the subject by asking him about his day and his work.  He mentioned he was almost retired.  That he was tired of dealing with employees and now only took care of a few select clients.  He has some kind of electrical work company.

“Conceited people never hear anything but praise.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Instead of perhaps asking about my day and my job, he then asked me what I thought of all the men online.  Before I had a change to answer his question, he said: I have been told that most men are short and bald, so because I am tall and have all my hair I am better than 99% of the men online.

I politely reminded him that hair and height was not what I valued about people, that I was interested in the whole person, and more about the inside than the outside.  I doubt he heard me. If he did, he ignored it.

I geared the conversation towards food.  I asked him if he cooked.  He said that now he did, but for the longest time all he did was eat in fancy restaurants.  He mentioned how an ex-girlfriend turned him into a foodie and a traveler. He also mentioned that she paid for everything. But added: but I am not going into that now.

He also mentioned an ex-girlfriend that disappeared after she spent a weekend at his apartment.  He suspects that she was after his money and needed a green card and after she saw that he lived in a studio she thought that there was nothing there for her to go after.  He asked me if I agreed with that assumption since the girl in question was also Brazilian. I said: “that calls for a lot of speculation and assumption and I am not about to do that without having her side of the story”  I got a disappointed face again.

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” Theodore Roosevelt

After these painful minutes I got up to leave mentioning a train I had to catch.  He got up with me and hugged me good bye.  He then asked if I was intimidated by his height.  I looked at him in surprise and asked:  Why would I?  Why would anyone?  He looked disappointed again. One would think he is 7 feet tall, but even though he said he is 6’4, I don’t believe it.  My boss is 6’4 and this guy was definitely shorter.

Needless to say I had zero interest in getting to know him better.  He emailed that night to say that he was unsure about the chemistry – as if there was any chance I would be interested in him. I, humoring him, said: sleep on it.

The next morning I wrote him and I said that there was really zero chemistry and wished him luck.  He asked me to keep his number in case I ever had any event to attend and wanted him to accompany me.  I wanted to reply that he was just too old to be a gigolo, but chose silence instead.

And another bullet was dodged 🙂

“He knows nothing; and he thinks he knows everything. That points clearly to a political career.”  – ― George Bernard Shaw

Comings and goings and staying put


, , , , , ,

Pepsico Gardens

Hi friends, it has been a little awhile.

I went to Brazil in April, stayed 10 days and then brought Mom to the NY for her semiannual visit.  With Mom here there wasn’t a moment to spare.  We did the usual trips to the casino and to various stores, while juggling work stuff.

I went back to Brazil in May to take mom home. I stayed one week. While in Brazil I normally take time to organize something around my parent’s house, always wanting to make things easier and more practical for them.  I also receive the visit of many friends that stop by to say hello. It does get tiring.

The day following my return to NY 2 cousins arrived for a short vacation.  They stayed at my apartment 3 days.  It was non-stop.  Since they don’t like shopping we mostly went to parks and restaurants.  We visited the Pepsico Gardens (The Donald M. Kendall Sculpture Gardens) – absolutely beautiful; and Glen Island Park – my local park right by the water.  We also went bowling, ate at a Colombian restaurant among others, and went to City Island in search of relative (more on that later).

“Get busy living or get busy dying.” ― Stephen King

With all that going on, still there is work to deal with.  The audit is not over yet, but so far the questions they have been asking has to do with the brokers and not with financials or any of the other areas I deal with.  We also hired 2 new employees and with that I have a little more on my plate to get them on-board.

There will also be changes coming up at work that should be better for me but I am still not sure how it will all work out.  I will be talking more about that in the upcoming months.

On the flight to Brazil in May when I got to my seat there was an envelope.  It was a handwritten note from the lead flight attendant.  In it she was thanking me on behalf of Delta for my loyalty.  I know it is just a note but I really felt special and put a smile on my face. You go Delta!!

D. and I managed to see each other for dinner on May 10th. We will see each other one evening this week. He slashed the price of his house by hundreds of thousands to try to sell it quick, but so far no takers.  As I may have mentioned previously, his divorce is not happening until this house is sold.

In the meantime I haven’t gone on any dates with anyone else.  I just didn’t have the time. I have time to go on a date, but not for all the work and research involved with online dating. I plan on diving back into dating now.  I fear waiting for D. and nothing ever happening; or even worst, him becoming free and I realizing that I am not really into him.

“It is not enough to be busy; so are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?”  ― Henry David Thoreau

Eliminating the distractions


, , , , , ,

“You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks.” ― Winston S. Churchill

Distractions comes in all shapes and sizes and varieties.  One of the major distractions for me are people.  They cloud my vision.  They provide instant, but temporary gratification.  They feed my attention seeking self.  They come in and out of my life whenever they please and they keep me from focusing on the important things and people.

They are not to blame.  I am to blame.  I leave the door open.  I welcome them.  It is like I am willing to re-read the same book over and over again, knowing that I am going to hate the ending.

And time and time again, they disappear, leaving behind the certainty that they should never have returned to begin with.  That I should never have welcomed them.

“Stop letting other people hijack your day.” ― Frank Sonnenberg

Right now there are 3 men that I can think of that I allow to mess with my feelings and life with these comings and goings.  This is mostly in texting and phone calls, but the disturbance is there no matter what.  And the feeling that I shouldn’t be talking to them is also there.

There is AL, the very young one that still populates my wildest imaginations.  I have written about him a few times. I am always in search of permission to go ahead and talk to him, even though he is married and we always end up in very racy flirty texts. He comes in and all of a sudden we are both reliving the past in texts that do nothing except frustrate me.

I haven’t seen AL since he got married (almost 2 years ago).  I think we both realized that meeting would lead to disaster.

“How tragic it is to find that an entire lifetime is wasted in pursuit of distractions while purpose is neglected.” ― Sunday Adelaja

Then there is JW.  Someone I also wrote about it here.  We never seemed to be single at the same time.  With him there is no sexual tension but there is always that “what if” permeating every conversation.  And then there was that one time when he called me out of the blue and said “I will always love you”.  It blew my mind.  Yeah, I fall those lines.

With JW there is no flirty texts or such things.  With him is more intelligent phone conversations, but still my mind and hearts races.

I haven’t seen JW since he started going out with the woman that is now his wife.  We talk about meeting for a drink to talk about business and writing, but it never happened.

Then there is FL.  He doesn’t resurface often, but when he does he makes me feel like the most wanted woman in the Universe.  I bask in his attention.  I never wanted him in the first place.  Then he returns after so long and my mind starts playing tricks on me.  He planned meetings that never happened.  He laid low for a couple of weeks and now has returned again.

“Frequently we do not leave the past behind. We clasp on to it. We dissect it, and let fears for the future, tempered by the past, unconsciously prevent us from taking up the task eternal.” ― Ray Simpson

In all these 3 cases, even though it involves different dynamic and history, I now realize that I am not a player, I am the toy.  Things are not as fun when you realize that.  I thought that all was fine because I was aware of what I was doing and I had no intention of having an affair with any of them. I saw them all as fun and entertainment, something to distract my mind from the stress of work.

Then I realized that I was doing myself more harm than good.  These innocent flirting are not so harmless after-all.  By entertaining ideas of things that would never happened (having an affair) I was detracting my focus and energy from all that is really important, from the people that come into my life for the right reasons.

Leaving the door always open to the past is a huge mistake.  The past is the past and should stay there.  Perhaps I should just revisit to remind myself of mistakes I should not repeat.

We rarely find answers in the distractions. But oh what possibilities live within the quiet of solitude.   In my fear to be alone, I distracted myself away from
the deep beauty of my own solitude.” ― Scott Stabile

I have asked myself if were they fully committed to being with me would I want them?  I think the answer is no.  I only seem to want them because they are unavailable.

With all of them I keep thinking that we could be friends, but we can’t really.  I have this fantasy idea of friends for life.  I need to grow up.  Just because somebody had a page in a chapter of my life it doesn’t mean that they have to have a role in the rest of the book.  I get to write it the way I want it with the characters I want.

I decided to get off this hamster wheel.  It hasn’t been easy.  I thought about writing to them and explaining myself but decided against it.  JW called last week.  I hadn’t hear from him in probably 3 or 4 months.  I didn’t answer the phone.  AL texted yesterday.  First text since March 8th.  I have not replied. FL sent messages yesterday and today.

Today I blocked them all.  Time to clean up.  It is tough as these men have been such a huge part of my life and history for so long.  A couple of times I went back and unblocked them.  But now I am standing firm and putting myself first.

I need to make sure that my actions are in line with my goals.

“We lead our lives so poorly because we arrive in the present always unprepared, incapable, and too distracted for everything.” ― Rainer Maria Rilke

When the child becomes the parent


, , , ,

“The value of a moment is immeasurable. The power of just ONE moment can propel you to success and happiness or chain you to failure and misery.” ― Steve Maraboli

I was in Brazil for 10 days and got back to New York on Friday.  I love going but I love returning even more.  I miss my routine, even the craziness of work.  There is comfort in routine.

On Monday I alerted the auditors that I was back but so far I have not heard anything from them.  I guess they are working on some other firm at the moment.  I just want to be finished and not have it hanging over my head.

My mom again returned with me to stay a couple of weeks.  Mom is 84 today.  She looks amazing.  She has taken great care of herself.  No wrinkles!  But unfortunately her health is not equally that great.

She has to take a lot medication for different ailments.  I am used to her being non-stop, a total dynamo.  It is sad to see that she is not the same energetic person she used to be.  That gives me a lot pause and gets me thinking about my own life and future.

I think she is a good mirror for me to base my actions on.  Seeing her deteriorate reminds me to not to waste time, energy, youth and a healthy body.  This life cycle is finite.

My mom now reminds me to live my life to the fullest, to have more fun, to do more, make more mistakes, celebrate life.

Now that mom’s health is not that great I feel like a parent to a child I never had.  I don’t mean that in a bad way.  I just worry and try to do all I can to make her life easier.  Unlike a child, an older parent gets more dependent as time goes by.

While mom is in town I am getting into work at 6 am and trying to leave at 1pm so she is not alone for long.   So far it has worked.

I am focusing on the blessing of still having my parents!  I am focusing on doing all that I can to make my parent’s life comfortable and still fun.  All the rest are mere details.

Bye, we are now off to the casino 🙂

“Everybody seems to be doing different things but actually they do the same thing: They try to survive in this world, each with their own style!” ― Mehmet Murat ildan

Crazy stressed and still so blessed!



I know I have been sounding like a broken record, but this audit I am going through at work is driving me crazy.  I am so crazed that on Wednesday night I took the wrong train home.  I was not even the same train line.  I traveled 1 hour out of my way and then had to get an Uber and take another hour to get home.

The audit has no end in sight, but there will be a break.  I am leaving for Brazil on Tuesday.  I come back on the 26th.  They agreed to wait to continue when I return.

I am doing my usual trip home to see my family and bring my mom back for a vacation. So when I come back there will be the usual trips to the casinos and stores.

I told someone that I was going to get a break from work and he responded:  Yes, but when you come back all will be right here waiting for you.  He said it in a negative  tone that I didn’t really appreciate.

I replied: Thanks Heaven for that!  Can you imagine if I am back and unemployed?

There is always a blessing in everything.  Work and stress gets to me, but still I realize that my blessings are numerous.  I really have no right to complain about anything.

“Focus on your strengths, not your weaknesses.
Focus on your character, not your reputation.
Focus on your blessings, not your misfortunes.” 
― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart



Happy, tired, and in doubt


, , , ,

“You know you’re getting old when you stoop to tie your shoelaces and wonder what else you could do while you’re down there.” -― George Burns

My birthday was really low key but just absolutely perfect.  My friend had to work late so it was just my sister and I.  We went to a Argentinian/Italian restaurant around the corner from our apartment.  We had not been there before and all was delicious.

My co-worker gave us a chocolate cake and the friend that bailed on us sent 2 dozen chocolate covered strawberries and a dozen of chocolate covered Oreos. So sweet of them!

“Unfortunately, the clock is ticking, the hours are going by. The past increases, the future recedes. Possibilities decreasing, regrets mounting.” – Haruki Murakami,Dance Dance Dance


The clueless ex-boyfriend sent me another email yesterday that said:

” I sent you a note last week…..i hope it got through….my optonline acct is compromised…the gmail on here works”

Still ignoring it.

“Any fool knows men and women think differently at times, but the biggest difference is this. Men forget, but never forgive; women forgive, but never forget.” ― Robert Jordan


The amount of work I am doing for this audit is crazy. Many 7am to 8pm nights.  There are 5 auditors for our small company of 17 people.  Government bureaucracy at its best.  The amount of documents I have to produce is immense, but this too shall pass.  I stepped off of the ledge and I am doing one thing at a time.

I have been so exhausted this last couple of weeks  that I found no energy or motivation to  go to the gym or even do the elliptical in my apartment.   I am hoping that I can resume regular life this next week.

“One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one’s work is terribly important.” -― Bertrand Russell, The Conquest of Happiness


D and I went to a movie and to dinner on Thursday night.  He surprised me with belated birthday gifts.  He gave me a Waterford candy dish along with a box of Godiva chocolate eggs.  He also baked a banana bread for me to give to my sister since he knows she love breads.

He is thoughtful and kind, but I continue to wonder if it will go anywhere.  His house is still not selling, so it seems there is no end in sight.  For now it is not a big deal as we have been barely able to see each other.  Next time I will see him will some time in May.  He has 4 trips schedule in the next few weeks.

He is all in, but I have doubts.

“Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. 
…live in the question.”  -― Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet



Cruel or just clueless?


, , ,

“I have lived on the lip
of insanity, wanting to know reasons,
knocking on a door. It opens.
I’ve been knocking from the inside.” – Rumi

If you have been reading this blog from the beginning, you know that I started it 7 years ago due to a broken heart that was making me go insane.  This blog allowed me to get all the pain out without hurting others or myself.

All my readers/friends have been instrumental in getting me to where I am today: happy, free, ready to love again.  It took me years to be totally over the the person that broke my heart.  He is mostly a name from the past, a chapter in the book of my life that I don’t care to re-read.

Today, I get this email, that he made sure to send to both my professional and personal emails.

Subject: Happy Birthday to my favorite twins in the whole wide world

I’m pretty sure that I remember you have a birthday at the end of March although I don’t know the number I remember that it’s a little bit before Nancy’s (one of his sisters) birthday please give each other a hug and a kiss from me and all the best wishes and love to you and your entire family

If you allow it I’d love to take you both out for lunch or dinner in New Rochelle or the city or White Plains anything that would work for either of you I would like to try to work out


I was annoyed at receiving that.  How dare he make this attempt to make it seem that we can have a regular friendly relationship?

I don’t hold any grudges over anyone or anything.  I normally always keep the door open for people to come and go as they please.  If anything I give too many second chances.  I am friends with guys I dated, and I am always willing to let everyone back in.  I believe in second chances and redemption.

But with him it is different.  I believed with all my heart he was the One.

The pain was too intense.  The betrayal was too raw.  The disrespect was uncalled for in every way.  There was the game playing and manipulation.  Knowing I was in pain he made it seem there was a chance to reconcile.  I am ashamed to say that there was a point back there when I was willing to overlook everything to just be with him.  I thank the heavens that in the end he never wanted to work things out.

And then there was the fact that he never acknowledged the cheating and never said sorry.

I forgive, I forgave, and I forget… for the most part, until he decides to rear his ugly head.

“Sorrow prepares you for joy. It violently sweeps everything out of your house, so that new joy can find space to enter. It shakes the yellow leaves from the bough of your heart, so that fresh, green leaves can grow in their place. It pulls up the rotten roots, so that new roots hidden beneath have room to grow. Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart, far better things will take their place.”  ― Rumi

Older, wiser and still crazy


, , , , ,

Date 6 with D. was a week ago. We went to a Italian restaurant near my house and had pizzette and wine.  We have been meeting every Saturday but yesterday I had already scheduled a sleepover with my goddaughter and her sister so we couldn’t meet then. On Sunday he had to travel for business.  We will see each other this coming weekend if he is back by then.

He is such a sweet, nice gentleman, probably a bit more on the shier side than I am used to. We are cultivating a slow friendship, and that is probably the best way to go at this point since we don’t know when his life will be less tangled.

“Don’t be afraid to be confused. Try to remain permanently confused. Anything is possible. Stay open, forever, so open it hurts, and then open up some more, until the day you die, world without end, amen.” – ― George Saunders, The Braindead Megaphone

My sister and I will turning 53 this Thursday,  March 28.  I cannot believe I am that age already. Where did time go?  I was 30 yesterday.  I have so much to see and do still, it doesn’t seem there will be enough time.  How can I make every second count? How can I not lose sight of what is really important in life and not get bogged down in stupidity?

We had so many ideas of what to do to celebrate our birthdays, but again timing is not on our side.  I have this audit and other matters hanging over my head and she is getting ready to start a new job on April 1st.  She got the job she wanted.  It is in a Brazilian financial company that is growing by leaps and bounds.  It is entry level but she will learn a lot and there is a lot potential for growth.  The salary is entry level too but at this point she can manage on that.

We have so many reasons to be grateful and celebrate! The list is very long.  It is easy to get bogged on the adversities.  It is easy to take one difficulty and let it take over my life.  It is easy to fall into the victim mode.  But at the end of the day I know the list of my blessings is immense by any measurement stick.

“You solve it as you get older, when you reach the point where you’ve tasted so much that you can somehow sacrifice certain things more easily, and you have a more tolerant view of things like possessiveness (your own) and a broader acceptance of the pains and the losses.”  –  Ted Hughes, Letters of Ted Hughes

So we decided to just choose a local restaurant that we haven’t gone to before.  And because I can be crazy sometimes I decided to let a ghost from the past join us.  What is life if not for the crazy moments?

I think I mentioned a guy I dated 12 years ago that texts me every now and then.  For the past few years I mostly ignore him since he has a girlfriend and I don’t want any issues.  Lately though I started replying to his texts and surprisingly we have become friends.  I replied because he was not flirty and seemed genuine about just a friendship.  He knows that friendship is the best he will ever get from me and he says he is happy and honored with that.

He had mentioned wanting to buy me dinner to celebrate my birthday.  Well, he has been inviting me to dinner every single time we text, but I had decided not to meet him.  I changed my mind and said I would meet him.  I thought he would not take me up on going out with my sister and I, but he jumped at the chance.

I think it will be fun seeing him again since I don’t even remember what he looks like.

“Here’s all you have to know about men and women: women are crazy, men are stupid. And the main reason women are crazy is that men are stupid.” ― George Carlin

I continue to prepare all the documentation necessary for the audit.   There are moments I go crazy thinking of all the potential issues and all that can wrong.   Still there are moments that I am calm and serene.  It has been a roller-coaster of emotions.

Slowly I can see the good in this audit. It will be good to see if some of what I am doing is actually up to par to all that is what is required.  Did we improve from the last audit? And perhaps it will bring about some changes to what we have been doing.  I don’t agree with all that we do and how we do it.  We don’t do anything illegal but still I see areas where change would be welcome and would probably make my job easier.

“Make improvements, not excuses. Seek respect, not attention.” – Roy T. Bennett



Learning to be okay when things are not okay


, , , , ,

“Let nature take its course. By letting each thing act in accordance with its own nature, everything that needs to be done gets done.” ― Lao Tzu

The regulatory agency for my industry audited my firm 4 years ago for the first time.  It was a nightmare.   Now they are knocking on our door again.  They already started requesting documents even though they are not coming into our offices until April 1st.

My stress level is beyond control.  Not that we are doing anything wrong.  We aren’t.  Well, I don’t think we are, but I fear some new regulation that just came to pass and I am not yet aware of it.

There is so much stuff that they ask for.  There is so much information to collect.  So many questions to answer.  So many numbers to explain.  I do everything for the firm, from Human Resources to Finance and everything else in between.  Of course, I am also the Compliance person.  Everything is on me, and that pressure and weight of the situation some times gets to me.

I worry about every little detail.  I try to go over the compliance rules looking for something I may have missed. I am driving myself nuts.

“Only 8% of our worry will come to pass. 92% of our worry is wasted. DON’T PANIC” ― Mark Gorman

This is already my busy time of the year with reports to produce, bonuses to pay, new insurance benefits to choose, etc.  Now that!  Another year that I didn’t take my one week skiing vacation. With all the work stuff and waiting for the closing of the apartment I never found the time to take some time off.

This entire week I have been leaving home at 6:30am and getting back at 9pm.  It is just too much and not healthy.  At times, such as now,  I realize the importance of going on vacation.  Not to run away from problems, but to recharge and relax.

Some people think, erroneously, that a vacation will fix everything.  Wrong!  You come back and the problems are right there, sitting, waiting for you to walk through the door.

“Life is to be lived, not controlled; and humanity is won by continuing to play in face of certain defeat.” ― Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man

Instead I rather stay and deal with the problems head on and not run away from it.  So right now I can’t wait for the auditors to come already and do what they need to do.

But you better believe that I will be more diligent about making sure that I get plenty of time away from work.  One needs to make sure to take the time to get away and recharge, have contact with nature, read more, exercise more, and have plenty of time doing nothing.

Stressed or not, life moves on.  I Keep trying to remind myself that it is not what happens to me but how I react to it.  It is hard to remind myself of that while I am in the middle of a crises at the office.

Built into any problem there are amazing opportunities, so my job now is to uncover and discover those hidden blessings in being audited.  If anything, it is just another of life’s attempt to teach me that I am in control of absolutely nothing.

“The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word ‘crisis.’ One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger–but recognize the opportunity.” -― John F. Kennedy