Give it a moment

If your kid is crying at night, give it 5 minutes before you go through. A lot of the time, the self-soothe themselves back to sleep.

If you are feeling under the weather, take a day off, get some sleep, self medicate, and give your body time to help itself heal. If nothing has changed after a day or so, then visit the doctor. Hospitals and doctor’s offices are Petri dishes. You are more at risk at the hospital than at home if all you have is a common cold. Most of the time all you need is some rest and a little love. You don’t need a doctor to tell you that.

If you receive an email, slack, or text that activates you and you want to angrily respond, then switch tabs for a bit or go for a walk. Back in the pen and paper day, people had days to respond, and the sun still came up the next day.

If you’ve cleaned your plate and want to go back for more, take breath and enjoy some wine instead. Five minutes later you’ll probably not need a second helping of food.

If you have finished up some deep work, then stop, label the file correctly, and back it up in under the correct category. Less haste, more speed.

99% of things in life don’t need an instant response. And sometimes your response can be “I’m going to give it some more time,” or “I don’t know, what do you think”?

paola-chaaya-eAkjzXCU0p0-unsplashPhoto by Paola Chaaya on Unsplash

A date with destiny

What would it be like if everyone you ever loved had a date that hovered above their head? The date was the day they were going to die. Similar to the expiry date on food in the grocery store. You were the only one who can see the date, and you can’t tell anyone.

Would it change the way you treated them? Maybe you’d be more forgiving, perhaps you’d be more present and savor your moments together.

We enjoy life more when we accept that life is finite and that everyone has a date above their head whether we can see it or not.

charisse-kenion-5vl1eKNp98s-unsplashPhoto by Charisse Kenion on Unsplash

Three kinds of airmen

During World War II my grandmother worked with the RAF. Her job was to profile pilots based on their personalities, risk appetite, and temperament.

She used to say there were three buckets:

Fighter pilot, Bomber pilot, and Bomber navigator.

The fighter pilot profile was young, arrogant, quick decision-maker, and big risk-taker. 

The bomber pilot profile was older, calm under pressure and deliberate. Someone who would stay the course and complete the mission, make small adjustments, listen to his navigator, complete the mission and protect his crew. 

The bomber navigator profile was cool as a cucumber, unemotional and precise. When all hell was breaking loose around him, he would continue to deliver the coordinates and guide the pilot.

After the war ended she regularly used these profile tools whenever she met someone. Think about this next time you interview someone or are deciding whether to trust them. What do you need them to do and what type of airman are they?

(As I was writing this I think the one trait that all these pilots possessed in spades was courage and bravery.)

renan-araujo-S4wZk8CSmw4-unsplashPhoto by Renan Araujo on Unsplash

Don’t listen to what people say, watch that they do.

This is worth your time. James Baldwin responds to Yale philosophy professor Paul Weiss on a talk show.

My takeaway: Don’t listen to what people say, watch that they do.

When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time – Maya Angelou

Managing bad luck vs. good luck

Good luck doesn’t always lead to success. You need to capitalize on the good luck event and take advantage of else it’ll be squandered.

Bad luck sometimes leads to absolute failure and there will be nothing you can do about. The downside risk of bad luck is way greater than the upside of good luck. The downside effects are non linear – it comes out of nowhere and can end you.

Do what you can to manage downside risk. Flying a plane is always a good metaphor – as long as you can land the plane and keep it intact then you can take off again. If the plane crashes and burns then you are a goner. No plane and you are dead. 

alexander-andrews-bS_3A546Xog-unsplashPhoto by Alexander Andrews on Unsplash

Fatal catalysts

When an elderly person breaks their hip and loses their independence, it’s usually the beginning of a downhill slide. Once they are bedridden and lose mobility, then other body and brain stuff start to fail. They die from another cause, but it’s the broken hip that was the fatal catalyst.

Keep an eye out for fatal catalysts. Young people are not immune to it either, although the cycle is longer. A nasty cold stops them from exercising every day. Less exercise means more fatigue and worse eating habits. Maybe sugar intake increases as a supplement for the exercise endorphin kick. The common cold was the catalyst to an unhealthy lifestyle and a broken routine.

The benefit of youth is that the body is resilient and bounces back, but it still requires energy and discipline to get back into the good rituals and routines. Old people don’t get second, third or fourth chances. Use them wisely when you are young.

abigail-keenan-YMVGhdhEgLY-unsplashPhoto by Abigail Keenan on Unsplash

Old habits die hard

When I was six years old, we moved to a new home in the same neighborhood. The new house was a good ten-minute walk from our old one, but it all felt very new, with different road noises, creaky floors and different routes to school. The first few days were disorientating and unsettling.

The day after we moved in, our old labrador who had been with my family before I was born, went missing. My dad finally found him walking back to our old house. The dog had jumped the gate and was on his way back to his old home. Even though none of us lived there anymore he still saw it as his center.

Last month our favorite local coffee shop closed down. I still find myself walking past the closed shop in the mornings even though there’s no more coffee brewing, and the familiar faces I saw every morning have scattered around the neighborhood. I’m just like our old labrador, plodding back to my old home that doesn’t exist anymore.

After a bit, I’ll find a new morning pathway to a new local, new faces and new friends. It always works this way, but I’ve learned to savor the “no-mans land” moments between old and new rituals, as I wait for the new one to appear.

Me and our lab circa 1980’s

The shoulder cut is the tastiest

Between high seasons is my favorite time. The tourists have gone home. The surge of temporary workers has receded. The skeleton crew at the restaurants are the full-timers and owner/managers. The service is slower and less manic, but everyone knows the menu and has tasted all the dishes. People have the time and space to chat, and it’s not about turning over tables as quickly as possible.

The clouds have a different feel after the long summer, and the sea is no longer inviting you in. The evenings and early mornings have a bite reminding you that autumn is coming. Breathe deeply. Enjoy.

michael-wRqtJrHgGxY-unsplashPhoto by Michael on Unsplash

We aren’t getting out of here alive

A newspaper is delivered to our house every week. It’s one of those free papers that covers all things local from sport, municipal votes, upcoming festivals, a police blotter, letters to the editor. There’s always a glossy real estate insert. The back page covers the local sports teams.

I enjoy flipping through it because it informs me about local news that the internet and larger news organizations ignore. There’s not much money in newspapers anymore, but these small newspapers soldier on. There’s a whole classified section at the back advertising plumbers, injury lawyers, immigration help, language courses, etc. that I’m sure pays the bills.

There’s also an obituary section, and I’ve made a habit of reading through them. The other day I read about someone who was born in Italy and moved across the globe in her twenties, met her husband, and built a whole new life on a faraway continent. When she died, she left behind children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Others died young and sadly left young families and friends behind.

Death notices are not something that gets a lot of clicks during our daily internet browsing between email, Twitter, and Instagram, so I’m grateful I get to read about people’s lives written by those who loved them.

The obits gently remind me that death is part of all of our communities, and it doesn’t discriminate. It’s coming for all of us, and we aren’t getting out of here alive.

roman-kraft-_Zua2hyvTBk-unsplashPhoto by Roman Kraft on Unsplash

Ask the blockers to move aside and go with the flow

People create air pockets on buses and trains all the time. My stop will be coming up, and I’ll make my way to the exit doors and will be blocked by someone. It’s usually a man with a large backpack still on his back standing in the way. He’s blocking the exit path, and there’s a considerable space in front of him where all of us could congregate before the bus stops. Instead, people build up like a dam of water behind him. This happens a lot, and it’s intriguing to see what the other blocked passengers do. Some surrender to the blocker and his backpack and wait, others contort their bodies and miraculously squeeze past him without making bodily contact. Others politely ask the person to move aside. As soon as he steps aside, a rebalance happens, and everyone flows past him and into the pocket he created. Now that the system is back in equilibrium, people can exit quickly, the bus stays on time, and the ongoing passengers are happy. Most of the time, he’s oblivious to what he’s doing and quite happily and absent mindlessly moves aside and then goes back to looking at his phone.

digital-sennin-PyRqLAE0d0E-unsplashPhoto by diGital Sennin on Unsplash