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Josh Blatt wanted to call himself ‘athletical’ — but it’s not a word so he settled for this: a self-proclaimed intellect with a passion for all things musical, political, mechanical, and athletic.
He is a drummer who still plays and enjoys live music, gets carried away too much in political debates, and enjoys working on his three old Volvos whenever possible. When he’s not recovering from a middle-aged injury, you’ll find Josh on the basketball court playing with other over-40-somethings.
Josh, a father of two boys aged 19 and 14, resides in Lawrenceville, NJ. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.
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IN WHICH GENERATION DO YOU BELONG?
Gen X: 1965 – 1980
DO YOU WORK? IF SO, WHAT DO YOU DO?
After a 20-year career in management consulting, I settled into an industry role heading up a portfolio management office for a pharmaceutical company. In short, I help make sure that the projects we do are the right projects, which are staffed with the right people, and are executed at the right time. It’s kind of like managing your portfolio of investments but far more difficult.
WHAT WOULD THE 25-YEAR-OLD VERSION OF YOU THINK OF YOU TODAY? HOW ARE YOU MOST DIFFERENT FROM YOUR YOUNGER SELF?
Well, since I was applying to B-schools at the time, 25-year-old Josh would be proud that we got our MBA and have had a reasonably successful career. However, he might be surprised that we lost our damn hair. Can I tell the 25-year-old me to start taking Propecia?
Differences? I’m more confident than I was when I was 25. That was a tough age because I was just starting out. I had little experience, and my worldview was very limited, having not traveled much yet. That’s what is so great about being middle-aged. We’ve accumulated all this knowledge and wisdom in the first half of our lives, and now we can apply it in the second half.
WHAT HAS NOT CHANGED ABOUT YOU?
My sense of humor is the same. It’s important for me to have fun, particularly while at work, and so finding humor in everyday things is an attribute that I seem to have maintained throughout the years. I like to laugh, and I enjoy making others laugh. Charlie Chaplin said, “A day without laughter is a day wasted.”
GOOD OR BAD, WHAT ABOUT MIDLIFE HAS SURPRISED YOU SO FAR?
I would say how quickly things can reverse course. When you’re younger, things seem to move a little slower. In mid-life, things can change on a dime. A great job offer, a promotion, a layoff. A multiyear entrepreneurial success followed by a business collapse. A good marriage to a failed one. What I’m most proud of, though is the amount of resiliency I’ve had in my midlife. My mother always would tell me, “This too shall pass,” and she was right.
WHAT ONE HABIT ARE YOU ACTIVELY WORKING ON THESE DAYS?
About seven years ago, I started practicing mindfulness meditation. I found that it helped me tremendously with being more present and getting my head out of all the things that I had to do or was worried about at any particular moment. But there’s a reason why they call it a “practice.” It’s hard, so it’s something that I am continuously working on.
WHAT BRINGS YOU THE MOST JOY THESE DAYS AND WHY?
The only thing that I forced my two boys to do was take up a musical instrument. Learning an instrument opens up another part of your brain. It is perhaps akin to learning another language. So at age 13, I made my sons pick an instrument. The eldest is a guitarist, and his younger brother recently followed in his Dad’s footsteps and took up the drums. One of the things I try to do whenever possible is to take them to see incredibly talented professional musicians. Witnessing great talent is a joy. But witnessing great talent with my sons brings me the greatest joy these days.
WHAT ARE YOU MOST EXCITED ABOUT THESE DAYS?
Seeing my NY Giants back in the playoffs!
IF YOU COULD GIVE A 20-YEAR-OLD PERSON SOME WORDS OF WISDOM OR PIECE OF ADVICE, WHAT MIGHT IT BE?
Besides taking Propecia, I would tell them to take care of their mental health. All good things can stem from being mentally healthy. To do so, get good sleep, eat well, exercise, be grateful, be positive, and cultivate your relationships with others. And if you’re ever not feeling well, get help.
AND THE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION: WHO WAS YOUR FAVORITE SINGER/BAND GROWING UP?
I was a total hair metal guy growing up. I listened — and still do — to the likes of Dokken, Winger, Ratt, Warrant, Quiet Riot, Queensryche, Rush, and others. But my favorite and most influential band was U2. With the metal bands, I mostly concentrated on the music. But with U2, it was the music and the lyrics. I remember quoting lyrics in one of my English class assignments. I don’t remember the exact song, but I think it was from Unforgettable Fire.
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