In My Life…

StoryWorth is a wonderful gift.

Last Father’s Day, my kids teamed up and got me a truly great gift.

It’s called StoryWorth.

StoryWorth sends you a question every Monday morning that is designed to provoke thought and get you to write a short essay that is then emailed to your kids (or others) so they can learn more about your life.

It’s a great way to learn more about your mom, dad, grandparents etc.

The stories are saved to a website and then after a year you can create a keepsake book that contains all of the essays you’ve written. It’s ideal for me because I love to write. It’s also an easy way to write a book—one bite at a time.

I’ve been at this for a few months now and I find myself looking forward to Monday’s question. It’s a good way to get your brain started for the week.

Here’s a sampling of some of the questions I’ve answered:

Are you still friends with any of your classmates from grade school? (Yes, see last week’s blog)

Did you consider other careers?

Which fads did you embrace growing up?

What is one of the strangest things that has ever happened to you?

If you don’t like a question, you can simply ask for another one and StoryWorth delivers.

Last week’s question was one of my favorites: What have been some of your life’s greatest surprises?

The question resonated with me because I immediately thought of a line from the John Lennon song “Beautiful Boy” —“Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans.”

How true.

And I started to think about how much of life is a surprise.

I never dreamt of living in Florida—surprise! I’ve been here since 1987.

I never thought I’d be mayor of a city—but surprise I was.

I never thought I’d with work with a world class entrepreneur, ring the bell at NASDAQ, work for a beverage company, own a newspaper (after leaving newspapers), be involved with real estate, work for a foundation, start a non-profit or survive a pandemic.

Life is a surprise. A wonderful, miraculous surprise.

I did plan a few things—marriage, children, a career in journalism, writing a book and someday owning a vacation home in New England. So, keep planning is my advice, but also be open to the twists and turns of life. That’s where the gold is often found.

I’m in the midst of writing a play (also a surprise) and in the play the song “Moon River” from the movie “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” plays a small but pivotal role.

Moon River is quite a  song.

It’s only about two minutes long but it’s about the river of life and the twists and turns you don’t see coming. It’s a poignant song. It’s also achingly beautiful.

Moon River helps you realize that life is unpredictable and that it would be wonderful if you could live multiple lives because each road you go down would be a different experience. When I went home to Stony Brook recently to visit with old friends, I thought about how different my life would have been if I had stayed or returned to live in my hometown.

But we are only given one life at a time, and we need to make choices.

A friend recently asked me if I had any regrets, and the truth is I just don’t think that way. I’ve made a boat load of mistakes, we all do, but I’ve learned from every one of them. I don’t regret those mistakes, I try not to repeat the same ones, but I appreciate the lessons they taught me. The stumbles, bumbles, bumps and bruises brought me to the place I am today and that’s a pretty good place. I’m thankful for it all.

I’m often asked by young people in politics and business for advice and while I enjoy sharing my experience, I’d rather talk about their aspirations. They are the future. I am the past. The past is important (and never really past as the saying goes), but the todays and tomorrows are more important.

I’ve come to realize that we are all on an individual path—a unique journey. I urge those I meet with to be conscious, intentional and appreciative of each step of the journey because life goes fast and these experiences—even the remarkable moments– are fleeting.

Young love grows into a mature relationship—if you’re lucky. The excitement of a new career dulls over time but also becomes richer in other ways once you learn the ropes.

I’ve been surprised by it all—in so many ways. In hindsight, I’ve loved every era— even the years of struggle because they made me a better, stronger person.

I feel for those who are not self-aware and those who cannot connect to others including their own selves. They are missing the best part of life—the surprises (and the planned stuff too).

Some dreams do come true. Yes, they do. And some stuff just happens and that’s wonderful too.


In memoriam

I woke up Thursday morning and learned that we had lost artist Peter Pereira.

Peter died unexpectedly at his Delray Beach home. We were texting recently when I was in New York and had planned to get together after Thanksgiving. I had been trying to help Peter find work.

He was a gifted artist and cartoonist who did a lot of work for the Delray Newspaper, of which I was an owner. He also served on the Public Art Advisory Board, an entity we created when I was on the City Commission. Peter was interested in the early days of the board, and we recently met in Boca to discuss his career and future aspirations.

He was a sweet man, a talented person and very supportive of others. He will be missed by everyone. His cartoons depicting life in Delray were truly unique.

We also mourn the loss of Jerry Hildebrand, a giant in the social entrepreneurship space who spent the past four years changing the lives of students at Lynn University where he ran the Social Impact Lab. I had the privilege of serving on his board. He taught me and others so much.


Lynn University President Kevin Ross reflected that Jerry “created a new generation of hands-on, solution-minded pragmatists that pioneered practical, inventive and sustainable approaches to addressing the world’s most pressing social issues. We will miss Jerry’s tenacity, ability to see the possible, and his will to make the world a better place.”

That sums it up. Jerry was a force of nature. I will treasure the times we spent together, especially our long lunches and breakfasts where he spoke passionately about the need to heal the world. By creating young ambassadors and dispatching them all over the globe, he left a legacy of service, caring and love. He was quite a guy and universally beloved.



Sometimes you miss…

About 10 years ago, a colleague Greg Horn, former CEO of GNC and a product creator with an early role in Celsius, took me to the Space Coast of Florida to meet a young, visionary entrepreneur named RJ Scaringe.

RJ was running a start-up called Avera Motors and was looking for investors. He had a doctorate from MIT and was passionate about disrupting the auto industry. I was very impressed and thought it might make sense to offer an investment and lure the company to Palm Beach County to create a new industry and high paying jobs.

I couldn’t make it happen.


Last week, RJ was back in the news when his company—now named Rivian—went public at a valuation of $91 billion. That’s billion with a B. It ended the week at well over $100 billion in value.

Investors included Jeff Bezos of Amazon and Ford Motor Company, who out maneuvered GM to gain a piece of the company worth probably $7-10 billion. Not bad.

Apparently, Amazon is going to buy a slew of Rivian’s electric truck fleet for deliveries. The company will make its trucks in Illinois.

RJ pivoted from a diesel hybrid power train to electric, showing that the great entrepreneurs are open to new ideas.
While I thought RJ’s original business plan was awesome, I was totally sold on his passion, vision, energy and smarts.

What a big miss…..but keep an eye on that company because it’s going places. And keep an eye out for the next disrupter too.



  1. Matt Mueller says

    As a relatively new (4 year) resident of Fl. and specifically Delray Beach, I must say that the depth of insight and fondness for life at all stages, that Jeff brings with his musings, is contagious. I appreciate his perspective on all matters, and always look forward to his posts. Jeff, thank you for sharing your thoughts, and save me a good seat at the play!!

  2. As always….
    Well written and spot on.

    God rest the souls of those we lost.

  3. Frances Bourque says

    Remember how all couples madly in love had A song that became “their “ song??? Well , we are still
    Madly in love and Moon River never fails to bring back all the tingles and heart pounding with all the expectations we hoped for in our twenties! Now, in our eighties, we are still floating down “Moon River”! The bends never fail to lull us to the next loving memory! Thanks for reminding us how a song can be the poetry of life!

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