When I am watching a movie, I require silence and forbid distractions. I want to see everything on the screen and hear every word. Sometimes a scene will be dark, two characters are intensely close and they whisper something important, but I cannot hear it. I will rewind and replay that scene over and over until I hear it all and understand it.
This blog post from 2008, reflects a scene in my life that often plays over in my head:
Primarily, I run through everything that happened, why it happened, what I could have done to prevent it from happening, how I could have handled it differently?
When I play it back, I ask myself, “Wasn’t I a good employee, didn’t I work hard enough to deserve a job?” The answer is an emphatic yes, I never in my life worked longer hours than I did for that company. The team lost a bunch of people and I picked up all their slack, I was doing the work of about 3 people when they let me go.
Then I think that the whole ordeal was humiliating and embarrassing. I just sat in that office like an idiot and kindly accepted the brutal reality of the company’s assessment. I accepted that I was expendable, I accepted the tiniest severance package, I accepted that I was now painted head to toe in failure…a father without an occupation.
I think I play the scene back in my head because I realize there was opportunity to handle the situation differently. Like when someone insults you and you come up with an excellent comeback about 6 hours later (in my case, 8 years). It doesn’t sadden me when I think about it now, it aggravates me, I want my present day self to represent me in that layoff discussion. Perhaps it was all for the best, it sure motivated me to seek continuous improvement, build a large network of people who would vouch for me to insulate myself in the event of future employment disruption, and it also has made me into someone who tries to treat his ad agency partners compassionately!
I also play back scenes of me in the aftermath, spending quality time pushing Winston in a stroller through Frenchtown. We would go to a park and there was a big sunken oval covered in green grass that he’d play in, it was dug out when winters were cold enough to fill the hole with water to make a seasonal ice rink. We enjoyed warm spring days in that grass, not thinking about past or future, just enjoying the time off.
A couple weeks ago, Winston (now 9 years old), Dalia, and I gobbled down a huge bag of popcorn, shared a giant soda and watched two hours of non-stop fighting & explosions in the newest Avengers movie. I loved it, made for a entertaining summer flick. I asked Winston what he thought of the movie and he said, “It was dumb, all the fighting could have been avoided with better communication.”
He was right, it all could have been avoided if things were fair, but who would watch that movie?