Yesterday was a milestone!
My son walked for the first time. I mean, like…really walked.
For the parents, this might as well be the first steps on the moon!
I hadn’t clapped this hard since the Dodgers last won the World Series…28 years ago!
And the best thing of all…my son clapped too. Everyone was clapping. UTTER JOY!
As we all know, from this point forward, the milestones become more and more challenging to celebrate.
So many people I know right now have done everything they set out to do.
They have great careers. They make a good living. They have beautiful children. They live in lovely homes.
And yet, nobody is clapping for them. And they certainly are not clapping for themselves.
Too many of these people feel like there’s something missing. A void. Either their pace is unsustainable. Or they are just exhausted. Or their work-life balance is out of whack. And it’s disconcerting because they did what they thought they were supposed to do.
Let me tell you about a super interesting (and healing) experience I had this week.
I heard about an exhibit in New York City called The Museum of Feelings. I was intrigued because of a new concept I am working on.
This Museum of Feelings is a HOT attraction in NYC. I arrived 30 minutes early and there was already a long line.
All sorts of people were waiting to get in. Artsy people. Financial types on lunch break. Teachers with their students. Older types from the Upper East Side. European tourists. Punk-rockers from the Lower East Side.
I guess feelings transcend demographics.
After waiting for an hour, I was finally ushered into this giant tent within ear shot of the new Freedom Tower.
The exhibit was both very fucking awesome and very fucking stupid…all at once.
I mean…you danced around with lights that pulsed with your rhythm.
You touched tablets that created flower patterns on the wall based on the movement of your hand. You held up holographic cards against glowing crystals.
You wore 3D glasses and walked through a forest of plastic tubes. Each room had a different theme (optimism, calm, exhilaration, invigoration).
Each room had its own scent. And 20 minutes later, they ushered you out of the tented exhibit and that was that. Oh, and they reminded you to hashtag #museumoffeelings when posting on social media.
It was an absolute different world that you entered, and experienced, and exited.
It was the first time in a long time that I felt silly. I kept asking myself if I was wasting my time. But more than anything, it made me feel human.
You spent 20 minutes touching, smelling, dancing, looking. That’s what humans are designed to do!
I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say we are not supposed to spend our lives on a dizzying upward trajectory toward massive success so that you can pay the cost of education and afford to retire comfortably.
Rather, we are supposed to FEEL things, like loss and sadness and hope and victory, and frustration and love and lust, and fear and envy and awesomeness.
We are supposed to TASTE things like the Shake Shack cheeseburger, fries and a peanut butter chocolate shake like I had after the Museum of Feelings (YUMMMMM!)
We are supposed to SMELL things like rose bushes and chocolate truffles and hot coffee and the scent of your baby’s head (THE BEST!)
Yet somehow, there’s a faulty driver in our brains that says GO GO GO GO GO…EARN EARN EARN EARN EARN…WIN WIN WIN WIN WIN…SUCCEED SUCCEED SUCCEED SUCCEED SUCCEED
We are not designed to sustain the upward trajectory. And shit starts to breakdown…like your spirit.
And what I realized in just 20 short minutes at the Museum of Feelings was this…
When you are more human, life takes care of itself. You want to put in the effort with your partner. You want to make better decisions for your health. You want to have more fun.
For those of you who work really really hard as professionals or parents or students…
Let us remember something we learned when we walked for the very first time.
Joy is a ridiculously simple thing.