• Comment with "Come at me, bro"
• I'll respond by asking you five questions so I can get to know you better.
• Update your journal with the answers to the questions.
• Include this explanation in the post and offer to ask other people questions.
1. So, you know, you're one of my favorite people and as near perfect as human beings are likely to get. I am in awe of you, constantly with a WWJD (What would Jeff do?) mentality, but we all have qualities that don't serve us well...what's the one quality you have that you hope you don't pass on to your kids?
I’ll begin by saying that I deeply appreciate your high regard, and that it is very much mutual. It seems to me that most traits are good or bad largely as a matter of context and balance, you know, there’s a time to breathe in and a time to breathe out, turn, turn, all that true stuff. So, for example, it’s good to be disciplined about goals, but I can easily imagine someone wasting a life by being overly goal-oriented and missing the journey. I think my most typical failing, week-in, week-out, is with focus. When I’m present and focused, I bust a move. But I’m often distracted and unfocused and am spinning my wheels. That’s not a trait I’m hoping gets replicated. I’m better than I used to be about it. Still learning. Still screwing up. Still growing.
2. What's the hardest part of every day for you?
Hardest part of every day: day-in, day-out, it’s 5:30-6:30. I work till the last minute I have to leave to do kid pickups, and then I dash out from the office, fight traffic, and as we’re all getting home, it’s a race against the clock to get dinner on the table and still have some family time before Harrison’s bedtime. We’re all hungry and wrung out from the day. Then, dinner is served and everything changes. Aaaaaah.
3. What's the worst meal you ever made?
My worst cooking experiences were probably early attempts at frying. It took a lot of failures to get the operation down. Nowadays I can whip up some awesome onion rings, fried shrimp, et cetera, but the combination of how hot the oil should be and how to manage breading and/or batter was not easy for me. There were some soggy and unappealing meals along the way.
4. What's something you've done where you surprised yourself?
I’ll tell you a big way I surprised myself: I learned to juggle at age 30. I’m SOOOOOO word-oriented that more kinesthetic kinds of learning, where you’re *doing* something rather than understanding something in words, is kind of hard for me. I wasn’t quick to learn to ride a bike, or tie my shoes. I am a little klutzy. So the coordination to learn to juggle was a stretch, but it appealed to me, and I just decided to learn, however long it took, and I got very patient with myself and gave it a lot of time, and didn’t get hung up on how much progress I’d made…and I learned, and now I can juggle. I’m not awesome at it, but I can do it.
5. You've always, in the going on 30 years I've known you, been a loving, creative, fun and funny person, but under all that you've had this peaceful presence. Is that something you were born with or something you developed by the time you were 20?
I agree that I have a better-than-average ability to be centered and to access a deep peacefulness and ease of spirit, even in difficult circumstances. Not always, but often. Like everything else we are, it’s probably some combination of genetics, nurture, and individual free will/choice/agency. I most definitely find the moment between stimulus and response and choose centeredness plenty of times (and fail to choose it, too often). And I think it makes sense as an outgrowth of my experiences—I got a lot of good unconditional love as a baby/toddler/little kid, and then got some perspective-granting hard knocks in my adolescence, and maybe that combination is especially good at teaching resilience and ability to cope well with life’s dings and dents and worse? I think so. There’s an excellent writer/researcher named Joanathan Haidt who argues that this is a good recipe for happiness. Haidt’s work, plus a few other things I’ve read recently, also turn my thought in the direction of genes. I see a similar disposition “set point” of optimism with Cassidy and with Harrison, and--through a different lens--with Dylan. And I look a lot like my maternal grandmother’s brother’s looked, and they were all very accomplished and happy people. Bottom line, I think I got, and passed on, good genes on this issue and am grateful for it. I’m also pretty happy about the follicle situation, wherein I still have most of my hair, a few inches of extra forehead notwithstanding.