Archive for February, 2014

Something You Just Know

February 27, 2014

Instinctive knowing—we all have it. Some know how to put colors together to create paintings that pop. Others, like George Patton, have a particular gut instinct for the mass movement of troops or battlefield strategy. Some know how to arrange furniture for maximum impact. There are actors and accountants who work their magic by the slightest difference in delivery or understanding the topography presented by a sheet of numbers.

 

Gut instinct is a main driver for so much—it can make the difference between life and death, happiness and making-do, success and so-so, resignation and resilience. The manner in which we pull together seemingly random bits of information to coalesce into a much bigger insight often hinges on an entirely unpredictable flash or tug of creative knowing. We don’t know how we know, we just do. It makes sense to us in a way that others miss, we see something they don’t.

 

Recently, I read an article about some of the research scientists at the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle. They’re exploring some highly technical blah blah having to do with a mouse’s brain; it’s all very high falutin’ and important and I’m glad they’re working at it because someone needs to do and it ain’t gonna be me. But, what caught my attention was the portion of the article describing a time when the scientists were chewing the fat and one of them observed that, “science was not an intelligence test.” They discussed how having a keen intuition was as, if not more, important as expertise in physics and math in order to conduct biological research. Even with subjects as objective and sterile-seeming as those which boil down to numbers and equations, the discovery leap is made using intuition. This is where the breakthroughs come; it’s not simply a matter of deductive reasoning.

 

This philosophy is equally true for us who are re-booting our lives. We already have quirky, little talents that we can’t explain but which come naturally to us. Yes, we may enhance these abilities through practice and expertise we worked hard to gain, but the tipping point comes from a place within. We just know how or when to do things that make all the difference. Take the Homeland Security and Customs agents who process thousands of travelers a day—they may be aware of “certain signs” to watch for, but they also have to make decisions based on instinct. One of the most famous examples I can think of this is the arrest of Ahmad Ressam in December of 1999. Ressam was driving a car full of explosives from Canada to Port Angeles, Washington, with the ultimate goal of bombing the Space Needle on New Year’s Eve—an event known as the Millenium Plot. The immigration pre-clearance specialists had cleared Ressam for entry, but a single US Customs Agent became suspicious; something told her things were not right and she needed to pursue this application further. And, thank goodness she did. Thank goodness she didn’t simply override her gut, placating herself that the pre-clearance guys had ok’ed this one so she didn’t need to bother.

 

By the same token, we re-booters are urged to act, to explore, to shift gears, to make decisions that we can’t fully explain. It’s not a question of training or expertise or curiosity—it’s something else, entirely. And, when it comes to changing something significant in our lives, whether it’s a career direction, a significant relationship, a re-ordering of our priorities, we must grapple with the uncomfortable fact that we may not be able to understand why we’re doing this. All of a sudden, the things that were important to us are no longer a priority. All of a sudden, we wake up and don’t see the activities or people in our lives in the same light. All of a sudden, our gut is screaming at us that we need to climb through the window, ignoring Doors A, B, and C, entirely.

 

So, if you’re wrestling with something like this, I want you to keep in mind the examples set by preeminent scientific researchers, generals, artists, and accountants. They can’t fully explain why they are doing what they do, but their example applies equally to our struggles. You won’t always know, so trust your gut.

 

Living is a form of not being sure, not knowing what next or how…The artist never entirely knows. We guess. We may be wrong, but we take leap after leap in the dark.” Agnes De Mille (1905-1993), Dancer and choreographer

 

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Realistically Speaking…

February 25, 2014

As re-booters we are forging new ground for ourselves—this is not easy work. There is lots of rocky soil to till, boulders to overcome, and demands for new irrigation. Re-booting demands an enormous amount of blood, sweat, and tears and the entire time, we are highly susceptible to questioning ourselves and our choices. Such notions are most dangerous when we receive the (jealous) “wisdom” of others.

 

With any sort of change, there are those who will feel threatened or even repudiated by our efforts to move in another direction. They will resort to many a desperate tactic to dissuade us from our new path, and, occasionally, this deterrence or criticism will come from those we trust.

 

It’s difficult to know how to balance our aspirations with pragmatism and the hard won wisdom of those we go to for guidance. They may listen and fold their arms, punctuating our monologue of dreams with the occasional frown or chuckle, and then, they tell us what they really think. “Uh, oh’” we worry to ourselves, “they think we’re crazy or wildly impractical to head in this new direction,” given my age…the already saturated marketplace…the experiences of prior advice seekers…what have you. We worry that we’re delusionally arrogant to imagine trying this. If we probe further as to the basis for their opinion, sometimes they get angry. “Oh,” we privately cringe, “my chances are even worse than I imagined.”

 

But, the fact of the matter is, it’s just as likely that what we’re trying to achieve in our lives triggers all sorts of personal discomforts for them. Maybe they want to escape their current reality and become a fly fisherman or an arbitration expert or sell their art work. Instead of encouraging us, they tell us how hard it is to make it, or how our temperament and outsized ambition make it unlikely we’ll succeed–how there’s no market for what we’re peddling. “I’m just being honest,” they shrug.

 

The challenge for re-booters is that we’re already nervous and doubtful about our chances. We already torture ourselves with questions about our sanity and arrogance. We’re nervous nellies who understand that what we want is elusive—but we act out of hope. So then, how do we balance our goals and dreams against the discouraging advice of others? Can we benefit from their cautionary wisdom without being deterred? Can we make sense of what people who seem to know more than we do when they tell us we’re overreaching?

 

How?

 

In many respects, I feel like Lab Rat A in this experiment. For over the past two years, as I’ve uprooted my life and reversed course in my career, I’ve been blindly stumbling along a foggy path where I’m not 100% sure of where I’m going or what I’m doing. I’ve launched a blog where I share these adventures and observations, but who knows if it’s had any impact at all. I read articles about the exponentially diminishing prospects of the long term unemployed. The world is a hive of activity and I’m stuck in a beaker, looking out. So, what do I do? I do what I can. I do what’s in front of me. I follow conventional wisdom about what I “should” be doing, but add in my own private efforts for the parts that really interest me. And I only selectively listen to those who tell me they’re being honest about my chances.

 

And then, I hope.

 

What about you?

Our Only Option: Changing Ourself

February 20, 2014

So much of being a re-booter requires us to take action. Such actions include changing the way we respond to others, changing our interpretations of past events, or questioning our fixed ideas. In order to move closer to what we want, Re-booters take steps to shift our circumstances which then leads to more and greater change. In short, it can feel like a merry-go-round where we’re the only gerbils on the wheel. And, in many respects, this is true. We can only change ourselves—there is often little we can do to change our immediate circumstances and next to nothing we can do about the people around us.

 

But, despite all this, just changing ourselves accomplishes quite a lot because it transforms our experience. This, my friends, is the key. Because if I change my perspective on what’s important to me—if, for instance, your approval is no longer something I seek–then there is a domino effect for what happens next. I no longer am cowed by your threat of anger or disapproval. Thus, I may decide to do something entirely different from what I’ve done before. Do you see how this works? It’s really quite liberating!

 

I know that for me, in my life, I have chased after approval from various figures. I hungered for it, blossoming when granted and despairing if withheld. And, only when my Seuss-like world got so topsy-turvy and crazy making that I knew it was impacting me in a very negative and serious way, did I finally start to question if turning myself into a psychotic pretzel in order to win that praise was worth it. (Not totally dissimilar to an addict chasing after their next high from a drug dealer.) But, once I shifted my perspective on the situation and people involved, everything changed for me. I couldn’t change them or the circumstances, but I could change me. In the immediate aftermath, this caused a lot of problems, but, ultimately, this shift was my salvation.

 

And your point is?

 

My point is two-fold: 1) oftentimes, it doesn’t even occur to us that our life needs changing until circumstances get so atrocious that we despair, wondering what in the world went wrong, and 2) the spur for change can be anger. In fact, it most often is. Why would we change if we’re content?

 

I have always been taught to fear anger—the anger in me and anger in others. And, overall, I believe anger is a negative and dangerous force, but it can serve to propel us forward if used appropriately. If we have the skills to channel it. When a child is angry they hit: this is bad. When a re-booter uses their anger to recognize a problem and then decides to alter something in their life in order to eliminate or resolve it: this is good. But, what’s even more promising is what happens after you’ve made the change because now is the time to reflect and be grateful for what happened. It’s the chance to forgive and release the originator of the angering actions; if it weren’t for them, you wouldn’t be in this better, stronger, more knowledgeable place now.

 

One of the things we re-booters have in common is that we’ve all had our share of bumps in the road. We’ve struggled, we’ve been hurt, and we’ve made mistakes. Welcome to humanity. But, what distinguishes us from everyone else is that we recognize the power of change and we understand that the only person we can change is ourself. It’s a heady, sometimes lonely feeling concept, but it’s also non-negotiable: we are the only thing we can change. We can’t change our spouses or bosses or friends or the guy down the street. And they’re not gonna change for us. Our bruises and scars serve as reminders of where we’ve been and just how far we’ve come, but they won’t fully heal if we keep poking at ‘em. What prompts our need to change can come from a variety of directions, but whatever the source—even if it is anger—we need to respect this inner voice telling us something is seriously amiss. Our need for change doesn’t go away. We may bury it. We may be so fearful that we pretend it’s not there. We may blame others for the problem. But none of our rationalizations will make that pull subside.

 

What’s pulling at you?

Brunelleschi’s Inversion Technique Therapy

February 18, 2014

In certain respects, our lives take on parallels to the dome of Santa Maria del Fiore and its architect-builder, Filippo Brunelleschi. In the late 1200s, inspired by the Roman Pantheon, a team of Florentine designers enhanced the original plans for the cathedral by significantly expanding the size and scale of the cathedral’s dome. They intended for all of Italy and beyond to be on notice that Florence was the center of thought, science, arts and letters—the dome would signal the splendor of the Italian Renaissance. The problem was that nobody had ever built a dome like this and they lacked the technological expertise to do so. A lot was invested in this bet and heads would roll if the dome turned into a dud. They knew where they wanted to go, but had no idea how to get there. So, they did what any desperate group would do—they played to people’s egos and held a contest.

 

In 1418, Brunelleschi (a goldsmith by training) won the competition to build the dome using a secret construction technique he invented, refusing to share his plans with the committee until after he was proclaimed the winner. His revolutionary construction technique utilized inverted arches and a herring-bone pattern for the laying of brick, designed to handle and distribute the forces which resulted from the use of these materials. Completed in 1436, the miraculous dome remains the signature profile of Florence.

 

So, uh, what does this have to do with me?

 

The analogy lies in the fact that re-booters have a notion of where we want to go in our lives—of who we want to be going forward—but have no idea how to get there. It’s certainly true for me. It’s not that we’re stupid or lazy or are fooling ourselves about what we seek, we simply lack a clear plan for making this trajectory. Ok, so that’s the “committee” part of our psyche. The Brunelleschi part is our subconscious; it’s our imagination allowed to run free without all the constraints we place on it in the name of practicality or fear or the need to hew closely to the examples of respected others. Remember, nobody had ever built a dome like this! If Brunelleschi had remained within the bounds of known expertise, he would never have invented the herring-bone brick laying technique. He turned the arch upside down! Who does that? And, as it turns out, an inverted arch handles the pulls of gravity in an entirely unexpected manner.

 

By way of example, years ago, I helped my mom needlepoint a Christmas stocking for my stepdad. It’s a family tradition to have individual stockings and I wanted him to feel part of the family. Only, when it came to my turn to work on it, I really didn’t know much about how to needlepoint, so I pulled the gold thread through to create looping tinsel the way it made sense to me. As it turned out, I had flouted all the standard practices for how one does needlepoint. Nevertheless, as my mom observed, my tinsel looked much more fluid and attractive on the tree—way better than if I had asked her how to do it or stayed within convention.

 

As you go about redesigning your life, I think it’s safe to say that you’re looking to expand your dome in a way that you’ve never quite seen before and you don’t really know how you’re going to do it. But, you know you want a different dome. You know this is part of your signature and tells the world who you are. So, pull a Brunelleschi, puff up your ego, tell yourself you can do this, and take some of the basic building blocks of your life and invert them! They’ll carry the load. See if you can assemble these materials in a new orderyou’re overlooking some of your greatest talents! They’re right there, waiting for you to put them together in a new way.

 

Quick—what’s the first thing you want to change in your life? How can you invert what you already have to get closer to it? That glorious dome was designed before anyone knew how; it was built one brick at a time, by a novice who risked winding up the laughing stock of the civilized world. If he could do it, so can you…

 

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Valentine’s Day: A Hallmark Moment for Us All

February 13, 2014

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, stores are replete with pink and red, using up all the shelf space to advertise the joys of togetherness. Hooray for us! Hearts and flowers everywhere! There’s no middle ground in this holiday: we either have a valentine…or we do not. Nobody seems to celebrate being single; personally, I think the folks at Hallmark are missing out on a major marketing opportunity—instead of it being a source of pathos or shame to be on one’s own, why not hold it out as a mark of the triumph of the individual? Where are those “Footloose and Fabulous” cards? “Free From That Psycho” bouquets? I’m serious! You could make a lot of money with these ideas…

 

Awhile back, I caught a bit of Titanic on the tube. Prior to all the sliding deck chairs and strains of violin music, romance blossoms between Steerage Jack and First Class Rose. Near the end, he grabs Rose’s hand and says, “I can’t turn away without knowing you’ll be ok. You jump, I jump. Remember?” Given the context, it’s actually a nice moment and made me wonder whose hand I’d grab.

 

Who is this person for you? Are they alive or dead? When was the last time you saw them? Do they know how much you cherish them?

 

People enter and exit our lives all the time. We wind up being friendly with people who surprise us, people we didn’t think we had much in common with, but there they are—being our friends. One of the things I appreciate most about significant adult friendships is that they can be resumed or maintained over the course of years and miles; we no longer require that daily infusion of a person’s presence to bask in the glow of their good energy. The speed and power of thought is how we connect; their energy and ours just, somehow, sort of, mesh. Interesting, isn’t it?

 

Where I think some of us get lost is in the idea that after a certain point in our lives, meaningful friendships are impossible to find. Folks tell themselves they’re too busy to get to know anyone else or they demur making an effort, claiming it’s all just superficial. More often than not, they use their relationship or career as reasons for not seeking out new friends—let alone renewing those that have drifted away—and then they wonder why, in the midst of this busy life they feel so lonely. I never fail to be amazed by this attitude. The way I see it, the world is filled with potential new friends! Fabulous, amazing people whose journeys will instruct me and whose company will make me blossom. Riches abound!

 

When was the last time you met a person who caught your interest? Did you do anything about it? Have you talked to them about something that’s real?

 

As I’ve gone about the business of leaving Santa Barbara and re-booting in DC, I’ve had to invent ways to meet people and initiate the arduous and tentative process of forging new friendships. I’ve tried to make myself relevant and interesting to folks whose life circumstances are different from my own—people whose lives are settled and aren’t on an active quest to forge a new network—people who could just pass me right by. They’re caught up in their own domestic dramas, insecurities, and regrets. Some of my attempts work and some of them don’t. But, in order to have a fighting chance, I have to make the effort; I have to reach out. When was the last time you extended yourself to another? How easy or hard was it?

 

If we think back to Jack and Rose on the Titanic, there they are, jumping together. Good for them. But re-booters know that everyone, whether “with” someone else or not, can’t go anywhere without summoning that individual courage to jump. Nobody can do that for us. We have to jump on our own. So, this February 14th, spend a moment being your own best valentine before joining in on all the regular hubbub.

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The Kindness of Strangers

February 11, 2014

One of the most famous lines in A Streetcar Named Desire is uttered at the end when Blanche Dubois’ questionable grip on reality crumbles. As she demurs to the doctor escorting her to a mental institution, she tells him, “I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.” In the context of this play, Blanche is a sorry case who cannot care for herself, but one wonders just how much of a kindness is being done for Blanche at this moment? What does her future look like?

When was the last time you did something truly kind for another? Was this person someone you know or a stranger? Do you find it easier to be compassionate to those close to you or faceless unknowns? Do you believe the act of forgiving is a kindness? To whom?

Kindness is an interesting construct because its form depends on both the giver and the receiver, who may have very different interpretations of the act at issue. Take Blanche, for instance. She may believe that the good doctor is going to help get her away from Stanley Kowalski and back on her feet, while the doctor sees himself as doing everyone a favor by indefinitely hospitalizing this vulnerable and delusional woman who presents “difficulties” for Stella and Stanley’s relationship. Has Blanche been done a favor? What do you think?

“I meant well,” isn’t sufficient justification when doling out acts of charity or friendship gone awry. Of course, we can’t always know how our gestures will be received, but we can use our understanding of the situation to make an educated guess. Instead, way too often, people don’t think it through; they just act, using what they would want for themselves as their guide. What you consider to be generous and thoughtful, I may perceive as condescending or controlling. “Here, let me do that for you.” When people feel particularly vulnerable, it can be tricky to negotiate the shoals of providing support  while respecting the personal space and sense of dignity each one of us needs. It’s hard for some to express gratitude—not because what was done wasn’t truly helpful, but because giving and accepting aid is an acknowledgement of vulnerability by both parties. This is where the concept of personal humility comes in: the giver needs to be humble as they give because, at any point, they, too, may need assistance, and the recipient must accept the kindness in that same spirit. But, it goes farther than that, because true generosity is given without any expectation of reciprocity or obligation. At one time or another, we’re all in the same boat.

One of the most difficult parts of my re-booting process has been accepting help as I’ve struggled to leave my past behind and start again. I’ve been the beneficiary of tremendous kindnesses, for which I am deeply grateful and remain awed that I could be so lucky. The fact that I’ve asked for, and received, willing assistance hasn’t lessened my distaste for needing to do this. It’s illogical, I know, because I am more than happy—actually gratified—to help others when asked, but I don’t view my own situation in the same way. Instead, I feel humbled and embarrassed by my painful and prolonged period of perceived impotence. Have you ever felt this way?

The thing that keeps me going through this is that I trust there’s a positive outcome that can result from my struggles, and I see the kindnesses bestowed upon me as a clear sign of a benevolent universe. As painful and uncomfortable and filled with loss as the past several years have been, I recognize, too, that I am light years ahead of where I’d be had I remained rooted in my old spot. I shudder at who I might have become had I stayed. Nothing is worth that. This belief has only been confirmed by the kindness and support of those around me, those who have helped keep me afloat when I felt like drowning.

We’ve all experienced loss and struggle in our lives. We’ve all benefitted from the unsolicited compassion of others. And, as re-booters, one of our primary goals is to live our lives, going forward, with humility for where we have been and hope for where we are going. This is the message we can impart to those around us. This is the kindness of strangers.

I firmly believe that for all the cruelty done in this world of ours, there is far more humanity to be found. Integrating the important take-aways from these experiences is a core element of our re-booting as we strive to become more thoughtful, mature adults. I’m unable to adequately articulate what I believe we should get from this leavening process, but what I do know is that I want to be more consciously kind and unashamedly grateful for the kindnesses bestowed from strangers and friends, alike.

The Nonsense That Sells

February 6, 2014

The website Hotels.com recently ran an ad on tv touting the fact that their loyalty program requires no loyalty whatsoever. This particular pitch got me thinking about the state of our society which has devolved to a point so sloppy in its thinking, let alone commitment-phobic, that the wily folks on Capitol Hill and Madison Avenue devise strategies to let us think we can have our cake and eat it, too. You can be thin and eat as much as you want! A loyalty program with no loyalty required! Cheat on exams with no repercussions, but your degree will still be considered valuable! Trust us, it’ll all be fine.

 

Really?

 

It is a cunning mindset which plays fast and loose with the definition of terms, terms like “loyalty” or “opportunity” or “fair.” For Machiavellian types, these common words beg to be redefined by those who conduct their business using funhouse mirrors or sleight of hand, knowing that the rest of us won’t look closely at their definitions. Hmm, what if we were to redefine the term “medical professional” to mean someone with training entirely different than what is currently understood? (Imagine your future at a CVS Care clinic-who do you think will be working there?) Maybe I use the term “loyalty” knowing full well that you’ll react believing what I mean is X when actually, I mean Y. Too bad for you if you discover this too late!

 

While it’s certainly true that people of goodwill can legitimately use words differently, more and more I detect this sort of obfuscation (thank you, Bill Clinton) by political leaders and their ilk. While it’s bad enough to confuse people deliberately, it is equally troubling for the rest of us to stand around like cows, accepting what we’re told without thinking things through to their logical conclusion. Does it make sense that can you receive more and better medical coverage while paying less? Who makes up the difference? As stated during my college commencement speech, “There is no free lunch.” And, for those who must now pay a lot more, how do we benefit from a policy that offers a whole bunch of services we don’t need or want? And, why in the world would anyone accept that Capitol Hill gets to live under different rules from the rest of us? Does this make sense? How can a person stridently argue against new taxes when their children are enrolled in off-site, special rehabilitative programs paid for by the taxpayers?

 

These are highly complicated, emotional issues, I know. It’s not that one political position is inherently superior to the other, but I have observed numerous examples of real people who do this. Sort of like that loyalty program without requiring any loyalty: I can do whatever I like and also demand my additional, special benefits.

 

But back to the bit where we’re standing around like cows, uncritically accepting what we’re told with little thought given to the consequences. Last week, I was preparing to drive over to Arlington, VA to see a play with a friend. I’d been to my friend’s home before, so I sort of recalled how to get there, but just to be certain, I typed the address into both Map Quest and Google Maps for a trip itinerary. Well, it’s a good thing I’m familiar with this area, because both services insisted that there was only one way to cross the Potomac River. No matter how often I dragged the route line another direction, the computer was adamant that I had to use Chain Bridge. I did not use Chain Bridge. I chose Key Bridge, so I blew off its directive and, eventually, quite reluctantly, GoogleMaps course-corrected as I proceeded on my preferred path. But, the insistence of these two apps that there was only one way to cross the river got me thinking and made me hesitate. What if I didn’t know the area as well as I do? It would be far more likely I would’ve driven the route as instructed! Do you recognize what a short step it is from fallacious road directions to other sorts of deceptive declarations? This ties back into an earlier post where I discussed critical thinking skills. The part that scares me is that I’m no policy expert, so how can I know if something doesn’t make sense? How can I know if I am playing the fool by blindly accepting what I’m being told?

 

The point of this post is not to promote paranoia, but I write these words and use examples from my own life because I know how easy it is for me to ignore my internal warning bells and defer to the supposed expertise and wisdom of superior minds—be that vague responses or assurances given by those close to me, the “experts” on Capitol Hill, or definitive statements from Google Maps. A loyalty program that requires no loyalty? Does this make sense to you?

The Memory Reel

February 4, 2014

What sort of role do memories play in your life? How much time do you spend thinking about the past versus the present? And, the time you do devote to remembering, how accurate do you think those recollections are?

 

Memories are funny things—they can give us tremendous pleasure or entrap us in a web of misery—they’re selective and, more often than not, somewhat inaccurate. We’ve editorialized them to suit our purposes: I was insulted, I was adored, I was the champion, I was the traitor or the victim. Back then, I had everything I wanted. Is this the case?  Our personal narratives satisfy a deep-seated need to complete the picture we wish to paint, to finish the film we now direct. It’s our private, personal memory reel, the sanctity of which is not to be trivialized. But, how much of it is real? There are the facts of what happened, and then there is the symbolism which we supply.

 

It’s no small challenge to be actor, director, screenwriter,  and audience, simultaneously, but this is precisely what we’re doing when we rerun our memories. Because we’re playing so many roles, we tend to get distracted and, perhaps, miss key pieces of action that impact our liturgical drama but which would inconvenience the allegory we’ve selected. Our plot points support our leading premise of hero, villain, victim, fill-in-the-blank.  He was a bastard who took what was rightfully mine. I am an innocent lamb and my temper is irrelevant because I meant well. The fact that I strayed is completely my fault and reflects nothing about my marriage. My professional success and fame reflect everything about how wonderful I am and I deserve all the credit.

 

What’s included in your Top Ten List of favorite memories? Why do you think you replay them so often? Are they moments of perceived glory? pleasure? failure? guilt? or, that oh so seductive genre—the things that might have been? This last group is the most vulnerable to alteration. Once we step into that wistful world, we forget where we are; these particular memory reels play longest and have the most poignant scripts. At least, that is my experience; what about you?

 

Where things get tricky is when we replay our fictionalized accounts so often that we believe they’re real. I’ve had up close and personal acquaintance with a wide variety of people who fabricate plot lines and narratives so far from the truth that I had a difficult time believing they were serious, but by that point it was too late. These actor/director/screenwriters seized upon these reels and dedicated themselves to persuading any who would listen that these were truth incarnate.

 

So, I ask you: where are you peddling your own fictionalized account of what happened? Why do you fixate on this particular storyline? What need does this satisfy? In your memory, do you portray a particular person as an unrepentant villain? Are you the flawless beauty queen or champion athlete? Is there only one possible explanation for what really happened between the two of you? Are you, perhaps, leaving bits of the story scattered across the cutting room floor?

 

As re-booters, part of our journey is to overcome those highly partisan elements of our egos and memories; we strive to substitute soft-focus shots with angles that tell a more accurate story. Look, we all do this! It’s a lesson everyone needs to master, but few are willing to tackle such hard work. As your homework assignment, I’d like you to take a single memory that you enjoy nursing and ask yourself what you get out of it: is it a sense of acceptance? Validation of some secret theory about yourself? Proof that he or she is as much of a jerk as you condemn them to be? What is it that you get from these reruns? How does your reel play out? If the other actors saw this clip would they agree with you?

 

Re-booting requires so much of us. We wouldn’t be doing it if we weren’t trying to correct some of those things we got wrong, so clearing out our film lockers is just another part of the process.

 

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