Thoughts on Jefe’s Death

I wrote about the death of our dog Jefe (left) last week. I said that he gave us so many gifts – so many moments of laughter and love – during his lifetime. Thinking about it since then, it occurred to me that pets like Jefe provide us with another sort of gift, an existential gift.

Dogs have a relatively short lifespan – typically 8 to 15 years. That’s enough time for us to see them grow from puppies into adults and then into those frail years. It’s also enough time for us to learn to love them. Sometimes very deeply. But then they die and we have to deal with the grief of losing them. It’s painful, but we go through it and we move on.

We’re likely to experience the death of half a dozen pets before we are middle-aged. That’s half a dozen opportunities that our beloved pets give us to practice the grieving and recovery process – to prepare us for what we will one day have to go through with the humans we love and have loved for the longer length of human life.

Continue Reading

Life Is Good… How Did I Get So Lucky?

Saturday, November 3, 2018

New York City.- I’m at Club Macanudo on 63rd Street, in between Park and Madison in NYC. It’s a stately, turn-of-last century townhouse, not unlike Agora’s offices in Baltimore.

The doorman greets me as I enter… like I’m a regular customer. I consider sitting at the oak and glass bar, but it looks a bit busy. So I advance to one of the cigar rooms, past a dining room where men and women are enjoying steak dinners.

I sit down in one of the comfortable leather chairs and order a Smoke & Fire cocktail. “I don’t need the cigar menu,” I tell the server. “I’ve brought something special of my own.”

The lighting is soft. The air is surprisingly fresh, despite the fact that there are about 30 men in the room and they are all smoking. They are mostly middle-aged, but there are some youngsters and a smattering of older men like me. Everyone seems unusually relaxed. No one is working. No one is on the phone. They are smoking and drinking and conversing. I feel like I belong. I’m not an intruder. I’m not an imposter. I’ve earned this.

And there’s more…

Tomorrow morning at 8:30 I will have a private Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) lesson from Marcel Garcia, one the world’s most celebrated world champions. I’m pretty excited about it. It’s not easy to get a roll with MG. I’ve known his head instructor, Paul Shreiner, for a couple of years. He hooked me up. I can’t wait to tell one of my BJJ buddies back in Delray Beach about this experience.

I’ll be back at the hotel by 10:30 and I’ll get in an hour or two of writing before K returns from her morning walk. We’ll spend the afternoon at the Met and visiting a midtown art dealer I’ve worked with in the past. He has a 1905 Andre Derain landscape that I’ve been jealously following for nearly 15 years. Maybe tomorrow will be the day I own it. Dinner will be at a favorite restaurant in Brooklyn Heights with Number One Son and Daughter-in-Law and their twin girls.

Wow! How did I get so lucky?

I remember what my partner said to a young man who came up to him at a business event and introduced himself. “I so admire everything you’ve achieved in your life,” the young man said. “Someday, if I’m lucky…”

Smiling, my partner interrupted him. “You get to work at 7 a.m. and go back home at 7 p.m.,” he said. “You do that six or seven days a week for 40 years and the luck takes care of itself.”

Continue Reading

A Passing Jealousy

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Delray Beach, FL– Walking to my office, a woman passes me, going the other way. She is attractive. Tall, lean, and handsome. And I notice that she is dressed attractively too, in a linen skirt and matching jacket.

She pays no attention to me. She is looking ahead, walking with a confident gait, speaking animatedly into her phone. I hear one phrase: “I mean… you can’t wear it all at the same time, can you?”

And that sends me spiraling into that existential despair. No, not despair. More like ennui. No, not ennui. But a pang. A reminder of how much I’m missing.

“I mean… you can’t wear it all at the same time, can you?”

I’m not judging her, as they (imprecisely and insistently) say these days. I’m jealous of her. Truly.

She is living in a world I do not, have not, and never will inhabit. Yet it’s a full world and it seems to me to be in many ways a happier one than mine.

I try to imagine what things in life I loved that much – what material objects gave me such pleasure that such an idea would have occurred to me.

I am a little sad that I have never felt that way: that I wanted to have it all but at the same time.

Of course, that world is entirely open to me. I have only to wish to enter it to become a denizen. Why don’t I?

Continue Reading

Smelling the Roses

The most important thing I ever learned about “living rich” was taught to me by a former rich guy who dropped out of the moneymaking game to study Chinese philosophy.

Jeff and I have been friends since high school. Twenty-five years ago, when we were still relatively young men, we were partners in a merchandise vending business that was making lots of money. Jeff’s annual compensation was in the mid six-figure range.

One day, he quit. Since then, he has supported himself by doing consulting and teaching Chinese martial arts. His departure from business did not diminish our relationship in any way. Rather, it allowed us to pursue different careers and compare notes along the way.

I’ve written about Jeff before. He is a serious and careful thinker. And whenever we get together, we enjoy ongoing conversations about topics that interest us both.

We talk about ontology. We talk about sexuality. We talk about aging and health. One thing we rarely discuss is money. But once, the subject did come up.

Continue Reading

How to Find Your True Calling

By Brian Tracy

Your success in life will be largely determined by your ability to find your true calling, the right work for you to do, and then putting your whole heart into doing it very well.

The happiest people are those who have carefully thought through who they are, what they want, where they are going, and then decided exactly what they need to do to get to their goal. Asking yourself five targeted questions can help you home in on whatever path is right for you.

Continue Reading “How to Find Your True Calling”…

Continue Reading

Groundhogs’ Day

On Wednesday, I wrote about how I transformed from being an underachiever to a motivated successful person.

Most people reading this will think, “I don’t need another motivational speech. What I need is a change of luck.”

I’m here to say that luck had nothing to do with the change in my life. And it needn’t have anything to do with whatever changes you would like to make in yours. Had I waited for luck to come to me, I might be waiting still. My life changed when I got fed up and started planning my success.

You, too, can change your life if you are (a) dissatisfied with the lack of success you’ve had so far; (b) willing to make a big change – and not just a minor adjustment; (c) prepared to start working differently and thinking about yourself as a different kind of person; and (d) willing to start now by preparing yourself to succeed.

Continue Reading