Crashing Plates, $600MM and Owning the Funk

My writing process is reasonably simple. I get a clear thought in my head, or I see/read/experience something inspiring and the resulting ideas come flowing through my fingers. When I don’t get that clear thought, however, when I don’t have some idea for an opening sentence…I can’t get started. It’s not even so much about powering through. I don’t even know how to start.

My hope for this blog (the whole blog – not just this post) was to be a little thought provoking, a little inspirational and maybe sometimes a little controversial. And it was always meant to be true, authentic and real. That is to say that I didn’t want to be writing anything that I wasn’t really feeling. I didn’t want to write about inspiration if I wasn’t feeling inspired. Truth trumps inspiration. Or rather…it trumps bullshit.

In that spirit, I’m not feeling it. And that’s the truth. As I often do, I’ve started multiple versions of today’s post, and each time, I’ve tried to connect what I was feeling to some kind of discovery – like the closing scenes of Sex and the City or Doogie Howser. You can just imagine me longingly gazing over the top of my computer screen searching for some kind of lesson. What happens if there isn’t one?

The fact is that I woke up late last week and the plates weren’t spinning anymore. They were crashing down one after another breaking into thousands of little pieces like the heavy rain that was falling outside. Nothing felt right. Everything felt wrong.

Every now and again, it just all feels too hard. Work is too hard. Parenting is too hard. Relationships are too hard. Working out is too hard. Paying the bills is too hard. Hell, walking the dog is too hard. Every thought, every step, every breath feels labored. The delicate balancing act that keeps all of the plates in the air…just stops. And then, they crash. I crash.

On Friday morning, I hadn’t yet picked up the pieces and was still feeling out of sorts when I got caught up in the Mega Millions frenzy. With a winning jackpot of more than $600 million, I had no choice but to buy a few tickets. Like millions of others, I imagined what I could do with $600 million. I imagined all the good things I could do with the foundation I would launch. I imagined the new opportunities I’d have with my business. I imagined the houses in Tahoe, Wine Country and Colorado (not to mention Italy). I imagined the check I could write to help fund a few education causes in which I’ve become active. I would write and workout as much as I wanted. It was a good dream.

As I slipped back and forth between the crashing plates and set-for-life fantasies and after I learned that I didn’t win the $600 million (shocking!), I found that much of what I was feeling was some level of self-pity. What I was feeling was the stress of business deals not being closed as quickly as they should. I was feeling annoyed that I had (yet again) gotten myself into shape only to find my way out of it. I was feeling the not-so foreign pressure of making just enough money to “get by.” I thought of all of these things I wanted to do with the Mega Millions money and figured I could pay other people to spin my plates for me!

But, instead of trying to just shake it off in the name of perspective (oh, how I hate that), I decided to own it. I decided that I was just going to cop to the fact that in that time and space, I didn’t really feel like everything was great. I felt confused by the dichotomy of my surroundings and how I feel. When I looked around, I couldn’t understand why the plates were falling. I was in a funk.

As I woke up today, I still don’t really feel like the plates are back on top of the sticks and spinning again and I’m okay with that. It’s where I am and it’s the truth about how I’m feeling. Yes, I’m angry with myself that I feel this way. I’m annoyed that I feel frustrated by things that are out of my control. I want so badly to be above that. Sometimes…it’s just not possible.

I know that nobody likes being in a funk. But, I think that such things are a good test for what we want. And, more importantly, what we need. I think it’s good, from time to time, to have the plates crash. It allows us to reset. It allows to us to figure out if we were spinning the right plates. A funk can be a test. Do we want to spin those same plates again? Or are there new ones that are more important? Some of my funk is often the realization of time that was wasted. The funk is a cleanse. Not an easy one, but a cleanse nonetheless.

So, I own this funk. I know it will end. And I trust that I’ll get back to the inspiring, motivating and maybe even controversial posts that I had hoped to write each and every week. More importantly, I’ll wake up, plates spinning and realize that, having gotten over myself, all of those things I wanted to do with the $600 million are actually within my reach.

Comments
6 Responses to “Crashing Plates, $600MM and Owning the Funk”
  1. Rick Fossum says:

    …but you wrote. Well done.

  2. Chad Lester says:

    Oh how I hate the funk. I get it often – total lack of motivation, followed by self loathing for not accomplishing anything. I must admit, when I read this post I felt a little edgy… like maybe it’s contagious and I could catch it digitally. I’m also reminded of it’s inevitability, and just thinking about that makes me cringe.

    But next time I’ll remember your post – your brutal honesty and perhaps give myself permission to own the funk with a little less self loathing. For that, I thank you.

  3. marilou lieman says:

    Yup, life is hard, Todd. It’s a tough fight every day. Don’t let any one kid you. It never comes easily. But the joy of hanging in there is worth it. Surround yourself with people who believe in you and be one of them!

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