(Note: I “drafted this email Friday evening after an exceptionally “taxing” (October 15th) week. I’m now editing Sunday morning on the subway in search of that perfect NYC bagel. What a perfect NYC experience.)
I hope you’ll stay with me. I promise to make this about more than just darkness.
We’ve been asked, why are you doing “this”. We’ve tried to provide some of the insight into our very human thinking on this. And it is nuanced.
I got a text with a follow up call from one of my dearest of all friends, Mike Quillin, earlier this week. His Dad’s death was imminent. He wanted to talk, ostensibly about trust and estate and other stuff that I have knowledge, but also, I sensed to just touch base with his friend. It was wonderful to hear his voice and just talk for a bit. Mike is a fellow traveler down the journey with life threatening illness. He’s my brother! AND I love him dearly!
It really doesn’t take much since my struggle with cancer for that part of me to get switched on. I try my best to only let it be appropriate, but sometimes I just need to talk. Mike’s Dad and my current struggles have led me to some melancholy. I used to fight it off. I’ve learned to just be with it and let it pass.
I’ve talked about my Dad some in earlier emails. Simply, I loved him, I just didn’t like him much. It is as much me as it his him. You see, my Dad retired at 51. And when I say retired, I’m not talking about anything similar to my transition from work. He literally walked out of his AT&T office in Sacramento one day in 1982 and never returned. I can’t even write me and “that” word (retirement) in the same sentence. Why you ask? Well, from my perspective, my Dad spent the next 37 years doing virtually nothing. At least nothing worthy from my perspective.
In early posts I’ve written about this (BK) being an opportunity to change habits. To build new habits. I have much of my Dad in me and not just his blood. I have a tendency to be less active than is good for me. I have a tendency to be less active than is good for my relationship with JDT. AND I’ve desperately wanted, and want to, change that. To evolve.
JDT and I have started to have conversations we have had very little of in the last 20 or 25 years. It is wonderful. And it at times includes discussions of our lives in front of us. I like to use the term “meaningful life” when I talk about what is around the bend for us. JDT asked me last night what that meant. What a great question! I had to think about that for a while. And I landed on a life built around continuous improvement. So, how is that any better than Meaningful Life you ask? To me it provides tremendous clarity. It provides the space for it to be on the spectrum versus a binary (yes/no) question. There will be moments of tremendous discovery. There will be moments of much less when you rest and relax and prepare for the next period of improvement, of evolution. Simply for me, it is evolve or die. Sometimes it will be one step forward, two steps back. Life works that way.
So, to try to answer those that ask why, we are doing this as a part of our continuous improvement journey. And it is joyous!!