Category: Personal Reflections

When Traffic Makes You Cry Tears of Joy

Today I saw a backed up line of cars and choked up a little bit. Now normally I hate traffic, I hate commuting, and I hate most of what they portend for my drive and for the place I live (crowding, etc). The past months have been strangely relieving in this regard: many people have […]

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Reviewing Life Through the Camera Roll

I hope you take lots of pictures. The payoff is sort of like compound interest – it grows with time, and it comes years later. Taking pictures gets a bad rap these days, and it’s probably earned. People are obsessed with getting their Instagram shots. I take photos which are mostly just for me (yeah, […]

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Make Good Memories Like It’s Your Job

The future is uncertain, but what is done well is done well. I’ll always have the Christmases with my grandparents, the movie nights with my father, the books read with my mother, the balls thrown to my dog, and the days preparing for the stage with my high school theatre pals. I’ll always have that […]

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Why I Like Working Next to a Construction Site

Have you ever had to go to work next to a construction site? If you’re like most people, you’re happy when it’s over. The end of a construction project means the end of congested roads, loud equipment noises, and the occasional equipment mishaps. I get it. There’s a building going up next to my office […]

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A Lesson from My Grandmother’s Frugal (and Generous) Life

I’ve put together this tribute from the notes for and my best recollection of the the eulogy I spoke at my grandmother Ruth McMinn McIntyre Shull’s memorial service in July 2019. The eulogy given differed in a few small respects (live edits, etc). Like many of her generation, my grandmother was the definition of frugality […]

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Orient Yourself on the Tail End of Time

I’ve been visiting my hometown and staying on my family’s farm for these past few days, so I’ve had lots of time to think about family. We’re all getting older now, but the time spent making some visits and flipping through photo books brought that home to me. Tonight my father showed me a photo of my […]

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My Favorite Collected Wise/Inspirational Sayings (from Other People)

Some words just have a magical quality. “To sell your soul is the easiest thing in the world. That’s what everybody does every hour of his life. If I asked you to keep your soul – would you understand why that’s much harder?” (from The Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand)  Don’t words like those just hit you […]

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Your Story Makes Things Lovable

Nostalgia is a strange thing: it makes us fond of some stupid, awkward, and ugly things. Tonight, for instance, I was listening to some cheesy country songs from the 90s and early 00s. By many objective standards I should dislike this stuff (the over-production, 80s hangover mullets, and twangy rock/pop sound, etc) but for better or worse I’ve come […]

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Be the Euphoria You Want To See In the World

As part of my Charity:Water campaign, I’m writing blog posts for people who contribute $25 or more to bring clean water to 23 people. You have a word/topic/question you want me to riff on? I’ll (probably) write it. One donor asked me to write about euphoria: when I experience it (and why), when I see it in […]

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Living In (All) the Moment(s)

As part of my Charity:Water campaign, I’m writing blog posts for people who contribute $25 or more to bring clean water to 23 people. You have a word/topic/question you want me to riff on? I’ll (probably) write it. One donor asked me to write about what it means to me to “live in the moment”, so here […]

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Remember To Put Yourself In the Right Story Stage

“Shouldn’t I be better at this?” If you’re like me, this is a question you ask a lot when you try new skills or uncommonly-used skills. You wonder if you’re as far along as you should be, and if a person of your age/progress/talents should be having as many struggles. A great challenge (and a […]

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What If I Become Evil?

“You either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.” – Harvey Dent, The Dark Knight  What if I become evil? This is a great tragedy: to go through life struggling for the good only to become corrupted, to lose, to give in, to actively participate in making the world worse. Many […]

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Quarter-Life Crises Are Good For You

“So teach us to count our days     that we may gain a wise heart.” – Psalm 90:12 I’m about to turn 23, and I’m feeling the pinch of time. It really does pick up speed. By 23, I expected I would have my own business, a published book, a trusty old horse, the looks of […]

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Accept the Fractured World

The world comes with fractures. And it’s hard for people like me to reckon with that. I tend to think that it’s a fluke when I don’t like someone, or when there’s division. I’m typically surprised when I get into a real conflict with someone. I think warring camps are ridiculous. I want to heal and bridge divides. I want […]

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Coming Home to the Office

“At dawn, when you have trouble getting out of bed, tell yourself: ‘I have to go to work — as a human being. What do I have to complain of, if I’m going to do what I was born for — the things I was brought into the world to do? Or is this what I was […]

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In Praise of Vests

Vests are the quiet heroes of the male wardrobe. Shoes and jackets may get all the attention, but a good vest goes a long way toward style and functionality for men. Functionally? Vests keep your torso warm while freeing your arms for easy action. This makes vests perfect for moderately cold climates (like fall in most […]

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The Deer Hunter’s Experience of Time

My father and I climbed into a tower overlooking our farm tonight and sat waiting for deer to appear. And like any good hunters, we waited. My father is probably the hardest-working person I know, and he’s trained me to work hard, too. But in times like these, we can’t do much but sit in (relative) silence. You […]

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Desk Photos, Work-Life Separation, and Character

I’m undertaking a new writing challenge: write one post a day for as many days as possible based on things at my desk. This is day 5 of that challenge.  By my desk at work I have a string of photos hung on twine by clothespins. Many of these photos are personal. Hanging them up […]

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Cheap Google Sunglasses, Over the Top Startup Bro, and Leaning Into Tech Stereotypes

I’m undertaking a new writing challenge: write one post a day for as many days as possible based on things at my desk. This is day 2 of that challenge.  Hanging up by my desk at work you’ll find a broken pair of Google-branded red, blue, green, and yellow sunglasses. I first got these sunglasses […]

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If You Like Someone, Don’t Make Excuses for Them

One of the most disrespectful things you can do to a person is not to blame them, but to make excuses for them. At their deepest level, most people desire self-realization, which requires responsibility, which implies capability. At the same time, most people are far less capable than they should be or want to be. […]

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No One Is Coming to Forgive You

“No one is coming to save you.”  In Six Pillars of Self-Esteem, Nathaniel Branden penned this line to remind his readers of their self-responsibility. While many of us imagine that we’ll be swept away from our miseries and weaknesses by some great outside force, true rescue happens only rarely. And no rescue is effective if we […]

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10 Things You’ll Experience In a Summer Job at a Hardware Store

I cut my teeth as a young employee in part by working in a hardware store back in the summer of 2014. Hardware stores are magical places, and they’re perfect places to be if you want to learn about home maintenance over a summer. There are some experiences you can get at a hardware store that you […]

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Notes From My First (Official) 5K Run

After running an unofficial 5K last weekend, I decided to build on my momentum by joining a couple of friends for what became my first official 5K – the Atlanta Westside Beltline 5K. We ran this morning, and it was a blast. The whole experience was a trip for me. For those of you on the fence about trying […]

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You Are Someone’s Stereotype

I realized recently that I am a stereotypical native of Charleston, South Carolina. Yes, unfortunately it’s true. I wear boat shoes and occasionally even  what might be described as “preppy” clothing (it’s unintentional, I assure you). I sail boats. I know how to dance the shag. I have an unusual proclivity for Southern hospitality and […]

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How To Have the “Best Years of Your Life” (Again): A Theory

Last night I watched a fun + inspiring (if unextraordinary) film called Being Awesome, about two high school students who reconnect after their high school reunion and form a mutual pledge to overcome their decade (or decade plus) of failure. The movie dwelled a lot on the challenges of high school and the regret many […]

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A Running List of the Wildly Random Things I Have Written About (and Why)

I wrote a blog post about laundromats last night. If I hadn’t written lots of posts about apparently random things, I might be more concerned. This blog has never been a single-topic affair. But it has ranged far afield into some pretty random topics over the past year: Laundromats Wonder Woman  TV talent shows  Yoga […]

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Reasons to Fall In Love with Laundromats

My dryer broke at an inconvenient time this week – in the middle of a conference and on the eve of out-of-state travel. To top it all off, I was stuck with a pile of washed but definitely-not-dry laundry to address. I’ve always had personal and family washing and drying machines to turn to (and I have to realize […]

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Your Own Personal Normandy Invasion

I’ve been thinking a lot today about the young people of the Allied liberation of France, which started 74 years ago today with the invasion of Normandy. Many of them were several years younger than I am now, but they took on a challenge bigger than any I’ve ever faced. I almost can’t write about […]

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My Inner 10 Year-Old and Personalities of Other Ages

It’s a fun thought experiment to break down your personality and likes/dislikes into “ages”. I often find myself acting with the priorities and characteristics I might normally associate to a young boy, or to a grandfather. Humans are complicated. But why not enjoy the different “personalities” that make up our lives? I have a few, at least: My inner 10 […]

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“Earn This”: Saving Private Ryan and the Transformative Power of Gratitude

SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t seen the movie Saving Private Ryan, be warned that I’m about to reveal the ending. In Saving Private Ryan, a squad of Army Rangers led by Captain John Miller (played by Tom Hanks) sets off deep into Normandy, France in the wake of the D-Day invasion to find and rescue a single […]

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