A Little This & That ~ Life, Insights & Lessons Learned

A little background about me, Cheers! ☼ 🙂 Mark


– I’m all about journeys, dreams and adventures, and encouraging others to live their hopes and dreams in life – if I can live all my hopes and dreams as a kid growing up in Flint, MI, then you can as well! 🙂

– I grew up in Flint, MI, before moving to Grand Blanc, MI, just before starting the 6th grade, and lived there until going out on my own at the age of 20 when I left on an adventure to travel and see the world.

– I worked for two years as a seasonal Marine Patrol Deputy Sheriff and Search & Rescue SCUBA Diving Team Member patrolling the lakes of Genesee County, MI

– When I didn’t make it into Veterinary School at Michigan State University and didn’t have a clue about what to do with my life, I finally realized the only thing I was passionate about was travel and adventure – so I quit school to undertake and complete an 8,003 mile bicycle adventure around the U.S. in 1976-1977 – traveling by bike, car and truck with my friend Bruce, from Flint, MI, to Myrtle Beach, SC, to Key West, FL, to Rockport, TX, to Albuquerque, NM, to Denver, CO, to Salt Lake City, UT, to Boise, ID, to Portland, OR, and finishing in Seattle, WA

– Bruce and I worked in a lumber mill in Seattle for a short time – and after Bruce returned to MI – I worked my way up from a warehouse position at Electricraft Stereo Centers, Inc. in Seattle, to become a Regional General Manager for their stores in WA, ID and MT – undertaking many personal adventures around the Western U.S. from 1977-1979 as well

– I wrote my first book titled, In Search of the Meaning of Life (A Book of Philosophy) in 1978, while trying to figure out what I would do with the rest of my life – it’s in 5 Parts so just scroll down: https://insearchofthemeaningoflife.com/category/16-the-early-years-the-start-of-a-dream-chapter-11/

– I took a vacation to visit my family in Michigan prior to resigning my company position in the spring of 1979, and completed a solo bicycle adventure around England, Scotland, Wales and France that summer; took three transcontinental trips by Greyhound Bus that year; drove new cars cross-country for a car dealership; and visited Puerto Rico with a friend to visit his family and go SCUBA diving that summer

– In late December 1979, I returned to Michigan State University to earn my B.A. in Business Administration/Marketing – graduating in the late summer of 1981

– During my time at Michigan State University, I took a yacht trip with a friend from Seattle in a chartered 42′ Grand Banks from Everett, WA, to Princess Louisa Inlet and Chatterbox Falls, B.C., Canada, and all points in-between during Fall Break of 1980

– During Spring Break 1981, I completed a solo bicycle adventure from Grand Blanc, MI, to Port Huron, MI, and through Ontario, Canada

– In the fall of 1981 I joined the United States Air Force to become a specialized navigator flying fighters called a WSO (Weapon Systems Officer) and later an ECO (Electronic Combat Officer) – over a 20 year career I flew the F-4D/E/G, F-16D, and F-111E/G and flew a desk as a Staff Officer, lived overseas in England and Germany for 16 years, and participated in both the Cold War and the Persian Gulf War


– Since retiring, I now spend my time on various personal projects of mine: writing, posting, and sharing the 11 books I’ve either written or am finishing on my blogs; podcasting my books as audiobooks that you can listen to on Soundcloud (Mark Jones 104); painting and maintaining an Online Art Gallery; editing my photos into an Online Gallery; organizing and sharing some of the 250+ songs I’ve written, along with the demo recordings I made years ago; and occasionally making and sharing motivational videos about living your hopes and dreams in life

– Here are the links to my books online (scroll to the bottom of the page for most of the Category/Table of Contents sections):

Jonathan’s Amazing Adventures: Jonathan’s Dream, Jonathan’s Return and Jonathan’s Wish:  https://jonathansamazingadventures.com/

The Adventures of Sam the Tugboat: The Adventures of Sam the Tugboat; Sam the Tugboat and the Island Kingdom of Beauty, Dreams and Imagination; Sam the Tugboat and the Legend of Shipwreck Island:  https://samthetugboat.com/

In Search for the Meaning of Life (An Autobiography), In Search of the Meaning of Life (A Book of Philosophy), In Search of the Meaning of Life (The Air Force Years): https://insearchofthemeaningoflife.com/

Organizational Aerodynamics:  https://organizationalaerodynamics.com/category/c-preface-the-art-of-visualization/

The Many Portraits of Life (A Novel):  https://themanyportraitsoflife.com/


Life Lessons I’m Still Trying to Master

1.  Try to see everything in life as an adventure and an experience – both positive and negative – but not one that defines or limits you, because tomorrow is a new day and a new challenge

2.  It’s your life, so you decide how you want your story to unfold, not someone else – live it your way, blaze your own trails, follow your heart, live your hopes and dreams, life isn’t a dress rehearsal as there are no second takes, never settle for less than your heart tells you you want, you’ll never know or do if you don’t try – and always maintain the perspective of looking back on your life from a rocking chair on the front porch when you’re old and gray, having stayed true to who you are over the course of your life

3.  Find your passion and follow it relentlessly – do what you love and love what you do – otherwise you’re wasting your time, unless you’re planning your jumping off point into something that will be true to who you are

4.  Never stop learning and read everything you can, as many people give up learning and doing over time, so don’t be a spectator of life, get in the game – there’s everything to learn, both offline and online, to keep your mind sharp, and body healthy and fit – so use your time online constructively, and try to learn something about everything you can

5.  Life is hard, so deal with it.  No one owes you anything, and don’t expect anything to be handed to you on a silver platter – embrace failure as a learning experience, pick yourself up, try again and keep going, for sometimes life’s biggest opportunities follow failure – it’s never the end until it is

6.  Life’s a marathon, not a sprint, so go for endurance, not speed – persistence, perseverance and patience win the race – many years and decades are required to accomplish your hopes and dreams

7.  No one cares about your hopes and dreams until they do, and it will oftentimes take most of your life before anyone else pays any attention to many of the things you’re trying to do – so motivate yourself from within, and never give up on your hopes and dreams

8.  Everyone has an opinion, and many of the loudest opinions don’t have any justification behind them, so at the end of the day the only opinion that counts is yours – unless someone speaks truth to you, and your heart will know

9.  Take the high road in life, and make your life count for something larger than yourself with what you’re passionate about and trying to do – make it about others, not yourself, and use a lifelong perspective when doing it – you’ll make plenty of mistakes anyway when seeking to travel the high road, but so many less than you would have, had you decided to travel through the valleys of life

10. Never lose hope in even the darkest of hours, and always keep your faith and trust that God will guide you and show you the way – listen to your heart for that quiet voice of wisdom within you

11. Prioritize health and fitness your entire life, as you only have one body, and life is so very short and fragile – your body will break down on its own over time anyway – so help it to complete the marathon you’re running called life, by taking care of it, and avoiding unnecessary and foolish risks

12. Don’t take yourself out of the gene pool at a young age or at any age – pay attention, don’t walk around with ear buds to tune out your surroundings and ruin your hearing, drive responsibly, don’t use alcohol in excess, don’t smoke or do drugs, avoid risky behavior, and don’t put yourself in situations where the odds are stacked against you – like dark alleys, and bars late at night, etc. – life’s fragile and precious

13. Work hard to maintain and improve the relationships you have with your friends and family that you want to keep over the years, as the more you move from place to place over the course of your life, the harder it is to maintain solid relationships over the years

14. Avoid manipulative and toxic people at all costs, and be aware of the methods and behaviors they use and employ – distance, knowledge and your gut reaction are your best protection from them – you can and should forgive anything, but your forgiveness is not a door back into your life for anyone to automatically use

15. Happiness is an inside job and your responsibility alone, and not dependent on any situation, possession or person – you can choose your reaction to any circumstance, just know the situation doesn’t define you – life is what happens to you, and you decide how to react to it

16. Never lose your childlike heart, and try to see everything in life through ‘new’ eyes like a child – read J.M Barrie’s Peter Pan and study his quotes concerning life

17. Money is simply a tool, and just one of many tools in life’s workshop, so use it wisely – live beneath your means, save as much as you can in general and for retirement while still pursuing your dreams, stay out of debt as much as possible, be a good steward of your possessions so you can give them away in good shape once you’re finished with them, donate to charity, and give freely to friends, family and others in times of need

18. Live simply and love deeply – the less you have, the less you leave behind, for you can’t take it with you – gather moments and experiences, not things

19. Time is your most precious resource, so use it wisely and don’t waste it on trivial pursuits (unless you’re playing a game) – start your day before dawn to gain productivity, and retire early for the night, for sleep is critical to your health, and time is critical to accomplishing your hopes and dreams in life

20. Life is short and precious, even if you’re fortunate enough to live a long life – live each day as your last, be grateful for all you’ve been given, little things in life are the big things in the end, love is the key to everything you do, and life is a gift and a blessing given to you by God

21. Only in retrospect looking back, will you be able to connect many of the dots of your life to explain what really happened and why – even then, it may never be possible to explain in this life why things happened the way they did, so be at peace with your past – live in the moment, look forward to the future, and learn from the past

22. If you don’t know yet what your passion and hopes and dreams are in life, think back to the moments, events and experiences from your earliest years, about what made you feel free and alive – what you would spend your whole life doing for free if you could, something that you can do that the world truly needs, something that makes your heart race, and your soul sing – do that! 🙂

430.0 Simply Mark – Show 32, Season 8, Oct 9, 2017 – Podcast

“They only think they fear these waters, because of the old tales and legends, not because they really know what this sea holds.”

Mark reads Ch 4, Pt 2 of his story Book 3 ‘Jonathan’s Wish (An Adventure Novel)’ ~ suitable for children of all ages! ☼ 🙂