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There’s Genius In Mad Men (And Not Just In The Styling)

    Confession — DH and I binge-watched all 7 seasons of Mad Men to catch up to the final episodes that are currently airing.

    For the record, it wasn’t a full-on binge — you know the kind when you don’t get up from the sofa for 3 days. (Though there was one Saturday when we knocked off about 8 hours.) We began this mission months ago, and to help move things along we skipped Season 3 (if anyone is curious about the show I suggest starting with the 4th or 5th Season).

    Anyhow, with so much for me to adore in this program — the 60s style being the most exciting (Megan!) and the insider view of the advertising world coming in a close second — there was one scene in particular that has stuck with me throughout the binge.

    It was in the 6th season with Don and Peggy in his office. She’s stressed about a presentation, and in his mentor-ly way he explained that their whole business (advertising) is based on uncertainty — to be successful she must learn to live with this uncertainty.


    I know all about the uncertainty that comes with business. My entire career as a freelancer is totally uncertain–I never know when (or if) the next call for work will come in.

    Then there’s the uncertainty of life in general.

    Yesterday morning, I dropped M off at the bus for his two night class trip.
    I’m sure all will be well, but having my baby on his own for two nights brings up a whole lot of uncertainty. I can’t even fathom how it will feel when he’s actually on his own, like living away — how do Moms with grown children deal with that uncertainty?

    See, the thing with uncertainty is if you don’t manage it…it becomes worry.


    So it was actually pretty Zen (or Buddhist, or yogic…) of Don Draper to advise Peggy to learn how to live with her uncertainty.

    I had to give it a try.

    This morning GL walked over to the kitchen table to announce I’m not hungry. I’m not eating breakfast.

    Okay, maybe this is more annoying than uncertain, but still calls on the same response…

    Be With What Is

    Here’s some uncertainty…
    My client called last Friday with a huge job, but hasn’t yet confirmed and it’s almost a week later.

    I can wallow in the haze of not knowing — which often spirals into a story of how bad things will go.

    Or I can just be with it. I can focus my attention on what IS happening.

    All of life is uncertain.

    It’s how well we deal with the not knowing that lets us be our best self.

    How do you handle uncertainty?

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    4 thoughts on “There’s Genius In Mad Men (And Not Just In The Styling)”

    1. Probably not as good as you :). I have historically not dealt with uncertainty well…but I am learning. Focusing on what is actually happening now, like you said, and doing what is in front of you to do are all ways I manage my anxiety about uncertainty. Meditation and yoga is good too πŸ™‚

    2. Yes! Taking the practice of meditation + yoga off the cushion + mat, and into the every day…that’s really all it is, right? x x
      So easy to say. Not so easy to do. πŸ™‚

    3. What a coincidence, I also recently binge-watched all seasons of Mad Men! πŸ™‚ The last six months have been more uncertain than they have my entire life…and now I’m getting used to it. I’m realizing that no matter how much I think I’m in control of my life, I’m really not. And instead of that being a stress, it’s kind of an adventure. Aleya

    4. Such a great attitude– to look it as an adventure. Isn’t it amazing how the smallest shift in perspective can have the greatest impact?!?! I try to remember this when I let the stress of the uncertainty get the better of me. Thanks, Aleya! x x

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