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On Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Simplifying Your Life

Robert Manni - Friday, May 19, 2017


Modern life is way too complicated. It doesn’t have to be that way.

There's a myriad of ways to cut through the chaos we face each day, and benefits of breaking your day-to-day life down into tasty digestible chunks are many. Start with piece of mind; add a splash of humor, and a dash of creativity. Life doesn’t have to be so damn overbearing. Regardless of what your boss says, there can be a separation of life from work. And that’s why your Guy’s Guy is serving up a platter of ideas that will help make your life more pleasurable and manageable. I call it the Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Simplifying Your Life.  Here goes…

1. Stop double and triple booking – Most of us manage our calendars digitally so you’d think we’d be smart enough not to double up on our appointments. Wrong. Lots of folks say yes to everything that comes our way. We pile multiple events on the calendar before choosing what we feel like doing the most at that time. Then we blow off or reschedule all the other appointments. But it doesn’t end there—we end up doing the same thing a week later.

Overbooking might make you feel like an important person, but all it really means is that you don’t know how to manage your day. No one wants to disrespect people, and we’ve all cancelled on at the last minute. But even if there’s a valid reason for a change of plans, it can be annoying when you’re on the receiving end of the cancellation. Bottom line, overbooking does not make anyone feel good, and often creates anxiety while causing chaos. My suggestion is to plan just one event in a time slot. If you are already booked when something else comes up, do your very best to find another time. Then show up, be present, and enjoy the time without worrying about what you’re missing.

2. Get a handle on your dating life – If you’re single and in the game, it’s easy to fall into that all-too-familiar trap of having too many dates, but no meaningful relationship. Between all the dating apps and services, anyone one with a pulse, a personality, and can clean up can score their share of dates. But too many dates can be a trap. When you date too often, people become disposable. You trim the herd by ghosting or deleting potential partners without giving them a real chance. Before you know it, you’ve lost focus on why you are dating in the first place.

I realized that after years of dating and broken relationships that the reason I remained single was because regardless of my current status, I’d stayed active online and on the lookout for the next partner. Frankly, I was selfish. And this self-absorption cost me. I paid the price by losing a number of relationships because of selfish cravings and lack of focus. Everything changed when I met my wife online. We went on a few dates and things felt good. I was really enjoying her company. I was still dating for the first couple of weeks, but after I asked her what I needed to do to be a good boyfriend, she said the two words that changed everything.  She said, “pay attention”. And that was it. At that moment I decided to give our relationship a real chance. I logged off the dating sites and took the time to get to know this wonderful person who became my wife. And I’m glad I did. It settled me down and got me focused.

3. De-clutter – If you’re like me, you don’t follow the trends. You know what you like, your choices are practical and classic, and you take care of your things. That can be a good thing, but it also means you’ve accumulated a lot of “stuff”. Things like clothes, books, music, tech, furniture, and other stuff that clutters up your space. When your space is congested, all that clutter gets in the way, and even affects the way you think. It’s challenging to solve problems and create fresh perspectives when you sit down see that same pile of crap around your workspace.

Take the time to rifle through your closets every so often so you can prune and toss what you don’t use. The old 80/20 rules for clothing (people wear same 20% of their clothes 80% of the time) still applies. Plus, giving some nice things to charity helps those less fortunate and helps you. The same thing applies for furniture, books, and music. Even if you are not that charitable, you can still make a few bucks by selling your stuff online or at your local book or music store. 

4. Be present. Focus on doing one thing at a time – My son is turning four this week. How time flies. As you probably know, toddlers’ minds and behavior is often unfocused and contrarian. You tell them to do one thing and they do the opposite. It’s not because they’re ignoring us, it’s because their minds have not fully developed how to process, discern, and do what we ask them. It can be extremely frustrating, so I came up with a very short list of “rules” for my son. One of our favorites is “do one thing at a time”. Like many adults, he’s got an overactive mind and is always multitasking. And like an adult, he’s at his best when he concentrates on doing one activity at a time.

Staying focused and present has its rewards. It allows us opportunities to immerse ourselves in our work or play, clears our mind, and provides opportunities for accomplishment, as opposed to running around from place to place with three balls in the air. Try staying present and doing one thing at a time. Then see how it feels.

5. Treat yourself to a little down time, every day – Life is for living, not stressing. Unfortunately, we live in a culture driven by fear. Don’t fall into that trap. Manage your media consumption, social media, and meetings as best you can. Find an hour or two every day to get outside, exercise, meditate, or read. If you can’t do that, at least take a few moments each morning and evening to take stock of your life and what’s most important to you and your happiness. Use this time to reflect on your life, your family, your friends, your loves, and your dreams. Ultimately, amigos, isn’t that what it’s all about?

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is you, the reader. By reading up to this point in my post you’ve taken the time to consider what I hope is a simple message that helps you live your best life.

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Staying Sane

Robert Manni - Thursday, April 06, 2017


Can you recall a crazier time in our lives than right now? Probably not.

Between every excruciating day of chaos ushered in by our new president, global terror, rising health care costs, homelessness, weekend subway service in NYC, an endless winter, GMO’s infesting our food, drone-like jobs with longer hours and less pay, it’s a tough time to be alive. People are stressed out, tired, unfocused, hyper, and stretched to the human limits. This is not how things are supposed to be, amigos. I’m actually surprised our society hasn’t completely melted down.

More and more I read about disclosure and how our planet is on the verge of a major change for the better. But when you are under a constant assault of fear by the media and the powers that be, no one would blame you for feeling life is uninspiring and becoming a long, slow downward spiral.

What’s a Guy’s Guy to do? Lots. With the hope of contributing to your mental, physical and spiritual wellness, I’ve pulled together a punch list of ten things you can do when your world appears to have gone absolutely bonkers. I call it, The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Staying Sane. Here’s my list in no particular order.

Drum roll, please…

1. Breathe – That’s right. Breathe. When you are on edge, even the smallest slight can trigger you into overreacting and regretting things later. If your latest Facebook post puts you on the receiving end of the social media trolls or your boss is sabotaging you because you can do her job better than she can, don’t take the bait. Take a few slow breaths, hold, and release. Breathe and repeat. Try this slow breathing when riding the subway or the bus and within a few minutes your mind will calm down. It’s a good start.

2. Ease up on social media – I don’t know about you, but my feed features a polarizing gamut of spiritual articles and memes, sports and culture, and partisan political posts. After asking myself why do I care what my grammar schoolmates post about Trump, I began unfollowing, and at times unfriending and blocking those I found annoying. I feel better. It’s a start to regaining my sanity. I’ve found that endlessly scrolling Facebook and Twitter makes us anxious, like we’re all on pins and needles waiting for that post or tweet that’s going to make everything better in our lives. It’s making people crazy. Sure, I enjoy videos of the kitty that scared off the alligator and the kid with no arms who sank a 3-point shot. But there’s too much weird activity on Earth to keep up with while trying to be productive. So get a grip, amigo, holster that phone, and push away from your computer screen. Live your life offline.

3. Turn off the news – Whether it’s online or on your television, there’s an endless feed of news and propaganda spewed at us all day. Have you ever wondered why you see the same stories on most of the networks? It’s because a handful of organizations own the news outlets. They decide what stories are worthy and how long to pound them into our consciousness. Right now it’s all about Russia, Trump, the latest global terror strikes and other stories that instill fear. Those topics have legs, while other topics like fixing our environment and safeguarding our food supply are ignored. I’m not suggesting we turn a blind eye to what’s happening in the world, but we need to remind ourselves that there is an agenda. We’re served what they want to feed us. So it’s important to our mental health to consume news in moderate, manageable doses or else risk depression. After all, you still need to submit that updated Excel sheet with the Q3 projections by close of business tomorrow.

4. Get outside – Nothing brings me more sanity than getting out of my crib. When it’s cold and dreary, it’s tough to push yourself out the door. But, when you stay inside there are too many temptations to flip on the TV or laptop. A walk in the fresh air brings a new perspective and is very helpful for calming down.

5. Exercise – When the world seems to be going crazy, a workout or a run in the park provide a hard to beat mental, physical, and spiritual respite from all the stress. I prefer a long run to clear my head. Others like yoga or spin classes, stretching, cardio or free weights to decompress. Whatever you choose is fine. Like they say, just do it. Sex is a good exercise also.

6. Meditate – Meditation has many benefits. Besides relaxing and clearing the mind, meditation gives the physical body an opportunity to heal from the duress of modern life. And of course, it also allows us to get in touch with our inner consciousness and higher self. Even if you can only spare a few minutes a day, find time to meditate. You’ll see a difference in how you view the world.

7. Appreciate art – Thank God for artists. They reflect our world in so many ways while allowing our minds to process life through a fresh lens. It doesn’t matter if you are reading a novel, wandering through a museum, watching an indie film, or listening to jazz. Taking time to appreciate the arts always provides a needed mental break from the craziness and helps us see our world and plight with a different perspective.

8. Create something  Putting your focus into personal expression keeps the cray cray away. Writing, singing, painting, sewing, chanting, or even sculpting your body are wonderful outlets to let off steam and express how you feel about what’s gong on in the world and your personal experience. These all take a concentration and getting into a zone where you’re focused on building something instead of simply processing information. Creativity is a safe haven from a messed up world.

9. Engage with other people – Deep conversations with a friend, laughter, hugging it out, and sex are proven ways to de-stress and stay sane. And they’re usually fun.

10. Service – Extending oneself to others, even in small ways has a ripple effect. Doing good makes the world a better place, and a less crazy place. Sharing your knowledge, being a mentor, volunteering, or even giving accordion players a buck all helps make the world a better place.

These are just a few ways we can keep our sanity in an increasingly dysfunctional culture. The media and the powers that be want us to live in fear and see one another as separate. The truth is that underneath the surface everyone is connected and we have a lot of collective power. Stay positive and control your thoughts. You are not crazy.

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is the Dalai Lama. Throughout his life he has managed to maintain wisdom, calm, and equilibrium in the face of the endless challenges that have been thrown his way.

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Navigating Change

Robert Manni - Saturday, March 25, 2017


Change doesn’t come easy for a lot of us, but it’s something we all need to come to terms with if we want to live happy, fulfilling lives.

Change comes at us in many forms. Sometimes it’s organic, just a natural part of our journey. Other times it’s thrust upon us whether or not we want it or are prepared for its repercussions. But one thing is for sure—change is part of life and the faster we come to terms with it, the better off we’ll be.

Even us Guy’s Guys often find themselves challenged when faced with change. Like most people, we’re creatures of habit. Job loss, a sudden break up with a girlfriend, or the death of a loved one can often be devastating and require maturity skills to cope with life’s sway. And although not all change is bad, even a windfall of money brings with it important decisions that can have a lasting impact on the road ahead.

I’ve been going through a number of changes lately and have finally have come to terms with the fact that if you live in the present, change is a lot easier to deal with. So here are a handful of tips to help you navigate through the infinitesimal changes that will come your way, whether you like them or not. Did you really think Trump would become president? Talk about change…

1. Stay present - Although change is omnipresent, it comes in different forms. Some of it seems good. In other instances, not so good. Whatever the circumstances are, living in the now keeps you balanced and adaptable. Being present means having your head screwed on right and your hand on the wheel. This makes a huge difference in how you roll, and gives you a major leg up when things get shaken to the core. So when shit happens, even good stuff, try not to overreact. Take a deep breath and exhale. Don’t do anything yet besides grounding yourself. Get your footing before you deal. It will make a difference.

 

2. Take stock of the situation - Let’s say your boss just called you in and fired you out of the blue. Or, maybe you just won $100,000 from your scratch off. Obviously these are very different scenarios with different implications, but in both cases it doesn’t pay to overreact. Nowadays, almost everyone loses a job at one point or another. My dad worked for the same company for forty years with the same colleagues. How often does that occur now? Rarely. So even though your parents might think losing your job is the end of the world, it’s not. In fact, in most cases it can turn out to be a very good thing.

But, a lot depends on how you handle yourself. If you win a hundred grand in Lotto, it’s cool, but it isn’t that much money, especially after taxes. So, before blowing it all on a hot car or material indulgences, sort out exactly how much your win is worth. It’s probably not as much as you expected. But now you know, so give yourself major thumbs up and buy yourself and your lady a nice treat. I’m not saying that you should bank the rest, but don’t be too quick to jet out to Vegas if you want to make that cash work for you.

3. Find the lesson - Nothing in life is sporadic. It’s all about cause and effect, amigo. When your world is suddenly flipped upside down, there’s usually a reason behind it. So whether you lost your gig or had that windfall of coin, there’s a good chance that your actions had something to do with it. I know Lotto is a game of chance, but you did buy that scratch off at that same bodega when Hector was behind the counter, so you did play a role in your stroke of luck. In the case of the job loss, there is always a reason. I’m not suggesting it was your fault. But, there were certainly factors in the decision, and when it’s work related, in most cases it comes down to the money. All of us can become collateral damage when revenues decline. Don’t take it personally, but also be honest with yourself and see if you can discern why you got the axe. Then, keep it in mind for the next time your company trims its headcount. 

4. Be appreciative - This is obviously easier when the changes are good, like in the winning that scratch off. But, even if you lose a job, it almost always leads to other doors opening when the timing is right. And if you follow the first three steps, at some point, you’ll probably find yourself shaking your head and realizing that the gig wasn’t right for you long term anyway. So there you go. 

5. Consider your options, make a plan, and take action – Regardless if the changes were bad or good, after you’ve taken stock of the situation, found the lesson and given thanks to the universe, it’s time to get cracking. Use change and even chaos to make things happen. Most people are sleepwalking through life anyway, so use your recent experiences, bad or good, to elevate your game. Bruised or battered or better, you’re stronger now, so decide what you want and then go kick some ass. After all, you’re a Guy’s Guy.

This week’s GUY’S GUY OF THE WEEK is David Bowie. This man was the consummate changeling—writer, musician, singer, and a true creative chameleon. Wasn’t he the GG who sang, “Ch-ch-ch-changes…?”

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Detoxifying Your Life

Robert Manni - Wednesday, January 25, 2017


We’re bombarded with toxins every day. Whether they’re in the food we eat, the air we breathe, or the media we consume, human beings are under constant attack.

Autopsies show that most people who die had cancer in their bodies, even is it was not the cause of their death. Why? We enter this world pure, pristine, and in most cases, blessed with good health. But over time, due to our lifestyles, the foods we ingest, our thoughts, the images we view, heavy metals, the pollutants in our air and the water we drink create a poisonous environment within our bodies.

Some people claim that we can’t detoxify our bodies and that cleanses don’t work, but I’ll leave that up to you to decide after you do your research. Even so, there sure are a lot of people who are sick and contracting chronic autoimmune diseases. I’m a Guy’s guy, not a western doctor, but I’ve experienced a life-threatening health scare that forced me to stare into the abyss. As a result, I’ve taken the time to dig into the things that make us toxic and how we can clean up and live as healthy a lifestyle as possible. And that means eliminating and replacing much of what our body, mind, and spirit consumes.  My suggestions are based on reading, interviewing numerous healers on my podcast, Guy’s Guy Radio, and my personal experience. If our collective human makeup and physical chemistry is the same, why are some of us sick and others healthy? It’s a mystery and yet it makes sense. Some of us treat our body, minds and spirit like shit, and I think we can agree that there are steps we can take to help maintain better health. These are my suggestions, but ultimately, you’ve gotta live your life and make the choices that feel right for you.

Let’s break this down into three parts: our body, mind, and spirit and explore some tips and insights to consider that might enhance your day-to-day existence. My goal is that you are as healthy and happy as possible.

BODY – Our western diet has not evolved with our optimal health in mind. The bulk of our daily meals are laden with too much sugar, salt, meat, fried or processed foods, dairy, and GMO’s. The cumulative effect of a steady diet of these over the years can result in chronic autoimmune diseases, intestinal fungi, parasites, and lead to cancer. Add alcohol consumption, tobacco, drugs, prescription meds, and a lack of sleep and water, and our body chemistry can turn toxic. It’s imperative that we drastically reduce or eliminate much of these poisons while at the same time hydrating more frequently and getting more sleep.

We are what we eat, so choose organic foods and do your very best to cut out meat and sugar. Cut out the obvious bad stuff like drugs, prescription meds (when possible) and tobacco, drink as much filtered water as you can (about 8 liters a day if you can handle it) and get more shut-eye. Even a short nap helps because we’re a sleep-deprived culture. You might also add apple cider vinegar, coconut oil, Himalayan sea salt, and clay to your water, food, and oral health regime to aid health and hasten the elimination of toxins from your overloaded system. Even our environment plays a role with all of the electromagnetic energy pulsing trough urban locales. Over time all this can accumulate inside of you. Your body is a temple, but over time even the sturdiest temples crumble if they are not properly maintained.

MIND – If we are what we consume, that includes media, music, media, news, social media, films, video and games, porn, etc. Garbage in. Garbage out. Studies have proved that there is energy in all of the above, so be mindful about what you watch and read, and the music you listen to. It will impact your outlook and your health. As a marketing and ad guy, I always check out the ads running in the subways for the latest movies, television shows, and music. Most of it is dark, creepy, and violent. Is it any wonder why young people (I don’t want to put this all on millennials, but…) hold such jaded views on life and their fellow man? But more than that, when we consume all of the negativity, it poisons us from within.

I like to binge on the latest Netflix series as much as the next guy, but I am careful about how much violence, hate, and broken characters I allow into my consciousness. And let’s not forget good old Facebook and its daily barrage of memes and posts about our new president. I’m not a fan, but I also don’t want to allow his odd behavior be a constant distraction and annoyance. Concerning social media, the best thing I have done this year is to “unfollow” a bunch of guys from my high school that apparently live to defend anything Trump does, says, or lies about. Fellas, have at it, but I’m out. And I feel so much better.

SPIRIT – This might be the most important area to focus on if you want to detox your life. When you boil it all down, every real decision we face forces us to choose between love and fear. Choosing love requires us to do what we can to enhance our spiritual practices. Walking the righteous path is not easy, but it pays off if you maintain stamina and a determination side with love when the world around you gets crazy and people behave like jerks. To help detoxify spiritually, I meditate, affirm, appreciate my gifts, pray, forgive myself and the other guy. I know it sounds sappy, but if you give the righteous path a fair chance, over time you’ll raise your vibration and reap the rewards of living in alignment with your truth.

These are my simple suggestions that I hope will help you they way they have helped me live my best life.  That’s what I am doing right now. Sure, I’m a work in progress, but I am making consistent strides. And it feels great. Do what’s best for you, but always, always, always choose love. And remember to love yourself while you’re at it.

This week’s GUY’S GUY of the WEEK is Lord Dhanvantari who is considered the physician of the Devas (gods) and the father of Ayurvedic medicine.    

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Patience (and Perserverence)

Robert Manni - Wednesday, December 14, 2016


If you’re like me and most New York Guy's Guys, you want what you want when you want it.

You like your pizza hot, your beer cold, your payments on time in cash, and your woman’s skirts short and tight. Okay, that last one was a bit sexist, but everyone’s bundling up as we enter another long, dark New York winter. We live in a fast-paced town where people rarely demonstrate patience, a key personality trait of people who know how to win at the game of life. I’m as guilty as the next Guy’s Guy—I want my shit now. But, over time I’ve learned that sometimes not getting that thing I wanted when I wanted it, even if at the time I believed it was perfect for me, was not in the cards for good reason.  It was either wrong, or it wasn’t the right time. The Universe was protecting me.

Over the years I’m still learning how important having patience is to personal development, maturity, and an appreciation of life. Maybe you didn’t get that job, that girl, that deal, or that fantasy football championship when you thought it was in the bag. But, when your ship comes in, even if it happens long after when you wanted it to enter that harbor, you’ll eventually find out that everything falls into perfect timing and what’s right for you.

Before you put your hand up and say, “Hey, Guy’s Guy. What about that time when I was supposed to win that blah, blah, blah?” Sorry, it wasn’t meant to be, amigo. Your path still remains on track even if at times it feels like you’re stuck in a ditch along that the long road to enlightenment. You will get there and so will I. All we need is patience. The Universe hears us. It knows what we want to experience, but it has a different concept of time than our hyper demands for getting what we want now, now, now. With all that in mind, here are my Guy’s Guy perspective for learning patience and why it’s a very good thing.

Remember that job you applied for after college, thinking it was the perfect? Even though you may have landed the job and thought it was the right one for you, that opportunity doesn’t matter very much now, does it? If you were like me, you got the job, but over time had misgivings. I thought working for a big corporation that sold cookies and confectionary was the perfect gig. I met a lot of smart people, and I got solid experience and international travel under my belt. Then, after a few years and endless rounds of bosses, teams, and changing rules and politics I came to the realization that the people marketing a fun products like bubble gum and candy bars were some of the least fun people I had ever met. Packaged goods marketing was a notch on my career belt, but it was not what I wanted going forward. So I took my time and got a solid job in the image industry that suited me much better. In fact, I was much happier. It took time to make the change, but it was worth it. I was bored and miserable in the packaged goods industry, even though at the time it was the perfect place for me to start out. I got what I wanted when I wanted it, but I also learned that it there was something better out there. I took what I could get out of the experience and forged ahead. In this case, patience prevailed.

Here’s another example. Have you ever run into a former high school, college, or ex from your twenties and then suddenly experienced that “what was I thinking?” moment? Someone you had previously thought was the hottest, coolest partner. Maybe she dumped you, and left heartbroken. It made your desire for her become even hotter. But now, after a few years you see and there’s really no attraction whatsoever. You still respect her, but you’re not in any way, shape or form attracted to her physically or energetically anymore. What happened? Life happened. Aren’t you glad that things didn’t work out the way you had wanted back then? That’s what I’m talking about. You’re probably a lot smarter, happier and hanging with a partner who is better suited to you. It took me years to learn this valuable lesson. I learned that the hard way. In more than one relationship, I tried to force something to work that deep down I knew was not meant to be. I didn’t have the belief or the patience with myself and my abilities to just take a deep breath and move on. So I burned my time and probably hurt some feelings. But eventually I learned to be patient with change. And when I was more mature and ready to share my life, I met the woman who became my wife, my best friend, and lover. I’m glad the Universe taught me the rewards of patience.

Final story. A few years ago I took a break from the advertising game and began building the Guy’s Guy brand in earnest. I knew it would be hard. At the time I sat in a personal reading from a famous spiritual channel. The Guides that channeled in knew me inside out. At the time, I was eager to cash in on my novel, screenplay, TV script and treatment, podcast, non-fiction book series and all of the bricks I’d been laying in the foundation of my Guy’s Guy brand plan. I wanted it all right then and there, but there was more work to be done.

The Guides asked me an interesting question. “Would you be willing to do what you are doing without knowing if you would make money?” It was a striking question about my personal beliefs and intentions. I considered what I was doing and why. I felt the same way I did as when I was writing my novel. This was not just something I wanted to do; it was something I had to do.  I knew that I had to be patient, learn my craft, and hone my message so I would be properly prepared when my ship came in. After the reading, I went to work.

It’s been a few years since that reading and it’s not always been easy. I could have given up. At times I’ve said to myself, “WTF?” But overall, things are good. I’m healthy, strong and wiser than before and my family and my personal needs are being met. And, even though I still don’t know exactly how or exactly when my dream will manifest, I know it will happen at the right time, in the best way possible. That is my intention, and I am patient in my knowing.

So what’s the take away, Guy’s Guy? Do we sit here and just wait for our ship to come in? No, you do your work, set your intentions, and live, live, live in the moment. As you develop your patience you’ll eventually know that all things in your purview are happening in perfect timing. Good luck.

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is Abraham Lincoln. Here is a list of thirty years of his failures, plus a few successes on his way to becoming one of our greatest presidents. The man had patience and perseverance.

  • 1831 - Lost his job
  • 1832 - Defeated in run for Illinois State Legislature
  • 1833 - Failed in business
  • 1834 - Elected to Illinois State Legislature (success)
  • 1835 - Sweetheart died
  • 1836 - Had nervous breakdown
  • 1838 - Defeated in run for Illinois House Speaker
  • 1843 - Defeated in run for nomination for U.S. Congress
  • 1846 - Elected to Congress (success)
  • 1848 - Lost re-nomination
  • 1849 - Rejected for land officer position
  • 1854 - Defeated in run for U.S. Senate
  • 1856 - Defeated in run for nomination for Vice President
  • 1858 - Again defeated in run for U.S. Senate
  • 1860 - Elected President (success)

Image courtesy of WhiteHouse.gov 

5 Unconventional Things to do This Fall

Robert Manni - Thursday, October 20, 2016


When the leaves start turning red, gold, and brown most folks pull out the sweaters from the back of their closet and slide back into their tried, true, and predictable pattern of fall activities.

Now, there is nothing wrong with football games, pumpkin pie, picking apples, or taking a long drive to bask in the peak colors of the autumn foliage. Folks who live in the Northeast love having four seasons and they know how to make the most of the myriad activities that take place at this wonderful time of year. Some call it cuffing season, when the swimsuits get packed away and it’s time to snuggle with your partner for the wintery months.

 So, are we in too much of a routine now, folks? That’s where your Guy’s Guy comes into the picture. As somewhat of a contrarian when it comes to following set rules, I’ve cobbled together a handful of ideas for you to consider as we head deeper into autumn. So in no particular order here is my Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Unconventional Things to Do This Fall.

Drum roll, please… 

1. Hit the Beach – Yes, you read that correctly. After Labor Day, most people snap into that back-to-school mode way too quickly.  The Hamptons crowds return to Tribeca and the “Bennies” finally pack up and leave the Jersey Shore towns to the locals. But, guess what? With climate change scientifically proven and the warmer temperatures going deeper into the year, September now feels like summer. If you hit the beach in September and October, the traffic is minimal, the water is still warm, and there are no crowds. And, the beach is peaceful and calm. Just the way we like it when we want to get away for a few days. And, September and early October have a number of holidays that can make for a number of three-day weekends. As I write this, we are in the latter stages of October and it’s 82 degrees in New York City. There is still time for a swim. And when the water gets too cold, you can always take a nice long stroll along the boardwalk.

2. Change Your Eating Habits – Just because summer is over and you’re more apt to cover up your body more it doesn’t mean it’s the time to binge and pack on the pounds for the next six months. In fact, the new season is the perfect time to review your dietary habits and make a commitment to a lifestyle change, namely in your relationship with food. Please note that I did not recommend going on a diet. If you want to knock off some poundage for a short time, diets are great. And, there is no better time to diet than in the late spring so you can show off your stuff all summer long. What I’m suggesting is a complete review and potential overall of how you eat and relate with food. It takes time to make real changes in this area, but if you give yourself six months you will see miraculous results that will stay with you next summer and beyond. If you can cut way, way down on meat, fried foods, dairy, bread and pasta and pizza, and of course, sugar, you will find yourself be bursting with energy while your carnivorous friends are loading up on comfort foods, becoming more sedentary and probably getting a bit chunky. You know this happens every year. So don’t be that guy. Change your relationship with food.

3. Take a Trip to the Zoo - There are two times of the year to go to the zoo—in the spring and in the fall. My first preference is the spring because the animals are lively and pretty randy, too. But fall is also a great time to check out the Bronx Zoo. The foliage is gorgeous, the crowds are manageable, and the animals are fairly active as the weather cools down. In the summer and winter you rarely see the animals doing anything beyond sleeping or briefly lumbering over to their food tray. 

4. Train for a marathon - Yes, I realize that the NYC Marathon takes place on the first Sunday of November. A year before running my first marathon, I was running on a Sunday morning listening to the marathon broadcast on the radio through my ear buds. I decided right then to run in the New York City Marathon the following year. And I did. Instead of cramming three months of training into a grueling summer, I began laying down my training base and running foundation a year in advance. I’m really glad I did this because by the time race day came around I was in tip-top shape and ran a faster time in my second thirteen miles. Having that strong foundation of running for a solid year also gave me time to cultivate some personal discipline and learn how to listen to my body when those inevitable tweaks and injuries sprang up.

If you don’t fancy yourself as a marathoner, you could start a fitness regime in the fall with a goal of getting into the best shape of your life by the following summer. If you stick to your program, most likely you will.

5. Make a List, Then Do Your Holiday Shopping Before Thanksgiving – Some folks love that scramble for presents during those frantic final weeks and days of December. Not me. I prefer to think things out in advance, set my budget, and scour the e-tailers for the best prices on the items I want to buy for my peeps. Yes, this is a bit anal, and you may get slightly better deals if you wait until the last minute, but who needs the hassle? If you try shopping early some time, you’ll realize how much easier it is to shop, how much money you can save, and how much more time you have on your hands during the holidays that you can spend partying with your homeys and loved ones.

There will be plenty of days ahead when you can you curl up in that chunky sweater with your honey in front of the TV. This year, consider trying on a few fresh ideas for fall. As DT says, “What have you got to lose?” If you don’t see me, I’m probably at the beach.

This week’s GUY’S GUY OF THE WEEK is Robert Zimmerman, better know to most as Bob Dylan, folk singer and the voice of our generation, for his being awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Well-deserved.

Four Things about NYC I Could Do Without

Robert Manni - Friday, April 15, 2016


With the risk of dating myself, the year I moved into the city Madonna’s “Borderline” was a hit on MTV. Although I grew up in northern New Jersey and have traveled the world, over the past few decades your Guy’s Guy has become an authentic bona fide New Yorker. I’m not talking about the Hillary Clinton kind of New Yorker who comes from Illinois and needs five swipes of her borrowed Metro card to make her way through the turnstile. I’m talking about a night crawling, tar beach sun tanning, pizza eating, Yankees loving, roach killing, after midnight subway riding, “You lookin’ at me?” kind of urban warrior who has survived and thrived in the world’s greatest city for the past thirty years. Yeah, I’m that kind of New Yorker, amigo. And if you’ve read my blog you know that I adore this crazy-ass town. So, having been there and done that while putting up with the noise, trash, corruption, rats, blackouts, economic downturns, and even the 80’s, I claim my right to criticize my fair city when criticism is due.  You can call me a crank or the guy who shouts, “Get off of my lawn”, but I’ve earned my due, so at least listen up.

With all that in mind, I give you my Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Things That Can Suck about New York. Drum roll, please…

1. Weekend subway service- Are you kidding me? Who wants to spend an extra hour or two milling around the 14th station waiting for a severely overcrowded A train on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon? Weekend train service in New York is a chaotic mash up of delays, re-routed trains, and more delays. And as everyone knows, unless the station has Wi-Fi, hanging out on the platform watching rats scamper back and forth makes for anything but a winning weekend afternoon. The fares keep going up and the service keeps going down. These are the same complaints New Yorker’s had when I first moved in to the city all those years ago. Enough already. And, I’m not even getting into the filthy, often broken elevators that usually smell of urine. MTA, get your act together. More trains, cleaner trains, cleaner stations, clearer announcements…

2. Manhattan keeps losing its character- Although I love the other boroughs and get the whole Brooklyn thing; I’ve always lived in Manhattan. When you come from New Jersey, the city always meant Manhattan with all of its different neighborhoods and quirks. And the one constant about Manhattan is that it keeps changing. Unfortunately, over time Manhattan has grown bigger, taller, more structured and sanitized. It’s never boring, but I preferred the times when independent shops and cool neighborhoods had a chance to thrive. Not anymore. Now in every hood there might be a Chucky Cheese, Baby Gap, and definitely a bank or drug chain store on every corner. That is boring. Nowadays you have to look hard and dig deep to still find that gritty NYC character in Manhattan. I live in Harlem, which still yields an old school vibe, although the coffee shops and bearded hipsters have finally discovered my neighborhood. Oh well, at least the value of my apartment has skyrocketed. Maybe I’ll move to the South Bronx next. Maybe not.

3. Rising cost of living – Although New York has the best variety of restaurants in the entire world, unless I am on an expense account I don’t go out as before to eat and drink. I don’t believe in paying twenty bucks (tax and tip included) for a good tasting cocktail or $300 to eat a GMO meal for two at a decent restaurant with loud music. And you know that the louder the music is, the worse the food. And rent prices in Manhattan are beyond ridiculous. A cup of coffee and a designer doughnut runs you ten bucks. A take out lunch is about $12. A haircut? Forgetaboutit! I bought a Wahl trimmer and it works just fine, thank you.

4. Noise and bright lights – I often hear jackhammers pounding on Sunday nights at midnight. Really. There seems to be no laws, or at least laws that are enforced about noise in this city. I live in a residential neighborhood, but the ultra hip coffee house around the corner stays open until 4am and features live music or dee jays seven nights a week. Before calling 311 to lodge a complaint, I asked the owner if she could turn the music down a bit after midnight. Her response was classic New York, in a bad way. She suggested that the next time I thought the music was too loud I should let her know so she could come up to my apartment, go into my bedroom and listen for herself. At which point she would tell me that the music wasn’t loud.

My other peeve is bright lights and such on the walls of residential neighborhoods. People seem to think you can project anything anywhere in this city. Last year a new chicken joint owned by a famous television chef opened on my corner. Seeing that the building across the street, which faced my apartment, was blank, they began showing a thirty-foot high video loop featuring a mash up of urban culture mixed with footage of chicken breasts basting in a pan or proudly strutting around every night, all night. I complained through 311and also deployed social media posts until thankfully, the videos were pulled. But no blank space can be left alone. The same building has been refurbished and the wall in question now has super-bright LED light strips shining directly towards my home. Just because people and business owners can’t leave any open space alone. 

Although I enjoyed getting that out of my system, I did not even take on traffic, parking, Times Square, Port Authority, over flowing trashcans, dog shit and bikes on the sidewalk, etc.  If I keep going I may end up moving back to Jersey. Nope, I think I’ll take a deep breath and get back to extolling the virtues of my favorite city. Peace.

This week’s GUY’S GUY of the WEEK is Mike Bloomberg, who over 12 years made a real difference in amenities and the overall quality of life in the city, even at the expense of some of the local character that we all miss in Manhattan. Of well, in New York, you can’t have everything. 

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Managing Fear

Robert Manni - Tuesday, December 01, 2015


Fear runs rampant throughout our culture. If you don’t believe me, check out our newspaper headlines, evening news, movies and scripted television series.

Tales of terror, hate, murder, looming economic collapse, disease, and death fill our headlines. Listen to the language used by your friends, relatives and people on the street. In many of these casual conversations doom, gloom and threads of fear are etched in the subtext. And it’s true—the world can be a scary place, and there is a lot to worry about if we decide to focus on the negative. But is that how we want to live our lives? Of course not. So, this week I humbly offer my Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Managing Fear as a way to escape this omnipresent perceptual trap.

Like Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “We have nothing to fear except fear itself.”

Those immortal words have never resonated more than right now. Fear is mindset, a perception, a decision to claim anxiety and potential negative outcomes lurking around every corner. This is a myth. When bad things happen, if we don’t immediately succumb to fear, we get a better handle on the situation and can make better decisions. For example, if you lose your job, you can freeze up, shut down, or panic. Don’t do that. Take a step back. Breathe in. Exhale.

When change comes abruptly, it’s better to study the situation before making any unnecessary moves that can be driven by fear. Be cool, amigo. You might be out of a job, but most of time life’s twists and turns eventually turn out for the better. Think back on when that job went kaput. Were you happy? Was it your dream job? Probably not. Now, what can you do with the down time? You can reassess your future and life’s purpose or go barreling into the first job you get offered because you are afraid that you will never get another job if you don’t take the first one you’re offered. Hey, I know the market is tough, but I’ve been there and I’ve done that and it was not a good move. Sure you’ve got bills to pay and you need that cash, but if you can hold out, don’t let fear control decisions on your life’s work. You may wind up in the same situation a year later, all because you let fear get the best of you.

Are you a spiritual person?

Most of us think we are spiritual. If that's the case, there is no reason to be afraid. Because if you have a spiritual foundation you believe that God or the universal consciousness has your back and is on your side. So why are you afraid? And most importantly, if you do have a spiritual underpinning pointing the way, you know that you’re exactly where you need to be and at the perfect place and position to learn whatever need to learn right now. This may sound like a convenient way to brush aside the seriousness of real life (and sometimes death) circumstances, but if you really think about it, how can you live in fear if you believe in God? Don’t be afraid. Believe.

Turn off the television.

Because of my inner work and meditations, I’m finding that I start to feel ill if I watch too much television or ingest too much media in one sitting. Hey, my background is in marketing and advertising so I appreciate a well-told story or an engaging advertisement. I also like to keep up with what’s going on in our world, so I like to check in on the news now and then. That said; the news and our media thrive on fear. The news stories scare the shit out of us. The movies and television shows show us how dysfunctional we are, and the ads sell us what we need to feel better about our lacking selves. Need I say more? Be careful of what your mind consumes, amigo. Which leads us to…

The mind is our most powerful tool.

The more you can control your thoughts, the more you can control your life and manifest or actualize what you want. In other words, if you spend your time thinking about what you fear most, you may end up getting exactly that. So let’s spin it another way. If you focus on what you want and your intention for it as being the highest good, you’re putting yourself on a positive track.

Gratitude works.

Mentally expressing appreciation and thanks for all my blessings upon awakening and right before falling asleep has created a less fearful mindset. It clears my mind and creates space for good things to come into my life. After all, if our minds have been choked with fear, we need to make room for the things we want. So again, each morning and night I mentally express thanks for everything in my life even experiences of loss or rejection. Somehow it calms me down and slows my mental chatter. If you don’t believe me, give it a try for a week and see if you don’t begin to experience a shift in your mindset from fear to feelings fueled by positivity, abundance and gratitude.

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is Pope Francis. He’s fearlessly taken on the conservative, static framework of the Catholic Church, world leaders intent on power, people’s prejudice, hypocrisy, and warring factions across the globe.

Image courtesy of Stu Mayhew on Flickr.

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Love - An Exploration of the Heart

Robert Manni - Tuesday, October 20, 2015


Jagger had it right when he sang, “Love, it’s a bitch”.

Sure, it makes the world go around and can make your heart go pitter, patter, but love can also break your heart and cause a lot of pain. How can we maintain a loving heart in a world filled with so much hateful behavior? At times it’s hard to love our fellow man. But, it’s not all bad. If you look deep inside, there is a light that shines. It’s a spark, that part of you that comes from God. And it keeps burning no matter what.

This week, your Guy’s Guy is taking on love, with all the hurt and happiness that accompanies it. This one’s is not about my novel, The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Love per se, but it runs along a parallel path by exploring the different kinds of love we experience—romantic, friendship, family love, and the love of humanity and all its flaws. Hopefully, we’ll come to the same conclusion; ultimately love is all we have, and we need to do everything we can to express it every day.

Let’s take a look at the various forms of love, to see if we can find common ground, and ways to understand how we can keep our love alive.

1. Family - The old saying states that you can’t choose your family. But I’ve also read in spiritual texts that before incarnating we choose our parents and family based on lessons we need to learn.

This makes more sense to me, because human ascension requires certain experiences for growth. I’m sure many people would welcome the opportunity to choose their families again because not every familial situation brings joy. Throughout history, family members have done horrible things to their relatives. Not all, but some. That’s just how it goes. And I think you’d agree that at times, everyone’s family seems like it’s totally screwed up. But however we became connected to our families, we’re here now and in it together, so we need to find ways to make the best of it. I’ve learned this the hard way.

Maybe your family is like mine. I like speaking my mind, and for years I assumed you could talk to your family honestly about anything. But I was wrong. My family is made up of good, well-intended people. The problem is, they don’t get me—at all. Compounding the issue, my brood doesn’t share its feelings. Over the years, this has created frustration and occasional outbursts. Over time, I reluctantly decided to shut up and look elsewhere for understanding, validation, and honesty. At family functions I bite my tongue (for the most part) and I’ve learned that it’s better to simply love them than try to get them to understand me. There wasn’t one incident that switched on the light. It took time, lots of time, to understand that although these nice people are my family, it doesn’t mean that they think the same way I do or live their lives the way I do. And, it’s okay. I’ll love them unconditionally regardless. In my heart I thank them for their love and the lessons they are teaching me. I love them.

2. Friends – What’s the old saying? Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. At times, they can feel like one and the same.

I’ve done my very best to maintain long-term friendships, and as you know, that’s not always easy. Some people change and evolve, and others travel a different path. But that’s okay. If my friends and I remain on the same page with how we relate, laugh, and treat others, we’re good. But of course, that’s not always the case. Everyone relates to their friends differently. Some never initiate a call, but they are always there if you come up with an idea. There can be misunderstandings, and for some, it’s easier to talk behind a friend’s back than engage in an honest conversation about a point of contention.

I have a friend of over thirty years who for some reason did not respond to my wedding invitation. Ironically, I had been his best man. Eventually I called him two days before the wedding. When I asked if he was attending, he danced and dodged about things that were going on in his life. He couldn't bring himself to just say “no”. Instead he said, “I might stop by.” WTF? Initially I was understandably irked and cut him out of my life. But over time, he began reaching out and acting very cordial and differential to me. Still no mention of the wedding. I finally got together with him this summer when he arranged a road trip and bought concert tickets for our old crew. I showed up and had a nice time. Still no mention of my wedding. I had to make a decision. We’d been friends for decades, but it just wasn’t in him to deal with that issue. Like me, he is a flawed individual, although we do things differently. So, although I don’t go out of my way to see him anymore, I let the ”issue” pass. In my heart, I love him as a person, and for the good times we shared. I’ve moved on. That’s all there is.

You have to make smart choices about friends and which ones are worth keeping. You’re not going to change them, so you either accept them as they are or move on. Sometimes, the choices are tough, but if you use your heart as a guide you’ll make the right decisions. And, you can still love them for the times you shared.

3. Romance – Love hurts. No matter how you look at it, we’ve all felt the pain of a broken heart.

The good news is that relationships are great teachers. The practice of opening our hearts is a great practice. I have loved and lost, loved and lusted, and simply loved. I most enjoy loving and lusting. The biggest challenge for most people when it comes to love is letting go. In retrospect, every time I got dumped turned into ultimate good fortune. I managed to avoid marriage until a few years ago, and I am glad I did.

My last long-term girlfriend dumped me. I suspect she was cheating on me with a colleague. She didn’t cop to it, but all the signs were there. They took unnecessary business trips together and then he and his wife, at the time, took us to a concert, and it felt weird. When the end came, I was at initially devastated. My heart did not want to let go. But, it was time, so I shed a tear or two and moved on. They got married and I dated like crazy before finally meeting my wife. Now I’m beyond grateful that all of this happened. I had my fun, got away from an unfulfilling relationship, and met the right person for me.

Looking back on all of my relationships, I can honestly say that at the time I loved all of these women and regardless of the dirty details of the break-ups, I harbor no negative feelings for them. In fact I love them as people and hope they are happy. We had our good times and I am grateful. It’s so much easier this way. After all, who wants to be in a relationship with someone who does not share the same feelings toward them? It’s easier to simply love.

4 . The Human Race – People do screwed-up, crazy, mean shit to each other every day.

It upsets me, especially the little stuff, because it is so unnecessary. Here's an example: I hire a plumber to replace my water heater. They do the job, but while at my place, promise to come back a replace a cartridge in my leaky faucet. Since he did not have one on the truck, the guy who did the work said he would come back in a few days, give me the plastic cartridge for free and charge me 15 minutes time to fix it. I’ve been calling the main office on a daily basis for over a week now to get this done. Unfortunately, I’m forced to deal with the same repressed, passive-aggressive person who always answers the phone. She keeps finding reasons for why the work has not been scheduled yet. “I told my boss”. ”He doesn’t come in to the office much”. “I gave her the message”. “We’re very busy right now”. She’s got a new excuse every time I call. And she never calls me back. It’s obvious that she has no interest in helping me. In fact, in her own strange way she’s getting off on exerting her minuscule bit of power in life by preventing me from having my faucet repaired. What can I do?

I decided to thank her internally for helping to teach myself how to control my temper and develop patience. I’m almost choking on my words, but I love her. I may feel like giving her a wedgie, but I realize that she has her own issues. I recognize that we both come from the same loving spark of God. And so, I will love her, no matter how difficult it feels. And, I’ll check out YouTube and most likely fix the faucet myself.

There’s so much more to love. For me, the key is to recognize that we all come from the same spark. It’s not up to us to decide who is worthy or not of love because we are all equally deserving. I know it can be a challenge, but love is why we are here. Learn how to love everyone.

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is ex-Beatle, John Lennon, who so aptly said, “It matters not who you love, why you love, when you love or how you love, it matters only that you love”.

5 Lessons I've Learned in Five Years of Marriage

Robert Manni - Tuesday, June 16, 2015


If life is like a box of chocolates, then marriage is a pizza pie. Every pie has the same basic ingredients, but you and your partner add distinct flavors and spices. I married later than most. In fact, I was single so long that on holidays my family stopped asking me when I was getting married. I was a happy bachelor. Although I shared a few live-in relationships and learned a thing or two about love from my partners, nothing prepared me for the commitment that comes with marriage. Maybe I’m old school because I could not ask for a woman’s hand in marriage until I was absolutely certain she was the only one for me. It’s been five years now and the time has flashed by like a blur. I’ve been up, down and all around in this short period of time and I’m glad I was lucky enough to wait for the right person to come into my life. And I was even luckier that she said yes.

I know everyone has a different experience in marriage. Some succeed and just as many fail. I also acknowledge that I am no expert, and much of what I include in this post may seem obvious to some. But here goes anyway. These are my lessons learned from five years of marriage, Guy’s Guy style.

1. Everyone is different. When you live with someone, over time you get a first hand perspective about their habits and how they roll. My wife has two masters’ degrees and is arguably the smartest person I know. So, at first I was surprised to learn that she loves to kick back and wallow in reality television and those hideous real estate fixer upper shows. And unfortunately, most of this drivel is on at the same time as my beloved Yankees and Knicks games. I usually skulk to my office and work on the computer. I never imagined such an intelligent person would consume this trash TV, but I’ve learned that this is simply her way to relax. Sigh. This is an example of how couples learn about and then deal with minor, but potentially annoying differences in lifestyles. Over time, I’ve adjusted my attitude and my routine, and once or twice I’ve even sat through “The Housewives of Beverly Hills”.

2. Change can be a good thing. To a certain extent, we are all creatures of habit. When you're single, you come and go as you please. You sleep in when you want to, watch movies until the earlier hours of the morning, and basically do whatever the hell you want to whenever you want to do it. And in a city like New York, that can be interesting, to say the least. After a few months of marriage though, you factor in how your behavioral quirks might affect your partner. So, over time, you realize that going out for a meal and drinks at 2AM is no longer such a great idea. You adjust your schedule to sync with your partner’s, and if you're a guy, it’s not a bad thing. Although I have always stayed in shape, my bachelor lifestyle was not the healthiest. Late night drinking and binging on bad food and falling asleep in front of the television were not conducive to a healthy lifestyle. Now I’m in the sack by midnight and I wake up in a good mood after a restful sleep next to my wife. And, she doesn’t even steal the covers.

3. Kids basically blow up your lifestyle. Holy shit. I had no idea that having a kid would create such a drastic change in my day-to day existence. Kids gobble up your time and continually up the ante. Just when you think you’ve got a routine set, they shift into a new phase of unpredictable behavior. And when they are young, you can never let them out of your sight. Man, that can be tiring. For a longtime bachelor, this has been a sea of change that I totally underestimated. Kids really do change everything. The good news is that you will never feel more unconditional love from another human than you do from your child. It’s a beautiful thing, and I had no idea.

4. Don’t take your partner for granted. Once you’ve been married for a year or so it’s easy to settle into a routine. Don’t do it, especially if you are a guy. Guys fall into patterns of comfort quickly and it’s easy to take what your partner does for you for granted. Big mistake, amigo. Big mistake. Marriage forces a lot of guys, myself included, to man up and stop being such selfish a-holes. I’m a work in progress, so as I evolve from a knuckle-dragging Neanderthal into a Guy's Guy, I at least make sure to tackle an increasing number of mundane tasks so my wife doesn't have to do them. When I was single, I could ignore most of this stuff for weeks, but now I am a table-clearing, dish swishing, vacuuming, garbage hauling, laundry loving, recycling, sheet changing, waste basket emptying, poop cleaning, diaper changing machine. I seek out and destroy every boring-ass menial job that comes along so I don’t leave them on my partner’s plate. It’s the least I can do for her.

5. Never stop dating. You know what I mean, and it’s easier said than done. When you’re married and have a kid, you’re pretty burned out by the end of the week. It’s hard to pull a real date together, and too often I find myself sprawled out on the couch next to my wife watching Bill Maher on Friday night instead of going out for dinner and cocktails. For now, since our little guy is a toddler and we are older parents, we regulate our “date time” to weekend lunches or earlier dinners with the little guy in tow. I guess that’s romantic in it’s own way, but I know I have to do more.

Those are just a few tidbits from what I’ve learned in five short years of marriage. I know I’m glad that I enjoyed my single life and I’m glad that I decided to wait. I also know that I need to keep improving, but at least I’m making progress.

This week’s Guy’s Guys of the Week are my parents, Serge and Carole Manni, who recently celebrated their sixty-fifth wedding anniversary (That’s a tough act to follow!). And of course, my lovely wife, Uni. God bless them.


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