When Irish eyes are smiling

Father Paul tells me that being a pessimist is quite Irish. He's says this in his thick Irish brogue, not for punctuation, but because he really talks like that. To support his premise, he Socratically asks, "Haven't you heard the Irish songs they sing in the pub?"


I shake my head in agreement because no one can win against the Irish drinking song argument. It’s just one of those life-truths.

In fact, I hear Irish drinking songs every time I open a newspaper or dare to turn on the news. Each verse telling a tale worse than the last, each voice competing for the saddest outcome of all. All heartfelt. All sincere (or as sincere as you can be when you’re drinking). And all closely-held beliefs.

Growing up, for better or worse, there seemed to be a straight line drawn from optimism to blind ignorance. Having lived through the Great Depression and WWII, my grandmother held an intrinsic belief that the only way to change people was to convince them things were really bad.

After all, why would people change unless they were truly scared?

Indeed, some believe that pessimism is the fast track to saving the world.

I suggest that developers and multifamily owners and operators are driven by new world values.

While the last months have been the most economically turbulent, measurably uncertain of my adult life, the Irish melodies of foreboding only make me smile. My sleeves are rolled up and I’m ready to do what has to be done to turn this boat around and head for the promised land of opportunity. Not certainty. Opportunity. That’s all that multifamily professionals need.

If you want calm, don’t try to change the world. Fantastically ordinary people are capable of wildly amazing things. I see it every single day.

You’ll certainly read about it with our cover story on Bill Donges and Lane Company and some fairly amazing Dallas projects in JPI’s pipeline just waiting for that impending moment of opportunity.

I have seen optimism change the world in grand and unpredictable ways.

It’s an underlying principal of multifamily and entrepreneurialism.

Sure, we may cry in our beer at times, but we always lift our heads and get back to work.

Merry Christmas. Happy Chanukah. May the year ahead bring our new president strength and wisdom, his country new-found optimism, and developers one more upturn.