Tag Archives: self-doubt

i reach the 70.4% mark at the beginning of the fourth quarter. . .

“is it time?”  i asked at the beginning of every september as the winnetka police department put out the “drive safely, no, really, we mean it this time because the kids are back in school and nobody around here teaches their kids to look both ways” signs.

“no,”  eastman would say firmly.

“is it time?”  i would ask when winnetka matrons would put winter cabbage and mums in their front porch urns and caribou coffee announced pumpkin lattes and pumpkin mochas and pumpkin tea.

“no,” joseph would say.

“is it time?”  i would ask when i ripped the scribbled over september sheet of the family calendar from the refrigerator.

“all right, fine, whatever,”  the boys would say.

and i would put up the halloween decorations:  skulls hanging from the trees surrounding our house.  tenacious spider webs that would cling until the first hard spring rain.  a giant spider that had to be blown up and plugged in and held down with tent stakes and it would still roll over into the street.  and my costume for the big day?  i should use the plural, because i don’t like to limit myself to just one.

but this year, no halloween for me.  october has become the month of the final sprint towards a number–325.  i made a new years resolution to meet all my facebook friends and i am now, ahem, ready to meet up with the 230th friend tomorrow.  i am 70.4% towards my goal, which puts me at 1.4% short of being on target.  i’m feeling the pressure.  on the other hand, most of my new years resolutions of old–losing weight, giving up drinking, cleaning out every closet in this house–are usually forgotten by february.  so missing halloween will be a small sacrifice–i’ll be in dubai when the big day happens and i can assure you i will not be regaling the good citizens of that country with accounts of goblins and ghosts and obama costumes.

at the beginning of the weekend, i saw f2fb friend #227 tom seymour.  he was a stage manager who saved a play i was working on.  tom often posts lines from movies.  the words seem utterly random until you figure out that it’s a movie line and you think “what movie?”  and the reptilian part of your brain thinks it through and four hours later, you respond with another quote from the same movie.

he generally works as a property manager and october first means the day that people get their keys and move into the apartments he manages.  it took a little persuading to get him to take the evening before the first to see me, but his brother charlie (f2fb friend #20) hosted a dinner party which, oddly enough, was comprised almost exclusively of facebook friends i have already visited with.  it was fun to review the year, to catch up with people, to do this in a relaxed manner that a christmas dinner party would not quite allow.

tom is a smoker and he invited me to join him.  i  realized it’s been a long time since i went out onto the front porch with my son eastman (f2fb friend #1) and smoked a cigarette and made a video and thought “i just have to do this 324 more times and i’ll be a success!”.

the next morning, i met two f2fb friends.  they live together.  both of them are intensely shy.  one of them is dealing with an internet stalker.  i have had some experience with stalking and it’s awful.   i went to a third friend who is related to both of them.  she made a ruling:  i would acknowledge that i have met f2fb friends #228 and 229 and i could use a picture i took outside their home.  then i realized the picture showed the license plate of their car.  because of the stalker, i decided to forego the picture.

three quarters of the way into the year, travel arrangements secure, money tight but i’m holding firm, joseph has agreed to come with me around the world–i have only to battle the ghosts and goblins that every resolve entails:  self-doubt, self-loathing, taking the criticisms of friends and strangers to heart, faltering determination.  always i have turned to my friends for help.  i have no doubts about them.   i believe everything can be done so long as one turns to one’s friends for help.  i am grateful.


in the final countdown of this new year’s resolution

the first step in any great adventure is to make your goal:  finding the new world, touching down on the moon, making your first million, winning an oscar, meeting all your facebook friends.  that which doesn’t not seem impossible is not worth doing.  make that resolution and then tell EVERYONE you know exactly what you’re up to.  the modern way to do that is tweet but i am not a twitter, i posted on facebook.  which makes sense since my goal was to meet every one of my 325 facebook friends.  think about how grand it’s all going to be when you’re a big success!

damn, queen isabella just gave me the dough to take three boats and head west! gotta change my relationship status from single to "it's complicated"

the second step in any great adventure is to wake up the next morning with a great sense of the “take it backs”.  no, you can’t take it back.  it felt wonderful thinking about success, but it’s okay to spend a few days huddling up under the covers hoping all your friends and frenemies have forgotten all about this.  they haven’t.

the third step is just a baby step.  in my case, it was hauling my son eastman (facebook friend number one!) out onto the front porch.  we smoked a cigarette together.  we talked for a while.  i posted a blog.  i posted a video.  i thought “okay, just 324 to go!”  and that’s exactly what you need to do:  clip a coupon and put aside a buck fifty for that million, leaf through style magazine and decide on the designer of the gown you’re going to wear on oscar night, or maybe take a tour of the huntsville, alabama rocket museum for inspiration.

the first step to a successful oscar win when you've never done anything more ambitious than a christmas pageant is to pick out your gown. maybe write your acceptance speech.

the fourth step, take a step just a little more ambitious than the baby step.  repeat as necessary.

i had a massive anxiety/asthma attack waiting to meet f2fb friend #225 larry rieger. i didn't say it was going to get easier, but larry was so sweet and interesting that it turned out all right! he also gave me a cd of beautiful music he plays and some of which he composed

you’ll have cheerleaders–cling to them.  you’ll have doubters–smile because one day they will clap you on the back and say “i always knew you had it in you”.  and if you wake up every morning thinking “what the hell am i doing?”  well, i just hope that doesn’t happen to you.

but what do i know?  wait until december 31, i guess.  in the meantime, a rough itinerary:

sunday october 23, leaving for south korea, will arrive at four o’clock in the afternoon on the twenty fourth.  hello john chie!!!

monday the twenty fifth leave at eleven o’clock for taiwan to see warner sills.

wednesday the twenty sixth reach manila by nine thirty in the morning to meet mark bitanga del rosario and his family.

thursday october 27 head out for malaysia and after a layover hit mumbai at eight in the evening to see anto prashanth and rahul guru

saturday the twenty ninth fly from mumbai to dubai for a day with cecelia gigiolio

sunday the thirtieth fly into rome to see alessandro cerea and federico cenci

tuesday november first, fly into dusseldorf and take a bus to dortmund to see claudia klose

wednesday november 2 fly into luten which is a suburb of london and over the course of the next six days track down brandon brown, anna brooke and mark jonathan cage before heading home on the ninth!

and then i still have the entire northwestern quadrant (oregon, washington and vancouver) as well as another hit on los angeles and new york. . .

if i finish all this, then i guess i’ll be able to make an even more ambitious goal for next year–if it’s only going to be one, i’ll make it world peace.  if i do two resolutions, it’s going to be world peace and one hundred million dollars.  if i do three resolutions, sure, that world peace thing, but definitely one hundred million dollars and a house by the sea.  four resolutions, and i figure world peace can take care of itself, but i want the one hundred million. . . .