*Are you happy at the moment?
Actually I am, even though I’ve been fighting with my computer all day. The ‘now’ is only a moment; the rest of life is always better if you allow it to be.
*If you could go back and say anything to your 16-year-old self now – what would it be?
I would tell me to give and accept love more freely and as such, be more tolerant of others. I grew up in a small Appalachian town at a time when racial and other prejudices were the status-quo. I believed that not everyone deserved love and respect. When I really grew up I learned that was not true. The color of someone’s skin or their religion or lack of it does not totally define a person. We are all children of the Earth and deserve the same love and respect, no matter how or where we are born.
*What’s the most important thing you’ve learned this year?
This year I learned two very important things: 1) Allow someone else to take the lead at times and be comfortable with that, and 2) Cinnamon is good in all teas. Allowing someone else to lead sometimes takes more strength than leading. If one always has to lead it is a matter of ego. To allow someone else to lead is a matter of honesty and graciousness. It is only through inner strength that one can allow another to shine.
*What do you most want to achieve in the next 12 months?
Within the next twelve months I will finish my book and achieve publication.
*What’s your secret to happiness?
My secret to happiness? What a question. It’s not really a secret; it’s faith. Without faith I cannot imagine how anyone could be happy. Believe in whatever is good. Put that ahead of you and everything bad behind you. In the military we had a pat answer when asked if it was a bad day. That was, “The only bad day was yesterday.”
*What one ritual or practice keeps you grounded?
Prayer and my relationship with my Heavenly Father. My relationship with my Heavenly Father keeps me grounded by keeping my head out of the heavenly clouds. It reminds me that I am no worse or greater than any other person. I know people who do not believe in God and claim intellectual superiority. I claim to be intellectually worthy, not superior. It is that egoism I defer from. I prefer to be a humble servant of God than claim to be above Him or His people.
*What’s your biggest regret?
My biggest regret is that I did not learn how to really love when I was younger. If I had learned the true essence of love when I was young I would not have been married more than once. It was not a matter of poor role models as my parents were really very good ones. It was my decision to rebel against what they tried to teach me. My bad; not theirs.
*What’s the most important lesson you’ve taught your kid(s)?
I do not have children to teach, but I once took-in a fourteen year old pregnant runaway and found her a home with a wonderful couple, teaching her that sometimes people are better than even they think they can be.
*What bad habit would you most like to change about yourself?
The bad habit I would most like to change is eating just for the fun of it. My bad habit of eating for shear fun is unhealthy. I went through what I call my pizza period when I ate pizza 3 or 4 times a week, just because I love it. Moderation is much more healthy, in all forms of life.
*Aside from motherhood/fatherhood and marriage what are you most proud of in your life?
I am most proud of every time I gave more than I received. Giving more than is received is one of my favorite things in life. To me it means giving without expecting thanks or anything in return. There are actually several examples I could share, but this is the one I chose:
One night my brother and I were walking in downtown San Diego and we came to a park frequented by homeless people. As we approached I noticed a very old man hunching in a recess between buildings. He was overly dressed in ragged clothes and so filthy I could not tell if he was black or white. His bony appearance and almost lifeless, sad eyes grabbed me by the heart. I told my brother to wait while I dashed across the street to a restaurant, bought some take-out and brought it back to the dark, hunching old man. He looked up at me and for a mere second I saw a glimmer of joy in his eyes. Payment, more than enough. When my brother asked why I would do such a thing I simply said, “it felt good.”
*When were you happiest?
I am happiest when I accomplish something I consider worthwhile. I think accomplishments in life are very validating. Why are we here? What are we meant to do? I recently read a passage that expressed, “The man I admire most is the one who can conquer himself.” That is a great feat. For me it is not measured in acquisitions or monetary wealth, but in things overcome. When I took my first rock climbing class I totally wimped-out. I was ashamed of me. I went back and succeeded. That was a rewarding accomplishment.
*What ten words best describe you?
honest, faithful, determined, friendly, talkative, intelligent, loving, kind, extravagant, creative.
After growing up in the Appalachians, Dave joined the military and then went to college for a degree in geology with a minor in anthropology. His first published work was “Man in Nevada, 10,000 or 100,000 Years.” His working life included many other publications, employment at television studies including ABC, PBS and independents, time as a trail guide and mountain guide.
In 2001 he suffered a stroke which paralyzed his left side. Two hospitals, one rehabilitation institute and 13 years later, he is a full-time RVer writing an outdoor/nature blog (Desert Dave) for the Hampshire Review in West Virginia.