My cousin was always outgoing and friendly. He really never went anywhere where he couldn’t make friends. He wasn’t particularly handsome. He was below average height, kind of round and become rounder with age. He had kinky curly hair and throughout most of his adult life sported a mustache and beard that epitomized his persona with long curled up handlebars at the ends of his mustache. He didn’t come from a family of exceptional wealth or privilege and while he was university educated with a bachelors degree it wasn’t a top ten or ivy league establishment. He was incredibly musical and in my younger years I would have thought he was going to be a rock star. He always seemed to be smiling. I really can’t ever remember a time when he wasn’t. His gravitational force just seemed stronger than anyone else when you were in the room with him. By age 40 he had a passport that had every page filled and even refilled because he traveled so much. He held various jobs throughout his life. Some of the more interesting was a job at a prestigious guitar shop, crafting guitars and steel guitars for numerous main stream bands, including a guitar that graced the cover of a magazine once with the band ZZ Top. He became a brewmeister via a world renowned German brew school, worked as a water purification supervisor in Iraq supplying clean water for our troops while they were stationed there, and even hooked up with other musicians, military and civilian and help write, play, record, and produce an amateur but interesting CD titled Iraq and Roll, and loved to play golf in about every country he visited. Finally he partnered in starting a restaurant and brewpub, The Boxing Cat, in Shanghai, met the woman of his dreams, got married and had a daughter they fondly called G2 because she was suppose to be his little mirror. It was unbelievable when we, anyone who knew Gary, received the news that he passed away at his restaurant at the age of 45 in 2010. Although he was only 4 years older than me it seemed he lived an amazing and full life. Yes it is always a tragedy when someone leaves our presence but his presence was so encompassing and when I think of Gary I think of a force field that extends for miles beyond his physical location, even across seas and continents, and he did have “full” life. But here I am four years later and 45 myself and surprisingly my views have changed, drastically in some perspectives, in the past few years. I have thought for a while now that I have only lived half my life and I’m so excited to life the next life or half of the total and then I think of Gary. Wow! To think he only lived half a possible life and what he did with that first half. The years he will miss with his wife and daughter. Maybe that was going to be his second life? While this is a thought I fall back on frequently lately, especially since the anniversary of death has just passed and his birthday approaches and my age and his age what I really want to know was how did he do it? Not how he died, but how he lived and continues to live on in so many peoples minds and hearts? How did he tap that inner strength that said,”GO FOR IT!” on a continuous basis and live like there was no tomorrow. His mother was my father’s sister, we had the same grandparents and shared some DNA, as well as many more cousins and his siblings. I can’t really say that any of us that remain to remember have captured what he was able to harness. What was it about Gary that allowed him to reach for so many, what some people would consider lofty or impossible, goals and succeed and be happy? I’m not looking for posthumous fame which he attained to a certain extent but I just want to live my life to it’s fullest potential and go for it daily. This is what I have been thinking about quite a bit and almost daily. How do I do that? While this is my journal, I see some people do read or view the posts. If you read this one, comments and opinions on this would be gratefully accepted.