Live Your Dream and Be Your Authentic Self with Michael Markiewicz

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Live your dream, and don’t give up on your dreams. Pursue them, do what you love, and look for support from people around you. One of the valuable lessons Michael shares with us today. Over the last 40 years, Michael has learned meaningful valuable lessons while working in corporate America. 

Highlights:

{04:53} What makes Michael a Titan?

{11:44} Birthday edict on social media

{16:00} Born to Holocaust survivors 

{24:46} Learning from your past, and taking responsibility for your future

{28:09} Being gay in the 60s and 70s

{36:26} Living in Spain

{60:00} Follow your dreams vs live your dreams

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Michael Markiewicz Bio

With over 35 years of experience in providing financial guidance to entertainment professionals, family offices, small businesses, and C-level executives, Michael Markiewicz serves as a partner at Feuer & Orlando, a CPA firm based in Manhattan. Michael provides personal CFO services as well, with particular expertise providing production accounting services for films in all stages of development from pre-production through post-production.  Included in those services are the application for pre-certification of film tax credits and final application for credit funds to be received. Another focus of his practice is outsourced family office administrative services.

Michael graduated from Tufts University with BA in Economics and Sociology. He received his MBA and MS in Accounting from Northeastern University. As a CPA, PFS (Personal Financial Specialist) and CFP, he is a member of the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and the Estate Planning Council of New York City where he recently served as a Board Member. He is also the Finance Director of Marriage Equality USA and a member of the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.

Outside of his professional life, Michael studies and plays guitar, enjoys singing, loves the theatre (where he is also an occasional investor), is a huge animal rights activist, and volunteers on the host committee for Women’s Entrepreneurship Day at the UN. Michael also serves on the board of Moving Windmills Project, Inc., a non-profit organization where the mission is rural economic development and education in Malawi, Africa.

Michael lives in Chelsea with his husband Mark, and their beloved wire hair dachshund, Maggie. 

Connect with Michael:

Websites: michaelmarkiewicz.net

Hey guys, welcome back to the show. I’m Carol Carpenter, and this is my sarcastic and wonderful guest. Oh yeah, no, my co-host, excuse me, Travis Johnson, and we have a special guest here just today. Michael Markowitz, and hi Michael!

Hi, Carol, and Travis!

Michael is the founder of Markowitz Enterprises, which is based in New York. He specializes in CPA services, consulting services, and asset protection. With over 35 years of experience, Michael is a successful investor, speaker, and philanthropist. Outside of work, he enjoys playing guitar, watching movies, going to the theater, and being an animal rights activist. Welcome, Michael. 

Thank you, Carol, and thank you for that introduction. And by the way, that 35 years is now 40.

Well, then, your bio needs an update.

Get your *** in order. Michael, we can’t. We can’t record.

I only go out. Yeah, I only.

Under these circumstances,

Go according to what your BIOS says.

You know I hesitated because it dates me, but I guess I should be proud of my age and how far along I have come. 

I mean we all sit there and are afraid to say our age, but at the same time, at the end of the day, our age equates to wisdom gained through experience and memory. 

I like to think so, Carol. I do like to think so.

It’s no, no, no; don’t think no. No, it is so!

All right, I’m going to go. I’m going to go with what? You said I was going to go.

I’ve never understood the politeness of withholding one’s age. I don’t care how old I am or why being a certain age makes people feel insecure. 

For guys, it’s different than for women. I just don’t want to tell you because I don’t know… People see you differently. As a woman, when you give your age, especially if you’re older, they just say, “Umm.” Oh, you’ve got no idea what the **** you’re on about. You know you are, too old to even know.

You look at certain celebrities like Helen Mirren is a good example for me of how Helen Mirren is so proud of how old she is because of all the trials and tribulations she’s been through in her life to get to where she is today and where she wrinkles proudly, and she got to play the queen. I just think she’s incredible; she’s incredible, and I look at people like her. And I’m talking just about celebrity women. Celebrities like Barbra Streisand, who is 80, and Cher—you know, all of these celebrities are proudly wearing their age like a badge, and I think it’s fantastic.

Well, look at all the stars in their 50s, like Jennifer Aniston, Halle Berry, and, uh, Elizabeth, oh, who’s Elizabeth? She’s British? I can’t think of her name right now. I can’t think of her name right now, but then you’ve got to have Shakira, as well as all women in their 50s who look amazing. And how would you not want to showcase your age?

Elizabeth Hurley Elizabeth Hurley. 

Oh, Elizabeth Hurley, yes, yes. 

stunning in her 50s. just rocking life and Tina Turner. You know, my God, and she’s amazing.

Yeah, I just think there’s a double standard when it comes to women, and I think that’s why women just tend to be “hands-off” when talking about their age. incorrect, because the truth is that we should. Wear it proudly, you know. 

And I started telling my age. At first, I felt embarrassed by it. But, as I’ve come to realize, I’m much more at ease in my skin. Why wouldn’t I be?

Well, not only that, but I would also just say this, and not just about women; women and men both are that in my opinion, and I can speak from my own. Well, because I can’t speak for anyone else, there is no age limit in terms of what you can do, and an example in my case is going into new ventures, being an entrepreneur, and doing things I’ve never done before. There’s no reason why I can’t do it at all and that no one can do it at all, at any age, then. I say, you know it’s a number. I feel great. You know, people tell me I look great

You look fantastic.

Know I. But thank you, thank you. But you know, people tell me that, and they say you don’t look your age. I said, Well, that’s OK. Thank you very much. I appreciate that, but if I did look my age, would it make a difference? Do you know?

Yeah, no, not really. as long as you’re comfortable in your skin and are authentically yourself.

Yes, Carol; thank you.

And this is what it is. It’s all about authenticity, and I’ve got to know Michael, what is it about you that makes you a Titan?

What makes me a Titan? 

Well, the title or the term “Titan” is one that other people have said about me. It’s not one of them. I’m very humble, so I don’t necessarily say that about myself. But in terms of where I am in the world, what do I do? I’ve been through a lot of things. The trials and tribulations in my life, like those of most people, have been OK, but each of our experiences is so different.

You know, I could start from where I am now and work my way up. But one thing I will tell you is that one of the most important things for me is that I have never let my failures have been preventing me from trying something new or different. Or trying it again Because, as you know, many people—and I don’t want to generalize; I don’t want to say this about everyone—give up when they fail and say, Oh my God, you know, look at what happened. I’m never going to do that. 

But, you know, I think that there was something very important. I heard the other night on a webcast that I was on that touched on the subject of having a vision that if you have it, even if you fail, it doesn’t mean you should lose it. 

You can continue the vision and try it a different way and keep trying it until you eventually succeed. You know from my experience in life that I have had many, many failures. And the failures have taught me something, and that is what I attribute to my success. 

 And as you said, Travis, the word Titan you know is, “Does that make me a Titan?” I guess it does in my field of work and my life. And everything that I’ve ever done makes me successful at what I do because I’ve learned from all my failures.

Well, if you weren’t tight, we would have invited you to the show.

So, I’ll do it. Then I will accept the title.

Yeah, I mean.

I think I now need to put that in my bio and put it on my media kit and everything.

Here’s the deal: Anyone who’s been a guest on our show has earned the right to put Titan in their bio, their media kit, and their LinkedIn. That’s just how life works.

And I love that you talked about, you know, working through failures and working past failures. I think so many people are wrapped up in the personal, like what it means. If you don’t succeed at something, and if you look at the university, you look at research and science, you’ll have groups of people who devote their entire lives to the pursuit of a single answer.

And they’ll say, “Hey, you know, how do we figure out this problem?” Like, I don’t know why we don’t try this, and they run the experiment, they get the feedback, they see if it has anything to do with what they are trying to do, and they don’t take it personally. if they don’t figure it out at first. After 1-5-500 tries, they keep trying to figure out the problem because the thing that they’re pursuing is far greater than their attachment to whatever the thing was.

I agree with everything you’re saying because… What are you, then? Travis, I believe you’re referring to when scientists publish. When you perform experiments, you know they have an end goal as to what they would like to see at the end of them, but it takes so many trials before they get there. And most of those trials fail.

Well, look at even the people who have allergies. You’ll know when it’s time to leave to see a doctor. They don’t know which allergy medication your system will accept and work with. So, they just literally start you from the top. OK, this is at the top of the list. We’ll start with this one and work our way down.  It’s just a constant. You know, test to see which of these prescriptions will work with your body because each of us is so unique and a specific prescription is going to work for everybody.

It’s a process of elimination, isn’t it? So, when you talk about it and run all these tests, they come up with allergies, just like you said. I don’t know if either of you has ever had this done, but you know I’ve had allergy tests where they do what they call scratch tests. They do that on your skin to determine that, and they inject a certain allergen into your skin to determine your body’s reaction to that. 

And if there is a negative reaction, they say, “Oh, he’s allergic to that” or “She’s allergic to that.” But at any given point in time, there are probably 20 or 30 of those scratch tests that they do where they inject these allergens into you. And if there’s no reaction, then you’re not allergic to that, but, as you say, it’s a process of elimination. Because no two people and no two beings are the same.

as much as that’s true. When it comes down to microscopic and microbe details, we’re all so similar, and you’re right. We’re not the same, but materially, we want to do good in the world and be reasonably safe and successful. 

If we’ve got kids, we want them to do better than we did, and there are so many things like, oh, by the way, voting day-today. People are deciding everyone’s future. Based on that, I don’t know whether I think they’re going to do a good job if they’re going to despise the other person but think the other person is a jerk, or whatever the case may be. The deal is that people can vote however they want.

And it’s another special day today. Is today your birthday?

That’s right. 

It is. It is my birthday.

You’re gritting your teeth. When did you grit your teeth?

That’s not me grinding my teeth. This is the green between my teeth. 

And by that, and by the way, I’m so honored to be on this podcast on your birthday, Travis, so that makes me feel very special that you would take time out from your special day to have me on here.

Happy birthday 

So, thank you.

That tells you something, Michael: you’re the only reason I’m here.

Hold on, I’m sitting right here.

Look, there’s nothing I can say to make this better. Carol, you’re special too. We love you.

He’s rolling his eyes.

Oh, my goodness

I tell you; I was at the gym this morning. A few years ago, a birthday was a birthday. Now I have a social media obligation to respond to everyone who wishes me a happy birthday online, and I see … I spent every year doing this. That’s been like two or three days of making sure I reply to everyone, and I’m like, this is almost more trouble than it’s worth. I say that knowing that I’ll continue to do it shows that I value what others do. However, there were a lot of people wishing me well, but if I were less of myself, if I put on the mask and wasn’t myself, perhaps there would be fewer people wishing me well and a happy birthday.

I don’t know, do you? I think it’s worth it. Do you believe we should have fewer people who care about us? I don’t know how it works. I just know that I love all the people that care about me, and I want to let them know that I appreciate what they do, especially on something so special as a birthday.

Well, that’s why I want to just ask you a question, Travis. I know you’re mostly asking me because I’m going to ask myself a question.

All right, here it is.

Oh, here’s your birthday and I just heard what you say about responding to each person individually. when they wish you a happy birthday on social media, whether that’s on, you know, a public social media site or on WhatsApp or whatever it may be. 

How do you feel about people who receive happy birthday wishes on Facebook or Instagram and respond with a blanket Thank you to everyone vs. a personal thank you to each person who wished them a happy birthday?

I kind of feel like they’re going to do what’s right for them, you know? Like if. You’ve got someone like Robert Downey Jr. who’s got millions of followers, and millions of people wish him a happy birthday. just like that. It is not possible to respond with a team of 20 people.

It would be an all-day thing without even that many people.

The reason I am a Titan is that I have those millions of dollars, I am a titan in this country.

A little bit, but no, just kidding.

I don’t know. I don’t know. Everyone has something that makes them special, and I think one of the things that makes me special is that I’m personable.

You know, Travis, I’ve known you for about a year and a half. Carol knows you for a little more than that, but I just want to speak to Travis at the moment If I may, and, Carol, no offense

But as you know, we—you and I—are all together. Never having met before, in April 2021, in a location in Mobile, Alabama, I looked at you and you looked at me, and we realized—you know, both of us knew we came from very different backgrounds. You are familiar with backgrounds if you will, not different worlds, but with different backgrounds. Nonetheless, there was a connection between you and me. We have had a few conversations since then. Whatever it is, it is visible on both zoom and phone. Perhaps, despite our differences, you and I can come together and care about and befriend one another and love one another. 

OK, and so that is special to me, which is why I wish you a very happy birthday. OK, now, Carol, please don’t take offense. That’s because I’m aware of it. Despite this, I feel the same way about you. I barely know you. I mean. I don’t, and I’m not going to accept it.

Offense to Michael: I don’t.

I barely know you. I know you’re a little bit better than barely, but I’ve known Travis a little bit longer. So, when it’s your turn, you’re going to get the very same happy, special birthday. When is your birthday?

When is it? It’s July 17th.

All right, mine comes before yours in February. So, okay, February 17th. We have the same

Oh, and your 17th baby too.

Yeah, yeah, I am.

This will most likely be released in September of next year, and no one will know.

When is my birthday?

It is not Travis. Shut your face. It is not.

You know, we all have these unique life circumstances that help design, shape and direct our lives from wherever we start from.

You know Michael was born to Holocaust survivors and lived in New York City. When you came out as a gay man at a time when that wasn’t as welcome as it is now, how did those experiences shape you, Michael?

They form A lot of who I am—but just to clarify, yeah, my parents were both Holocaust survivors, and thank God they survived because otherwise, I wouldn’t be here today. My entire family, including my parents and extended family, perished. I grew up… My father was the only survivor from his immediate family. He was from Warsaw, and he survived, but his siblings—a brother and a sister, or parents and cousins, aunts, and uncles—did not. And it shaped him in a way that, when I was a young child, I didn’t quite understand.

But as I grew older, I began to understand my father, as well as both of my parents. Thankfully, my sister and I were very, very talkative about our experiences. We were raised with more understanding than perhaps a lot of other survivors’ children were not because it was too painful for many people who had gone through those experiences to discuss them. 

My parents, even though they found it painful, felt that it was important to talk about it so that we would understand what transpired, what occurred, and what experiences they had. So that we could understand the dangers, for example, of things that may be happening in the world today but could still happen to us, to you, or anyone, and it has significantly shaped my psyche,

But one of the things that I will tell you about how it shaped me is that my parents, understandably, did not have trust for most people. I didn’t adopt that. I didn’t adopt that lack of trust. I made my decision a little early… perhaps it was in my late teens or early twenties that I realized they needed to trust people, but “verifiable trust” means that I trust until told not to. 

And if someone does something, says something, or acts in a particular way, says to me, “Hey, you know, I’m this or that, and I just said, “Well, now I can’t trust that person because of what they said.” then I no longer trusted them, but I don’t. I didn’t like the idea of going through life. I am suspicious of everyone I meet. It severely limits my potential.

Well, that also comes from a scarcity mindset, Michael, right? In the end, when you don’t trust people and you close yourself off from everybody else, you don’t allow yourself to be open to receiving. So in that mindset, you’ve done it because you’re afraid. You’re in this scarcity mindset, and you have to learn, and it’s a learned behavior, you have to learn to trust wisely.

You hit upon something with this Carol when you said it comes from a scarcity mindset. Well, my parents, of course. They had a scarcity mentality. I can understand why. My parents came to this country because they had a dollar in their pockets.

Can I ask? How old were they when they first came to this country?

Yes, you can, and I’ll figure it out. Yes, they came to this country. My mom was 23, and my sister had been born in a refugee camp in Austria. They were renamed “DP” camps for displaced persons after the war. So, according to my parents, they were stateless. That’s how they were classified. When they came to the United States on a boat, you knew it was a country of origin. 

Stateless 

But I have. I have those records, so I can see, as my sister was also eight months old when they came to this country, and she was stateless. So, when they came to this country, they had nothing, and my father immediately went to work in a factory, and actually, they came there. They settled in Boston rather than coming through New York Harbor, but they settled in Boston, and my father immediately went to work for a factory and a meat factory in Boston, because he realized that he had to, you know, support his family. 

My mother had, you know, an 8-month-old daughter, and they had an 8-month-old daughter. “Can you earn enough money to put a roof over their heads and provide enough for food and clothing and so on?” he asked. I was born in Boston. They have two children today and two more on the way, about a year later. You know they never had that scarcity mindset because of everything that had been taken away from them. 

You know my father’s family in Warsaw. My grandfather had a business. He ran a taxi company and worked as a mechanic for another family. The store also lives in the town where she grew up in Poland. And all of that was just taken away at a moment’s notice without any, you know, warning whatsoever. 

So, I can understand the scarcity mindset; I was raised with it. OK, and I decided a long time ago. I didn’t want to live my life that way from a scarcity mindset. Even though I adopted it for a long period.

When I ended up going to college, they encouraged education. I mean, that just happened naturally for them, but it was like, “What are you going to do when you graduate college?” You’re going to graduate school. You’re going to graduate school. What are you going to do? You have to have that…

Their advice to me: Was it required that you have a profession? The profession has to be able to support you financially so that you’ll never have to worry about where you’re going to earn your money. That’s a scarcity mindset.

That was my parents too, Michael? I mean, it’s the same thing, but they come from different countries, and I think the quote “land of opportunity” is difficult for them to understand. As a result, when it comes to their children, all they want is for them to have a job. They don’t have to worry, right? 

So, for us in the Asian culture, they wanted doctors and lawyers. So, I can understand what your parents are thinking. And I grew up with that mindset. So, I understand where you were.

I knew you had.

I’m Jewish, so you know that in our culture, you could be a doctor or a lawyer, but you could also be a dentist. Or you could. Be an accountant. I didn’t want any of the medical stuff, things because that kind of allows me to express myself briefly. But I was good at math, and I was good with numbers, so that’s the direction that I took. And I also wanted to please my parents.

Yep, I understand that one 100%.

You know what I mean. Like you, Carol, I wanted to please my parents. I wanted them to feel comfortable enough to know that they had done a good job of raising me so that they didn’t need to worry about me going forward. 

You know this goes back, I believe, to your original question. “We’re going to work,” Travis says. I don’t remember; I’m paraphrasing, but what was it about your background and upbringing that was like that? That got you to where you are, and am I correct in that or not? Did I miss some?

Yeah, it really. It’s really—how does it work? How does it shape you?

Exactly how does it shape you?

Yeah, I grew up in trailer parks and foster homes. I understand scarcity mode. I understand living in survival mode.

I was in it for the vast majority of my life. It wasn’t till I was in my late 20s that I finally calmed down a little bit. I’ve been in the Navy for almost 10 years at that point, I’m like I know I’m not running. Anything like that, there’s no one coming to get me, but it was, you know, more than 10 years. 10 years after I graduated high school, I finally had that feeling, and then I finally got to figure out, like, is this what home feels like? because I didn’t know. I think by that point I had moved 45 times already, and when you don’t have a home it’s hard to feel safe. It’s hard to feel like the world’s not out to get you. It’s hard to feel like you can be comfortable in your skin and start building a life for yourself. 

The big problem is that a lot of people in this country, me included, need to be healed as people. We get married and have kids, and while we’re still broken, we’re trying to parent and raise kids and figure out a professional way to do this stuff. 

So now I’m talking with my daughter, who’s grown and married, about all the stuff that I did to her, and I know I’ve had to talk with my dad about all the stuff he did to me. I know he had to talk with his mom about all the stuff that she did to him. And all the stuff that I had a problem with growing up, I took care of that stuff.

But there was a whole lot of stuff that I missed because my daughter felt like you weren’t here for your emotions. You know it emotionally. I was like, “Babe, I don’t even have those available to me, let alone to give out to anybody else.”

And now. 

It’s getting better. I realize there are two emotions, not just rage. There’s also joy. I didn’t know. I guess there are more than two… we’ll figure it out.

As far as I know, you didn’t have a reference point. I mean, you didn’t have a safe and secure childhood, so without that, how do you know where to go? Your home was always running. You, on the other hand, were terrified. The home was not a place of safety for you, so without a reference point, how are you supposed to know?

It’s almost impossible. And I love the fact that we’ve got three people on camera right now. We were all subjected to a scarcity mindset and/or survival mode, and what you heard is that we all chose to take responsibility for our own lives and do something different than what we were shown. 

If you never listen to another episode, if you never get anything else from anything that we say, the nugget that you have to take away is that you have the choice to say, “I’m not OK with this anymore.” I’m going to do it this way. I’m going to make my way. I’m responsible for the things that I do and how I react to this world, and I’m going to make it my own. 

There’s a healing process involved with that too, though you know that if you don’t heal, you’re never going to be OK.

Oh tons. 

I mean it; you’re just going to keep repeating and perpetuating a pattern.

Yeah, you get cut, and then you start bleeding on people who had nothing to do with the reason you got cut. 

Travis, you are correct. 

You said something earlier about me, and you know I came out as a gay man when it was not an easy time to do so. And that is true, but it goes beyond that for me. Because, you know, I grew up in the 1960s and 1970s, and it was not an easy time to be gay. It’s still there, you know. I think it’s gotten a hell of a lot easier for a lot of people because there’s just so much more going on in that world, in the gay world, in the LGBT community, and so on. 

You know, even when I started to come out, I tiptoed. I told the friends first, right? And then I told my sister. And then I told an aunt and an uncle. And then I finally told my parents. So, I told my parents, like, when I was 40 or something, and I remember when I told my parents. 

And by the way, I had an amazing therapist who helped me through this process, and he said something to me. That was something I still remember to this day, and his name was Michael as well. And Michael said to me, “Well, Michael, if you don’t tell your parents, who are you hurting, and you’re hurting yourself, it would hurt me if I didn’t tell them because I’m living a life.” I’m not being honest with them, and so I did.

You’re not being authentic.

Not being authentic exactly, and so I did tell them, and I remember doing this actually in a letter, and I remember going like this with the mailbox when I sent the letter. Who do I send this to? I’m not sending it; I finished it all and just threw it away. There, I said, “Oh.” What the **** Did I just do it, you know? 

After three days, I got a call from my parents, and they were both on the phone, and my dad was amazing. He was just so incredibly loving and supportive, and he was just really, really happy for me

And your mom was like, “How am I supposed to have grandbabies?”

My mom was a little tougher not to crack. When she said, you know, one of the things she said to me was, “Well.” I hope you haven’t told anyone else in the family. And I said, “Well, I had,” and she said, “Well, who’d you tell?”

Yeah, right? 

And I said, “I told my sister.” And I said, “I told your sister, “And she said, “Why’d you tell them and not tell me?” I remember what my response was. I told them because I felt like they could handle it and I didn’t think you could, and she said, “Well, what makes you think I can handle it now?” I no longer say it. It matters whether you can handle it now; you’re going to have to figure it out. I’ll help you; I will help you, but that is my reality, and I want to be in your life. I love you, and I want you to continue to love me so we can help each other and support one another. But it’s today’s reality for who I am as a person.

Michael, you were the same person. The funny thing is you didn’t change; you just revealed something about yourself. That is the truth, right? And in the end, she loved you anyway—or she still loves you. I’m hoping she’s still alive. Yes no. 

Mom, my mom I just passed this test at the age of 95.

I am sorry to bring that up, but

That’s OK; I’m OK with it. She was 95. She lived a very long life. I’m, you know, of course very sad, but at the same time, I recognize that she has been declining. And when you know the last three or four years of her life were not very good, in many ways, it’s a blessing. 

Michael, 95, has had an eventful life. To be honest, I find that amusing. She couldn’t accept it, considering she loved her son. And the only difference was that you were just coming out to her. So interestingly, she couldn’t just accept it, but everyone sees things from a different place, so you just don’t know how they’re going to react in the end.

Well, in response to that, I would say that she didn’t reject it, but it took her some time. to come around to completely embrace who I am. And, as you may know, I’m married. I have a husband and…

I met him.

And my husband and I have been married for eight years this month after being together for 24 years. We have an anniversary on the 26th, and my mother adored and loved him, and they have a good, strong relationship. 

So, did you know that it took her a little longer, but my mother eventually came around and was pretty amazing? I say the most important quality is resilience to people I’d ever known in my entire life, after everything she’d experienced in her life, and she’d had a lot of it. A lot of it is bad. It is good that she continued with so much love for 95 years. It is just incredible.

I believe she was more concerned about how people would react to your coming out. I think this goes back to that scarcity mindset, right? And she knows how difficult it was for her to bring you here, not to mention all the trials she’s been through. So, because of all those things that she’s experienced, just the idea of you coming out was like, “Oh my God.” This is going to be so much harder for Michael, right?

Is that—yes, it was going to be harder for me, but she also comes from a place where you know she grew up. And where did she grow up? You know, I am. I’m sure there were gay people, but nobody was out. Because, as you know, you were my mother at the time. I didn’t grow up unorthodox, but you know there was an Orthodox Jewish community in Poland, and nobody talked about gay people. Because that was just unacceptable in the culture.

Yeah, well, if you look at Roman times and Roman statues, the ultimate sex symbol was a young man, and if you read through some of the old plays and stuff like getting yourself a nice young man no matter who you were, the ultimate sex symbol.

You know, the ancient Greeks and Romans celebrated.

Look at some of the movies; they were having **** Come on now.

I’m not saying I’m taking notes, but what movies are those?

We’ll do this offline.

I do want to have a happy birthday. I mean. 

Is it a happy birthday or a happy ending?

I see. 

Both are acceptable to me. Yes, please, yeah. 

Yeah, but anyway, you know so.

It’s like a lot of what we talked about here. I believe we started this by asking me how I became a Titan.  I think that a lot of these life experiences have led me to that. Because I wasn’t going to let anything get in my way of accomplishing what I wanted to accomplish and being who I am. 

I am not finished, but I’m not. No way, I’m not done; I’m the only one. I feel like, in many ways, I’m just getting started. You know, in addition to my CPA practice. I’m now a book author, an executive producer on a film, and an investor. I’m a philanthropist. I’m an investor in a lot of live theater performances, so you know. My life is full, and it keeps getting better all the time.

And you get a place in Spain.

Yes, we bought a place in Madrid.

I’m coming to visit.

You know, I shouldn’t say everybody who’s going to listen to this is coming to visit, but you guys

Everyone named Carol and Travis is welcome.

We bought this incredible place in Madrid almost a year ago. We closed on it last December. We’re going there in December for a couple of weeks, and we always go at this time of year. We go there for the holiday period, and, as you know.

They have a very neat tradition in Spain where, during the New Year, everybody is given grapes. They have these grapes, and I’m not quite sure where that comes from, but it’s that kind of thing. A cool, neat tradition when you’re in Spain. Yeah, everybody does that, and so we always do that, and we’re going back again this year, and eventually, not just in the future. We plan on relocating this thing to Madrid. 

So, our place in Madrid has two bedrooms and two baths. So yes, the second bedroom/bath is on the second floor. There’s a laundry room up there, so the only requirement is that you do all our laundry while You’re visiting. 

I love it.

Yeah, Ollie and I have talked about going to Barcelona and watching races. There is one place I have yet to visit. I wanted to go all these years to Barcelona, and we want to go see a Moto GP race. So, if we’re in town, you can bet we’ll swing, and visit Madrid and Florence.

They’re all there, my friend.

You can take a train everywhere, anywhere in Europe.

I’m going to tell you right now that you’re not going to want to take the train from Spain to Italy. It’s a long trip.

Well, you know, when I was in Florence with my son, his girlfriend was studying in Spain, and she took the train in, and we met her at the train station. And yeah, it was. It was great. We spent the weekend in Florence.

Except if you like long train rides, and making whatever you want; cool, but it was a long time, as you know. 

The flights into Europe are so cheap.

That they are cheap within Europe, so you can. Take it easy on the air. Flying between countries and Europe in one of those is very, very cheap, so that’s another option, but I will tell you, Barcelona is gorgeous. It’s beautiful. I love Barcelona. However, I love Madrid a little bit more.

A little. 

I don’t have much else to say. Now I want to.

Just go for context. Madrid to Florence is a 26-hour train ride.

I was going to tell you. I was going to say

Yeah, that’s interesting. Barcelona’s closer. But Madrid to Florence is 26 hours. 

I have no doubt… It’s a lot.

Take a puddle jumper for a short flight.

Well, you have to go. You must travel to the northern border with France, then across France into Italy, and then down, which is a long journey.

Michael. These kids were college kids. They don’t. At the end of the day, if it’s cheap and it gets them where they’re going, they’re taking it.

Plus, the trains in Europe are amazing. They’re gorgeous, and they’re fast.

They’re gorgeous. 

They’re entertaining.

Uh-huh yeah. 

You can have a good time on the train

No, no, no, and I love the different sections; if you upgrade to the higher section, I will come and serve you. It’s like first class.

They’re very nice. I love it, and the trains in Spain are great. We have very good friends in Malaga, which is in the very far south of Spain on the Costa del Sol, and we always go to visit them. The train ride from Madrid to Malaga takes 2 hours and 20 minutes. If you were to drive it, it would take you about 7 and 1/2 hours.

Oh, goodness, OK, that’s quite a difference.

So, it’s so worth taking the train. They’re great.

Yeah, I love traveling within Europe; that’s it. I do miss it because when COVID came, there was nothing open for travel, and I hated it because I do miss traveling so much, right? And now I want to go back to Taiwan, even just to visit my cousins. 

During COVID, my aunt died. I couldn’t get it. Back then, they wouldn’t let me back because she was my aunt, and what they didn’t understand—and I kept pleading with them—was that I lost my mother at 20. So, you know, my aunt said to me, “You’re my daughter now,” and she was, just like my mom. And how do you explain that to somebody when you’re pleading with them that you want to go back for the funeral?

They wouldn’t give you any dispensation for that.

Yep, I couldn’t do it, so I’m still waiting because there’s still a mandatory quarantine. Yeah, yeah, it’s less than 2 weeks; I think now it’s like 10 days, but even then, I can’t go for very long. So, if it’s spent in quarantine and I can only spend 2 days with them, what’s the point?

And there is still a long way to go. 

Exactly. 

It’s a full day of travel each way, and it’s too far to go for two days and 10 days in quarantine. I 100% agree.

Yeah, how old were you by then? way when you do it. I figured out that you were gay.

Oh well, you know I’ve always had suspicions because I prefer men over women. But, you know, I fought it. I fought it for a long time, like throughout my 20s. I fought it. And I remember how I felt at the time. When I decided to start coming, I assumed I was 32. 

And I came out to a very good friend of mine. This woman, with whom I have worked and with whom we became very close friends, was sitting in her house when I told her, and she said, “Oh, God, for God’s sake.” She said she’d been waiting for you to tell me that”. And I said, “Really, you knew?” She said, “Of course, I knew.” 

And her name was Nancy. I remember her doing this. Her name was Nancy Cotters. She was a very dear friend of mine. I told her, and I got this great reception from her having done that, and it gave me some hope, you know? 

And then I told my next—I think the next people I told were my sister and my brother-in-law; my then brother-in-law is now divorced, and my sister was great. My brother-in-law being the schmuck that he is, they’re now divorced, so who cares?

Exactly, he’s already gone, so it’s not a big deal.

He was OK. With it, he was fine, but I know that he wasn’t OK with it. Because he is ****** Oh, that’s not a bad word, but if it is, I don’t care.

You can say that. Whatever the hell you want to say on the Titan Evolution podcast

So, you know, and you know it’s intriguing. You know that when I did come out to my sister and brother-in-law, my sister said to me, “Well, I’m not going to tell the kids yet.” I said, “Why?” just because I don’t think that they were ready for this, I said, “Why not?” What do they think I’m going to do? Sexually attack them. First of all, her two older kids are girls. OK, the youngest one is her nephew, with whom I have a really good, close relationship.

Oh my God, it’s irrelevant, completely irrelevant.

So, I told her, I told my sister, and I told myself, you know what? They’re your kids. You decide what you want to do. I think you’re wrong to approach it that way, but I’m not going to interfere. I’m just not going to interfere, and you know what happened was like with her kids… who are the generations below mine? You know they grew up going to school, and you know that my nephew, for example, lives in Brooklyn, as he once told me recently. He said, “You know, 90% of my friends are gay, even though I’m straight.” Yeah, is it? 90% of my friends are gay, including her two daughters, my two nieces have tons of gay friends, so it’s not an issue. I felt like my sister was trying to protect them from something that she didn’t even have any knowledge about.

Well, it was unavoidable that we would eventually arrive at the point where it is now widely accepted. Nobody cares if you’re you.

Right? But the one thing I will tell you about that is that it was painful for me. She approached it that way.

Yeah, but at what age do you tell kids all the stuff of life?

There was shame behind it.

At what age do you tell kids that there are murderers and rapists? At what age do you tell them about death, and at what age do you tell them about all the things that are so vastly different from what’s in their bubble? It’s really hard to determine.

You know, I grew up in a household where we visited the Lutheran Church and ****. You would have gone if you didn’t do what the Lutherans did you were going to hell.

There’s a verse in the Bible that says you’re going to hell. And it won’t be until you read the Bible and get into the acts. And it says, “Let nothing I have made be unclean,” and you can apply that with love and grace to every situation that you like. What the hell is everyone so worked up about, right?

Interpretation, Travis. It’s their interpretation.

Its interpretation is determined by culture. Growing up gay was wrong, that’s what I was taught, and until I had my faculties about me and was able to explore this on my own—and you know what I mean? like until it went through that process. But if you tell me and I don’t know about your sister’s, aunts, or older sisters’ houses, I have no idea, right? 

But if they say something and then, oh, by the way, someone in our family violates something that we said, and I don’t know if this is the case or not, it’s going to take a minute to get that implemented in the household and have those conversations. I loved living at home with my kids. Because my daughter and all her daughters would be here, all their friends would be at my house. So, when things like school shootings came up, I had the chance to talk to the kids about it, like, “Hey, well, what do we think?” About this, what do we know? What do we know about the situation? And yet, some households are just not interested in having tough conversations, regardless of what the topic is.

They most likely have no idea how… Travis.

Yeah, they don’t know how I did the Miss Oklahoma pageant last year. With this voice, I was the MC. Of course.

This year, I was a judge, and I was thinking, “How do I ask the girls?” What do I ask people about all of this, and how do I come up with some really difficult political questions? And I wasn’t sure if I’m going to be able to do it. Use him to inform the organizers that I have some really good ideas. Hard political questions: What do you think he’s like? He says, “Ask him.” It will only get worse from here. So, I asked him.

I’m like, “What?” Do you think about Roe v. Wade being overturned? What do you think about this? What do you think? We went through the materials, and one of the judges said after they left, “Man, I have no idea how old I am.” But it’s because we don’t broach those subjects. It’s because we don’t talk about those things. That makes it more difficult. And when you can have a real conversation about those topics, it makes everything easier. 

But if you’ve never been challenged, if you’ve never really thought through and understood why it is that you feel that way, are those feelings valid? Right, they might not have been. It could have simply been something you heard on the news and accepted into your system. And that’s where you’ll stay until you’re challenged and have those conversations you don’t know how to have. And a lot of people aren’t equipped because they’ve never broached the hard topics.

Well, Travis, you said something a little earlier, just slightly. Well, you said you knew you grew up in a Lutheran household. OK, so in my freshman year of college, I went to Tufts University just outside Boston, right? And I had a roommate who was from Rhode Island—not that that’s relevant, but I’m just. I don’t know why, so I said it anyway.

He simply cannot.

It’s fine; we’ll do it.

We like people from Rhode Island, too. It’s all right, yeah.

He came from a Lutheran family, and I remember his parents coming to visit on a parent’s weekend. and he introduced me to them. I met them, and he took them. You know they asked him, “Well, what is Michael’s Background?” and he told them, well, Michael’s Jewish, and this had nothing. I wasn’t out, so it couldn’t have been my being gay; it had to be my being Jewish, and he later told me that his parents were Jewish. I told him that I was damned to hell because I’m Jewish.

It’s all hellfire and brimstone, or you’re following the rules for the Lutherans.

So, I believe his name was Phil. I remember him; I can see him; I can see his face right now, and I said, “Phil, what do you think he said?” I believe it is a bunch of ******* remember him; I can see him; I can see his face right now, and I said, “Phil, what do you think he said?” I believe it is a bunch of *******. And I said, “Well, thank you, Phil.” I appreciate it. I said, “You know?” Have you ever considered educating your parents about what’s going on in the world—that we’re not all Lutherans or Christians, that we’re not all anything—that we’re all different and have different belief systems—that we’re all human beings—and you said you knew you couldn’t talk to my parents like that? And he didn’t mean me… he met the proverbial “you.” You can’t talk to my parents that way, and I said, “Well, they’re your parents; they’re not mine, thankfully.”

It’s one of those things you know. There’s a group in the circles that we run, and we talk about this stuff all the time. When you reach a certain level of saturation on a topic, a lot of people are just closed off from learning anything new. 

I love having political conversations with open-minded people who just won’t get mad right away because I’m assuming we have different points of view. That you know something or have gone through something that I haven’t, and I’d like to know more about what you sing, right? As part of my core operating system, I want to know and understand people. “How is that?” I want to understand people.

That’s how it is.

Is it for you, and if so, why? How do you do it? Feel that way, and you get some blowback from some people, like, “Oh, you don’t know.” I’m not going to tell you how I felt. That’s not going to work.

Anything, then you don’t know yourself.

Right? Like, how is it that you came to that conclusion? I’m so interested in being as incorrect as possible and saying edgy things to see what kind of reaction I get. Oh, this is a new scenario. This is an interesting finding. What is it about people that I don’t know, and how can we truly connect and grow if we can’t do that with just service-level boring masks on, follow the doctrine conversation?

So, if I told you that the remainder of the world was like Carol and Travis, and possibly me. The world would be a much better place because we’re open to hearing different perspectives and points of view. 

Because, as you are aware, none of us has the key. That’s correct because there is no single thing that is correct. There is no single belief system; rather, there are many. That’s right; there’s no one political party that’s right about everything, so people would…. and I say people in the world… If we were as open and receptive as my good friends Travis Johnson and Carl Carpenter, I think the world would be a far better place than it is today, because we have a long way to go.

Oh, yes, and I think if we can just use it to get people to be more open, it is better to open. Be open instead of angry because you disagree with something someone said, Be curious. 

Always lean toward curiosity first, and if we did that just that simple word, be curious as to why that person has that viewpoint, why they said what they said. But for whatever. You were misled by logic. If you’re curious and open, then it allows you to learn that way as well.

You’re right, Carol. But you know, in addition to that, in addition to what you said, I’d just like to. Please allow me to add. 

In addition to being curious, I think it’s important, too, for every one of us to explain to the rest of the world. Why do we believe what it means to us personally? I believe this is important because have you considered or thought about XYZ, this thing or that thing, or that person being gay, for the people we’re trying to persuade or at least educate? Or, as you said, it will be weighed, or whatever it may be. If they understood why every one of us has an opinion about it and why we have that opinion, I think the world would be a far saner, safer, and more wonderful place.

Well, I agree. 

We’ll let Michael tell us something about it. You deserve that the most. People just don’t know.

Well, OK, in addition to my career as a CPA and all the real things I do, I’m also a musician. I sing and play the guitar. I’m also an artist, so I paint. And I do drawings, and I just have a passionate love for the arts, and one of the things I will tell you about my art is that when I paint or draw, it takes me into a whole different world.

Like Canada? How different are we talking?

Jesus no, no. It takes me into my headspace, OK? For example, I’ll tell you that I haven’t done any painting or drawing in a long time and that I need to get back into it. And I’m thinking that when I move to Spain, I’m going to have the time, space, and everything to do that a little bit more than I do now, but

There goes the spare room…. It is now the art room and I like visiting.

It’s now an art studio.

They’re like visiting Michael in Spain.

The place we bought in Spain has three levels. There’s the ground level, which is like the main living area, including the master bedroom and bathroom. Upstairs there is a second bedroom, bathroom, and laundry room, and then we have a basement that is our own, plus we have an outdoor patio space. 

So, you know I’m looking at the echo patio. Space as a location: where can I paint, and what happens when I do so? I do that. when I get into that space in my head. I’m so focused on what I’m going to put on that canvas or that piece of paper. The rest of the world just goes away.

And it is true in many ways a wonderful place to be because I’m so invested in what? That’s what it’ll look like, and then I’ll do it. It gets refined as I go through the process, but I remember having done that in the past. I’d start working on a painting and could literally go for an entire day from the time I woke up after breakfast and cleaning up, and I’d start painting, and the next thing I knew, it was 10:00 p.m. And I haven’t even eaten.

Your Zen place.

It is Zen. Place it online. It’s an amazing experience to have where, I guess, the rest of the world just disappears.

Melts away, you know? That’s how I look at riding motorcycles. It is, yeah.

I’d like to see it. I want to know more about that and the reason…

Not only do I want to learn more about you, Carol, but I’m also fascinated by that. And I’m sure you do, and I’ll let you know before you tell me. I just want to share two things. One is that at one point I had a motorcycle.

What kind? 

But how did it get to be a Kawasaki? And it was a long time ago, and I don’t have it.

one now and one later because I live in New York, and it’s crazy. To ride a motorcycle in New York, yeah, I can. But the other thing is that I don’t want to get a motorcycle when I move to Spain, but I want to get a basketball.

In Europe, everybody’s got a freaking best man.

I want to have a Vespa. I want a car, but do I want to Have a Vespa? OK, hey, hey.

Vespas are sexy. Are you kidding? That’s what they ride all over Europe. I mean, I got one and I’m going to get another in Spain. It’d be fun.

I’m going to get one that’s not that. Something I’m going to do there is get it, and I want to get a bright red one.

I adore the color red. Red is my color, oh. And look at Travis, who is wearing red.

I want one of the same colors. As Travis’s. 

That’s right; that’s called the Ducati red.

Ducati, Ducati, Ducati Do you own a Ducati? 

I do, 

Oh, awesome!

Yeah, I have like seven motorcycles.

Oh my God, wow.

I don’t have enough gas for all the motorcycles.

Wow, wow, so

Yeah, but you know it’s a Zen place, and there’s something about it. It’s about being in touch with something else, and it’s an inanimate object. Of course, right? But you are completely at one with it, and that’s the same thing as with you and a paintbrush. Your imagination and creativity go into that, and because of that, time, space, and everything just float away. For us on a motorcycle, the concentration and focus are so intense that everything else melts away because you’re just enjoying the scenery. It’s visceral, and you’re at one with it.

Totally wow. 

That’s incredible, so there’s a series I’ve been watching on HBO. It’s called the white lotus. I don’t know if either of you has ever seen it. So, it’s now in its second season and takes place in Sicily with this odd couple. Well, you know the husband and wife. They’re in Sicily, and they get on this Vespa, and they start riding around, and you look at it, and you look at the roads that they’re riding around on in Sicily, and they’re winding, and it’s kind of crazy. And my husband was looking, and he said, “Oh my God, that scares the living daylights out of me.” And I said, “Oh, my God, I drove a car on the Amalfi coast in Italy.” It was just like that. And that was scary, but I did it anyway because it was just so great.

It’s exhilarating. 

But I’m not sure I want to do it. That I’m not sure about, but you know I want to. I want to own a Vespa, so if you get a chance, watch Season 2 of The White Lotus in Sicily. I’m not promoting it because I’m familiar with the majority of it.

You said you were an executive producer to get paid. I mean, we’re legally obligated by the FTC to divulge things that pay you money

I know, I only. I wish I had no connection to that, but I don’t. I do have a connection to a forthcoming film, I mean; you and Carol were both presents.

You and I both do.

Yeah, it’s called—what’s it called—the strange? That’s what the working title is.

The stranger—that’s what I dealt with in Vegas.

What were you doing in Vegas, Travis?

I got the opportunity to do a couple of things. I got to speak at the military influencer conference about podcasting. As you might imagine.

I got to go to the SEMA car show, which is the biggest car show in the world, which is a lot of fun. Great time, without a doubt great time. 

Hey, as we’re getting ready to wrap up here, Michael, what’s up? A piece of advice you would share with people who are having a hard time. They’re going through something at the moment. Where’s the one place? so that we can find you.

Let me take the last one. Parts are easier than I expected. So, do you want me to put it in the chat, or do you want me to just say it, OK?

Well, we’ll do both, right? Yeah, say it. And then you’ll just have to click the Anyone listening

My media kit is at www.michaelmarkiewicz.net. And then I have a website. 

It’s www.michaelmarkiewicz.net my cell phone number. I would ask that if anybody wants to reach me, please text me first and tell me where you found me because I don’t answer calls from people I don’t know. My phone number is 917-8387 which I think is an amazing phone number that I will never give up. When I first moved to Spain.

One piece of advice I gave was to follow your dreams. I should say “live your dream,” and don’t give up on your dreams. Pursue them, do what you love, and look for support from people around you. One of the most valuable lessons I ever learned was working in corporate America. 

My boss told everybody around him that he kept repeating himself because it was nauseating, but it was a very valuable lesson. You know this was him saying, “I surround myself with people who know more than I do.” 

And it is critical to remember that none of us know everything and that we can all learn from those around us. I’ve learned so much from both of you. Just in this podcast, I’ve learned so much from everyone that I’ve ever encountered in my life. Never stop learning. Never stop learning, whether you do it through reading books, online, or both.

 But most importantly, there are human connections. When you make those great, incredible human connections, you’re always going to learn something. I always do, and I just know how much one of the other things I also know is. I know what I know and don’t. I know what I don’t know. and I would say that I know maybe 5% of what I should know, but 95% of the rest is out there that I don’t know. 

Even if I start learning everything, the other is 95%. There’s going to be another 95% that I don’t know. So be humble, know what you don’t know, and keep learning.

Oh, we love it, Michael. Thank you so much for being our guest today. You can check out more at michaelmarkowitz.net. We’ll have those links for you in the show notes. Thank you so much for myself and Carol. Enjoy the hell out of Spain.

Well, thank you both for having me here. I appreciate it. This has been enjoyable for me, and I just love you both and loved having this conversation. So, thank you.

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