Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Wanted man

Want and need may sound like two sides of the same coin, but their subtle differences -- in the end -- lead to vastly different fruit in a man's life. Needing to be needed is no way to live, and seemingly self serving. Wanting to be wanted is oddly less selfish, but in the end, more about self. Maybe true self is the soft middle of the coin, indistinguishable on the surface but always seeking to balance the times to need something versus the times to want something more.

A buddy of mine recently became the guy at his job. Out of respect for the nature of the situation, his name and title are not important. But it's fascinating to see him change before the eyes of so many. For many years, he's been a key team member and leader in the operation, and a go to guy playing a pivotal role in the growth and success of the organization. Ready or not, in a time of great crisis, his shoulder was tapped -- his name cried out in desperate panic -- to lead a troubled group of shell-shocked people out of troubled waters.

He's what I like to call a wanted man. Sometimes I think about what it would be like to be wanted as apposed to just needed.

I need to be a good husband, dad, friend, colleague, and employee. I want my wife, kids, friends, colleagues, and boss to want me around for the job.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Panic at noon

I've never had a panic attack so I really don't know what one feels like. It, whatever it was, happened while driving around at lunchtime on Friday afternoon. I can't remember the exact catalyst for the event but I was shaking in my car seat and my heart was sent racing after one simple criticism fluttered through my mind and was gone again, leaving a terrible wake in its path.

“Why are you doing everything wrong?”

The moment was laced with urgency, like being jerked awake from a dream, and the micro-seconds of fuzzy reality where you look for clarity and input about your surroundings. Like the needle of a record player being scratched unexpectedly across the charm of a favorite song I was ripped into a place of squirmy judgment (self judgment) about the many and various facets of a grown man's life -- my life -- not quite measuring up, or blatantly falling short of the mark.

It was only stranger because of the unnerving side effect and panic inducing aftermath of being vulnerable to my own worst critic. While the content of suggestion was familiar to me -- an ongoing barrage of thoughts where I devalue every last inch of my existence -- my usual defenses of being numb and dumb to the criticism had failed to scuttle the inner critic, which had had finally landed a blow that sent me breathless and listless to the ground. Time was the enemy for the first time ever, like a ticking scoreboard clock winding down to fewer and fewer chances to wrestle victory from certain defeat.

“Why are you doing everything wrong?” Tick tock tick tock.

Having it happen while behind the wheel wasn't help much either. As one is used to the monotony of processing random thoughts while driving and still being able to signal, stop, turn, and otherwise maintain the safe operation of a moving vehicle, these unreconciled thoughts were much more pungent and precise, almost leaving me paralyzed in the face of oncoming traffic.