Bad news. As I was leaving the Red Letter offices in Oct. 2017 (21 months ago) I had a pretty serious accident that left me physically (and every other -ally) broken and unfortunately, unable to sustain the work of Red Letter. I cannot thank our team, candidates and clients enough for the time we had together. I’m happy we were able to be a small part of your bigger life story. Your best days are ahead!
Enter at your own risk. Some of these posts are raw. Some are sad. Some aren’t. Some contain cussing. Some don’t. But, they’re all real. They contain some of the good, and not so good, thoughts that come and go through my mind on the daily. Please don’t think you need to rescue me or help me—even though I need a lot of help. I now understand what “pain and suffering” feels like and it sucks.
In the late 90’s I spent a couple of years with a group of young people in Chicago. Fast-forward to today. I was listening to the news, on the television in the background, and when I looked up, I saw his name on the screen and then his face. It was one of the young people from that group. He was responsible for devising and coordinating U.S. national security policy, with a particular emphasis on Iran’s nuclear and regional activities, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Syria, and security cooperation in the broader Middle East. When I looked him up, I read that he also served as special assistant to Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell and at the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv. He was a genius in high school with an affinity for Israel, so I’m not taking any credit for his career, but it was a fun surprise to see him on TV. That’s all.
It’s been a minute since I’ve posted on any of my social media channels. When the accident happened, I was unable to do anything without a lot of help, much less social media. Now, nearly two years later, I still need help, but I also want to rethink my relationship with social media before i jump back into it.
Cal Newport’s book Digital Minimalism sums it up pretty well, “Minimalism is the art of knowing how much is just enough. Digital minimalism applies this idea to our personal technology. It’s the key to living a focused life in an increasingly noisy world.”
My pastor says, “The more you focus on something, the bigger it gets in your eyes.” With the time I have left on this planet, I want to laser-focus on my big family, significant relationships, and reaching the world with good news. Oh, and maybe write a book.
Ann, my wife since 1975. Brad and his wife Jamaica and two children, Miró and Jude. Mark and his wife Jamie and four children, Ava, Landon, Lily, and Ella. Craig and his wife Kara. Luke and his wife Sarah. Joy and her husband Angel León and their daughter Inez. Their new baby Santiago is coming real soon. Paul. Should I mention his long-time girlfriend, Grecia? Everyone except Brad and Jamaica and family have moved to SEA. It’s our hope that someday soon the entire family will be in the PNW.
Since the accident my social life and outlook has changed a lot. It is said that people live in one of two realms—anticipation or reflection. Before the fall I used to default to anticipation. Reflection was usually a let down for me (that may have to due with high expectations). After 60+ really solid sessions with my counselor, she said, “You’re in a fun dessert.” Huh? She said, “I think you have Anhedonia.” What the heck is that?
Some earlier definitions of anhedonia emphasized the inability to experience pleasure. Anhedonia is used by researchers now to refer to reduced motivation, reduced anticipatory pleasure (wanting), reduced consummatory pleasure (liking), and deficits in reinforcement learning. Common causes include: overwork, recent tragedy, financial problems, bad weather, and boring activities. I checked three of the five options. This might be an overstatement, but along with my support team (wife, family, counselor, doctors, pastor, and friends), I think I am s-l-o-w-l-y improving.
I knew the second I went to put my foot on the lobby floor that something was painfully wrong. I had missed a couple of stairs and I was airborne Two thoughts raced through my mind, my life will be changed forever and I will not make it out of this alive. Those thoughts continue to haunt me. The next thing I heard was my leg exploding as I slammed into the concrete floor. After twenty-one (and counting) traumatic months, I’m still recovering and the rest of the story is still being written. I’ve titled a potential book WTFGOD and I hope it gets written.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” - The Man in the Arena by Teddy Roosevelt
The reason my windshield is so much larger than my rear-view mirror is because where I’m going is more important than where I’ve been. Yada. Yada. Yada. It’s a good analogy and I wish I lived like it were more true, but I don’t. How about you? The fact is I have had my head pretty far up my past since the fall, which is 180 degrees from the pre-fall, 1.0 version of me.
I could kick myself for not journaling or documenting the last 21+ months. I thought about it, a lot, with the same conclusion—screw it. Even when balloon Bob called and encouraged me to write a book—screw it—was the outcome. For a long time after the accident, I didn’t have a shit to give. I cried for hours every day and night for months. I had none, zero, nil, zippo hope. One dark night, in the middle of those first five months, being painfully bound to my bed—100% non-weight bearing in my right leg—I thought suicide was my only way out. In utter hopelessness and despair, I sent a text to a handful of guys that I believed would pray for me. It was the middle of the night. All of them responded, but one called. Sometimes talking is better than texts—it for sure was in my situation. Stay tuned.