• Matt Morrell

Over the last two years, I've come to realize that the words coming out of my mouth mean nothing. The only thing that matters is what those words mean to the person with whom I'm speaking.

With age, tiny glimpses of wisdom. Deeper listening. Subtle stirrings of genuine empathy.

The lens of experience is something everyone is familiar with. Focusing in on the things we know and have come to understand. Where most people see a flower garden, a gardener sees a cacophony of specifics - species, organisms in varying states of comfort or duress, mulch incorrectly applied.

Experience turned towards others has a similar effect. Where I used to sense annoyance, I now sense more complex shades of fear, guilt, impatience, worry. I hear more subtle concerns and can anticipate responses ever so slightly before they are spoken.

I wonder what conversations will feel like after another five or ten years of this work. Thousands of conversations, years of listening. Each moment unique and yet fully alive in its own universality.

  • Matt Morrell

I have no idea how people make friends and sustain relationships over 30. Everything for the last ten years (I'm 38) has been about building a life for my wife and kids. It's not a bad thing but one day you look up and there's no more random connections, no more inside jokes, no more little dramas and tension that were just a part of the fabric of life a few years ago.

I know this is normal. I understand this is common.

But it makes me wonder what I could do to start rekindling old relationships and start news ones.

Community events? Volunteering? Part-time jobs?

Should I throw a party?

We are still in the middle of a pandemic and it just complicates everything. I don't want to sit on a Zoom call with other people if I don't have a specific reason. It's just... exhausting.

I'm worried about my kids too. My oldest is in fifth grade, a time that I remember for the social negotiations, shared hobbies, and whispers about crushes.

That doesn't really exist in the current world. I feel like we're raising kids in outer space, keeping them safe from the dangers of the natural world but floating alone in our own distinct orbits.

Even still, take away the pandemic and my impulse is to work. Alone.

Maybe it's time to redirect some of that energy towards building community again. Together.

  • Matt Morrell

Finished Big Magic last night. If I'm being honest, I was a little underwhelmed. I came to the book through the author's Ted Talks and interviews and the power of her ideas had already entered my mind before I even started the book.

In talks and interviews, her ideas feel electric and alive.

For some reason, I just didnt' quite connect to the same ideas in the book.

Maybe it is how I'm wired. Spoken word speaks to me in a way nothing else does. Lectures, comedy clubs. Speeches. Audiobooks.

But maybe it's something else. Maybe this is what it's like to be great at one thing and feel called to do another.

In some ways, the book reminds me of Bob Dylan's Chronicles, Vol. 1. Dylan's success - the mountain of great work that he has created - haunts him like a felon in the family, something not discussed in polite company. The book is about creating the other stuff - the Bob Dylan albums that show up in used bins with song titles only hardcore Dylan fans can name from memory.

If there's one thing I take from all of this, it's: work hard on the bad stuff and maybe the good stuff will show up. Focus on the thing you love and when the thing you're good at shows up, don't fight it.

© 2020 by Matt Morrell