Today, I choose to be youthful
I’m halfway through a MONSTER of a proposal. I have nearly broken my brain on clients’ marketing campaigns and design projects for upcoming holiday promotions, and I’m tired.
But tired is a luxury. Hell, lunch and dinner breaks are luxuries.
I shoot on over to Facebook to check the stats on that Harvest Dinner promotion, and I see it.
I leap to Instagram to view the insights on that Small Business Saturday party announcement, and there it is again.
All that holiday verve. People getting ready to check out and go on vacation. People summoning the joy of our youth around the holidays.
I love the holidays. LOVE the holidays. I’m not an ugly sweater person or anything, but I love the spirit, the memories, the tinsel, the cheer.
YES, the cheer. Shut up, I do.
I’m going on vacation, too. Off to the beach in Rhode Island for a 2-night respite. Then up to my mom’s place in northwest Connecticut for a couple days more.
And what will I be doing? Switching on and off Black Friday promos after Thanksgiving dinner, finishing that MONSTER of a proposal as I ride the train back and forth to the city, hoping I’ll see the beach at some point. OK, I’d settle for A Tree in The Outdoors.
That’s the Other Side of entrepreneurship.
Youthful means a lot of things—innocence, for one, purity, welcoming the unexpected, being randomly delighted.
But you hit that point eventually, I don’t care who you are, if things “get seasonal.” When the email dings or the iMessage rings, pa-rum-pa-pum-pum… And you’re like, “Oh my god, shut up. Just SHUT UP.” Those red flags taunting you… why red, Apple? Why?
Or when you finally fall asleep and the young couple on the other side of your bedroom wall decides 2 AM is a delightful time to have an impromptu dance party. (It probably was, by the way. I can’t fault them.)
You check the news and it’s another cavalcade of nonsense. “Janet Yellen is resigning from Federal Reserve Board”—I thought for sure it would be followed by “after claims of sexual misconduct.” Nope, just a normal resignation.
Starbucks is under attack from Conservatives for its holiday cup design. Again.
What world is this?
I throw my phone in any direction away from me regularly in off hours.
And in those moments—when routine overpowers welcoming the unexpected, when the news rubs your last nerve raw, when it feels like just one more day of this—ALL this—that we give in to the inevitability of adult-ness, of aging, of the machine.
But I started my own business to subvert the machine. Am I contributing to it?
In those moments, yes.
I guess it’s that as humans, we react to different stimuli. Some of us decide to be sexually misconduct-y about it. Some of us exhaustively spew all over social media to purge it. Some of us just keep absorbing and absorbing until it literally feels like our insides will burst, in our near-futile effort to not react at all.
And everything is stimuli lately, vying for our attention, and I’m culpable. I’m a marketer.
I feel compelled to not react. Learn, pivot, have opinions, yes, but not let the machine make me reactive and, therefore, prone to fits of insanity or rage or whatever other unsettling and destabilizing thing the machine feeds on to distract you.
Plus, as a stoic, you train for this sort of thing.
I used to care less. RIGHT: When I was a kid.
I don’t want to care less… but I don’t want to get exhausted by caring either. I want to be cheerful, damn it.
I hired this keen, savvy chick, quite a few years my junior, and she inspires me to create that balance of spunk and creativity and keeping your sense of humor. You need youth around you. I’m not a parent, but I suppose that’s the injection parents get. (Then I imagine they get it slammed back out of them when the kid won’t Get It Together.)
So maybe once that MONSTER is officially on its way to its fate down the road, and Thanksgiving is over, I’ll summon youthful. That energy fused with wonder and enchantment…
But how about now?
A deep breath… youthful. Expecting the unexpected. Allowing for a little innocence…
Youth + wisdom – now that’s a powerful direction to head in.
UPDATE: ONE DAY LATER
So I publish this post, and the next morning, I’m on the train, pounding away on my laptop, drafting the second half of the aforementioned MONSTER. The train conductor is announcing the stops: White Plains, Brewster, Bedford Hills, alone in his booth being ignored. Then he announces, “The next stop on our magical journey… is Croton Falls,” and jolted instantly from my squinty, work-soaked reverie, I laughed right out loud.
YES. Unexpected and doubly awesome.
It’s so important to put your full intention out there and mean it.
The universe has its way of letting you know that it hears you as long as you stay true…
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