Today is either my birthday or the one year memorial of my death. I’m not certain what to call it as yet. You see, I literally left the planet on the sudden cardiac death express a year ago today. Luckily for me, my friends and medical personnel weren’t cool with my departure and decided to delay my ascension to the pearly gates by way of CPR, defibrillators and induced comas. So what’s life been like since 4/21 (never forget)? Well here are a few highlights from the last 365 days in the first year of my second life.
- I have since been laid off from my place of employment (rhymes with Smorgan Spanley) as a result of “corporate restructuring.” The best part is I only took a month off to recuperate from death and returned to work because in my mind (and against all advisement from friends and medical personnel) I needed to be back to work to secure my position. It would seem coming back from the dead doesn’t even grant you job security in today’s market place. Ah well. The timing of my layoff literally couldn’t have been any better because it occurred the day after the bullet point below.
- I finished writing and editing my first book after years of threatening to do so. Not only has it been well received but for the first time in my second life, I paid my rent with income generated from doing something I love. The significance of that is non quantifiable to anyone who has ever wanted to a) write a book and b) survive on their artist’s income. No one can predict how long that will be sustained so consider this paragraph my victory dance. You don’t really have time to dance when you’re slangin’ books like Jay Z in the early eighties however so…”Grand opening / grand closing.”
The most important lesson the last year has taught me is I am still here to learn lessons. The highs and lows of life clearly remain and I used to be deathly afraid of death but now that I’ve actually tried it (I don’t recommend it by the way), I can definitively say there is nothing to be afraid of. Most ignore death but that ignorance actually decreases your quality of life in that it takes away the urgency of time and the subsequent actions that follow (like finishing a book for instance). Consider life a party that had no end time listed on the flyer but you know it’s gonna end. May I suggest you eat the mac and cheese and get a few drinks when you walk in the door because this party could end at anytime.
I was recently asked hypothetically that if I knew the exact date of my death how would that effect how I lived? I struggled with that hypothetical question because I do know the date, it’s 4/21. Seriously and more importantly, it wouldn’t affect the way I lived. Most certainly don’t know the exact date of their demise but we all know there is an exact date and today could be that day. A year ago, it was for me. That’s a completely morbid notion but the exact converse and duality of that sentiment is if you renew your perspective, any day could also be your first day, including today. A year ago, it was for me.
Most of you will never have the luxury of dying and coming back so take it from me (my friends hate it when I play the “death card”), get to learning life, get to living life and get to loving life!
Sidebar: Happy birthday to me!!!! Happy to be here!! Sidebar complete.
OPEN LETTER TO CONGRESS
Dear Members of Congress,
The tipping point is here and we need to put aside our political differences to save this country right now! Silence and remaining behind party lines is no longer an option. A unified address by our elected officials in Congress on the issue of police brutality and equality under the rule of law is required to begin the healing process as well as ensure the future of this nation.
There are three steps that immediately need to be taken to bring this to fruition. The arrest and charging of the three remaining individuals involved in the death of George Floyd must occur as the first step of good faith. The second step requires clear and transparent action items stated to the public in order to address the issues at hand. Those action items should include:
- The revision of Qualified Immunity to specifically address the problematic assertion that “Qualified Immunity means that government officials can get away with violating your rights as long as they violate them in a way nobody thought before – Institute of Justice“
- The reforming of Civilian Review Boards with the purpose of increasing the decision-making abilities on the disposition and discipline of police officers.
The third step is the creation and funding of a systemic racism task force with the goal of dismantling systemic racism.
- Accelerating judicial system reform
- Equating the public education system
- Eliminating redlining
These are just the preliminary steps that will begin the framework of the changes we need enacted to better the experiment called the United States.
I look forward to seeing a response in the form of action on the behalf of the citizens of this country.
Thank You Tulsa Oklahoma / Generational Responsibility
Every generation has an unintended mission as it relates to the liberation of their people. That mission is based on the circumstances and is revealed either midway through or after that generation’s mission is complete.
Through land ownership and intellect, the post slavery generation (Reconstruction/Tulsa – Black Wall Street) revealed what was possible if America dared engage on a level playing field. They did an EXCELLENT job!!
Through newly established media, The Civil Rights generation exposed the world to racial injustice and an undelivered promise of liberty and justice. They did an EXCELLENT job!
The Hip Hop generation reinvigorated the notion of wealth, ownership, propagated messages of inequality and exposed the daily tribulations of Black American life to ALL of America. It was my generation’s obligation to gather overwhelming empathy and build an irrefutable emotional case against racial injustice. We did and EXCELLENT job!!
Through technology, Millennials unintended obligations seems to be gathering overwhelming and irrefutable visual and literal evidence against racial injustice AND expose it via social and regular media. They are doing an EXCELLENT job!!
Now that a select few have assimilated, gained some empathy and chosen to walk alongside us, they are also experiencing similar atrocities and destroying the sentiment that prior instances of injustice were one-offs and not systemic injustice.
As today marks the 99th Anniversary of the Tulsa Oklahoma Race Riots, I would like to acknowledge those who have shown us what was possible post slavery in America. There is a HUGE difference between returning home and trying to find a home in the first place. The candle lit by that generation is the same beacon that will navigate our eventual return. THANK YOU!!
Sidebar; All generations have had a separate and unintended but equally important mission. What is common is that all generations have had to endure to even make minor progress. We have no choice but to do the same. Sidebar Complete.
Realigning Your Moral Compass / Don’t Be Humble
Remember when “keeping it on the low” was a high-valued asset in the lunchrooms of yesterdays past? It was a glorious and magical time where your ability to not divulge information or “brag” would lend you the trust and respect of all… except maybe the person who wanted said info. Conversely, being known as conceited or loose lipped oft resulted in social suicide. Once you understood and practiced the basic tenets of social operation, you were free to roam about the country. Then along came this thing called life and what was once generally accepted social order now requires constant questioning. Oh to be young again!
These days, you may find yourself at a moral crossroads where keeping information “on the low” could result in literal career suicide and stagnation of financial growth. I’ve seen coworkers get promoted because they would inform the entire world of every menial task accomplished like closing the fridge door in the pantry. I’ve also seen coworkers not be given any credit and as far as to be laid off because no one was aware of their value or responsibilities. Who knew life was gonna be so complicated (besides every single adult?) Of course, “keeping it on the low” a.k.a humility is just one of many self-inflicted moral codes we use to navigate for a majority of our lives. There are many others (selfish, greedy, manipulative, etc…) Now what if you hadn’t assigned a negative or positive value to these sentiments from the outset? Would you still be so hesitant to engage in their practices?
For the sake of proving my point, What if these “negative” moral codes were simply tools that could not be judged but simply used? Is it manipulative to convince someone to put a gun down and not shoot up a room full of people? Was Winston Churchill being manipulative in his efforts to convince the U.S to join WWII? Is it greedy to understand how much financial assets are required to provide the lifestyle you deem worthy for you and your family then pursue accordingly? Is it selfish to know when to tune the world out to achieve a goal that will be to the worlds eventual betterment?
The world is grander than whatever lunchroom your adolescent moral GPS was manufactured in and navigated you through. Once you graduate to encounter those larger moral obstacles, you rapidly realize that what got your through it before may not get you past it now if you cannot realign your moral code. It seems once one masters a particular set of skills, they immediately become obsolete as life advances everyone to the next level. What’s more likely is a majority of our decision making tools (like morals) are choice and should be treated as such and continuously revisited. Good Luck.
Sidebar; To the aspiring entrepreneurs keeping their amazing ideas “on the low” until they blow up, you are delaying your own successes. To those who find the pursuit of money / capitalism as greedy /evil, you are delaying your own gratitude. Sidebar complete.