13 Weeks: Remember to Drain the Swamp

Today’s my birthday, 58th birthday, and I’m not exactly thrilled with it, although it’s certainly a necessary thing in my ambition to get really really old. It’s sure hard not to find myself thinking not about what I have done, but what I hoped to do but haven’t done.

So this may be a bit of an unsatisfying column today. I think I’m writing it for myself.

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” — Jack Kerouac

I’ve always been a misfit. Too smart, too fat, too creative, too many interests, too many ideas, too many questions.

The secret of life, though, is to fall seven times and to get up eight times. — Paolo Coelho

This is an old Japanese proverb — Coelho is an aikido student and it’s used in aikido a lot — “nana korobi ya oki”.


When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back. A week is more than enough time for us to decide whether or not to accept our destiny. — Paolo Coelho

But change is hard. Making a change is hard. Making a change that has an effect is hard. Making a change that affects others is even harder.

Maybe we really can only change ourselves.

“Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swamps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists.. it is real… it is possible… it’s yours.” — Ayn Rand

I re-read this quote a lot. It’s one of my favorites in Atlas Shrugged.

We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time. — T.S Eliot

I don’t know if you’ll understand what I’m saying here.

I hope I do.