Tuesday, April 08, 2003

Off-Site Insight III
It was almost exactly a year ago to the day that I last felt like I do today. Maybe this is an annual phase I should get used to. Maybe this ties into the Easter story of death and rebirth. Maybe I should've paid more attention to what I learned last year when I headed up to Maine for Easter weekend to get away from the city and my life here -- and deeper inside myself. Then, I really needed to get away. I was in fight or flight mode. This year, it's slightly different, but pretty much the same feeling. An existential explosion of sorts. And I think I understand it better this time.

The world is an uncertain, unstable place right now. We're at war. The economy's awful. There are a lot of pending changes at work. My personal life is less than satisfying. I haven't been making the wisest decisions in a lot of ways lately. I feel out of control, and I realized this morning that I've been waiting for something bad to happen to wake me up and pull me back from whatever brink I've been nearing. Why wait? If this malaise and occasionally self-destructive distraction is rooted in not feeling in control, I need to reclaim some of that control.

So what can I control? Let's start with the little things. This morning I threw out a pack of cigarettes and took out the trash. I've done that before and I may do it again, but there is absolutely no reason to smoke -- and so many reasons not to. I got into work a little late but in time to have lunch with my dear friend Hiroyasu Ichikawa, who's visiting Boston before heading home to Japan this weekend. The Fast Company office was one of his first stops when he moved here five years ago, and he wanted it to be one of the last before he headed back to work with the World Ship for Youth project. We shared time and table over soup and sandwiches at Mangia Mangia. That is something else I can control. I've gotten quite lazy with eating lately, often skipping breakfast and lunch for an extremely light dinner. And I think it's starting to take its toll. So, three square meals a day from here on out! Why is that so hard?

What else can I control? My stuff. I wax and wane feeling nested or claustrophobic on Church Corner in Cambridge, and I need to purge a little in the name of spring cleaning. Today I mailed five (5) mystery novels to my grandmother and about six (6) James Bond and Powerpuff Girls video tapes to my sister. I have a couple of DVD's I'm going to sell on Amazon or Ebay. And I need to get rid of some of the lifestyle ballast that's dragging me down.

There are other things I need to reign in a little on, but I think this is enough as I start this renewed self-improvement kick. I don't know if others feel like this, but these days are all about control. If you feel lost or out of control, focus on and control what you can. Claim the life that is yours.

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