Sunday, March 10, 2013

Staring Into the Abyss:

I was being tugged in two directions. My days were safe, practical, and obvious. My nights were dangerous, impractical, and not at all obvious. I started choosing the nights. My friends and family started to question my sanity. When asked why, the best I could explain was, "I have learned more from the last year than my prior twenty on Wall Street."

I was seeing firsthand, as my collaborator Cassie Rodenberg later would write, "How resilient people are, how, as brutal and bleak as life gets, people can find humor and friendship."

I was also seeing firsthand what Katherine Boo, the journalist, saw in the slums of India, "There's some way in which we would prefer not to see very clearly the immense gifts and intelligence of some of the people who live in our most abject conditions. Maybe there are some things at work in deciding who gets to be society's winners and who gets to be society's losers that don't have to do with merit."

I would come home filled with a mixture of empathy and anger. My Wall Street job started to seem less important.