January 6: Recovering from Angst Day #1 of 2022

My recovery from angst day #1 of 2022 is complete and I’m relieved there appears to have been no obvious follow-up to the attempted insurrection of 2021. Thank God for small and large favors. Things were better today. I took delivery of a new-to-me watch and I also took a hike and I also took a slice of pizza and an excellent blood orange IPA.

How can you go wrong with any, let alone all, of those?

The weather was doing an excellent impression of summer and the trails were empty save for a few hikers and even fewer mountain bike guys. Anyway, part of what made today better was the self-reminder that changes and transitions are inevitable whether or not they are known or anticipated. Come 2023, I will be doing something different than what I’m doing today. But, really, that has been true of every year of my life since I’ve been a substantively different person each new year, even though my finger prints have stayed the same. What is really at issue is the question of one’s response to the unknown.

Mine is Ok so far. I see a lot of ways for things to be just fine a year from now even though all of the typical existential question marks are right where they always are. In the end, I have just enough ego to like my odds and just enough appreciation for the world around me to enjoy the ride, whether it’s smooth or bumpy. I’ve done some bumpy before as I may or may not write about in a future installment.

A quick story. Right before I learned that our firm was moving toward closing I was busy surfing used watches on the web. My finger was poised over a message making a solid offer on a Sinn UX, one of the only quartz watches I’ve ever lusted after (the other is the Omega X-33 Skywalker).

So I’m sitting there, ready to make my deal when one of my bosses comes into my office and asks me to join him and my other boss for a closed-door chat. The mood in the room was heavy. I knew they’d both been taking at length but I didn’t know what was up. That was when I found out one of my bosses had a nasty case of prostate cancer. At that point, no one new how well he would respond to treatment or how soon, if ever, he would be able to come back to work. The decision was made to let our lease expire and gradually close things out. I was pretty damn surprised. I knew something was up but it’s rare news that combines someone’s health with the cessation of a business that provides your employment. It was a lot to take in. The three of us talked for about an hour before I was back in my office, the message about the UX still staring me in the face. I closed the window without sending it. It was a hard time to think about a watch, no matter how desirable it was. That was way back in the summer of 2015.

And another thing: Don’t read any Charles Dickens while you’re getting ready to publish your own book. It’s not good for the writer’s psyche and ego, I can assure you. For some reason, I’ve been reading A Christmas Carol. It’s a very conventional story and the sequences are readily imagined, nearly predictable. But, the descriptions are so rich and creative that it’s a continual amazement. I cannot imagine creating anything like it. I would have to spend an unimaginable amount of time on a myriad of simple descriptions of routine things and places and people. And, even if I did I don’t think I could match Dickens’ mastery any more than about 5% of the time. It would take me decades to write what I’ve done in a couple years. Talk about sobering. Then again, maybe the experience should be telling me something I can’t yet grasp. I can read contemporary novels, even ones that sell well and have attained a degree of critical acceptance, and not be so taken with the fundamental art of what’s been accomplished.

Geez, this got more than a little long and meandering.

Sorry about that but be sure to check back tomorrow for more of the same.

Thanks for reading.

January 6: Recovering from Angst Day #1 of 2022