The Purpose of Pain

Imagine a pregnant mother telling the doctor that she didn't want any pain medications during the final, excruciatingly painful moments of labor. She must have a screw loose in her head, right? 10 years ago, I might have agreed. Modern science has given us all of these amazing tools in the form of medications. These allow us to skip over the bad parts (e.g., labor) and get right to the good part (e.g., the healthy baby). So why wouldn't you take the easy way out? Why would someone choose to embrace pain?

Why We Need to Lead

Imagine being able to make a phone call to your past self 90 days ago. Imagine describing the absurdity of toilet paper outages and how entire states are now being asked (and some forced) to quarantine. Imagine saying how some beer companies have stopped making beer and are instead producing and shipping bottles of sanitizer. Imagine trying to tell them that Trump was potentially going to send every American thousands of dollars a month just to keep the economy afloat.

Imagine the laughter from the voice on the other line. “Is this some prank phone call? What are you smoking?”

An Idea is Not a Commitment

Creativity can feel like a curse. There is simply not enough time in the world to turn each creative whim into an actualized thing you can see or hear or touch. Logically, we may only get around to a 100th of the things we can think because ideas are quick cheap, and the road to completion may take decades.

Still, it’s not to listen to the advice of William Faulkner and “kill your darlings.” My mind tries to hold onto all of these whims because I might be able to get to them “someday.” But someday never comes because there are a dozen or more new ideas the next day.

The Eulogy You Didn't Get, Grandma

Grandma Marion Manelius with Rick, Dan, and Rob

Marion's death came as a surprise to no one. She lived a long life and almost finished her 95th lap around the sun. She spent her last days refusing food and taking pain killers. She was foreshadowing her final, symbolic steps towards the doorway that separates this reality with whatever happens in the great beyond—when and where our souls finally untether from our bodies like a balloon being let go to drift off with the whims of the wind to their next destination.

Why Teams Need Their "All-stars" to Take Time Off

Brent was the hero of the IT department.

When shit hit the fan, he was the goto guy to fix anything and everything. Server outage? Get Brent. Security breach? Get Brent. He had an almost Jedi-like ability to diagnose and solve problems.

Nothing could get done without Brent.

Brent was the villain of the company.

When shit hit the fan, managers would rip problems away from other people and hand them to Brent. Server outage? Call Brent. Security breach? Get Brent. Entire teams of competent engineers would sit idly by.

Solidarity in Sobriety

Alcoholism played a catastrophic role in my family growing up. The number of times my parents were fighting while at least one of them was heavily intoxicated—maybe hundreds? It was like being in the movie Groundhog Day. However, instead of the hilarious antics of Bill Murray, my brothers and I had to always wonder and worry—was the times things really got out of hand?

Recurring Resets

I can't remember who told me this when I was in college, but I remember how much it stopped me in my tracks.

Be careful not to live your life on autopilot. Otherwise, you'll drift through each day in a daydream until, one day, you'll blink and wake up 40.

I recently celebrated my 39th birthday, so these words are particularly apropos. I've long known the value of things like living a purpose-filled life and the power of building momentum through unwavering habits.

3 Years Stuck in a Story

The past three years have been a painful yet critical chapter in my life. I will never forget it, but this story rented far too much space in my head. It is time to move on. I am ready.

February 5th, 2017. Emily, Evelyn, and I were driving home on one of our typical morning rides because our daughter was always awake and rearing to go before the sun. I received a phone call from my brother. Odd. He rarely initiates a call. Emily and I both shared an exchange of confusion before I picked up.

"…and Then We Die"

Well, we could go to Paris for a romantic getaway. But what if... What if we just happen to get there during a protest with the Yellow Vests. We could be walking down the street while minding our own business only to find ourselves on the wrong side of a SWAT team line. An outbreak of violence ensues, and as we try to run to safety. We get trampled over as people flee the tear gas. We barely get up, and then bullets are fired. We just happened to be in the crossfire…

…and then we die.

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