The quick phone conversation would often go something like this...
Kent: I'm heading out of the office at about 5:30. I'll see you at home at about 6:00, and we can figure out dinner.
Caanan: I won't get out of here until at least 6:30.
Kent: Okay, I'll just stay late and swing by there and hang out until you're done.
"Done" wouldn't happen until 7:00. Dinner wouldn't go from pan to plate until 8:30. The couch wouldn't be occupied until 9:00 and, in truth, would only be used as a place to unwillingly nap before bed. That's right. No sweeps-worthy degree of Must See TV could keep these two predictable bots from droopy eye syndrome. And, if that's not pitiful enough, the cycle would start all over again the next morning – well before the appearance of the great vitamin D maker in the sky.
Woohoo, weren't we exciting.
Best intentions be damned, our race to some kind of enjoyable weekday evening never seemed to go as hoped. In an attempt at full full disclosure, I'll add that our weekdays were so jacked up that our weekends became dedicated to simply rousing up the energy to make it through the next week. Oh, and mowing the lawn.
That sad scenario – and many others just like it, such as making appointments to see each other – were as reliable as the moon before the emancipation of Kent and Caanan.
Despite the varied thoughts and experiments we put out there as we navigate this new-ish life, our current world is pretty much about one core truth – living mindfully. When things get confusing, when a big decision needs to be made or, perhaps, when a harsh critique of our life-choices is thrown our way, that's the mantra that we try to hold onto.
We (try to) focus on who we are – the way we live our life – because we have the glorious freedom of choice to do so. We owe it to ourselves and, even more than that, to others around the world who don't have the same luxury. Since those days described above, we've vowed to not abuse that freedom. We've also committed to easing the path for those to whom freedom is a blur of a word or a luxury found only in far off places, among well connected people.
But (and excuse me here while I lob a trite but-in-this-case-very-true phrase), it's a work in progress. We make solid headway, but we also falter along the way.
Determining who you are – the kind of person you want to be in the world – and putting it out there, is not a trouble-free exercise. It takes conviction and the stamina to move past setbacks. Here are three core areas that we focus on, including some "real world" examples for each.
We're on the road a lot, and taxis are easy (from a time standpoint). But we hate them when there's an alternative. They're rough on the environment, contribute to congestion, and they're too much of a representation of our former, time-crunched way of being. They aren't the mindful transportation decision of two guys who've even jettisoned having a car.
As I write this, we're sitting at the airport waiting for a bus. We were *this* close to jumping in a cab - for a lot of compelling reasons. Not the least of which are two moods that were on the brink of volcanic eruptions at the end of what's been a long day of travel.
Now that we've made the decision to wait for the bus (see pic!) – and calmed down for a hot minute – we've realized that this "wait" really isn't a wait at all. It's a chance to get stuff done and a decision that fits the current version of us.
Lesson: Shed the reflex-instinct of doing what's easiest. Do what's right in each situation. Do what's YOU.
We have a friend who has a monster-sized personal and professional network. Recently, when she asked for help spreading the word about a cause, this gargantuan network was all but nonexistent. She was telling us how pissed she was that most of these people, who are happy to throw money on the table for an expensive dinner with her, fell silent when it came time to supporting her belief in a cause.
"Don't take it personally. People get caught up in their lives," we assured her.
We remember the first time we raised money – several thousand dollars for a charitable project we were working on. We were jaws-on-the-table astounded by the lack of support we got from some of the people we were closest to at the time. And we're not talking about the money. We're talking about people who failed to even acknowledge what we were doing. The same people who, if we asked them to go for a drink, were the first to respond to the e-mail.
Lesson: Support those you are closest to. It matters.
Recently, when we went to San Francisco for a concert (and coincidently Pride weekend), we knew we were going to have a blast – no doubt about it. And, since the Supreme Courts huge DOMA decision had just been announced, it was really time to celebrate.
Because marriage equality is something we've been very passionate about advocating for, we knew going into the uproarious weekend, that the work isn't over. In many ways, in fact, it's just getting revved up. Given that, we also knew that before busting out the champagne, we wanted to roll some kind of LGBT advocacy into the weekend's mix. It would've been much easier to simply celebrate, but it was important for us to inject our (softer, gentler!) giving back side into the lineup. It was fantastic (more on that later) and made the celebrating part feel that much better. And, boy, did we ever celebrate.
Whether it's something big like that or merely deciding to exercise everyday on the road, we want our plans to be mindful and well rounded – a true reflection of the selves we're building.
In all of the decisions, support, planning (etc.) our most problematic snag is that we tend to, at times, bite off way more than we can chew. It gets us into trouble. We're slowly learning to get better at it.
One thing is for sure, though. Making missteps navigating an on-track life is far better than being off track and not knowing which way we're stepping at all.