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How much to share and how authentically? The more the better…

that luscious greenery smack dab in the middle of the old hood, where we used to live before moving to the edge of Munich

How do we learn to act right, whatever that means? We have a three-year-old at home who has quite a healthy, age-appropriate appetite to test our boundaries. How she protests, whether overtly or covertly, is fascinating and I find myself thinking of two things as I ponder learning how one behaves. Whether we’re talking about a child or an old, long-in-the-tooth character such as myself, the principles are the same.

Where are the boundaries, what’re the consequences if they’re crossed, and what’s the calculation of whether it’s worth it to cross them? It’d be hubris, or pride, to believe I’m different from my daughter. It’s an illusion. Don’t get me wrong, in my daily life I no longer take risks that’d get me in legal trouble – my twenties were the sort of nightmare that only a young man could create – but as an adult? The boundary testing is often emotional or even interpersonally capricious or erratic. Few places more obviously than oversharing.

My wife and I talk a lot about sharing vulnerability online, when we live in a society where being up front about weakness is bucking one of their fundamental taboos. In German culture, you might be allowed to be a flawed human within your family or in your circle of close friends, but certainly not in public. It’s literally an affront to my casual German friends to share openly about my faults and my struggles.

Here’s the rub, though, in our digital age: my message to clients, and Miriam’s as well, is that we have much more power and control over our online presence than at first we realise. I can share honestly, while never risk becoming a completely open book. It’s absolutely not my goal to show weakness and then stay stuck in that position. Instead, my goal is to help Germans, and others for that matter, overcome their aversion to being authentic.

Only showing your wins, might sound like a good strategy, and I’m sure it’ll attract a variety of readers and colleagues, or even clients, who admire your success. My plea is that you consider showing when you fell short. When you didn’t live up to someone else’s standards, even shockingly your own unrealistic expectations.

There’s freedom in that space…where one’s authenticity overrides anything else. The longer I do this thing? The more that’s where I want to reside. Someday even permanently.

We ain’t playing around…well, perhaps a bit

irgendwo

irgendwo

You’ve probably noticed that I’ve been moving around quite a lot lately. Here and there. Every Tuesday in Poing, and last week some massive oversharing while I took this show on the road. While in Berlin, I scattered plenty of photos, visited tea shops/tearooms and generally tried to entertain the lot of you with things I would’ve probably been doing anyway.

Regardless of all that, I’d like to make a desperate plea. One that probably sounds rather rich coming from the likes of me. But before I do so, I’d like to introduce you to Patsy.

Some bloggers have the foresight to alter close friends’ monikers before splaying their names all over the place. To protect the innocent and everything. Well, I hate to say it, but it’s too late for all of that when it comes to Patsy. Not that I’ll be divulging her surname. What, do you think I’m completely insane? Might be better if you don’t answer that just yet.

To adequately describe who Patsy is, I could easily go back to one of the darkest times in my life when I lived for a short time in her house. We’d sit on her porch and drink coffee and solve the many problems of the world, because to be perfectly honest that’s what one does while sitting on the porch drinking coffee with Patsy.

I could just as easily go back many years before that when I was a wee little boy and my mother and Patsy were friends, and we’d go on adventures. Me and Patsy.

Where would we go? Well, exciting, faraway locales like the neighbourhood super market. I’m not kidding. She was so full of verve, that my dear Patsy could make a trip of such drudgery into an adventure. Years later, I’d accompany her to the same neighbourhood super market. It was my habit to grab that week’s New Yorker magazine, and proceed to read it aloud to her as we made our way from the fresh produce, through the frozen foods and on to the salsa and Mexican Food aisle.

It was not only a pleasure to read to her, but it was my small way of saying thank you to her for all that above-average adventuring that we’d had when I’d been little. She knew about my thank you.

She knew, because I told her.

So, I can hear you asking, ‘What about this desperate plea? We want to hear more about the desperate plea.’

It’s quite simple, as many of the best things are. And it’s something I learned from Patsy while sitting on her porch drinking coffee and solving the world’s problems. As one is wont to do. So, rather than take even a morsel of credit for this one, I’ll let Patsy tell it in her own words:

‘See Ken,’ she’d say, ‘You can either go out and see the world. Or if you stay in one place, and wait patiently enough, the world will eventually come to you.’

Let me get ahead of you logical sorts who dissect and disprove simple brilliance at every opportunity. Don’t take this so damned literally. For once, can’t you just enjoy a bit of illogical, improbable wonder?

One needn’t go to Berlin. Or that trip to Peurto Vallarta you were considering? Not necessary. Not at all. The Himalayas can wait…they’re not going anywhere, after all.

Just sit quietly and wait. The world’s going to come stumbling by soon enough. You wouldn’t want to miss that now, would you?

The title of this, incidentally, can be translated as ‘somewhere‘ or ‘anywhere‘ or best of all: ‘nowhere special‘. Kind of perfect, don’t you think?