The Memory Jar

About 5 years ago, I read about the idea of creating a memory jar for each year. The way it  works is to keep a jar starting on January 1st, and every time there is something that happened that you’d want to recall, you put a little reminder in there or a note.

I had a mason jar filled with kids’ concert tickets, post-it notes with things like “OC Boardwalk G&G” written on it or “home run” or “Shrek concert” with the date on it. At the end of the year, I’d make the kids sit at the table and listen as we read aloud the folded pieces of paper what were contained in that jar. Sometimes we’d talk about something fun but mostly, it was an exercise of just getting through it. You see, these are memories for all three of us but they were more for me,  to be honest. At least they were for now.

I live a lot in the space of memories. I always have. In some ways, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t, even when I was very young. I had this anxious feeling of grasping going back as far as I could remember. I was the kid that did not want to leave the amusement park until it closed and grew up to be the guy that didn’t want to leave a gathering if we were all enjoying the moment, even if there was a pre-agreement with the wife before-hand. I just couldn’t let go – as if knowing that I was just a blink away from moving from “in the moment” to “remember that time”.

My name is Marc and I’m a memory-aholic. I am a hoarder of memories. I have letters and photos which I haven’t looked at in decades. I would envision myself alone in my old age reviewing a life gone by. Almost every song, smell, food, place, sound, hell, even cooking utensil, can trigger a vision of something  or someone from the past. It’s nutty and weird and frustrating.

So, you can imagine what automatic reminders from Facebook or my iPhone do to me. “Can’t you see, I’m trying to be in the moment, here?”, I want to send directly to Mark Zuckerberg.

The space of memories is far and wide. It is around every corner I walk or drive – the monkey bars where the kids used to play and I was just waiting for my son to fall, the old neighborhood where the family would take walks or the kids would ride their bikes, the hotel I stayed in that one night when I found myself in a deep, dark place. They are at every turn.

The space of memories is insidious if you don’t make an appointment with it – taking up much of your day, organizing two decades worth of photos on your laptop or asking you to consider your next move based on what memory it, too, will create one day.

My memories are not confined to a jar but  I wish they were – a place where I could simply store them and tuck them away on a shelf or in the back of a closet only to forget about them until the end of the year and then empty them out to remember, but not to relive.

It’s one thing to memorialize. It’s another to romanticize. I understand the lure of a vision board – it’s about the future, not the past. It seems to me that the balance lies somewhere in between – respecting and learning from what has happened in order to realize and accept what is yet to come. I suppose that middle ground is just today, whether we appreciate it or not.

I am learning still, years after the fact, the profound guilt and sadness that informs a lot of my memories due to my divorce. I keep moving through it as I don’t believe in “getting over it”. I also have to be honest that, while the idea of the memory jar is a nice one, there was a lot of me wanting to make sure there was a record for my kids of how we lived, still as a family, albeit a different one. I wanted to remove some of the guilt I had in not being able to make it work and for having some part in reframing what their memories would be as part of a split household.

We didn’t do a memory jar this year. Instead, we talked (ok, mostly texted) a lot about the future. We did this in the past, too, but this time, there was nothing pulling us toward remembering anything we might not want to anymore. Maybe the best way to “get through” is to keep looking at the fuzzy future that lies ahead without thinking about the clear picture of the past you left behind. The truth is that it’s not as clear as we make it out to be, either. It’ll be there if you want it, but you don’t need a jar, or a shelf, or a photo collage to get at it.

Until next time,Marc

A Year of Firsts. And Lasts.

I haven’t written a blog post for a while.

First, it was getting hard for me to not write about the election or race or inequality or the pandemic or, well, anything that you might read and say: “yeah, we get it Marc – deep thoughts, existential crisis, yadda, yadda, yadda.” I can’t promise you that now, I have found a lighter heart – only a somewhat more patient and less tormented one.

Second, I was processing a lot of thoughts about things that were, and to some extent still do, require a lot of processing and working out. In fact, I was writing but not for a blog and not for anything I’m ready to share, or at least yet.


(As an aside -for those of you who beat yourself up for not writing enough, realize that all that thinking you are doing in the shower or while navigating the paper goods aisle – those little notes you write down on pieces of ripped envelopes or jot down somewhere on your laptop only to take you an hour to find again – all of that counts.)

Now, though, on the edge of closing out an unprecedented year like 2020 (or at least unprecedented in most of our lifetimes) and about to begin another, it seemed like it was the right time.

Personally, this year has ripped me open, apart and inside-out. My mother died. Unexpectedly. I am still working through it, to be honest. Writing. Thinking. Processing. The hardest parts for me are the sounds – maybe because I pay so much attention to sound – in music, and speech. I recall all the moments that woke me from a sleep – literally and metaphorically – and continued to sound the alarm – my dad’s voice on that fateful phone call, the sharp, metallic beeping of the hospital monitors, the wheezing of the ventilator, the gurney wheels rolling in the hall while waiting in the lobby, the sound of dirt hitting the casket. Need there be more?

And then, everywhere I turned or looked I couldn’t stop hearing her voice – still can’t. Furthermore, moments when it seemed to quiet down were filled with other signs of death from a pandemic that seemed both right around the corner and, at the same time, an entire universe away. At times, it was silence punctuated by the blowing of the heater downstairs or laughter coming from my daughters room or my son on the X-box. All signs of life but still so confined.

When I reflect on this year, it seems that the inevitable reality of life, and of death, just catapulted to the head of the line. Where December typically brings thoughts of what we did, who we saw, where we went and how we lived, this December is more about what we have and what we lost. It is, after all, a year of firsts and of lasts, as is any other year if you really think about it. This time, though, there weren’t the usual distractions.

I usually think of firsts and lasts, as the gains and the losses, respectively. The truth is that there are firsts and lasts on both sides of the equation. We try things out for the first time. We learn difficult things about ourselves or people we care about for the first time. We spend time with people we love for the last time. We also decide to move on and not put up with something or someone that weighs us down – for the last time. Each year, each moment, really, has the potential to be a first or a last. It’s quite incredible when you think about it because the truth is, you really never know. Ever.

For 2021, I am not as focused on the list of what I hope to accomplish. Rather, now it is time to focus on what I must experience and wake up to – each day, maybe each moment – a long thread of firsts and lasts, interwoven between joy and sorrow and each a reminder that eventually, all firsts will become a last, for better or worse. The potential for the New Year lies not in any resolution or goal but rather in the constant reminder for all of us to pay attention – deeply, profoundly and with complete awe.

Until next time,

Marc

Kinda Nice

I don’t know exactly when or where I heard it but as a kid, someone told me “it’s nice to be important but it’s more important to be nice.” Maybe you’ve heard it, too.

I really like the idea behind this which was to not get “too big for your britches”, as my grandfather used to say, and try to be a decent person. However, it took me a while to realize that this should be modified (though it won’t be as snappy) to read “it’s nice to be important but it’s more important to be kind” because, I don’t know about you, I know plenty of “nice” people, but kindness is a whole difficult ballgame.

I know for a fact that sometimes, I am not very nice. I am trying not to be an asshole (but it’s so easy sometimes and we do have to go with our strengths from time to time). I am trying to not be vengeful, bitter and to watch what and how I say things which is probably difficult for many, and especially for me. I am not proud to admit this but it is the truth. This does not mean that tough conversations do not need to be had in order to bring a level of integrity to relationships that are important and this doesn’t feel very nice. But it comes from a place of kindness. This is a big difference.

When I was going through my divorce, this was by far the most brutal, depressing, unsettling and vicious thing I had ever experienced. And I had a few things to choose from, as I suspect most of us do. All of a sudden, it became the subject that few would even acknowledge around me. I had been coming across other parents and people from my town I knew for over a decade and while everyone was nice, it was hard to find kindness. Sure, people were polite but on the few occasions when things became uncomfortable, it was a different story. It was as if even uttering a phrase like “I’m sorry if you are going through a hard time” would create an obligation for involvement beyond anything other than a tiny glimpse of compassion.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s awkward and uncomfortable to be around. It’s unsettling. It requires a level of empathy that is often hard to locate, find or even summon. That’s sort of the point. Kindness ain’t easy. If this point may still not registering, let me put it as bluntly as I can. Being nice is about you. Being kind is about someone else.

We need a lot less niceness and hell of a lot more kindness these days, if you ask me. It’s easy to be nice. It’s real hard to be kind. Being nice makes it ok to tell a little lie to not hurt someone’s feelings. This nice approach protects us more than whoever is the recipient. Being kind can be easy, too or it might mean finding a way to tell a hard truth.

This is partially why we are where we are today as a society. I actually think most of us have an incredible propensity for being kind. It is a stepping stone to love and we all have it. But we are not rewarded for it and in our overly “woke cancel culture” doing or saying what must be done or said in the name of kindness can often come across as blunt harshness or hurtful.

You may have heard the oft quoted Dalai Lama professing that “my religion is kindness”. Notice he did not say “my religion is niceness”. Kindness requires a level of compassion, empathy, understanding and deliberate action that allows us to really see the other. Niceness does not. Kindness is hard. Real hard. It means that we are not to judge others, or ourselves, based on where we are, how we got here and the decisions we have made. It means we can disagree with them, try to help or understand we cannot help right now. These options can all live together at the same time – and all with the knowledge of maybe not seeming or acting very nicely.

This feel like the right way to move forward from a society to a community and each act of kindness is an act of love. So, if I may not seem very nice to you in the future it’s because I’m challenging myself to find the kind response more and more. When it happens to be covered in a thick, gooey, yummy shell of “niceness”, well that’s a bonus. But if not, please know that I’m at least going for the low-cal version of kindness – all the nutrients without all the bad stuff.

Until next time,

Marc

Don -you win.

Dear President Trump,

I know you like winning. You write about it a lot (or someone does on your behalf). Either way, you’re on message and I know you like winning, you like winners and there’s no place in your America for losers. I get it. For the record, it’s not like I’m a huge fan of losers – like it’s some sort of weird fetish of mine or something. I think I’m just learning to manage my expectations differently than you and we might have a different definition of “loser” and “winner”, also.

Anyway, that’s not the point of why I’m writing you. You see, as much as I hate to concede it, I think you have won. When it comes to choosing me over you, it’s not a contest. No one is going to say “that Marc sure has a point” who believes that there is an equivalency between you and any other person on the planet who can run against you. No one is going to say “Marc, I hear what you’re saying about voting for our collective future, not just our wallet” who uses their 401K as an arbiter of the consequence of choosing intrinsic values over extrinsic values this election. No one is going to choose me over you if their mind is already made up, no matter how much respect or kindness there might be. I am surrounded by people who still support you – whether they know I know or not – and just like choosing for kickball at recess, I’m not anyone’s first pick.

And that’s why you have won. Because the only other choice I have is to slowly and methodically remove myself from every neighbor, friend, family member and colleague who will side with you – whether they really like you or not. It’s tough for me. I want to say “this choice is so fundamentally a part of everything I believe to be right versus wrong that I can’t make peace with the fact that you refuse to see the implications for generations beyond you and me – for everything” and yet, if I do, no one is going to fight for me. Not because they might not want to but because you and your cronies have found a way to win at all costs. Fear. And I desperately want to fight it with love.

But love takes time – lots more time than fear and hate. Fear is the way we are wired for survival and predisposed as a flawed species. Shame on you for taking advantage of that but damn if you and your lemmings aren’t good at it.

Maybe we will evolve beyond this in the next couple of centuries, but I, for one, don’t have that kind of time. So, I can only choose to keep finding cracks in the stone wall you keep building where some light can connect me with those so fundamentally different from myself in where we stand on the issues you so carelessly toss out in tweets in the name of “greatness”.

So, congratulations. You’ve won. You’re popular. You’ve tapped into the psyche of the part of us that never left high school. You’ve re-marketed fear from a commodity to a brand and you’ve done it like no one else before you. You win. But, to be honest, I was never really interested in this game or the prize to begin with.

Until next time,

Marc

Continuous Learning

I’ve written about a meditation that I sometimes listen to that consists of seven affirmations (see recent blog post “My Covid Mantra”). That post was about the link between patience and confidence.

Recently, I am learning more about the one that tells me to be “willing to live outside my comfort zone and do not let myself be guided by fear.”

As I write this, I am in New York City, which in itself is a move toward addressing fear – particularly as you cross 7th avenue even when the opposing light for oncoming traffic is green – a salient reminder of how different things are in a COVID world. Posters and signs remind me that we are still amidst an invisible predator.

Yet, the fear I felt had nothing to do with a pandemic. It had everything to do with an internal virus I have yet to fully extinguish, one where fear of saying what I really feel navigates and infects the interstices of the connections I am working so hard to build. One that threatens the core anchor I have been working to build toward more confidence, resilience and self worth.

As the drama behind the “real” drama unfolded, I found myself well outside my comfort zone and even directed by an internal fear that I was hesitant to acknowledge. I am a faithful team member – whether part of a family, work group or cast – and yet, unavailable to the “middle way” that can help catch resentment before it turns into full blown anger. Luckily, I am learning to face fear even though, on the surface, it may have looked like something else.

I am learning to walk away. I am learning to speak up in a healthy yet confrontational way and doing so without fear on whether it will burn bridges with those that may allow for my future progress. This means walking, not running, toward the dissolution of the ego. I am trying to live outside this comfort zone and do so in a courageous way. In doing so, I have tried to take advice from loved ones that remind me that this continuous learning is so good for me. To be honest, though, I feel like a 5th year senior and sometimes I just feel like I’m good with the continuous learning – let’s graduate already.

But that’s not the curriculum I signed up for. I’m not sure when I signed up for it or if someone else did it for me but I’m getting tested daily and sometimes barely passing, but I am passing. When I have doubts, there’s always a reminder.

Today, on my morning walk to sit among the few that were at Bryant Park, I saw a sign – literally. It simply read: “Don’t be afraid of anyone.” I’m working on it. I swear.

Until next time,Marc

The Facebook Rabbit Hole

I decided to get off of Facebook in January. I thought about it for most of 2019, if not all of it. For the time prior, I had subscribed to the oft repeated mantra that it was a “necessary evil”, especially for networking and keeping in touch.

It was not an easy decision but a smart one. My mother passed away the following month. We we thrown into a pandemic a few weeks later. Riots occurred not long after that. Excising myself from the myriad of opinions, memes, debates, vitriol and uncomfortable (yet well-meaning) words and emojis of sympathy was not a bad move for my mental health, if nothing else.

Last month, due to starting up two new projects in which Facebook was a main communication vehicle, I reluctantly set up a new profile and went back on. To be honest, it hasn’t been bad in terms of some friends who I have missed that I just wasn’t hearing from otherwise. We are busy. It is an easy way to stay in touch or informed.

However, it didn’t take more than 24 hours to see things, read things, watch things and learn things that I would have been more than happy without. When I was a kid, I had no clue what my neighbors political positions were. I might have an idea of how we may differ religiously or even in terms of interests, but never about politics. Granted, I was younger and didn’t care as much but in comparison to today, my kids are painfully aware of which side of the aisle most of their friends reside.

In speaking with my daughter, she prefers it this way. She has a strong social conscious and has, like me, difficulty, understanding how certain people can seemingly overlook people, tropes, policies or subtleties that flirt with (if not directly promote) racism, sexism, injustice, intolerance or a lack of respect for education, the environmental, diversity and equality. She wants to know who shares these views, or at least, is willing to overlook those who do.

This may be where we differ. There are newly found people on Facebook that, had I never seen a political post, I would just assume to be more “like me”. I want to have friends of different political persuasions and do (though to be honest, not many) but it is getting harder and harder. I don’t know how to square up feelings of connection with someone who so fervently prompts up the people and positions of those I have such strong opposition against. I am not speaking of someone who is of just a different political bent than me. I am talking about people of a different political bent who excitedly and unabashedly root for “the other” as if it’s their football team regardless of pain caused to those who may not agree and impacted. I am beating around the bush here deliberately because I want to focus on issues and not people but you get where I am going. Basically, I want to cover my ears and voice “la la la la la la la la la” until everything is better.

I don’t know what the answer is but the rabbit hole of Facebook is not just a never-ending hole where discovery opens your mind. It does quite the opposite – at least for me. Little did Lewis Carroll know when he wrote ” Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast” how true that was. And when it comes to Facebook, none of them good.

That doesn’t mean I’ll be taking a Facebook sabbatical anytime soon. It does mean that it’s up to me and only me, though, to make sure I don’t forget what the Cheshire Cat says to Alice once she arrives down that rabbit hole: “We’re all mad here.”

Until next time,

Marc

Are and Be

During my first semester freshman biology class, I sat a few seats away from a girl in lecture hall who was clearly not happy to be there. Nervous as I was, I was so excited to finally be away at school. I couldn’t understand how someone could seem so unhappy when things were just starting.

I remember trying to strike up a conversation with her and all I remember was her telling me that she was supposed to be at Yale, not at a SUNY (State University of New York) school, where we both found ourselves sitting together. I inquired what happened. As it turns out, she didn’t get accepted to Yale. Minor detail, I suppose.

Only 17 at the time, my witty comebacks were not in full force yet or I probably would have found a nice retort like: “I get it. I’m supposed to be on a date with Cindy Crawford right now….but she’s not returning my calls.” (Yes, Cindy Crawford was the supermodel at the time.)

Years later, I was meeting with a therapist and trying to explain how I really wanted to find a way to be calmer and have a free-wheeling way about me. I described it as “the surfer dude”- able to ride the waves, take it day by day and just letting life be – the kind of guy that doesn’t get easily rattled. I’ll never forget her response. Having barely met me, she looked me straight in the eye and said, “I don’t know how to tell you this but that’s not who you are.” Well, I guess she found a way to tell me, after all.

The ego can be stealth-like when it wants to be. Just when you think you are making progress on the path to self-awareness, you realize you are caught between who you want to be and who you really are.

This is not a straight line realization, either. At least it wasn’t for me. First, in phase 1, I had to let go of trying to be the person I thought I should be – whether it was the guy able to do everything himself like my dad or the multi-faceted 21st century man who had respect at work, love at home, coached his kid’s baseball team, knew a lot about wine and still managed to train for a marathon. Believe it or not, it was not obvious that none of those was ever going to happen.

Then came phase 2 where I was focused on becoming the “real” person I was meant to be based on all my interests and my “authentic self”. This was a challenge to try to balance, at least for me. I have a lot of interests and when I really get into them it is easy for me to start fantasizing about a life where these things are successful endeavors that redefine the way in which I spend my time and show up in the world. At first, I couldn’t understand why this was causing so much angst. I mean, I gave up on being the dude in phase 1 of my denial so what was the problem? The problem was that I was thinking about who I wanted to be as if I wasn’t already that person.

Winning a Grammy doesn’t make me a musician anymore than writing a song in my bedroom does. My ego just tells me so. Fantasizing about a father/kid trip where we go deep into our relationship while climbing Half Dome doesn’t make me anymore of a dad than it does when holding my tongue during a weekday dinner. My ego just tells me so.

For a long time, I would wake myself out of these types of visions and remind myself that there is a difference between who I am and who I want to be. The only difference may be the things I want to do, but not who I am. I think this pandemic has given many of us more time than we ever could want to think about things that maybe we were happy to not obsess about in the past.

If you’re like me, make sure you’re not too hard on yourself and realize that there is a big difference between doing and being. You don’t have to do, do, do to just be sometimes. You might surprise yourself, and your ego, that you actually are already who you hope to be.

Until next time,

Marc

My Covid Mantra

There’s a morning meditation I listen to once in a while, particularly when I wake up feeling frazzled and restless. It’s by Jonathan Lehmann and it contains a series of 7 affirmations.

These aren’t “Stuart Smiley” affirmations, though that is one of my favorite SNL skits, but actual affirmations to help keep a pulse throughout the day – little reminders to help guide what might otherwise feel a bit overwhelming.

There is one in there that I always struggled with, though. It says, “I cultivate patience and by doing so I also cultivate self confidence.” I understand how choosing a more patient response as opposed to a less thoughtful reaction could be better for everyone but confidence? This part alluded me. That is until COVID-19 became as ubiquitous to our lives as waking up itself.

Four months into a pandemic that doesn’t seem to be resolving anytime soon, this has been, for myself at least, a true test of patience. Never one to remove the proverbial bandage one slow, painful peel after another, I rather rip it off and fix something and move on. The problem with this is that like most things, it’s not really up to me.

So we find ourselves in varying states of quarantine (literally and figuratively) and already surrounded by articles, debates and “plans” for a “post-Covid world” or “life after the pandemic”. Everyday there is more discussion about “re-emerging from COVID” and my personal favorite, a “new normal”. Normal? Nice try, buddy.

All of this conversation has me longing for whatever awaits once the bandage is finally removed and the real healing begins – and I’m not just talking about a vaccine, either. If ever there was a time to wish for a “re-emergence” and a “new normal”, 2020 fits the bill. The challenge with this mindset, however, is that it establishes a false narrative that we are close. It surmises that dealing with what is today may not be as critical because we simply just have to hold on until tomorrow, whenever that is and whatever that may present itself to be.

Isn’t this how we got here in the first place? Isn’t this how we get to many uncomfortable places – physically, mentally, socially and otherwise?

This is where the mantra finally started to make sense. We have to cultivate patience based on what is occurring now, who is in front of us today and how this feels in the moment. It is the only true survival mechanism and the more we can do this, the more we build the confidence that it is going to be ok. One way or another we learn to be confident by being patient with what is. And with what is not.

I hope we have a vaccine soon. I hope people recognize that wearing a mask and social distancing are not political manipulations. I hope the pandemic ends quickly. But if none of these things happen, I hope we can cultivate patience and confidence with whatever does occur. And, if for some reason, confidence proves to be too evasive, simply repeat what our good friend Stuart Smalley always said: “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.”

Until next time,

Marc

Factory Floor Parenting

I just paid my taxes. This did not go the way I would have hoped. So, in the spirit of making sure I suck all the sunshine out of this day, I decided to reflect on other things that may not be going exactly as one might have imagined.

2020, anyone?

It took me a long time – like 19 years, and a quarrantine – to realize that I’ve been taking a misinformed approach to raising kids. See, 19 is the age of my son and let’s just say, it’s a daily performance review. I’m learning though as the truth is, I need the job.

You may have heard about different parenting styles. They are more commonly referred to as four broad styles – authoritarian, authoritative, permissive and uninvolved. (Where is “exhausted” you ask? Great question. I think it’s time to update the old psychology manual.)

I tend to try and work toward the authoritative style. At least, I was told that led to the best outcome in terms of developing confident, secure, humble adults. It’s like the “Goldilocks” of parenting (my term, not the experts) in that they these parents maintain their role and balance between control and permission and leverage healthy communication (or at least that’s the goal).

What I am learning, however, is that not all children are created the same and neither are all parents. How does one know if parenting is working? How does a parent understand what the right balance is if they are defining the guardrails?

I know there are a lot of enlightened families that have family meetings, and check-ins and you name the healthy construct. This is great. At the same time, there are many families (like, oh I don’t know – let’ say mine, as an example), where the eye rolling that accompanies even the suggestion of a “family discussion” or “downtime to connect” starts to make one wonder if anything is really getting through in the first place.

So, I have employed that difficult but so true adage that one should “be selective in your battles, sometimes peace is better than being right.” And now, my home has moved from parent culture to safety culture.

For anyone who has ever worked in a factory or warehouse, you may recognize the concept of “zero-incidents”. The idea is to team up to avoid accidents or safety incidents and it is often celebrated with a big ‘ole sign that is visible to everyone on how many days have actually gone by without an unfortunate slip (no pun intended).

I am proud to say we are on lucky number 7 as of today. It’s been 7 days with zero incidents. Maybe it’s time to trash all the parenting advice and head to the factory – where things actually get done and if done right, resolved.

Don’t ask me for any updates, though. My “exhausted” parenting style is creeping in and I want to manage expectations.

Until next time,

Marc

In Search of Failure

I’ve been failing in grand style lately. In fact, I’m killing it so much in the “failure arena”, that I’m succeeding in failing beyond my wildest dreams.

In just the past few weeks, I’ve managed to become so irritated at work that I used a week of my vacation time to just stay home. 

I’ve gotten into enough debates and arguments with my son that I couldn’t even muster up a blog post for Father’s Day for fear of feeling like a hypocrite. 

I’ve found myself dropping F bombs so much that my self affirmations have turned into self denials – which are way easier to abide by, by the way.

What’s the point of all of this, you may ask? 

Well, it seems that as we have just left the Fourth of July in the U.S. this weekend, there has been yet another debate about whether we are really succeeding as a country. Protests, pandemics and an impending election have given lots of ammunition to the debate on whether we are really succeeding or failing as a nation.

I say, I feel you, U.S.A. Bring it in for a hug. I got you.

You see, failure is sort of my wheelhouse – not in a corporate “tell us your biggest failure and what you learned from it” sort of way. No – rather in a grand “oh, shit – what is happening right now?” sort of way. 

And it seems that this is the exact moment we are living through – or at least many of us are living through. Systems that seem to be ripe for a reckoning. Historical constructs that are not just being challenged by a few but by many. Debates that not only end up in decisions at the ballot box but also decisions in our day to day lives – work, relationships and societal norms – from who we listen to on the radio to which social media sites we support or stores we are willing to purchase from. 

The collective outcry from many is “you have failed us” and this is right up my alley. You see, I get a performance review of sorts every day -from my kids, my boss, colleagues, friends and family and even strangers on either side of the great mask dispute of 2020. Much of this is out there in the open – maybe not on social media or the cable news networks but certainly for those I care most about to witness and experience.

What is happening to me is what is happening to America. Stuff has to be let out. Things need to be disrupted. Comfort has to cease. Things need to fail. It’s ugly. 

It means embracing temporary (I hope) dysphoria and settling for less than successful outcomes as communication, interactions, plans and growth as we considered it, go on hiatus for a bit. It just may be that we can’t fix things – the environment, our economy, social inequality, our relationships, the damn modem – until we search for the failure first. Where did things go wrong? Why did they go wrong? How did I go wrong?

That’s where I am right now. In search of failure and finding it like a kid at Halloween in a 100 unit apartment complex – more than I ever imagined.

I think it’s going to be like this for a while. I hope not but it feels that way. If we get it right though, maybe we won’t have to search as hard for a little success. It’ll be the most attainable thing yet.

Until next time, 

Marc

%d bloggers like this: