Strength in numbers - surfing the East coast at Parlors

Something happened to me during the pandemic.  I lost all my business and took a step back to see if I even wanted to do this work.  My motivation never came back.

For most of my career I think that I was a borderline workaholic, which probably means that I was one.  I worked intensely and when I wasn’t working, I was thinking about my projects.

I now live on a Caribbean Island and find it hard to fit work in between surfing, yoga, and writing.  I still love work and helping my clients, AND I love many other things, maybe more.  What happened?  This is a question that I ask myself and my friends.

One answer comes from my good friend Brandon.  A very driven man in his career, he has also had a bit of a transformation in Barbados.  He hypothesizes that we have found a lifestyle here that brings gratitude for what we have.  As a result, we no longer search for that next best thing – promotion, car, house.

A book recommended to me so that I could understand the male mind...that made me sad

Another comes to mind after reading “Algebra of Happiness” by Scott Galloway.  My thought is, I don’t believe in this shit anymore.

The book was given to me for insight into the male mind.  Despite having guy friends my entire life, I am finding it difficult to understand men at mid-life.

Scott Galloway writes about an awakening he has had in his mid-forties.  At the time of writing, he is around my current age.  This book is a collection of his musings; some of them I buy into and some of them make me sad.  Early in the book he says this:

…Balance when establishing our career, in my view, is largely a myth.  “Struggle porn” will tell you that you must be miserable before you can be successful.  This isn’t true: you can experience a lot of reward along the way to success. But if balance is your priority in your youth, then you need to accept that, unless you are a genius, you may not reach the upper rungs of economic security…

…I have a lot of balance now.  It’s a function of the lack of it in my twenties and thirties…My lack of balance as a young professional cost me my marriage, my hair, and arguably my twenties.

What frustrates me most is the effect of this struggle on human beings and that we live in a capitalist society that not only supports but encourages this path.  This author spends the rest of the book describing his awakening that he has not been there for others and has basically been a dick for most of his life to date.  He now pours his love and attention towards his second wife and his children.  But what about all those years when his blind ambition left a wake of destruction?  Decades that he was revered for his success but was a person that took more than gave back to those around him, by his own account.

At a recent beach picnic/party Brandon's dog Tucker stole the show - talk about cute!

Could I have gotten where I am today without working my ass off all those years?

Scott writes that, “People who speak at universities, especially at commencement who tell you to follow your passion – or my favorite, to “never give up” – are already rich.”  I think that there is some truth to that; it is easy for me to say that I don’t buy into a capitalist culture anymore, sitting pretty where I am today.

I don’t know that I wreaked havoc on others’ lives during my years of overdrive, but I certainly suffered on my own.  And for what, to gain prestige to show that I was good enough, to earn money so that I could finally be content in my latter years?  I have a notion that I will always work, as long as I am able, which should be a good long time.  I also believe, and have others around me that share the belief, that it is more about what you spend than what you make.

How much does it cost to live a good life?

This post is not written out of regret; I can’t turn back time.  However, I would like to give sound advice when I am asked by those that come after me.  I don’t believe that referring to a capitalist society and saying that this is just the way that things work is the answer. When we know better, we do better.  I am grateful for where I am today AND I believe there may have been a healthier path in getting here.   What do you think?


Full moon over the ocean - South coast Barbados