Today, tomorrow, and forever.
Reminds me of some friends’ wedding reception - for some reason the wedding cake didn’t make to the reception, so the bride asked one of her bride’s maids to run to the store and see if she could get a cake. The bride’s maid improvised, she brought back a grocery bag of Twinkies! I’ve been to lots of wedding receptions, but that’s the only one that remember the “wedding cake.”
“The whole party was starting to look like that special kind of catastrophe that is maybe my signature move, my curse, the embodiment of my uniquely stupid personality.”
Love this. I might even go farther than what you write here:
"The real challenge of being alive is to savor the moment and give your love freely in spite of the clown show unfolding around you. "
What if we could accept fucking this up at this too? I know I constantly am. What if there is no real challenge to being alive? We didn't even have to savor the moment? Choices get made, sometimes it seems like it's being done by us, sometimes it seems like they just get made. On and on forever. It's just a gift.
You know what's fun is the field of human factors, which is at least 50% about managing the completely normal mistakes people make. Expecting perfection isn't just unhelpful, it's delusional and on a large enough scale causes international disasters.
So when I first learnt about this I thought "am I my own shitty corporate boss??" And yes. Guilty as charged. Let me just quote what I have done to myself in the past, straight from the relevant sources:
"be careful that you do not:
- Treat operators as if they are superhuman, able to intervene heroically in emergencies.
- Rely on operators being well-trained, when it is not clear how the training provided relates to accident prevention or control.
- State that operators are highly motivated and thus not prone to unintentional failures or deliberate violations.
- Inappropriately apply techniques, such as detailing every task on site and therefore losing sight of targeting resources where they will be most effective"
Draw your own analogies from that! I like to think I am a somewhat better manager these days and am no longer creating my own personal disasters at quite the same rate...
Brilliant. So goddamn true. This: “Suddenly it seemed obvious to me that all lives are just a series of absurdly poor choices, punctuated only occasionally by pragmatism or wisdom.”
So, I’ve discussed this before: My father is dying right now of terminal cancer. He’s recently home after 19 days in the hospital. My mom and I are close but we have a very stormy, complex history. We’re his caretakers. Alcoholism and clinical depression run deep in my family. I’m 12 years sober. Last night, my mom started drinking. My dad’s on oxygen assistance; he needs us to be sharp as tacks right now. So my mom got drunk and was being pretty annoying, and she passed out and didn’t hear him in the middle of the night when he was hacking and vomiting so I ran upstairs and helped him. I gently suggested she not drink right now since Dad needs us. She flew off the handle. We got into it. All of this is of course in front of my poor, sick father. He’s always been the peacemaker, like a yellow Lab trying to calm two roaring lions. Anyway I ended up yelling, “You’re acting like an asshole!” And storming out of the house. Like a robot, I trudged down the stairs, snatched some of my things, and got into my car, hitting the highway. I went to my fiancée’s/my house an hour north (I’ve been staying with my mom the past week). I calmed down. This morning Mom and I texted and agreed to put our bullshit aside for the sake of my father. I’m heading back soon.
I know I said the wrong thing to my mom last night. But damn it. The narcissism of alcoholism is brutal sometimes. Takes one to know one, I know. But right now is not about her. Writing about all this on Substack helps.
‘The Incompatibility of Being Alive’
welp, now I'm crying in a coffeeshop -- thanks for this today!
I love those kinds of parties too! Keep the faith
Love this. I have spent an absurd amount of money on missed flights and trains and hotels booked on the wrong weekend. Just typing that I realize I've been lucky and the biggest loss was money.
Thank you for sharing this! My wife and I just had a flight two weeks ago and started talking about how stressed people get during travel when it's often not as disastrous as they feel it is.
I appreciate how you emphasize the importance of embracing our imperfections and the chaotic nature of life. It's a great reminder that we're all human, and it's alright to make mistakes.
I'm curious, have you found any strategies that help you maintain this perspective on a daily basis, especially during particularly challenging times?
Keep up the wonderful writing!
Love this so much. The biggest mistake I think I've made is I though my happiness is dependent on the success of my business. So cliche yet so hard to be aware of.
I am reading this today after I had a mishap happen at work and I was away on vacation. Others had to cleanup after my mistake and I was feeling so horrible and so shitty about how I had ended up making the mistake. I have planned to show up, own up and move forward the only way I know - with hope and positivity.