4 min read

Something's changed and I'm not sure what

Something's changed and I'm not sure what
Photo by Lauren Mancke / Unsplash

There's this guy in Santa Barbara. I run into him at the coffee shops. Sometimes Handlebar. Sometimes Dune. I've been running into him for years. I'm not even sure how I first met him. Or when.

Not all the time, but every once in awhile, we both have time for more than a hello. Sometimes, he has his dog, and I get to pet her. Sometimes he's busy with work or he's reading or he's listening to something. When we do chat, his voice is soothing, with a slight speech idiosyncrasy. I don't know how to describe it. Some people might mistake it for a lisp, but that would be "off" somehow. It's unique, the way he speaks, very put together, but like a well-told story that isn't quite written in the most modern way.

Last week, it seemed like we chatted about a hundred different things in the span of 15 minutes. But two things he mentioned stood out. Enough to affect my life this week.

The book cover for Four Thousand Weeks by Oliver Burkeman
The book cover for Four Thousand Weeks by Oliver Burkeman-

Four Thousand Weeks

We were talking about capitalism and layoffs, not surprising considering the climate of rich men's feelings lately. The corporate greed of 2022 and the recession corporations manufactured to put workers back in their place post-pandemic (which to be clear, is not fucking over by any stretch of the imagination). And we were talking about this idea I've had for a long while, which I've probably mentioned more than once over the years, an idea that my wife and I have probably had for the entirety of our marriage, where we want to take off for at least a year and travel the world.

He mentioned a book he learned from a podcast called Four Thousand Weeks. My friend explained that the premise starts with:

If you live to be 80, you’ll have had about 4,000 weeks.

Four thousand weeks. When you put it that way, it's not a lot. And life begins to seem so very fucking short. I started doing some rough math in my head. I've put off this trip for 850 weeks. I've been alive for about 2300 weeks. My life could be more than half over. What about last year, when I had a herniated disc with enough pain to think that I would never be able to walk again. And I really started to worry that this dream I've had would never happen. And it scared the ever loving fuck out of me. How does the math change then?

Probably not for the better. Which leads me to the second thing we talked about.

A screenshot of Phil Stutz with his eyes closed thinking about something
A screenshot of Phil Stutz


Jonah Hill released a documentary on Netflix awhile back that I'd been putting off. While talking about layoffs and capitalism and four thousand weeks and back surgery, my coffee shop friend brought this documentary up too. I'm about half-way through it and like all things centered around therapy, it's both enlightening and emotional.

The brilliance of Stutz, and this is true of all really great teachers, is the simplicity with which he can explain his ideas. One of the first ideas that he puts forward is the Three Aspects of Reality. According to Stutz, no one can really avoid the aspects of Pain, Uncertainty, and Constant Work. Stutz's process starts there.

I'm not going to go into all of his tools or drawings (though they are really cool, I want you to watch the documentary), but even as a starting point, the Three Aspects of Reality ring true for me. And coupled with Four Thousand Weeks, I find myself clobbered with an idea that maybe I need to stop and take stock of my life.

I don't know what that means yet.

Or maybe I do. The whole thing is still churning. But I will say that climbing the corporate ladder is no longer doing it for me. Especially considering the current climate of rich men's feelings. And knowing that what is happening now will always be rich men's feelings. They're never rich enough. And I guess I'm just not interested in carrying their water for them anymore.

I'm still working the whole thing out. Stutz would say that I'm working on my Life Force, specifically the relationship I have with myself. Y'all are just here for the ride. We'll see what happens.

I don't know. Something feels different this time.

Natasha Lyonne driving a car in the series Poker Face
Natasha Lyonne in Poker Face

Poker Face

On a lighter note, and I just have to get this in, this week I've also been watching Poker Face, the new "case-of-the-week" murder series from Rian Johnson. Anyone that has known me for a minute will tell you that I'm a huge Columbo fan, and baby, this show scratches that itch. I'm loving everything about it except having to wait another week for the next episode.

The very first shot from the first episode is just classic Columbo. The colors, the cinematography, the big, yellow, block letters on the screen. It's so good.

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