Edward Albee, playwright (1928-2016)
I woke up early this Saturday morning and as part of my daily routine, looked at the headlines of the New York Times digital edition. I don’t generally read too many news articles, especially about politics – you can get enough of a sense what's going on simply from the headlines. I have always liked reading obituaries – feeling there is a wonderful art in writing them – and I learn about people’s lives – those that I’ve heard of and those that I’m reading about for the first time.
This morning, a front-page story announced the death of playwright Edward Albee. Here is an excerpt from the obituary and also some notes I took while watching a never-before-seen The Last Word video interview produced by Eric Olsen, Patrick Flynn and Ben Brantley:
Edward Albee, widely considered the foremost American playwright of his generation, whose psychologically astute and piercing dramas explored the contentiousness of intimacy, the gap between self-delusion and truth and the roiling desperation beneath the facade of contemporary life, died Friday at his home in Montauk, N.Y. He was 88.
From a never before seen The Last Word video interview by The New York Times:
“I like to hold a mirror up to people and say, hey, this is the way you behave, this is who you are. If you don’t like what you see, maybe you should change.”
“I don’t like movie music much. I don’t like being told how I’m supposed to react to things.”
Q. What do you want to be remembered as?
A. “A useful playwright. I think that are being merely decorative is insufficient. It’s to hold a mirror up to ourselves and to point out when we’re being useful and when we’re not, when we’re moving forward and when we’re not. I can think of nothing worse than getting to the end of your life and figuring out that you haven’t participated in it; that you haven’t really lived it. And I think people should live dangerously. I think they should live at the precipice, all the time, and fully. Somebody said, I think it was in one of my plays, ‘When is the happiest time? Now. Always, yeah, now…Always.”
Some of you may remember that the motivation when I recorded my first album of original music in 2006 was the death of a long-time friend, Dave Florendo (lead singer in Arcade Love Machine). I thought about recording my own stuff for many years and finally said to myself, “What am I waiting for?”
I got serious about publishing Driving With Your Knees, the business memoir I am currently working on while at the funeral of industry friend Erwin Stouthamer in Amsterdam this past spring. Again, “What am I waiting for?” Today, while writing the book, I’ve also just recently started recording the tunes for my next album, as yet unnamed. I was going to wait until after the book was completed but a few weeks ago again thought, “Why wait?”
A thought: If you have a project of any sort in mind and keep saying, “I just don’t have time”, make the time. Get up an hour earlier. Start with just one day a week. Stay up an hour later if that time of day is best / easiest for you. But do it – don’t wait.
None of us knows what tomorrow (or even later today) will bring and wouldn’t it be a shame if our legacy was, “She/he was going to do this that or the other thing but, sadly ran out of time.”
My commitment to you
Since starting my own consultancy in January 2012 I have attended fewer conferences for various reasons.
Over the next 5 months I will be attending (or at least being in the same city at the same time) events sponsored by INREV*, NAREIM*, PREA*, PERE* and IMN* (I'll also be attending, for the first time, the International Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, TN) in a couple of weeks. As I've always felt is my obligation, I will do my best to give you some of my observations and comments from these events. If you attend an event, and afterwards have a few minutes, it’d be great if you could send me a one or more of your takeaways / unattributable quotes so I can share them with the readers of this column – it’ll be a win/win for us all.
INREV: European Association for Investors in Non-Listed Real Estate Vehicles
NAREIM: National Association of Real Estate Investment Managers
PREA: Pension Real Estate Association
PERE: Private Equity Real Estate
IMN: Information Management Network
PEI - Women in Private Equity (London)
Shameless Self-Promotion: Felix / Weiner Workshops
Here's the link to the workshops that my partner Liz Weiner and I are conducting this fall. It lists our Women's Leadership Workshops - our first 16 of these sessions have attracted women from more than 70 commercial / institutional real estate industry related firms.
Also listed, are our just launched (Chicago this past Wednesday) Open-Enrollment Behavioral Presentation Coaching Workshop. Modeled after the workshops we have conducted in-house for such firms as Hines, Clarion, PGIM, Guggenhiem, Forum Partners, American Realty Advisors, MesaWest, Pearlmark, RCA (Real Capital Analytics), Square Mile, USAA, Waterton this workshop has people from different firms attending. Our pilot program this past Wednesday was a huge success (based on the feedback from participants).
See if there's a workshop and city that makes sense to you (or maybe you have friends in these cities that would be interested):
A piece from 2006
Here is a piece I published during the summer/fall of 2006 and found it recently. I received 35 emails from readers, commenting on this piece, telling me it resonated with them. This week I read it and while I’m in a different place in my life, both physically (North Carolina) and personally, I thought I’d share it with you once again.
Warning: This has nothing to do with real estate. Or maybe it does.
Earlier this week I got to spend a lot of time by myself when I drove from California to Chicago to deliver a car that we had sold to my son and daughter-in-law. Covering 1,700 miles in two days gave me a chance to think about things such as the meaning of success, the really important things in life and other lifestyle issues that I had ignored while pursuing whatever business goals I had set for myself. And I just wanted to share a few of those thoughts with you.
What is success? To many people it means achieving measurable financial goals or accumulating things. I had had that idea as well. Each year I thought that if I made more money than the last year, I’d consider myself more successful. As I sit here this week and type this to you, I think I have been very, very wrong. You see, success has a price to it. You may not realize it when you start out on that path but there is a price to be paid. The question is: Is it worth it?
What are the really important things in life anyway? If you’re lucky enough to have your health (knock on wood), you’re ahead of the game. After that it’s a question of deciding what is important and where you’re going to put your energy.
For the past eight years, I’ve worked hard at building my employers’ business and, as a result, my own business within that company. Consequently, I’ve made a little more money each year. This has allowed us to be less worried than we were when moved with virtually nothing to California from N.J., pay the bills and have a little left over each week to eat out and drink some good wine.
But the success I’ve had in my business career has required me to travel a lot. Three years ago when I started doing the due diligence to determine whether the company could make a go of it in Europe, my travel intensified. Have I traveled more than I need to? Those of you who have been reading this column for a while know my travel schedule. So, yes. There’s a price to be paid for all the time away from home, for all the time focusing on my job, my clients, my colleagues. But when you are making progress, it tends to feed on itself, and it’s very hard to pull back and slow down.
Some of the things that I realized on my drive this week were that the material gain is not really that important if other parts of your life are suffering. Even if you think that you’re paying enough attention to those at home, chances are you’re not. And when you are only home long enough to do your laundry, mow the grass and walk the dogs, it doesn’t get better; it gets worse.
I pass these thoughts on to you, as I know that many of you are “road warriors” just like me, and maybe you have had thoughts of your own about achieving the balance between work and personal lives and how to make sure that one does not suffer at the expense of the other. If I can pass along any advice it’s this: Make sure you pay attention, close attention, to your life (not your job) for as important as your job is to you, your life is even more.