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Keep Trying

{I came across this post I wrote a many years ago, but never published and in the spirit of the post, am publishing it now.}

I have a quote I put up on my wall that asks: “Who do you have to become to achieve all you want?”

I put it on my wall because it confounded me two reasons. 1. Who am I now? 2. What is “all I want?”

In the discovering of WHO you have to become, you learn a lot about who you are, now. I bashfully admit I’m not totally sure who I am. I’m still figuring it out. I have all these different sides and parts of myself and over the years some parts have been ignored or suppressed while other parts have taken the lead. You know the expression, “Life is not a dress rehearsal,” I think I’ve been an understudy. I’ve been an understudy for myself. Now I’m pushing myself onto the stage and assembling it together, seeing what fits and what doesn’t. What fears and hopes are still relevant to me now that I really think about it. It’s like a scrapbook, some things aren’t going to make it into the final book and there’s going to be some messy glue residue left on the good table, but with time and effort, it will clean up. And some of the smaller scraps can be used as confetti. What I’m saying is self discovery is a process.

So here I am sitting on the F train with my laptop appropriately on my lap, trying to type up my ideas for this blog. And just in the center of the train, sitting on a stool, is a man playing cello so beautifully. Am I in a movie? In my beloved NYC, just when you feel uninspired, you look around and see someone taking a risk and putting their goods on the line. I can’t imagine how people felt having to listen to this gentlemen play for the first time on a subway, driven by an erratic and brake happy conductor. I can’t imagine it was very good at first. But here he is today, providing my ride home with a glorious soundtrack. I used to describe my favorite part of New York like this:

Imagine film noir lighting, naturally in black and white. It’s a lonely subway platform with a few ambling people keeping to themselves, maybe a couple engaged in some serious PDA, but French-style, so it looks romantic not juvenile. Way down at the other end of the platform near the tunnel is a saxophonist improvising a melancholy tune. You can barely see him in the shadows. He hasn’t come for the crowds, he’s come for the acoustics and the practice. In my movie mind version of this scenario, a tap dancer steps out in a fedora and raincoat, does a little soft shoe shuffle before disappearing on the incoming train and once again the saxophonist is all alone. The remnants of his music hauntingly pour up through the subway grates onto the sidewalk, conjuring visions of lone musicians playing on an empty subway platform.

In improv you learn that when you try to make the audience laugh, you surely will not. The artist must play for himself, paint for himself, write for himself and be for himself. We are all artists—even the businessman. If every business deal were exactly alike, we’d all be commodities. The standards we set for ourselves is much higher than the one we set for others. If we truly tried to live up to ourselves and not to others, we’d all be better off. And as my wise project manager tells me often, if you accomplish 50% of your goals, it’s a success. It’s not always about finishing every goal. But if you don’t start, there’s nothing to keep trying for and maybe the things that get finished are the things that you really care about and that’s a good thing.

So who do I have to become to achieve all I want? Me. And that’s my journey.



Me today. Exploring new environments after 20 years in NYC.


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