Left Coast State of Mind

I just had a birthday, so it’s only appropriate to think about death – that’s normal right? Amor fati.

–          Mark Van Cleave recently spoke with James Altucher about being diagnosed with cancer. He used the famous expression “Go West, young man,” (sidebar: for the unfamiliar, the quote is attributed to American author Horace Greeley about Manifest Destiny and that in the mid-1800s people were encouraged to go west and grow up with the country).

–          When you went “West,” you didn’t know what “West” was. There was no “hop on a plane and try it out for a while.” There was no internet to look places up on. “West” was just a direction that wasn’t North, South, or East.

–          If you did go, maybe you liked the woods and stopped in Pennsylvania. Maybe you liked plains and you stayed in Kansas. Maybe you liked mountains and you stayed in Colorado. The point is, the direction had very little to do with the ultimate destination, and everything to do with the mindset and the journey.

–          To Mark, that “West” was cancer. It was just the direction he was headed in, and he had to make choices along the way. Specifically, his relationships that he both went and “settled” with became tremendously important to him. Relationships were overwhelmingly measured by quality.

–          That’s pretty much life right there, isn’t’ it? Pick a direction and stop for a while when the quality is worth settling for. Pay careful consideration to your company. Don’t be afraid to move on again, because there is no certainty, you’re either in a state of settled or not-settled. It’s living with Larkin’s “unbeatable slow machine,” just in a knowingly sped up way due to his diagnosis.

–          “Amor fati” is a Latin expression that roughly translates to “love of fate.” Like “Go West,” it’s not descriptive (or predictive) on if the outcome will be good or bad, but instead the emphasis is all on the verb. Love fate. Go West. “The unbeatable slow machine / that brings what you’ll get” is coming no matter what. Turn the quality up to 11.

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