3 things I always knew but had to be reminded

Spent yesterday with an old valentine, of sorts.

It was a good day.

Funny thing about people who knew you “when.” They call you on your shit. Without apologies and a little bit gleefully.

We went to my favorite Mediterranean place on the water. The food was good, the wine was delicious, the dessert was amazing. We walked along the ocean to burn off a few of those thousands of calories that don’t actually count anyway because of the holiday.

He reminded me of lots of things that I’d forgotten …

1. Why go for the brass ring when there’s a gold ring out there?

Professionally or personally, you have to be with people who make you better in every possible way. Don’t tolerate what only mildly amuses or challenges you. If it stresses you out beyond normal adrenaline, you’re in the wrong place.

2. Everyone has a story. Write it for them. They don’t have to know about it.

He badgered me a bit. “When am I going to ask you how you’re doing and your reply will finally be, ‘Things are great, Michael”?

When we debated it a bit, I realized I miss writing. Not things related to my field, either. But I don’t sit in Starbucks anymore and dream the hours away.

So we did an exercise in looking in people’s faces and coming up with their life story. Thing is, the people-watching down here is pretty spectacular. It’s easy to stimulate the creative juices, even just on the way to Starbucks.

3. Things aren’t going to come to you. If you don’t fight for them, you’ll never get them.

“Your mother still doesn’t have healthcare?” he asked. I told him about all my mistakes and misadventures and how I would need a day or a week off to go fight for her.

He said, “The system is designed to make it impossible not only for you to get what’s yours, but for the people who are hired to give it to you to figure out HOW to give it to you.”

We waxed poetic about a business owner we once worked for, who if you really needed a month off to get your shit together, he was successful enough to let you go do it so you could come back to him ready and willing to fight for his company since he fought for you.

In any event, he said you’re not a bad person for not figuring it out yet. (Yes he knows me and my guilt.)

He also said, however, you ARE kind of a moron for losing vacation days every year and NOT using them to figure it out. So figure it out. And if there’s no one to cover you for a day or a week, that’s not your fault either.

I think this was the best Valentine’s Day I ever had …

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