The Pattern

When you think about the things you have done with your life over the years, and you see what works and what doesn’t, you begin to see a pattern.

My “Pattern” is that I get in situations where I spend other people’s money, create a great work environment, and then hire wonder talented people to work with. The other pattern is that I do all this without getting much credit, money, or safety and usually in an enterprise that is either sinking or going no where. I am always at the whims of the money, the owner, the market. And this is where I need to change the pattern.

There are people who do this in all sorts of ways and ride the crest of the wave into a joyful life. (today’s role models are Tina Fey and Chuck Lorre) I am like a person with water wings in an ocean where the surfers are riding beautifully and I just wait there, ready to be knocked over by the next wave and drown. I have drown a number of times in my life, and I am here to tell you that the salt water up the nose part is excruciating and disorienting. The pressure of the surf on your chest is terrifying and unbearable. The feeling of leaving your body is strange and discomforting. And watching the panic ensue as you watch people move your body onto the beach and start pounding on it is heartbreaking.

Painful as the part when you slam back into the reality of what you are is, the truth is that you now have a different perspective. You can see the pattern of your life and take away the parts that work and the parts that don’t.

Right now I am sifting through the rubble of my last 50 years (yeah, yeah, I know, mixing metaphors). There is a lot of drowning and explosions and chaos. And I am ready to emerge from this latest drowning with extra strength, special joy and a bag of better metaphors. (yes, I should have used a fire metaphor and then I could use the whole Phoenix thing, live and learn)

What do I want? What do I like? What fits? What is my Pattern?

I’m working on it.

50 and Change.

Turned 50 this week. Got a cold the next day. I notice that after I hit any milestone I always get sick. Like the Universe is saying, “slow down, pay attention, this is important.” I have been sick a lot this last year.

This is the first year of my life that my Mom and Dad have not been here for my birthday. I feel a sadness around this that penetrates my bones. It makes it hard to breathe. It is also freeing in a way that is both uncomfortable and delightful. It’s very hard for me to explain. But I know that my life has changed forever and I now tread forward through the forrest of my life on a completely different path.

For my birthday this year I held my friends and employees and sister hostage and told them they had to come hear a reading of a play I wrote almost 20 years ago. I felt it was important for this current group of people to know that I could do more than run a video store. It was a nice experience, but it did not do what I thought it would do. It did not make me feel different. It did not bring me to a place where I felt I could launch out as a writer and begin to make life moves. All it did was remind me that I am who I  have created and that person is slightly talented, slightly motivated, and slightly lazy. I want things handed to me, I want things easy, I want things now. I am just like most people. And I am not this great creative person that people (read:family) have said I am.

I wonder if this is the time in my life, this next 20 or 30 years, where I finally decide to be happy with my small life. I finally decide to accept that I am going to be alone. That I finally just breathe and let this path be my friend and just quit fighting? I am ready to quit fighting.

50 is a big number, and truth be told, there have been many times in my life when I really REALLY did not think I would make it this far. So there’s that.