I hear the rain pouring down outside, watch large drops as they hit against the window and dissolve into little rivulets. It’s like a chaotic staccato played by a woodwind ensemble. Dramatic and at the same time calming.
Autumn has arrived.
Suddenly the days are much shorter, colder, rainier, and I find myself spending much more time inside.
In short: I love it!
Reflecting on these changes in the atmosphere, I smile, take a sip of tea, and fully welcome the rainy season. The air smells differently, tea tastes differently, and the cars somehow seem to make different sounds as they pass by on the wet streets.
I take a deep breath and realize that this is the first moment in which I consciously enjoy the newly arrived season. The first autumn moment in which I’m centered in myself, not stressed due to some notification bleep, not overwhelmed by the towering mountain of responsibilities, not inundated in a storm of thoughts pouring down on me like the rain onto the streets outside.
At the same time, I can’t completely silence some specific concerns and worries that have been plaguing me as of late – worries of the professional kind.
Is it me?
Am I not good enough?
Am I too political? Too commercial, maybe? Do I appear too distant?
Whatever it is, right now I just don’t know. Or maybe I don’t want to know, maybe I just want to keep moving along the path i chose without being too bound to the system. Maybe I’m doing everything right, and it’s just a spate of bad luck. But let’s be honest, accepting luck – or the lack thereof – as an explanation would be taking the easy way out. So I push it all aside, I’m an expert at that. I open my twitter and engage with other problems out there in the world. There’s more than enough to do.
Oktoberfest left me with pretty mixed feelings. I think it can be an awesome event when you go there with friends, or maybe even more so if you’re local and meet your crowd on the famous Wiesn for a shared drink or two. I imagine that that’s a scenario when it really makes sense to just let lose, immerse yourself in the Schlager-wonderland and party. With friends, there’s always a level of shared nostalgia as well, right? But if you’re don’t have a personal history with Oktoberfest, and you get to know it in a business context, it’s first and foremost a huge culture shock. Can I really go let loose and go bananas in the presence of my business contacts? Is that really a line I want to cross? See, I do enjoy it when people let their hair down, I really like it when inhibitions fall and people party freely and joyfully, but with a certain quantity of alcohol in the mix, these vibes change all too easily into something else entirely. Before you know it the exuberant mood can turn into aggression, and the lack of inhibition sadly often means that men approach women inappropriately. Groping and sexual misconduct are a sad and constant fixture on the Wiesn. I think it was this general feeling of debasement, where boundaries are no longer worth much, that I found daunting and unpleasant. Why do some man slide down a couple of rungs on the evolutionary ladder once they have a few beers in their bellies? Is that really necessary? Also, on a different note, I found myself kind of disgusted by the mountains of meat that were on offer everywhere. Meanwhile, Kaiserschmarren, the sweet culinary staple, offers nothing less than an explosion of flavors. So, how did I Iike Oktoberfest? I haven’t really processed it well enough for my final verdict yet, but I think I’m going to give it another chance, maybe as early as next year.
An article by Frank Thelen
Frank Thelen has caught me by surprise recently by showing that he too understood by now that climate change is a serious problem for all of us. He posted a very good, very honest article on LinkedIn that takes a hard look at the issue and sums it up neatly. I was really surprised how well-reflected this article is, and can only say that I am happy about every voice that joins the cause. I especially like that he chooses a rather objective approach in his take on it all, and he clearly tries to genuinely get to the bottom of the problem. A flood of great articles on the climate change subject has been published recently, discussing the problems we as humans have to really understand the magnitude of the problem, introducing innovative solutions like for example a proposed method to filterCO2 from the atmosphere and to subsequently process it into fuel, or the idea to print entire coral reefs with 3D printers. While reading about all this innovation instills hope in me that we may get our act together in time, I can never shake the worry that it may already be too late. All these innovations and ideas require investment, and those who deny the necessity for change are usually the ones with the most cash. But that’s exactly why I’m so happy to read Frank Thelen’s article, why it makes me so hopeful. People like him wield so much power over the general course we take. One way or another, we live in very interesting and tumultuous times, and only time will tell whether we will be the first or the last generation, so to speak. As Kierkegaard pointedly put it:
“Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards.”
Once upon a time in Hollywood.
I rediscovered the joy of going to the cinema. Going to the movies is so much fun in autumn, sitting in those big, comfy seats with a big bucket of popcorn while it gets cold outside – I love it. Netflix has partially replaced the cinema experience for me, but in some cases I still prefer watching a movie on the big screen and to immerse myself in the story like that. In the dark movie theater there’s no distraction from the film, which is also why I wanted to see Once Upon A Time in Hollywood that way. Tarantino’s films usually pack such fantastic dialogues, and tend to be so full with little references and details that it really makes sense to allow oneself a proper viewing experience to appreciate it all and take it all in. And our attention spans have become so short, every few seconds we check our phones. Well, in this case the choice to go to the cinema really paid off: the film’s great fun, it’s a typical Tarantino with an outstanding cast (Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt und Margot Robbie in the same movie!). Definitely recommended!
“How to Stop Time” by Matt Haig
Tom is aging much more slowly than most people, which is why he’s no less than 400 years old by the time the plot of this book picks up. What do we learn from a protagonist who’s lived for so long on this world, and for whom death is still so far away? That everything that’s once been proven is eventually disproven, and vice wersa. It may be true, too. Tom discovers a way to stop time – how we all can stop it – albeit only for a moment. “How to Stop Time” is a beautifully written, slowly paced story with many sad moments and a happy end. It’s my favorite book of Matt Haig’s so far.The author’s aim is to get readers thinking with his imaginative stories, to give wings to their imaginations. On these counts and others, this book is a profound success.