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Why I’m Not Writing a Book This Year

I was all set to write another book this year. Solo this time, as my book spouse Amber Naslund has her hands full with her new social business consultancy Sidera Works. I loved writing half of The NOW Revolution, and loved even more traveling around North America giving presentations about social media and social business (here are the slides). I spoke in 65 different cities in 2011. It’s a lot of work, but I enjoy it.

I was ready to jump back into the fire in 2012, with a nifty new topic, interested publishers, and a plan to use this new book as a real springboard to the future. But sometimes, life conspires to make you focus on the present.

Jeff BaerOn January 6, my life got shaken up like a snow globe. My little brother, Jeff Baer, died in his sleep of a heart attack at age 39. Jeff was my only natural sibling, and even after the services and paperwork and craziness, it’s difficult for me to process and accept that he’s gone forever. As I said in my eulogy, he was a bon vivant. A raconteur. A scallywag. Everyone who ever met Jeff remembers him, and that’s a rare quality in this world.

(Many thanks to the dozens of friends and clients who donated to the scholarship fund in Jeff’s memory. With your support, my parents and I are endowing two, full-tuition Jeffrey A. Baer Memorial Scholarships to the new Arizona State University – Lake Havasu City campus that opens this Fall)

As you might have surmised if you’ve read this blog or followed the progress of Convince & Convert, I’m a hard charger. Type A. Overachiever. Whatever label you want to put on it, you know the deal. And until Jeff died, I had never intentionally done less of anything. But something like that will force you to take a long look at what you’ve wrought.

As my Dad said to me at lunch a few days before the memorial service, “Jay, what are you trying to prove?” I’d never been asked that – even by myself – and the fact that I didn’t have a good answer was telling. It’s not that I’m ungrateful for the life and extraordinary career I’ve cobbled together over the past 20 years – much less my amazing wife and smart, perfect kids. I even have a cool dog, Mr. Cheeto. It’s not so much that I take all that for granted (although I often do). It’s more that I am wired to believe that good enough is not enough. That within my field there is no reason I can’t sell books like Godin, pack the room like Vaynerchuk, and build a large consultancy like Dachis. Maybe it’s ego, or hubris, or folly, but I’ve just never put psychological constraints on what I can accomplish. 

I still believe I can do those things, but I’m going to tackle them at a more modest pace, leaving me more time to focus on my health and my family. And that’s where the book comes in. From experience, I know that if you have a busy day job, the book writing happens at nights and on weekends. Once the book is published the real work begins, which is promoting it. Very few business books sell themselves. The authors make them sell, hence the tour Amber and I undertook last year.

So, I’m not going to do it again. Not yet. I’ve got to use my time a bit more wisely for now. Even before Jeff, I had every single genetic and behavioral risk factor for heart disease and so forth (except smoking, which I quit 11 years ago). The last time I worked out with any degree of rigor and consistency was 1985. Yes, Reagan was President the last time I lifted a weight. I’m no expert, but that’s probably a sub-optimal fitness regiment. I have been a recent member of the Bacon-of-the-Month Club….and without irony.

Play time is over for me. I have a personal trainer. A nutritionist. A dermatologist. A new doctor. My payroll is increasing in inverse proportion to my waist line. But it’s worth it – or it will be. I’m joining the ranks of Brogan, Falls, Shankman and others who have decided that paying attention to your health is a worthwhile endeavor.

So, I’m not writing a book this year. I’ll still be plenty busy, of course. We have a ton of great clients at Convince & Convert. A new podcast – Social Pros – that debuted last night. A ton of speaking gigs (just not 65 cities’ worth). And a family that will hopefully see more of me.

I wasn’t always the best brother to Jeff, and that makes me sad – and always will. But I loved him, and he knew it. And he loved me, and I knew it. He gave me countless gifts through the years, especially laughter. I’m hoping his greatest gift will be this one: a wake-up call. 




Facebook Comments


  1. says

    Wow, Jay. This post really touched me, and I’m so sorry for your loss. I really cannot image.

    We don’t know why such tragic things (like a 39-year-old having a heart-attack) happen, but I truly believe that good can come from *anything* and *everything*. Cheers to you for recognizing that, so soon after your loss.

    God Bless,


    • says

      @Katie Gutwein Thank you Katie. Indeed, I’m not so callous as to suggest this was all some master plan to shake me out of my stupor, but we all have to take our lessons where we can find them. Just have to be aware of them, and connect our own dots.

  2. margieclayman says


    This post made me cry. I am so glad I know you and am truly glad you are going to push yourself less in the work world. You are a wonderful role model in just about every way I can think of.

    Big hugs to you dear Jay. I look forward to tracking your path to better health. Be well.

    I M s

  3. DavidBThomas says

    Jay, this is one of the most beautiful, honest and heartfelt posts I’ve ever read. Your decision and your inevitable success are a magnificent tribute to your brother. If there’s any way I can help support you, let me know.

  4. AbbieF says

    Jay…again, I am so sorry for your loss. Taking time for yourself and your family, enjoying and cherishing what you have is the good that comes from this. Here’s to you, my friend.

  5. philsimon says


    My most sincere condolences. Haunting words for me as well, as I’ve gone nuts with four books in three years. While I have good health (touch wood), I am not going to write a book this year because I need more balance in my life.

    Great post.


  6. ryancmiller says


    So sorry to hear about your brother, but also wishing you the very best of luck with your new goal of getting more healthy.

      • philsimon says

        @JayBaer @ryancmiller You will see results, my friend. 17 years ago, I used to be 25 lbs heavier. I’ve been a workout demon ever since and find it incredibly cathartic, especially as a full-time writer/computer guy. We need to get up!

  7. GlennPWallis says

    Hi Jay, I don’t know you; I don’t know your brother, but as one human being to another I just wanted to say I wish you and your family all best in coming to terms with your loss. Why is it that so many of us are prompted into transformational changes to our lives following tragedy or a critical incident? Hopefully the wake up call that you have shared is a great lesson to us all. Thank you.

    • says

      @GlennPWallis I really thank you for your comment Glenn. I hope you do whatever you want and need to do without having to be shook up to do so.

  8. pamslim says

    I am 100% in support of your decision Jay! You are one of the smartest, most prolific and kindest people I know. The “always more” mentality wears down not only your health, but your joy and muse. The book you will write next year will be better for the rest and attention to yourself. Sending hugs to you and your family to quell the ache you feel losing your brother. Knowing you, I know he is so proud of the man you are, and the way you are honoring him.

  9. says

    Hi Jay,

    I’ve been hovering around, about to send my condolences to you more than once on your FB wall, but haven’t until now. It doesn’t mean I wasn’t thinking of you, and wishing you the best. I’m so sorry for the loss. I have no idea what that is like.

    This is a beautiful post and brought tears to my eyes. Good choices. All of them. I look forward to seeing you in May, if not sooner, and giving you a big hug.

    • says

      @Lisa Gerber Thanks Lisa. Good choices, indeed. Now for the follow through! I appreciate the support, and am looking forward to seeing you.

  10. says

    Beautifully written. My deepest condolences on the loss of your brother. Spending time with your family, taking care of yourself (and them) and truly living – really taking it all in – each and every day, seems like a wonderful way to honor your brother. Wishing you lots of love & the comfort of kind words from friends & family.

    Warmest regards,


    • says

      @@Dayngr That’s just it Trish. We need to truly live. Sometimes I’m not sure this particular profession is terribly conducive to that.

  11. Karen_C_Wilson says

    There is no better reason to cut back on business things than to give attention to ourselves and our loved ones. It’s heartbreaking when the catalyst is such a deep loss. Life is precious, though it’s easy to forget that as we go about our lives. I wish you all the best this year in your new direction and hope you and your family find comfort in each other through the grief.

  12. cnmoody says

    Great article Jay. It sounds like I have a similar relationship with my brother. Reading this makes me want to try even harder to be more vocal and expressive about our relationship. Thanks for the nudge. I’m going to work harder to be a better big brother and to not be too macho to tell him that I care about him. Enjoy the extra time with the family man. Well deserved.

  13. MatthewLiberty says

    Jay, you and I have never chatted before but I have seen your work here and there and appreciate what you do in the social media space. I am extremely sorry for your loss, I know how tough it can be. I have been on a journey the last 12 months to become more minimalist in my living, enjoy the day to day more, and focus on relationships versus dollar bills.

    Many of us come to these points due to a tragedy of some sort, it’s sad that it takes that to push us but it is what it is. I wish you nothing but the best with your new focus- health and family- I am sure you will accomplish these as you hold on to your brothers memory and the lesson this is teaching.

    Cheers man, and cheers to your brother!

    • says

      @MatthewLiberty I’ve thought about doing the minimalist route too, but I’m going to stick with one thing at a time! Thanks for the good wishes.

  14. says

    @JayBaer SO sorry to hear about the loss of your brother. I could tell how special he was to everyone that met him. Glad to hear you’re balancing your life out a bit. You’ll be better for it.

    -John Refford


  15. tacanderson says

    Following you on Facebook, I know it’s been a rough year for you, but it sounds like you have your priorities straight.

    Personally, in the spirit of David Hume, I think there needs to be more essays in the World (they also seem easier to write). Most business books (present company excluded of course) would be just as insightful and probably more effective as an essay :)

  16. toddschnick says

    i commend on you on this new direction, and changed focus. i wish you and family well… and sorry to hear about your loss…

  17. PaigeHolden1 says

    Kudos, Jay. This was a great post – completely heartfelt and courageous.

    I’m so sorry to hear about your brother. I saw your posts on Facebook, but didn’t quite know what to say. There really isn’t anything to say except maybe, “hang in there – it will get better” but that always seems so generic.

    Gosh, life is fleeting. I remember thinking when my cousin passed (the one who made a wish – thank you Make a Wish!) that I’d take more time to appreciate the little things and be healthy in mind, body and spirit. Sadly, it took me 10 years to make some necessary changes – and I’m still working on it – but it’s a worthwhile journey. More worthwhile to love and life than any job will ever be.

    When I left NYC, I found great comfort in reading Zen Habits. You’ve probably heard of this blog but, just in case, go check it out! I don’t agree with everything, and I wouldn’t call myself a minimalist, but some of Leo’s posts are truly inspiring. Here are some favorites that may be relevant to your journey:

    So, best of luck in your new endeavors Jay! I’m happy for you and your family. And don’t forget the Epsom salt…trainers are no joke! :-)

  18. says


    You and I have never met face to face, though I’ve certainly enjoyed our conversations both here on C&C and other places around the interwebz. You’ve always struck me as a kind soul with an incredible sense of humor and drive, qualities that I admire greatly. Life is a funny thing – and when circumstances force us to take stock of what we have and reprioritize (as they did a few days to me after Christmas when I found myself out of a job), it’s there that the things that are really important take on a whole new meaning. Tears rolled reading this post. Truly.

    I wish you well in 2012 – and hope our paths cross soon.



  19. says

    Hi Jay, so sorry for your loss. Fantastic post – your brother leaves a legacy – through you he’s going to inspire a lot of folks to get healthy and focus on the most important things in our lives. Thx for the post and best regards to you and your family.

  20. says

    Jay, I’ve been following your comments about your brother and, again, I am so sorry about your loss. As Gary V. has often stated, family comes first. I feel the same way. I know that your new priorities, like everything else you’ve undertaken, will deliver wonderful results. BTW, thank you again for the generous support you showed for my wife’s post breast cancer fund-raising efforts. It meant a lot. Looking forward to seeing you in May.

  21. SocialMediaDIY says

    Through you, Jeff is giving a lot of people a wake-up call, Jay. Even me. Here’s to better living, happier humans, and eventually, better and more focused productivity.

  22. drbret says

    Both my parents died around 50, when I was only 24. I knew then my genes were not in my favor and I’d have to watch my health my entire life if I wanted to see my chidren’s children before I died. Exercise is an everyday part of my life, one I literally cannot live without. Go for it, Jay!!

    • says

      @drbret So sorry to hear about your parents Bret. You’re right too. It has to be an everyday part of life. I’m going to get there.

    • says

      @dscott2204 Yes, I know some people involved in Crossfit. Seems fantastic. I’m sure I’m not ready for it just yet, but maybe down the road a bit.

  23. tombrownjr says

    Jay, Thank you for contributing multiple aspects of your life to our community. Your passions, joys, and sorrows. I really applaud not only the decision you made, but your willingness to share the reason behind the decision. Good Luck. And as always, keep us posted.

  24. Neicolec says

    Good for you, Jay. It sounds like your brother gave you one last gift, that wakeup call. My mom gave me one, too, when she passed, and I used it wisely. You’re making a much better investment in yourself here, than the book would be. Good luck to you!

  25. KellyeCrane says

    Jay, you’ve been in my thoughts many times in recent weeks — this post, and your shifting focus, is an amazing tribute to your brother. Thank you so much for sharing these lessons learned with all of us (I needed this reminder too, and I’m sure I’m not alone). Always remember: you have a very large cheering section! :-)

    • says

      @KellyeCrane Thanks Kellye. I really can’t believe all the people that are in my corner on this – and everything else. Make you realize that you can achieve whatever you want.

  26. says

    Jay, such a touching post. Heartfelt wishes for your loss and I’m sure you will tackle the fitness challenge with the vigour and enthusiasm you have for your business! Here’s to 2013 and the Convince and Convert Fitness Guide!


  27. says

    Good for you, Jay. I’m sure the book would be good for your career in the immediate term, but if that comes at the cost of your health, family life, etc, it’s not worth it. Good for you, man.

  28. johnruzicka says

    Jay, thanks for the work that you do. Enjoy the time you have, and we’ll all be ready for your next book when it hits. Thanks for sharing your story. Makes us all stop and think.

    • says

      @johnruzicka I think what I should do is just crowdsource the book. You guys can write it in the comments, and I’ll publish it. Problem solved!

  29. YukariP says

    Jay, I’ve been thinking about you a lot, since I lost my dad few days after you lost Jeff. I remember the first time we ever met – when you came to Victoria for Copeland gig, I asked if you ever get tired of traveling for work, and I still remember how enthusiastically you said “No, I love it!”. So I know what you mean by you’re hard charger. :) But I congratulate you for making the decision to take care of yourself and indeed the wake-up call is the best gift anyone can give you really.

  30. says

    Jay – very sorry for your loss. All my best to you and your family. Good for you for taking the time to recognize what is really important to you and shifting your priorities accordingly. Having dealt with health issues the past two years I can tell you that the steps you take will be well worth the effort. I remember catching up with both you and Amber in Columbus, OH last year, and I could tell you were both running on fumes. I’m glad to see you will be taking steps to refill your engines. Take care!

  31. dariasteigman says

    Jay– My condolences to you and your family. It’s a terrible way to get a wake-up call, but I’m glad you’ve found a way to channel this terrible loss into something positive for you and yours. Enjoy life in the (slightly) slower lane.

  32. DeborahStephens says

    Jay I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I will keep you and your family in my prayers. When we first met in BTown, I didn’t tell you why we traded Silicon Valley for here—it’s similar to yours. If I can be of help or support, just let me know.

    • says

      @DeborahStephens Thanks Deborah. I really appreciate it. We need to get together again! I’m sorry to hear about the similarity of your story.

      • DeborahStephens says

        @JayBaer@DeborahStephens Yes let’s get together again. I’ll leave it up to you to give me some dates and times. In the interim, I’m sending good thoughts your way.

  33. JeffHargens says

    Jay – Thank you for eloquently sharing a very personal story. I feel your pain and salute you for listening to the inner voice. I’m confident you’ll appreciate the new you. You have the knack of expressing feelings and thoughts that many like me keep bottled up inside. Proud to say I had the good fortune to collaborate with you on a project (AZ Highways) with many moons ago. Be well.

    • says

      @JeffHargens Those were the days Jeff! I loved working with Highways. They are really killing it now online and with social media. Proud of them!

  34. says

    Jay, I am sorry to hear about your brother. It’s especially tragic that you lost him so young! Channelling your strength to take care of yourself and spend time with family seems like a wise plan indeed — one that I’m sure your brother would be very proud of.

  35. says

    My condolences to you for your loss Jay… You’re in my prayers today.

    Thank you for all the sacrifices you make to help business owners and professionals understand this new medium. Your work is important and its touching many lives.

    Your next book will come in due time : )

    Peace and joy to you and yours during this difficult time.


    • says

      @Mark_Harai Thank you Mark. But what I do isn’t a sacrifice. I love every minute of it, and the fact that I am actually compensated for this blows me away every day.

  36. says

    How about a training blog now? Just kidding. Beautifully written post, which, as well as being cathartic, will – I’m sure – make others take stock. Sorry for your loss.

    • says

      @michael_taggart I thought about it. Would be fun to write a totally different kind of blog, but one of my rules is to only write from a point of expertise or personal experience. Clearly, training is neither of those…yet.

  37. JasonFalls says

    Best decision you probably could have made, bro. I’m proud of ya for backing off a bit. The next book will be there when it’s ready, bro. Sad for the loss, but glad you’re going to be present and accounted for with the people that matter most more. Good on ya, buddy.

  38. chrislee says

    So sorry to hear that sir. My wife just had another 39 year old friend that passed with no warning. Definitely scaring us and causing us to think similarly to you. We burn the candle at both ends constantly & with 3 little kids, just crazy. Hope you are doing ok and respect your shuffling of priorities.

    • says

      @chrislee Thanks Chris. My kids are 13 and 10 now, and that’s part of this too. I only have 5 years left with the older one, so I need to really focus on spending more quality time before the sand is all the way through the hourglass.

      • chrislee says

        @JayBaer I know it’s trite but it’s crazy how fast it goes. We’re counting the days until our 2nd goes to Kindegarten (this year). And the baby we just had is almost 2!

  39. amazingprmaven says

    Thanks for sharing so honestly. I’m sorry for your loss. I went thru a similar wake up call after my brother was killed in action in Iraq at age 22. While I have not fully found balance in my life with my consulting practice, I have learned what matters to me. Taking stock and reflecting on your journey can only help you in coming days. Hoping the best for your journey forward.

    • says

      @amazingprmaven So sorry to hear about your brother. His sacrifice, and the sacrifice of you and your family, is what keeps us free and enables us to do truly pointless stuff like write blog posts for a living.

  40. davemhuffman says

    Dude, you’re flippin’ awesome.

    My wife and I had a couple of major health scares this past year and decided to drop a chunk of work from both our plates…it has been an on-going struggle to remind ourselves that we do not have to conquer the world TODAY…micro-amounts can still get us there and give us a hell of a lot more time with the most important thing…our families and each other.

    I haven’t really had a conversation with my brother in years. Makes me really sad too sometimes. I think I’m gonna try harder to change that.

    Thanks Jay.


  41. hollygalbraith says

    Thank you for writing such a touching and honest post. Obviously from the comments and from many of our own personal experiences, people can relate to what you are saying. I think it is important to always reassess our motivations and what is really important in this short life we have together – it is easy to be driven by ego or validation and it is a hard addiction to break.

    I will continue to follow your posts and work with interest, have a great 2012 :-)

  42. says

    Very sorry for your loss, Jay.

    Best of luck with the new focus on fitness. You may not get a book out of 2012, but a renewed focus on health and fitness will benefit you in ways a book never can.

  43. krisbradley74 says

    This is a great post. I am sorry to hear about your brother. It is amazing how unexpected events change the dynamic of our lives. I wish you the best of luck with your training in 2012. You have motivated me to get off of my couch and getting back into shape.

  44. rhonda hurwitz says

    That’s a wake up call that no one should ever get, and I am sorry for your loss. You will inspire others with your lifestyle changes, just as you have with your social media ideas, I have no doubt.

  45. jeremyvictor1 says

    Jay, you are making a wise decision. I’ve done the same thing over the past six months – slowed down enough to take life in. None of that vaynerchuk, Dachis, Godin stuff matters more than the time we spend with those that matter to us.

  46. markwschaefer says

    Masterful post. Speaking as someone who currently has a book PR machine cranking up, I understand completely. I really had no idea what it took, and what takes out of you.

  47. JessKupferman says

    So, so sorry to hear about your brother. I’m a Type A as well, and as a less accomplished person in our field, I often feel the only speed to live in is top speed so I can do some catching up. It really does mean that everything else is secondary – spouse, kids, health hasn’t even been on the list! Maybe we do have something to prove and maybe we don’t – but as the kids get older, the regret seeps in more and more. This was a very brave and honest thing to share, and I appreciate you being so open. Sending healing thoughts.

  48. DonnaGilliland says

    Dear Jay, posting isn’t something I do often (time issue) but I wanted to stop and take time for you. First, I am sorry for your loss. I understand where you are at. Jay, you are making the right decision to focus on your well being – it involves you and those who love and need you. You will always be on top Jay just by virtue of who you are at your core. I am glad you have convinced and converted your thinking to take care of you. :)) Take care Jay. ~ Donna

  49. MichelleHustler says

    I’m sorry about your loss. Like you, I’m also a Type A. My mom always says to me, “Good enough, is good enough…” She’s also always on about ‘body and mind being one’ and if your body is off then your mind can’t be at it’s best. Daughters hate listening to their mothers no matter how right they might be… so I’ll share her advice with you and consider your advice to me!

  50. says

    My condolences for your loss, Jay. I hope your family and friends are able to celebrate Jeff’s life as much as possible, despite the obvious tragedy of his passing. The balance is always a difficult one but you will thank yourself – and your brother – for the benefits you reap as you spend more time with family and appreciate your outstanding achievements at a more refined pace. Best wishes in your efforts and thank you for sharing with your community so openly.

    • says

      @Steve Birkett You’re quite welcome Steve. Indeed, we are trying to celebrate him wherever and whenever possible. What I do is that whenever I think of him, or wish he was with me, I write on his Facebook wall. It’s good for me. Some of his friends are doing it too.

  51. cksyme says

    Good luck Jay. We’ll take whatever you got, whenever you decide to give it. It’s all good. I’ve always appreciated the fact that you are real. Enjoy life, brother, and may your loss make you stronger and your brother’s memory bless many.

    • says

      @cksyme That’s great to hear, that you see me as real. I certainly am. I’m just a guy that’s pretty good at marketing, that writes a blog. The second we lose sight of the fact that we’re all students in social media, the game is over.

  52. says

    Thank you, Jay. I have a feeling you just gave a wake-up call to many of us. May you find comfort and peace in the good memories of your brother.

    • says

      @Bloxology Thanks. It sounds ridiculous perhaps, but peace and comfort are a lot easier to find when you have as much support as I do out there. Warms my heart. It really, truly does.

  53. redslice says

    Jay, I am so sorry for your loss and thank you so much for sharing. Sending you virutal hugs! I learned this important lesson when a freak brain aneurysm hit me in 2008 – and caused me to reframe my life for (what I hope to be) the better. Like you, I’m a Type A, “gotta do everything NOW” type of gal. I learned it’s not about running, running, running. I had to literally get yanked out of my life – as you did – before I understood that this is my one life. I need to slow down a bit, focus and savor and put my priorities in order.

    You can chase all your dreams. But you don’t have to do them ALL AT THE SAME TIME! That was my biggest lesson. “Living your best life” does not mean grinding yourself to dust to do it “all.” Take the time you need to heal, prioritize and tackle only what you can while still making time and space for all the stuff that really matters: your health, your family, your dog.

    Success is not just about all the output you produce. It’s about living a grateful life on your own terms, making a difference and loving those around you. The book can wait. Your life, this day, can’t., PS, it took me over 3 years to write the book about my experience – and ironically, it just came out in Kindle yesterday. That’s why your blog post floored me with its timing and message. I wrote it to help others avoid having a tragedy or crisis hit before they realize these important lessons. I’m so sorry that it took this tragic event for you to reframe your life, but as you said, maybe that’s the greatest gift he could have given you.

    Thank you for being you and sharing your work with us. And thank you for this lovely tribute to your brother.

    • says

      @redslice I’m sorry it took this much drama to get me to wake up too, but better late than never, right? I think a lot of it comes down to the “do you work to live, or live to work?” quandary. No question, I’m in the first camp. Hoping to slide a little bit toward the other side, eventually.

  54. AllynHorne says

    Jay, I want to start by offering my deepest condolences. It is my greatest hope that you and your family gain some peace and comfort in your memories of Jeff.

    As someone who lost both of my siblings in 2008 (one of whom was named Jeff), the timing of your post was fortuitous – as it was only two days ago that marked the fourth anniversary of one of their deaths. I bring this up because I long sought after the right language to describe what losing a sibling early-ish in life was like – it isn’t a common occurrence, so those of us who have unwittingly joined that club often struggle to make sense of it, as I could imagine that you might from time to time. But I wanted to thank you, especially, for the third and final paragraphs of this piece … you have finally accessed language that accurately (and more important, succinctly) encapsulates the experience.

    I read and enjoy your blog posts regularly – I can’t say that I enjoyed this one, but it certainly made me think, and was resonant for me in a very powerful and personal way. I want to echo others’ thanks to you for your openness in sharing with the community, and once again extend my sympathies. All my best to you and your family during this trying hour.

  55. AllynHorne says

    Jay, I want to start by offering my deepest condolences. It is my greatest hope that you and your family gain some peace and comfort in your memories of Jeff.

    As someone who lost both of my siblings in 2008 (one of whom was named Jeff), the timing of your post was fortuitous – as it was only two days ago that marked the fourth anniversary of one of their deaths. I bring this up because I long sought after the right language to describe what losing a sibling early-ish in life was like – it isn’t a common occurrence, so those of us who have unwittingly joined that club often struggle to make sense of it, as I could imagine that you might from time to time. But I wanted to thank you, especially, for the third and final paragraphs of this piece … you have finally accessed language that accurately (and more important, succinctly) encapsulates the experience.

    I read and enjoy your blog posts regularly – I can’t say that I enjoyed this one, but I have a profound appreciation for it. It certainly made me think, and was resonant for me in a very powerful and personal way. I want to echo others’ thanks to you for your openness in sharing with the community, and once again extend my sympathies. All my best to you and your family during this trying hour.

    • says

      @AllynHorne Thank you so very much Allyn, and I’m terribly sorry to hear about your siblings as well. It is truly a surreal experience, isn’t it? I know that I’m nowhere close to coming to grips with it, and as always I seek refuge in my work. I’m glad the post resonated with you, although I wish you didn’t have personal experience in the arena.

      • AllynHorne says

        @JayBaer If you are like me, and seek to try to understand some of these things by reading, I would check out “The Year of Magical Thinking” by Joan Didion. There is very little out there about sibling loss — my hypothesis is that’s because many people have very complicated relationships with their siblings and/or because the experience comes later in life for most – but this is a great book also. I’ve often thought about writing a book on this topic, among others, but especially this one since so little has been written about it. Hope you stay as well as you can during this journey. My thoughts and sympathies are with you.

  56. says

    You’re turning your brother’s loss into a positive gain for you and your family Jay. That’s what this is all about my friend. May your journey bring you the peace you seek my friend.

    Oh, and as a faithful reader, we expect a full report on the diet in the coming months. 😉



  57. Twylah says

    I am so very sorry for your loss. Jeff sounds like a wonderful, fantastic, amazing person. My sincere condolences to you and your family, and all my good wishes for renewed health for you in 2012.

  58. says

    “We are all the sum of our tears. Too little and the ground is not fertile, nothing can grow there; too much, and the best of us is washed away. There is a greater darkness than the one we fight. It is the darkness of the soul that has lost its way. The war we fight is not against powers and principalities; it is against chaos and despair. Greater than the death of flesh is the death of hope, the death of dreams. Against this peril we can never surrender. The future is all around us, waiting, in moments of transition, to be born in moments of revelation. No one knows the shape of that future or where it will take us. We know only that it is always born in pain.”- J. Michael Straczynski

    Both condolences and congratulations to you, sir, for finding your way. See you in a few days in sunny Florida.

    • says

      @cspenn Thanks Chris. You are the most wise of men, and someone I consistently look to for intelligence, honesty, and honor. See you soon.

  59. jspepper says

    Multiple thoughts at the same time Jay – first, the utmost sympathy on your loss. I cannot fathom what that is like, and I hope that you’re holding up. Second, good on you for focusing on what’s most important now – you and the family (and dog – so important, dog). And good luck on the health/exercise – I started doing more at the gym (like joining) when I moved to LA. Best move, as it’s a good break from work into life.

    And no idea you had the Arizona connection.

    • says

      @jspepper My whole life in AZ until 18 months ago. I miss the people. And the Mexican food. And the mountain in Flag. Otherwise, I’m pretty happy as a Hoosier.

      • jspepper says

        @JayBaer How’d we not commiserate about this before? 1986 through 1996 in Scottsdale and Tucson – and during the dotcom crash.

        And no real good Mexican in Los Angeles either, really.

  60. intersection1 says

    One of your best posts…ever.

    I’m perplexed by some of the stereotypes around health, wellness and life balance. It’s like our priorities are messed up if we have those aspirations. In my opinion, achieving a balanced lifestyle requires as much, if not more, commitment and sacrifice as it does to attain western society’s definition of “success” . I’m totally pumped for you Jay and I know you will get there. All the best – Mark.

    • says

      @intersection1 You are so right, but unless it’s been a habit for a long time, you have to reprogram yourself. That’s what I’m trying to do. Rip out the wiring and start over. Not easy to do while the car is moving, but it’s a grand experiment. And a necessary one.

  61. says

    Jay – Sorry to hear about the loss of your brother. Good for you for choosing to focus on your health. The book idea will still be around next year, and probably even better because I’m sure it will be one of those things ruminating in the back of your brain over the next several months, but making your health a priority now will only have dividends when you do tackle the book next year.

  62. geoffliving says

    Many comments here of support. I am so sorry you lost your little brother. I wouldn’t know what to do if my little sister passed. I am sure I would have similar regrets to yours, and maybe that’s something I can address, too. It’s clear you’re not going to blow this moment off. I am so glad to see you write this post. You are present today, Jay, and I think that’s a good thing. Best wishes.

  63. ShawnT says

    Jay — what to say… what to say…? The only thing I can think of is that this post makes me happy. I know, I mean I REALLY know, how difficult this has been for you, but I think you’re making a good decision. Emotional, yes. Pragmatic, yes. I was given the link to your blog a long time ago. And for all the times I’ve laughed out loud or chuckled while discussing what you’d written with someone else, this is the first post that makes me genuinely happy. It would make him happy, too. Good for you. Take care of you.

  64. says

    Jay: Of all of the blog posts you’ve written over the years — and I’ve read nearly all of them — this one and “Social Media, Pretend Friends, and the Lie of False Intimacy” are #1 and #2. Not coincidentally, they both have a similar theme … people, friendship, family, health … the things that really matter in life.

    I am terribly sorry for your loss, for your family’s loss.

    That being said, if this is the kick that you needed to get back on track — to focus more on what matters — well, that’s certainly a positive. Not only that, but this is the type of blog post that will kick others into action.

    Thank you for that.

    Looking forward to sucking down a few beers the next time our paths meet face to face.

  65. joncombridges says

    Very touching, Jay, and wise. Sincere sympathies for your loss! And kudos for your commitment to first things first. I have always admired your honesty and integrity which this post underscores in spades. Looking forward to hearing more of this kind of carefully considered and relevant perspective. Thanks much for sharing this with us. Blessings!

  66. agiata1a says

    I too lost my brother, also named Jeff last year, also died of a heart attack at 42 years old. He was so much like how you described your brother Jeff. My perspective as yours, has shifted, vibrant health has taken a higher priority. I know this, life is for the living and at any moment’s notice the lights can go out. Living every day as if it’s my last, I hope you are as well.

  67. michaelgass says

    Jay, You and your family stay in my thoughts and prayers. I’m sure Jeff would be pleased to know the impact that he had on your life and even through his passing. I have no doubt that you will be thankful for these new adjustments in your life as you look back many years from now and see the memories that were made with your family.

    I’m searching for balance as well and your post was an inspiration to devote more time to family and health this year. Blessings to you buddy.

  68. MaryBiever says

    Jay, this is one of the most moving blogs I’ve read in a long time. Good luck with your new regimen. The time we have is precious.

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