I love that we have a holiday about love. I just wish it were more inclusive. Today, I hope you love the heck out of everything that makes you happy—friends, family, pets, animals, your city, books, your work, your creative projects, history, science, travel, art, curiosity itself. And I hope you get in some serious self-care and do something extra nice for yourself. That’s the kind of Valentine’s Day I’m into.❤️
“Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.” -Rumi
We’ll be disappointed. Things won’t go as planned. Try another route. Another idea. Another pitch. These failures are all material. The detours are the journey.
I’m over-the-moon about being part of the New York City Story Collider show, My Love Affair with Science, on Tuesday, February 5th at Caveat. I’ll be talking about my long and winding road of a relationship with science and how we got to where we are today. Tickets on sale now: https://www.storycollider.org/shows/2019/2/5/new-york-ny-my-love-affair-with-science
Every year I expect December 1st to get easier, and it doesn’t. Today is the 26th anniversary of my father’s passing. Over this many years I have released a lot of the anger, and have found a way to wish him the peace he couldn’t seem to find here, wherever he resides now. There’s some grace in that forgiveness, some healing.
This day will never be painless. It will ache, sometimes uncontrollably, and I must make room for that. It will always be unresolved and unfinished. It will always be hard. And maybe it should be. Maybe it needs to be. Like it or not, it’s an annual reminder to me that we are not infinite on this plane and in this form. Our time is precious, irreplaceable, and so it is to be treasured and valued by us and by those we welcome into our lives. Our time is a gift we give and receive constantly. It will be used no matter what, and so our job is to make sure it’s put to use in the best way possible.
I hope today and every day that your hours are filled with the people and things you love.
“Love, or the lack of it, is the root of everything.” ~Mister Rogers, Won’t You Be My Neighbor
Fred Rogers was a life-long Republican. He saved PBS by testifying before Congress. He accepted all people. He cared about the arts, education, and feelings. Imagine the world today if he ran the GOP.
“I saw that my life was a vast glowing empty page and I could do anything I wanted.” ~Jack Kerouac
No matter you age, your past choices, or your current situation, every day is a blank page. You can see it as empty, or you can see it as an opportunity. It’s the same page, just a different perspective. Your move.
I was walking home from a memorial service yesterday. The person being honored at the service poured his love into the universe, into every person he met, and it came back to him many times over when he needed it most. Even in the depths of his incurable illness, he found the light that every day offered. Right to the end. His life is a powerful example of the glow that comes from the blank page. He could do anything he wanted, and he chose to be of service, to create community, to welcome love into his life with wide open arms. And because of those choices, his impact will far outlast his much-too-short life. We should all be so lucky, and we can be, if we choose to be.
“In the end, we’ll all become stories.” ~Margaret Atwood
Stories are so intrinsic to our culture, to the structure of our lives, that it’s impossible to separate ourselves from them. We are defined by our stories, the ones we tell about ourselves and others, and the ones others tell about us. It’s how we connect and share with each other. They stir every emotion we can possibly have. Friendship and love both grow from stories. We are our stories, and our stories are us. Let’s make sure the ones we choose are really the ones we want.
“Better an ‘oops’ than a ‘what if?”” ~Beau Taplin
Why are we so afraid of making a mistake or looking like fools? Are we afraid of embarrassment? Of ridicule? Of pain? Of failure? I got over the feeling of rejection a long time ago. I have seen too many people miss their chance, too many people settle for lives that are less than what they really wanted. And by the time they could really admit that to themselves, the time was gone. It was too late. Their lives have been a cautionary tale for me. I stopped waiting and hoping and wanting, and I just decided to give it all a whirl. Everything. And a lot of things haven’t worked out, and a lot of things have. And none of it would have been possible if I didn’t decide to try. So now at least I go to bed at night knowing I didn’t leave anything on the table. I play every card I have every day, knowing that tomorrow I get a new hand.
“Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain.” ~Jack Kerouac
Sure I could have made choices that were safer, and quite frankly, a hell of a lot easier. Despite the tough journey to this moment, especially these last few difficult years, I’m in love with my life. My friends, the city I call home, my work, my creative projects, my writing. I climbed the mountain, and the view is spectacular. And I intend to keep climbing. No regrets.
“We’re all just walking each other home.” ~Ram Dass
This week I spent time with graduate students at Cornell Tech, helping them with their product development portfolio projects, and with a friend who needed some advice about how to move forward in a difficult professional situation. In both these instances, I felt alive being able to offer help, support, and advice. These circumstances reminded me of this quote by Ram Dass. If we aren’t helping each other through this life, then what’s the point, right?