Maranda Pleasant: What makes you come alive?

Mark Deklin: Time spent with my kids, especially when we’re playing together outdoors—ocean, mountains, garden. Nothing better.

MP: What makes you feel vulnerable?

MD: That same intense, overpowering, and all-encompassing love that you feel for your family can also be utterly terrifying. I’m fearful and anxious for my family in ways that I’ve never been fearful or anxious for myself. I’m completely vulnerable to their pain, both physical and emotional. It’s wild. And I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

MP: If you could say something to everyone on the planet, what would it be?

MD: The one thing I would tell everyone—myself included—would be to just chill out. Life, by design, provides us with plenty of drama without us having to augment it and invent more. Just chill.

MP: How do you handle emotional pain?

MD: When I’m at my best, I try to breathe it in, sit with it, see what it has to teach me, cry it out, accept it, own it, and move on. But when I’m not at my best, I can become really angry, bitter, sullen, and resentful. One of the gifts of parenthood is that it forces you to be a bit more conscious about it, if only because you quickly realize that those kids are learning from your every action.

MP: Tell me about your latest projects.

MD: I’ve been playing Nicholas Deering on Devious Maids. He’s basically a decent guy, but he’s done some really, really bad things in the past that he’d like to bury. I suppose you might say that, unlike Walter White, Nick is attempting to “break good.”

MP: How do you keep your center in the middle of chaos? Do you have a daily routine?

MD: Reading and gardening are really big for me, along with music and exercise. If I go more than a day or two without a run or a bike ride or something, I start to get kind of itchy and antsy. I also do this funny little combo of yoga, martial arts, and Pilates that I’ve put together over the years. And then sometimes, there’s nothing quite like a nice glass of peaty scotch with a single ice cube to take the edge right off.

MP: What’s been one of your biggest lessons so far in life?

MD: My dad, who died a few years ago, was a really beautiful, peaceful man, and he was full of wisdom that I’ve come to appreciate more and more. Two of my favorites are “Accept the gift and honor the giver” and “Learn how to let go and say a good good-bye.”

MP: What truth do you know for sure?

MD: Love is real. In every single moment, there are only two choices: love or fear. I can tell you from experience that love is exponentially more powerful. And a hell of a lot more fun.

MP: How can young people make a difference?

MD: Own it. Create the world you want to see. Be bold. Be kind. Be brave. Figure out what you believe in and what you’re willing to fight for, then figure out what your special talents are and apply them to it. Always look for common ground, but don’t ever be afraid to choose sides. Choose love. Teach love. And never lose your curiosity.


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