There was a time when I would take a trip up to the roof of the building at work. I was high up and above the streets down on Lexington Avenue. I would face the east and look up and down the eastside of Manhattan, New York City. I would allow myself to absorb the quiet of the wind. I would allow this to drown out the sounds of the street below me. So peaceful.
There was no more noise from the hustle of fast-moving cabs, the traffic or the honking horns that beep at midday pedestrians who jaywalk or run through the crosswalks in a hurry.
I would climb up to the top of the building and I’d look down at the scene below. I would look out at the downtown bridges and at the peaks of the City’s tallest buildings. Across from me is the spire for The Chrysler Building. She is a pretty sight to see.
I have been a part of this scene for nearly all of my life. I have seen the changes and the facelifts of new buildings. I’ve been around long enough to witness the change on 42nd Street.
It is safe to say that I grew up here. At least, partially.
I remember my first real job. I was a young man who looked more like a young kid in a suit and tie with a briefcase. I worked in different industries and wore different uniforms. I wore different hats and worked with different people. I have been around long enough to witness the change of our workplace culture.
I remember the days when people communicated either in person or on the phone. I remember when the dignity of business was sealed by a person’s word or a handshake.
I go back to the time before our workplace was dominated by emails and online videos or virtual offices and virtual meetings. However, as Nietzsche says, “But change is the nature of life.” And I agree. Life changes.
I know that I have changed. I know that my perception has changed. The direction of my energy is different now. I do not waste my time thinking the way I thought when I was younger.
No, the shift in my intentions has eventually caught up to the direction of my understanding. I’ve learned to honor myself more. I’ve learned to use my resources and trust my abilities – although, admittedly, there are times when I find myself in uncomfortable times.
I am no longer the person I was; however, there are times when I find myself looking back or in the mindset of troubled ideas and old fears resurface.
There are times when I find myself laced with the hints of old thinking. I have times when depressive thinking comes in like a voice, which is why I come to places like the roof.
I have had to find a safe place for myself. I decided that burying or denying my thoughts was not helpful. Instead, I had to address them for what they are. I had to find a way to replace thought with action.
Also, I had to find a place where I can go and breathe, even if only for a moment. I needed a place where I could go and let the swirling thoughts in my head come to a stop.
I am here at the opening of a new journal entitled, “Imagine the Action.” My intention is to discuss the transformational journeys in life. And not all journeys begin or end well. Not everything is perfect in this world. There are forces that we deal with on a “Like it or not” basis. There are bullies. There are people who smile with plastic grins. There are givers and takers. There are knives in the back that were delivered by our unfriendly friends. There are people who will unfortunately misuse us; yet, there are people who are placed in our life for a reason. There are people who somehow find us, like angels, who are guardians or otherwise and there are moments that come to us which open our eyes to a new form of light.
There are times when it seems as if we’ve been working so hard but the ends did not justify the means. There are times when the uphill battle is too much and our legs are about to give.
There are moments when the daily grind is too much. We look around and wonder how far we’ve come and how much farther we have to go. And all of a sudden; something happens. Something comes out of nowhere. This is a sign. This is a symbol of acknowledgement and suddenly, it’s right there. Suddenly, something occurs to validate us. Now you know that you’re alive and think to yourself, “Wow, I do have meaning.”
I do not lie nor do I explain that the transformation we face in our life is easy. In fact, I prefer to elaborate the work behind the dream. I detail the bumps and bruises, the sweat, the pain and the blood because this is true. This is real. Reality is not an open door where everyone agrees and there is no such thing as the word “NO!” In fact, expect this word. Expect adversity but do not allow this the ability to stop you. Instead, find your adversity like the weights you lift to build the strength in your confidence. Let this serve as proof that you can overcome anything.
For the record: I understand the cobwebs of old emotions or emotional abuse. I understand doubt. In fact, we speak on a first name basis.
I understand fear because deep within me is a child whom I tuck in bed on a nightly basis. I assure him, “Don’t be afraid. I’m here for you now.”
I understand rage. I understand misperception. I understand the feeling that comes when your hopes are high and what happens when they come crashing down. I know what happens when disappointment shows its face.
There are times that come after the rains. The streets are wet and the surface of the blacktop glistens beneath the streetlamps at night. The world is somehow at a pause. I find myself caught in my thoughts. I feel my feelings and I find myself in the stages of both wonder and disbelief.
I say this because I am a real person. I’ve had my share of setbacks and letdowns. I have been on a first name basis with disappointment as well and somehow, I am still here.
I watched a homeless man tell a crew of youngsters who chose to stay out late on their parent’s money about the world they live in. The kids were laughing at him at first until they realized they missed the last train out of Grand Central. “You’re in my house now,” laughed the homeless man.
“Mommy and Daddy ain’t around to protect you now, are they?”
Somehow, this is a strong analogy for me.
I admit there are times when I shake my fist at the sky. I can recall moments when I was too comfortable and needed the discomfort of reality to straighten me out. Like I said, I am real.
I curse and I scream and I find myself nearly engulfed in fears. I have had to go back to the drawing board more than once. I’ve had doors slammed in my face.
I’ve been caught in the clash of personalities and submitted myself to unfair processes. I’ve acted in ways just to be liked and I’ve subscribed to things which I’ve hated, just so I can get ahead.
Additionally, I have responded both unkindly and immaturely. I’ve had my share of tantrums. I’ve lost my cool and in some cases, in the wake of my breakdowns, I’ve had to face the aftermath as a consequence for my actions.
No matter who I am, I am only human.
Nietzsche said that “He who has a WHY to live can bear almost any How.” However, to suit myself and the way we view each other, I choose to recognize this as a person because a person who has a Why can and will endure any HOW.
There are times when I am not sure if I’ll ever pull off my trick. There are days when I am not even sure if my trick will work. But at all points possible, I find myself in the position to know that at this stage of my life, I did not come this far just to come this far.
I have more to do.
I imagine the action. I take aim. And off I go.
Someone told me, “You know, there’s no law that says you have to be happy.”
I don’t know if this made sense to me at the time.
I only know that there was work to do. I know that I was intimidated. I know that I was caught between the crosshairs of failure and disappointment.
I had to stop this.
I had to change my direction and switch my intentions. Otherwise, there would be no way for me to improve my intensity.
I’m not working to be the next best billionaire. I’m not working to be a top model or to change the face of the world. No.
I am here for optionality. I am here to improve my perspective. I am here to change the face of my life; but more, I am here to earn the options. I am here because I want to explore the world on my own terms.
Besides, I’ve already lived according to someone else’s terms. But not anymore.
Instead, now I imagine the action.
And off I go….