Five years is a long time.
After a child is born -- even after, say, just a few weeks -- you can hardly remember life before the child.
The kid-free life seems so distant. It's not because so much time has passed. It's been only a matter of days.
It's because: once you can no longer see anything on the horizon, it's hard to imagine the coast. That's why Noah and the Arkists needed only 40 days at sea. That's enough to wipe out all memory of the old.
Anyway, I sold the mother ship (a real mother of a ship) and launched myself into free orbit.
The Greatest Fear Recedes
I left Young Isaac all at once, and then slowly. Consider how I have introduced myself. The introduction evolved with distance.
When meeting someone -- or when being invited to introduce myself in a meeting -- I would find myself saying:
Year 1: "Hi. I'm Artie Isaac of Young Isaac."
Year 2: "Hi, I'm Artie Isaac, formerly of Young Isaac."
Year 3: "Hi, I'm Artie Isaac. Did you ever hear of Young Isaac?"
Year 4: "Hi, I'm Artie Isaac.
Year 5: "Hi."
Previously, my greatest fear during 18 years of Young Isaac was not being known. At a cocktail party or backyard barbecue, I would cringe when the other person would say, "No. I haven't. What's Young Isaac?" (I wrote here about the tension of being remembered.)
That fear remained during the first two years (above), but during year three, I learned it was futile and pathetic to worry about being remembered. By year four, I cut the tether between my identity and my former business.
By year five, being remembered no longer motivated me. My writing here slowed to a trickle. (So many of you have written me to inquire about my well-being. Thank you. My well being? It's being quite well. Truly. Thank you.)
I woke this morning -- in the middle of the night, but too late to return to sleep -- with a laugh. I was dreaming about a conversation with my beloved. We were (in the dream) talking about how I want to be remembered.
She asked, "Do you still care about being remembered? By strangers?"
Oh, no. Well, perhaps. Here's how I'd like to be remembered by people who didn't actually know me. I'd like them to wonder, "Who was that guy? You know, the guy a few years ago? He seemed to be everywhere. What was his name?" Then after a long pause, I'd like them to wonder, "Was he... 'Ted'?"
That made me laugh. I woke with a laugh.
(Such a pleasure, waking with a laugh. Until suddenly the laughter is replaced with being awake. And wanting to write it down.)
On The Eve Of Learning
As I enter another week of training at the Gestalt Institute, I see some meaning in my journey away from owning a company.
Everything I study fuels my introversion.
Not just formal study. Every learning.
Like music. I've long loved melody, but ignored lyrics. Now, with clearer music quality, I hear lyrics I've misunderstood for decades. And I find so many -- most? -- songs are about introversion. Because, perhaps, writing songs is an act of introversion.
Stranger On A Plane
Last week, Jim and I bumped into each other in an airport. Jim's not a stranger, but we've really had only a few conversations -- and they were years ago. (About five years ago.)
We chatted at the airport, waiting for our flight. As we caught up, I thought, "Nice fellow, Jim. Very smart."
We boarded. The plane was nearly empty. I could have sat anywhere, including beside Jim.
But, frankly, we had already had a nice conversation.
And it had been a long day -- a presentation to a Vistage group in New Jersey, a drive to the City as the local radio unfolded the Greek tragedy of Governor Christie's challenge in Ft. Lee, dumplings in Chinatown, coffee in Nolita, and driving on to LaGuardia...
I was tired. I was thinking: self care.
I smiled at Jim and sat in the same row, but across the aisle, in the opposite window seat, as directed by my boarding pass.
We took off. A quiet airplane. I tucked into my book, Susan Cain's Quiet: The Power Of Introverts In A World That Can't Stop Talking.
On arrival, as we stood in the aisle, I said to Jim, to apologize for my distance, "I'm really enjoying this book on introversion. In the years since we met, I sold my company and learned that I am an introvert."
"You?" he smiled. "An introvert? I don't think so. If you are an introvert, who is an extrovert?"
As we waited for our bags, I described the effect of going into the home office. How I was able to play the extrovert -- and be rewarded for the play -- but that my home, like my father's, was in introversion. I explained that I am an amplified introvert. I told him that people who know me well, know I am an introvert.
Jim wasn't buying it, so we agreed to ask Finkelman. In later correspondence, Finkelman heard my claim and Jim's objection -- and overruled the objection.
Time for Teacher
As in most subjects, we can turn to the Book of Bowie, the great teacher, Rav Stardust, RebZig.
In the video below [Video: Bowie Interviews], brief excerpts of interviews paint a portrait of an introvert. (Not every introvert. Just an introvert.)
At 4:54 he answers a question. Perhaps the question was "What do you like to do?" Or "When have you been most productive?" Whatever the question, his answer:
Bits and pieces I used to do long ago, like painting, writing, spending free time with myself, and my family, getting out of cities. (Relaxing a lot?) No, not relaxing.
This video is titled "David Bowie Gets Annoyed." When I watch it, that's not what I see. I see the patience of an introvert, at times stretched thin.
Listening To Bowie
He has sung of a different five years: The next five years. The final five years. [Video: Bowie sings Five Years in 1972.]
Five years? Here's Bowie, about five years later. [Video: Bowie sings Five Years in 1976.]
And again in 2004, 32 years later. [Video: Bowie Sings Five Years in 2004]