I accept your apology
Welcome to Overthinking Island. (Sorry.) Also, 7 other things worth knowing today.
About a month ago, a gray afternoon in mid-January, I was having a bad day.
I can't remember why. Maybe I was stressed about work; maybe it was the weather. Maybe I was concerned that all of the unusual high-altitude balloons I'd accidentally released from my backyard recently would spark some kind of national security crisis.
Whatever it was, I decided I needed a bit of "me time" at lunch, so I just grabbed a sandwich and pulled into a random parking lot—a medical center or an office park, I think; someplace where I could just sit for 20 minutes and be anonymous.
Then, I looked up and saw a sign with a quote bolted in front of me. And I haven't been able to stop thinking about it ever since:
"Life becomes easier when you learn to accept the apology you never got."
- R. Brault
Whoa. Mind blown.
You might know how I feel about inspirational quotes. I write a giant list of them every year, but then I can get a bit cynical about how more people read that list than some other things I put a lot of effort into.
But then again, they comprise the only piece of writing I've done that I have documentary proof that it actually saved a life ...
Anyway, this quote truly pulled me in. (Welcome to Overthinking Island.)
I think a lot of us have old wrongs simmering deep in our subconscious somewhere. Sometimes they were blatant and obvious. Other times, the culprit probably has no idea what they did.
Or maybe they know, but they wouldn't have known how not to do whatever they did anyway.
Or else, maybe they know and they don't care, and you're never going to get an apology no matter what.
Or else, maybe they have an entirely different and just as valid perspective that says they didn't really wrong you, or you wronged them just as much.
As satisfying and healing as an apology can be, it sure gives that person a lot of power, if you're waiting for them to offer one.
So, what if you could just skip that middle step, and accept their apology without ever hearing it?
I think I'm now on Team Skip the Middle Step.
I don't even remember that my mood that day had anything to do with feeling that anyone had wronged me. But I filed the quote away, posted it on Twitter, and figured that when my subconscious had sufficiently worked on it, I might share it here.
So today, for whomever this might help, or whomever you want an apology from, maybe give it a try:
You know who you are, or maybe you don't.
You know what you did, or maybe not.
You were entirely in the wrong, or maybe I was just oversensitive and blind to the fact that I was doing something just as bad or worse.
Regardless, I accept your apology, even if you didn't offer one. Or else, maybe I'm accepting the apology you did in fact offer, but I wasn't able to hear.
And maybe you or someone else can do the same for me.
Maybe all of our lives just got easier!
Have a good lunch today.
Quick note: Monday is Presidents Day. Normally, I’d publish but I may have to skip or do a “low power mode” version due to family travel plans. Regardless, I’ll see you Tuesday!
7 other things worth knowing today
I promise I wrote the joke about weather balloons in today's essay before I read this on Thursday evening, but:
A small, globe-trotting balloon declared “missing in action” by an Illinois-based hobbyist club has emerged as a candidate to explain one of the three mystery objects shot down by four U.S. Air Force heat-seeking missiles. Circumstantial evidence is at least intriguing. The club’s silver-coated, party-style, “pico balloon” reported its last position on Feb. 10 at 38,910 ft. off the west coast of Alaska, and popular forecasting tool projected it would be over the Yukon Territory on Feb. 11. That's the same day a Lockheed Martin F-22 shot down an unidentified object of a similar description and altitude in the same general area. (Aviation Week)
NYT take on AI: “Last week, after testing the new, A.I.-powered Bing search engine from Microsoft, I wrote that, much to my shock, it had replaced Google as my favorite search engine. But a week later, I’ve changed my mind. ... I’m also deeply unsettled, even frightened, by this A.I.’s emergent abilities.” (I'm using gift links so you can read these without a paywall. The transcript is wild: NYT 1, NYT 2)
Democratic Sen. John Fetterman of Pennsylvania checked himself into Walter Reed National Military Medical Center “to receive treatment for clinical depression,” his chief of staff announced on Thursday, saying that Fetterman has experienced depression “off and on” over the course of his life, but the issue “only became severe in recent weeks.” (CNN)
Oakland, Calif., declared a local state of emergency on Tuesday night following a ransomware attack that impacted the city’s network a week ago. The city’s interim administrator, G. Harold Duffey, issued the emergency as the city continues to experience a network outage that has impacted nonemergency systems, including phone lines. The city’s financial systems, fire emergency services and 911 dispatch have not been impacted. (The Hill)
Elon Musk reportedly flew to Twitter headquarters on Sunday night after the Super Bowl and ordered major changes to Twitter's algorithm to ensure that his personal tweets "bypass Twitter’s filters designed to show people the best content possible." The change came after he reportedly saw President Biden's tweet ahead of the game get more reach and engagement than a similar one he posted. (Platformer)
YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, who was Google's 16th employee and who has led the world’s largest video site for the last nine years, one of the very few women to operate a huge tech business, is stepping down from her role. In a letter sent to YouTube’s employees, Wojcicki said she was leaving to “start a new chapter focused on my family, health and personal projects I’m passionate about.” (Vox)
Tesla is recalling 362,758 vehicles and warns that its experimental driver-assistance software, marketed as Full Self-Driving Beta, may cause crashes. The recall notice was posted on the website of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Thursday. (CNBC)
Thanks for reading. Photo credit—me, from my car, but I already explained that. Have a great weekend. See you in the comments.