Welcome back to askunclemarty.com. This blog has been on hold for a little bit, moved to the backburner of my priority list as life and its distracting ways have taken most of my focus, time, and energy over the past few years.
I’ve posted on this site here and there and have continued to write bi-monthly for MBC Today, the mail, business center, and retail shipping industry’s leading publication that I regularly contribute to (and now also edit and produce), but the day-to-day and added responsibilities have taken away some of the oomph I’ve had in the past to share some of that writing on here.
During the pandemic, my business—Uncle Marty’s Shipping Office—boomed as a designated essential business, staying open and incredibly busy as the world shut down, and keeping me away from home while the rest of the world was contrarily stuck at home. And somehow, despite interacting with countless people as an essential worker during that time and years since, to my best knowledge I’ve remained COVID-negative. Among other things, I thank sensible safety measures and early access to vaccines and boosters for the blessing of health I’ve maintained.
As a result of my business growing, my team has also grown. Along with it, I’ve also grown my responsibilities to them and to the positions I hold in my community and industry. With that growing team has also come some reprieve; my coworkers’ excellence and reliability, and the fact that I now have a manager, Clark, in place to handle most of the day-to-day that I used to do, has allowed me to take more of a breath lately that I’ve been able to take in well over a decade. I’ve traveled some, spent a couple of weeks in July in Bali—an amazing experience I hope to write about soon—and have been able to get organized and caught up on things that I had been putting off for years. I’ve also been able to put into motion projects I had been hoping to start for quite a while…and can’t wait to share more about them publicly in the coming months.
I have a lot of backlogged writing to post and will do so on here in small batches over time. For the past few years, my writing has been more about getting it done for the magazine and less about getting it done for my own therapeutic benefit, which is what my true reason for this blog is. (Well, that and to put my stuff out there in hopes of someday getting my Ask Uncle Marty™ column syndicated more widely than just its publication in MBC Today. So, editors of Inc., Entrepreneur, GQ, Attitude, Men’s Health, Vanity Fair, Fox and Hound, Sparkly Unicorn Aficionado, Platypus Living, or any other publication that wants a breath of fresh air as a heartfelt and slightly sly Ann Landers-style business and/or life advice column in your publication, feel free to shout my way!)
Another reason for my semi-silence lately is that a couple of years ago I decided to stop bringing my laptop home at night. I also removed almost all email and social media notifications from my phone and, as a general guideline that I do make exceptions to for deadlines and evening Zoom meetings, I try to stay unplugged when I leave the office. It has been an absolute game-changer. My anxiety levels have been much better as a result of putting up these boundaries (coupled with some good medicine) and allowing myself to not let the constant volley of notifications and outreach disturb my sanctuary. I’m allowing myself to do what I can do during business hours, for the most part, which has allowed me to say no to a few things that I used to say yes to out of obligation and not desire, and that has been truly a gift.
Unplugging outside of my office to create sanctuary space has consequently limited the amount of focused time I have for things like writing. Even today, as I try to bang this message out during business hours, every few minutes I’m called away from my intention by a phone call, client who wants to see me, doorbell ring (there’s a doorbell for my team in the front of my store that dingdongs in my office and lets me know I’m needed), or other various and sundry distractions. Once they’re handled, I come back and have to re-read what I was in the middle of and, just as soon as I get a few sentences in, the doorbell rings again, or there’s another call I need to take. That’s life as a small business owner and I love it in many ways, but golly is it tough to really get anything substantial done.
It’s fair to say that it’s been a nutty few years. And the world has gone considerably more insane during those few years as well. But, all in all, through the business of life and its distractions, its challenges and its triumphs, its rewards and its wind-taking blows, its confusion and its sanctuaries, I feel better than I have in a long, long time. It’s almost as if, as the world around us gets weirder, as divisive rhetoric circulates, as details distract us from essence, and as mercy, grace, empathy, humility, and kindness are too often forgotten, we can see how ridiculous humanity can be…and it makes us want to do better, to be better, and to live better.
I sold a greeting card at my business years ago that had a half-full wine glass on the front and a caption inside that read, “Some say the glass is half full. Some say the glass is half empty. But I say the glass is refillable.” And that’s how I feel lately. Our cups can still overflow, but it’s up to us to let the good in and to hold onto it. When we do, we can find peace and joy in the midst of chaos and confusion. We can trust in a power far beyond ourselves to make everything OK, like the quote that Dev Patel as Sonny Kapoor often said in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, “Everything will be OK in the end. If it’s not OK, it’s not the end.” And you know what? That’s how I feel: restful, hopeful, and optimistic that we can all refill our glasses and toast to a bright future if we simply direct our focus that way.
Speaking of focus, I intended this post to be a short and simple apology for an unintended blogging break, but it seems it’s turned into a Sunday sermon. Maybe I just had to get that out.
Here’s to the future. I’ve missed this and am excited to get back behind the keyboard.
Talk at you soon...
#SundaySermon #OnaWednesday #AskUncleMarty