Archive | May, 2012

Mail Call

30 May

From my cousin Ali and her husband, Andrew (newlyweds: 4/27/12/!).  Thanks, guys!

Memorial Day in The Windy City

30 May

Went to Chicago for Memorial Day weekend to visit a friend from law school.  Was my last little trip before the Big Trip.  Ahhhh.

A Magical Moment

24 May

It’s commencement time, so indulge me.  Aaron Sorkin spoke at his alma mater, Syracuse.  Notably, he called the graduating class “a group of incredibly well-educated dumb people” and told them there were a lot of “screw-ups” to come.  [My immediate thought: I hope the Big Trip is not one of them . . . self-doubt is really starting to creep in around here.]

Anyway, I most like this nugget, tucked in his speech, when he wishes for each member of the graduating class but “a moment”:

Baseball players say they don’t have to look to see if they hit a home run, they can feel it. So I wish for you a moment—a moment soon—when you really put the bat on the ball, when you really get a hold of one and drive it into the upper deck, when you feel it. When you aim high and hit your target, when just for a moment all else disappears, and you soar with wings as eagles. The moment will end as quickly as it came, and so you’ll have to have it back, and so you’ll get it back no matter what the obstacles.

To me, this “moment, ” is almost akin to Alfred Adler’s notion of an “oceanic feeling”  whereby everything, so perfectly, comes together.  You literally feel like one with the universe — connected, limitless, unbounded . . . well, oceanic.

I remember perhaps my first “moment,” which indeed has set me off searching for more.  It was at the beginning of my New Zealand Odyssey.  One of my first nights out there, alone, halfway around the world.  I met some strangers at the liquor store, who told me to come to the seal colony that night.   I went.  And I just remember sitting there on this seal colony (i.e., big rocks meet the ocean) in the dark with a bunch of stoners and vagabonds from all over the world whose accents I couldn’t yet understand, pretending to smoke a cigarette and wondering how long before the seals attacked us.  And I was utterly filled with wonder and awe about the world and my place in it.

Travel, or perhaps any experience that separates you so far from the edges of your comfort zone, has a way of unlocking, sometimes simultaneously, the heart’s deepest desires and the world’s biggest secrets.  Here, Aaron Sorkin, is to hoping for a magical moment (or two!?) on the Big Trip.

The Parking Space Theory of Life

23 May

Drew Faust, the President of Harvard, gave this year’s Baccalaureate speech on “the updraft of inexplicable luck.”  She points out that believing in luck breeds a lot of good things: humility, intellectual curiosity, optimism, vulnerability, authenticity, generosity, and openness.  It also thwarts “the terror of pressure” to take your place in the world your excellence has bought you, to be extraordinary in the “coliseum of achievement.”

On days like my law school graduation, or indeed many others, when my Dad tells me how proud he is of me and what I’ve done, I blink a few times and tell him that, while I’m flattered, the fact is that I owe my successes far more to good fortune, to pure chance, to happenstance, to inexplicable luck, than to anything else.  Somewhat paradoxically, an honest belief in luck makes it all the more easier to chase your destiny, to subscribe to what President Faust calls the “Parking Space Theory of Life”:

For years I have been telling students: Do what you love; do what matters to you. It might be finance, but maybe it’s something else. Don’t settle for Plan B, the safe plan, until you have tried Plan A, even if it may require a miracle. I call it the Parking Space Theory of Life. Don’t park 10 blocks away from your destination because you think you won’t find a closer space. Go to where you want to be. You can always circle back to where you have to be.

Mail Call: Are You “Out of Reality”?

20 May

Told my Grandma about the Big Trip last weekend.  This week, in the mail:

Front of the card

Inside the card

Mail Call: Love My Aunt Leslie

20 May

Told my Aunt Leslie about the Big Trip last weekend.  Invited her along.  This week, in the mail:


14 May

One promise I can keep.