i follow my nose

A certain amount of glee surrounds the fact that $company is now seven years old (yeah, I did a startup six weeks after I got hitched. 2000 was quite the year.) I am frankly amazed that we survived this long. There was (perhaps needless to say) one Very Bad Time and a number of times that, while not so Very Bad, were not good. But here we are, with zhuzhy offices and actual revenues, for all the world like people who knew what we were doing all along (we didn’t.)

All we had was a hunch. It occurs to me that all the really important decisions of my life – who to marry, where to work, when to sprog – were made on the basis of my gut. I think there are three sets of skills necessary to modern adulthood. The first is mastering administrivia; taxes, visas, passports, job applications, budgets, credit card bills, doctor’s appointments, admission forms, financial aid. A second and quite closely related skill-set concerns your performance. These skills involve figuring out what’s expected of you and serving it up, ideally with a twist that no one would have thought of but you. Bedrock director Jimmy Fay summed it up as “Say your lines and hit your marks.” Haim Ginott’s variation is my oft-cited parenting mantra: “Don’t just do something; stand there.”

Gut feelings fall into a third, seldom-used group of skills. For me, the only way not to get paralysed by the sheer earth-shatteringness of big decisions is to make them behind my own back, as it were, or in some other form of massive denial. Jeremy and I have long described our relationship as “the one night stand that went horribly wrong.” We pretended we were only moving to California for a year or two. To the consternation of at least one notable mentor, I turned down offers from $reputablemagazine and $hippestplaceonearth to work at $company. My conscious mind is a bit of a plodder, quite frankly, but my unconscious mind knows exactly what it’s about.

In matters of love
the reptile brain is wisest.
Marry based on smell.

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