Other Side of the Coin

Posted on 5 min read


May 5

In my dreams the compulsion reveals itself:

Unless I’m constantly doing, it doesn’t feel that things will be ok


It always seems to come back to surrender… or the middle path… or self acceptance… or fear

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow reminds me that I wanted to write novels. Some people can balance the creative role with their profession. For years I tried to as well. But it feels like a bridge too far.


Watching the wind moving over an open field feels like home. Tall grass moves like water. It looks and sounds the same to me as the wind blowing across the ocean. I always attributed my connection with the sea as being something primordial, and now I see that it is also very personal to a childhood spent in near-endless corn fields. 


I went through periods where the connectivity I felt towards the human race would expand or contract. Recently I’ve felt the expansion, and the catalyst for this was a realization that what I needed for deep and meaningful connection was much simpler than I thought. It’s only two things: vulnerability of self and openness for others. 

That’s it. The rest is nice to have. 


I’ve been feeling lost in the past lately. It’s hard because I treat the symptoms but I don’t know how to get at the disease underneath.


Holding a book while walking down the street or through an airport feels like a shield. Or an invitation.


The end of May always feels like the end of spring, and there’s sadness associated with that. 


June 5

I keep expecting the magic of Manhattan to wear off. But it doesn’t. It gets better every year that I get older. From a very low base of rejection and exclusion in my 20s to a more uplifting version of arrested development as I approach middle age. An adult Disney land that normalizes my workaholic tendencies. 


Nothing eases the pain like a big, fat, cash settlement – A sign tells me on the NYC metro


The things I was praised for when I was young reverberate through my life. I’ve continuously nurtured those aspects of myself. They’re so much harder to let go of than the things I was never good at to begin with.


Sometimes being with my daughter is strange. It is like being with a German version of myself. Similar blueprints, different artifice.

I wonder if it’s all just projection? Maybe she’ll grow up to think we were never that similar to begin with. But my gut tells me the cloth is of similar origin.


Smoke from forest fires in Canada have drifted down into New York. I’ve never encountered anything like it. It’s like a grimy yellow fog that sticks to your skin. I find myself washing my hands over and over. I want to leave but the flights are grounded.


“It’s George Soros at his best!” A board member yells out as we discuss the changes in legality around employee non-competes. I laugh thinking they’re joking, and then realize I’m the only one laughing. 


I think if I say the right words it will unlock something and make it better. But that’s the OCD and codependency talking. It doesn’t work like that.


It’s cliche, but the depth and intensity of the love that I feel for my daughter is beyond what I had thought possible in this life. It opened doors that I can’t close. All the intricate meditation and grounding exercises I do to feel present pale in comparison to shopping for groceries with her. These brief mundane periods of connection are like islands of clarity in an ocean of anxiety and self-doubt.

Knowing that I can love someone so much has made me wonder what it would be like to give myself that same love. 


Many things have gotten harder as I’ve gotten older. Travel is an exception. I have routines, stay in nicer places and fly in a better class. I also drink less. The cocktail of a hangover and sleep deprivation being especially potent. 

All that said, today I’m feeling the exhaustion. This despite a decent night sleep and teetotaling discipline in avoiding all of the complimentary flight and hotel beverages. I’m hitting my own high ceiling on the back of trips that started with New York, St Louis, Paris and Germany, and will end next week with LA.

Exhaustion aside, I’ve enjoyed these weeks. Even in well traveled routes there are new things to experience if I pop my head up long enough: an underground oyster bar in Grand Central Station, an excavation project the size of a small town in a St. Louis exurb, intensely beautiful Parisian offices that feel startlingly empty, aggressively bland suburban Parisian offices overflowing with toys, video games and hunched over artists, a strange “dream machine”, French jets blasting across a rural countryside so loud that it hurts my ears, a small chapel on an ancient Germanic killing route, swimming in a public pool I’ve passed a hundred times and never noticed, a small bridge for bunnies, and a giant homemade death-trap of a bike ramp on the outskirts of an otherwise pristine and boring German village. 



I’m handling the sadness. It’s not so scary anymore. The other side of the coin from joy. 

I have no patience left for the static that is anxiety and obsessive thoughts. Their slow drift from intentionality to rumination. They’re life stealers that I’ve given enough to already. 


A trip to LA and this time I’m staying in Los Feliz. Which is new for me, but feels pretty much like the rest of the city, just with worse interstate access. Maybe more pandemonium. Or that could just be the Caribbean festival going on outside the hotel. With the exception of Malibu, this city always gives me the feeling of a society on the edge of collapse.


San Clemente looks like how I imagined California would look before I ever saw it. 


I had a dream that I could dunk a basketball with ease. It was very satisfying.