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  • Joe

Just when I think I have all the answers..........

Last week we kicked around the concept of the only thing we truly own.

I hope you had a chance to reflect on time. Your time. How you spend it. How you use it. How you appreciate it.

I certainly did. Since last week my diet was a little better. I exercised a little more. I tried to communicate a little more effectively. I was controlling my time. Just like I advised.

But then my phone rang. It was Mom. And she had something to say.

She said last week’s blog made her think.

“Good”, I replied. “That’s the whole point of it”.

She told me about how she is trying to keep busy nowadays. Making new recipes. Working in the garden. Walking on the treadmill. Staying in touch with her sisters every day.

I felt damn good as I thought about the impact my wisdom had made on her. I’m a pretty smart and insightful guy.

And then she brought me back to earth.

She disagreed that she had full control over her time.

“Huh?”

She told me that when she read the blog, she thought she didn’t own all of her time. Her thoughts went to the times that she wished she had back. The times she spent being a mom to two little boys.

Two little boys playing stickball in the street in front of a Staten Island duplex.

Two little boys making a mess of the basement and ignoring the calls for dinner.

Two little boys trading the beef for the vegetables in the stew that she made……much to the dismay of their father.

Two little boys fighting as two little boys are supposed to do. And then laughing and playing ten minutes later.

Two little boys who are now all grown up and no longer there.

She told me that if she truly owned her time she would love to go back to those days. To be able to re-live that time once more. But she can’t.

I tried to come up with a reasonable defense. “But that just goes to show that you did make the best use of that time. The point is to always make sure you remember that before your time is in the past.”

She wasn’t buying it. And now I wasn’t sure I was either.

Last week I made sure to check the definition of what it meant to own something. If we owned our time that means we have control over our time.

You would think Mr. Brilliant here would take a moment to check the definition of the only thing that we truly owned. Of course, I didn’t.

So, I googled and there it was.

Time - The indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole

Now I was the one who was thinking. If time is represented by the past and future too, then we don’t have full control. (If you happen to have a flux capacitor, I’d like to borrow it)

So now what. We can’t go back to re-live or change the past. And we can try to plan and prepare for the future, but I know of a little virus who would say that your plans and preparations will only go so far.


If I don’t own time, then what do I truly own?

But maybe what I told my Mom was right. Maybe what I own is not time but whether I make the best use of time.

I can’t change the past. It’s done. But I can certainly learn from it. I can certainly enjoy the memories I have from it. I can certainly teach others based on the experiences, good or bad, I gained from it.

I can’t change the future. Whatever it will be, it’s coming. But I can certainly plan as best as I can for it. And I can certainly respond to the many surprises it will have for me, good or bad, as best as I can.

And like I told Mom, I can maximize the present before this time becomes another part of the past.

My fingers type away.

Thanks, Mom.

Until Next Time..........

  • Joe

What do you own?

I mean truly own.

That’s a nice house you have. You really take such good care of it. I know, wouldn’t it be nice if it would stay just like this? Something is always breaking. Well, whenever you decide to sell it, the new owners will love it. Oh, I didn’t know the basement flooded last year. Sorry about that. Some things are just out of our control.

How’s the family? The kids got so big. That’s funny, my kids didn’t want to follow in my footsteps either. I didn’t know she’s moving out already. Wow. That went fast. When you moved here, she was still in a stroller. Well, that’s the way it’s supposed to be, I guess. Only so much we can do and then it’s up to them to live their life.

Did you see that presentation on the future of business and those damn robots basically doing everything? It’s amazing. Hey, you didn’t tell me that your department is looking into that too! That’s a lot of people impacted. What does that mean for you? Don’t worry, you’ve had a great career.

I know, I haven’t looked at my account statement either. I refuse. I hate being at the mercy of all these forces that I can’t do anything about. Yeah, I think I am still ok and well balanced, but it still freaks me out to think I have lost so much, and I didn’t do anything wrong.

Oh, wow! That must’ve been scary. You eat so well, and I always see you at the gym. Did you have any family history of that? I hate how these things happen for no reason. I’m so glad you caught it early. I guess an annual scan is a minor inconvenience to make sure that everything stays ok.

What do you own?

One definition describes owning something as having control over something.

What do you have total, everlasting control over?

It's not your home. Or your family. Or your relationships. Or your career. Or your wealth. Or your health.

There’s only one thing.

Your time.

Think about it. Everything else can be, or eventually, will be taken away from you.

Forces can try to impact or take away your time but ultimately, you choose how your time is spent.

So, what are you doing with this one thing that is yours and yours alone?

I had a chance to watch an interesting interview with Robert Greene, a New York Times best-selling author and speaker.

He spoke about the two types of time that we have: Alive time and Dead time.

Dead time is when you just sit around, when you wait until things happen to you. Alive time is when you are in control, when you make every second count, when you are learning and improving and growing and living.

What an appropriate concept. I won’t get into how I spent much of my day yesterday.

There is so much in life that is out of our control and 2020 has given that a whole new meaning. But we always have control over how we respond. Fast forward to when this surreal period in history is over. How will you describe it to someone? OK, sure, it totally sucked………but.

You will either have no “but” or you will stand up, puff your chest out a little and with a smile say. “But I………”

So now, it’s up to you to complete that sentence. What will you do with the one and only thing that you truly own?

Start that book.

Propose your idea.

Learn a new language.

Pick up that guitar.

Plant that garden.

Start that diet.

Train for that marathon.

Make that call.

Tell someone you love them.

Tell someone you’re sorry.

And you know, one of the most wonderful things about time is that it never judges you on what you do with it. It will always be there for you. Every day that you open your eyes, there it is. Patiently waiting for you to wake up.

Giving you another chance to be alive.

  • Joe

He has freeze vision, not heat.

He has flame breath, not ice.

He can see short distances behind him, not long distances ahead.

He is an ugly, chalky white monster, not a handsome, perfect male specimen.

He uses all his power for evil intent, not for truth, justice and the American way.


He is Bizarro. And we need him.


Of course, we do. How would we ever truly appreciate the value that Superman brings if we never would experience the horror of Bizarro? And if not Bizarro, then any one of the other supervillains that the Man of Steel routinely battles and ultimately conquers so we can get back to our happy, “normal” lives.



Ahhhh. Now you see where I’m going.


We are getting one hell of an extreme kick in the ass. The unprecedented sickness, death, social isolation, job loss, lifestyle uncertainty, governmental conflict, etc., that we are experiencing are shaking the world like never before. And don’t even get me started on the lack of toilet paper, unruly hairstyles, evil looks when approaching someone’s invisible six-foot barrier and relationship challenges when you can’t see someone live and in person.


I don’t see my kids as much as I used to. It makes sense not to shuttle them back and forth like we did before. Tuesday night dinners are now just a setting for one and there is zero activity on every other weekend. I used to get a bit of anxiety on those weekends when we would just sit around with just the TV, computer and iPad. But now I wouldn’t mind sitting around, just being together, no matter what we are doing. So now, we shoot each other messages throughout the day (if your kids are like mine, texting is the much-preferred method of communication) but nothing is like presence. When we get back to our biweekly routine, I am sure we will enjoy the time much more than we might have before. I wonder why?


I haven’t seen my parents in months. They are on Staten Island and stuck inside. Fortunately, they are doing well (Italians tend to have a good deal of food in the house and Mom is a great cook). Before all this, we would usually talk every Sunday. Now we talk every day. Just to check-in and share the events, no matter how minimal, of the day. Mom and I swap recipes while Dad and I discuss the news and suggest movies to each other. We make each other laugh and it’s a great part of the day. We never did that before. I wonder why?


Looking for a new career is a real treat. Many companies have significantly reduced, or even eliminated, their hiring budgets. No surprise there. But this will turn around and the opportunities will come roaring back. Some will be different as business models will all change to some degree. I have been refining what I am looking for in terms of roles, firms, and people. This time has pushed me to re-assess my priorities yet again. I wonder why?


So, without minimizing the horrible impacts that we have all felt (and some have felt it much more horribly than others), maybe, in some very weird way, we needed this kick in the ass.


To reassess what is truly important to us. To reconnect with others for whom we were always too busy. To value the challenges and achievements that come with our career, or to realize that we have only this one life to pursue the career that we always wanted. To be more comfortable in letting others know how we feel. To really appreciate the little things that we have taken for granted for way too long (and yes, I even mean full shelves at the store and a trip to the barber).


Maybe, in some very weird way, this world will be much better when this is all said and done.


How bizarre.