My first conversation with Omar was in a restaurant in St. Petersburg, Florida. He had recently shared a little about his life story with my church youth group, shortly after I graduated high school. As soon as he finished his talk, I went up and asked if we could meet together sometime. I was looking for a mentor, and Omar is always trying to use his experience to help other people, so of course he obliged.
We met at a local coffee shop and after ordering and sitting down at a table, I told him I was thinking about taking a semester off from college and going to India on a mission trip. Before I could explain how, or why, or when, Omar started laughing. His head tilted back in joy and his eyes squinted closed from giggling. He was cracking up so much he couldn’t talk. After about 30 seconds of me awkwardly laughing along, he says, “Yeah, you have to go to India. I know, because I’ve never met you in my life and you decided to ask me to lunch today of all days!”
He then explained that at the moment, he and Bonnie only had one vehicle between them, so they set up their separate meetings to be at the same place and time so they could ride together. Coincidentally, Bonnie was meeting with a mentor she met through the church, who just so happened to be transitioning into life as a full time missionary in India. So, Omar and I joined tables with Bonnie and her mentor, and we had one of the most life changing conversations I’ve ever had. At 19 years old, I didn’t know that Omar, Bonnie, and I would form one of the most interesting, empowering, encouraging relationships of my adult life, but that conversation was a huge jumping off point for me.
From that moment on, I knew that if I needed encouragement, I could call Omar. If I needed correction, I could call Omar. If I needed dinner, I could call Omar. If I needed a job, I could call Omar. See, Omar invests in people. It’s just what he does. He allows his experiences, both positive and negative, to empower others. Over the years of backyard fires in South Florida, Bonnie’s incredible dinners in Utah, and walks through the barrios in Costa Rica, I’ve realized that Omar really just wants everyone’s life to be meaningful. I wouldn’t trade the time I’ve spent with Omar and his family for anything. Now you get to read, in this book, what it’s taken decades for Omar to learn about how to lead an inspiring, empowering, and engaging life.
I wish I could tell you that reading this book will definitely change your life. I wish I could tell you that now that you have this book in your hands, your outlook on life is going to be much more positive, your Mondays will feel more like Fridays, your email inbox will never get clogged up, and your steaks will always be medium-rare. Unfortunately, I can’t make those claims.
What I can tell you is that now that you have this book, you have a decision to make. In the following chapters, Omar outlines his view on life, one of realistic optimism, authentic relationships, meaningful productivity, and genuine happiness. You can choose to read it as any other book, finish it up and store it away in the back part of your brain for the next time some difficult situation crops up. Or, you can choose to read it carefully and intentionally, taking each chapter and applying it to your life. Use the mantras, participate in the challenges, be willing to change your perspective. If you read this book and apply the principles in your everyday life, your outlook on life will be more positive, but you have to decide now.
Throughout my conversations with Omar, I’ve learned a great deal about what’s really important in life. My hope for you, reader, is that by the time you decide to turn the next page, you are willing to reevaluate what is most important in your life. My hope is that you are open to the possibility that your Mondays really can feel like Fridays, if you know where to look.
In the words of my brother, friend, and mentor:
M. Rockmore DeVore
June 19, 2019