Monday, January 15, 2018

1.5. - This I Believe: 30

I believe in trusting your gut. For the last few years, I’ve lost track of what my “gut” is. On some days, my gut was the trending topic on Twitter. On other days, it was what my friends and/or family were wanting me to do. Or it was what coworkers or colleagues wanted. While I’ve gained some wisdom or insight from those places (some more than others), they are not my gut.
My gut is like the bass guitar in a rock and roll song. It often gets overshadowed by other instruments in the band, and you often have to really listen to the song before you hear it. But it’s there and it often drives the whole song. It’s a steady beat that keeps everything on track. 

I’ve tried to cut things out of my life that are not conducive to listening to my own gut: Twitter, my phone, my tendency for people-pleasing. I’ve tried to take more walks without my phone and allow time for silence and peace. Our society’s tendency to fill every moment of every day with some sort of stimulation is toxic. That’s why I’m hesitant to get one of the AI machines. I feel like I would eventually defer to it for everything. I am going to hold on to some of those spaces for myself. Those quiet spaces allow me to hear my gut much more clearly. 

That’s also changed my relationship with my faith life. Growing up, I thought of praying like asking Santa for things. I don’t think that’s how it’s supposed to work. Praying centers you, which allows you to listen to your gut, which is probably one of the ways God speaks to you. 

I believe our gut is a conglomeration of all our collective experiences in life. I know my gut has a certain privilege.  As a white male with a comfortable middle-class upbringing, I was fortunate enough to have opportunities that others may not have. And while some people may think that their gut is well-seasoned and in tune with the issues of modern life, I know that mine still has room to grow. 

As I enter my 30s, I’m going to spend more time listening and developing my gut. 
Three things
Jon Klarfeld: A friend of mine sent me a Facebook message that a journalism professor of mine at Boston University had passed away. Klarfeld was my columns professor and probably did more to develop my love for that form of writing than anyone else. He was a tough professor to love, but those were always my favorite ones. I have two distinct memories of him. After I shared my Veterans Day column with my class, he said that he thought it was better than Boston Globe columnist Kevin Cullen’s column. I loved reading Kevin Cullen and wanted to be just like him as a writer. It’s still the best compliment I ever received about my writing. Second, I gave him a bottle of Jameson as a thank you gift after graduating. His eyes lit up after receiving it. Cheers to you, Klarfeld. 

The Vikings. I’ll admit that I’ve been down on the Vikings the last few years. They’ve been knocked down a few rungs on my sports team fandom due to their ineptitude, and the general awfulness of the NFL. That game last night against the Saints changed all of that. I watched the game with my girlfriend (a Packers fan, mind you) and I was going through all seven stages of grief as the Vikings frittered away a lead. But that all literally changed in an instant as Stefon Diggs crossed the end-zone for a last-second touchdown. Two decades of anxiety and self-loathing was vaporized in that instant. Kelley and I yelled and screamed with joy. If everything else goes wrong with the Vikings season next weekend, I’ll at least still have that. 

The Post- Kelley and I went and saw “The Post” on Friday night. The movie was about the decision on whether or not to publish the Pentagon Papers. For a movie that mainly showed people talking, it was excellent. There is a piece of me that regrets not staying in a journalism career, but I know I made the right choice. There’s a moment in the movie where (spoiler alert) Katharine Graham, played by Meryl Streep, gives the approval to publish. You could tell she arrived at the decision after some wrestling. It was one of those gut moments that changed the course of history.  

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