The girls are past the constant question stage, but with school back in session, we still get the occasional query. Just like I hope to (eventually) pass down off my love of reading, I also hope they never completely stop trying to figure things out.
Michelle is a great role model for this attitude. She will ask questions of anyone at anytime and she will keep asking until she understands. I prefer to try to do it on my own (or ask machines) until I hit a deadend before I go looking for human help. Perhaps not the most efficient approach but I think we each maintain as adults an ‘everything is figureoutable‘ attitude in different ways. That’s the most important part.
Too many of us let our curiosity slowly dwindle after we close that last textbook. Our minds slowly close as we get older.
Kids and their questions are a great reminder that we should never stop trying to learn or never be satisfied not knowing the answers to some things.
It’s dark and I’m running on the side of a New Hampshire freeway chasing a blurry blinking dot a half mile in the distance. The wind whispers rumors of a hurricane as I crest a hill and start down the other side, slowly closing the gap on that dancing light.
The kill will come soon. All those runs up and down Indian Hill are going to pay off. I will conquer the light. I will swallow it whole and eat its glowing heart. I will show no mercy. Just a curt nod and wave and a slight acceleration. I will skip any pleasantries if the person is in costume.
I pick up the pace as I visualize marking up the van window with another blue tally mark. This is the moment when the little sprites leap out of the darkness and attack my hips and knees with their tiny, sharp Ginsu knives.
I am halfway through my second relay leg.
This is when Ragnar gets real…this is when I ask myself why the f*ck am I doing this?
That is the look of a very sad dog. One whose owner went to his annual Ragnar Race Relay in New Hampshire which is why his #2 (or 3 .. or 4) in the pack is up writing the Scenes From Saturday Blog this week.
With Mike away the house rhythm is different and Dash is NOT having any of it. There was no one to follow down to the basement, up the stairs, or into the bathroom. There wasn’t someone to take him out for a woods walk, or to make sure that he has a blanket nearby for resting. The food wasn’t served the “right” way so of course it was time to go on a hunger strike. And worst of all, Saturday started with a hurricane forecast which meant lots of rain. Dash does not like the rain.
Fall is right around the corner, and the school year is in full effect. I have felt the pull of the last few weeks to figure out the new routines and the routines that need to continue, all while knowing that the people around me are doing the same. It’s a time to embrace the new and get comfortable in the changing rhythms…that even means you too, Dashiell!
Now onto Saturday…
A few weeks ago I mentioned how I thought the simple ability to tolerate minor discomfort was a waning superpower. I recently encountered another everyday superpower that social media and society appear hell bent on extinguishing.
Minding your own business.
Okay, yes I’m introverted and I often prefer the company of books to people but if you want to know a “secret” to my productivity beyond not watching much TV and just getting on with it, it’s knowing what I really care about and knowing what I don’t. It helps sharpen my focus on where to put my energy.
I save a lot of mental space simply by understanding what I don’t have any interest in knowing any more about despite what TikTok, Twitter, or Facebook might believe.
I think because we have access to these windows into the lives of others all day, it can be easy to be convinced that the view entitles one to a depth of understanding, but if you resist that and just mind your own business you quickly figure out what’s real and might be worth the investment of your time and what can be disregarded or ignored. That’s a superpower.
Before yesterday, thinking about a bright, sunny Labor Day Saturday spent at an amusement park filled me with… a certain kind of sweaty dread.
But also a realization. Summer is over. My sabbatical is almost over. These swaths of free time where the kids are stuck with me are almost over.
Maybe a Saturday at an amusement park with family and friends isn’t something that should fill me with apprehension.
If there is anyone who deserves my best behavior, or my biggest smile, or c’est la vie attitude, it’s them. If there is anyone I should muster patience and energy for, it’s them.
But if they think they’re getting Dippin’ Dots after 5 pm before we have dinner…
Cecilia and I have a running “discussion” about the use of air conditioning in our house. She would prefer to keep it at Rocky meat locker levels. I am a bit more frugal. To avoid having the same “discussion” each night, we’ve come up with temperature thresholds that dictate when we use it. Can’t argue with a thermometer. Well, you can if you’re a teenager….
It’s the ability to tolerate minor discomfort.
Obviously, this really isn’t just about air conditioning usage, but it did lead me to think about our ability to tolerate minor discomfort. It is shocking to me sometimes how readily we all set aside our ambitions, merely to avoid tolerable levels of unpleasantness.
It’s easier to flip through FB or TikTok or Insta and get that hit rather starting that dreaded task even when you know, you know, you’re going to feel better when it’s done.
And this isn’t just me preaching to the girls, I’ve been wrestling with this through my sabbatical with my goal to write 2k words a day. I know its gotta get done, but I put it off or make side deals with myself even if I know better.
What’s the fix? Heck if I know other than just working at it. Exposure therapy. Let those feelings of anxiety or boredom come and then go and get on with the task. Keep doing that and you’ve got yourself a superpower that is slowly going extinct.
A whirlwind two weeks, three countries, and thousands of miles of vacation came to an end yesterday with a long drive back from Canada.
We had another great week in PEI doing our favorite things and also doing not much at all.
I did get a lot of reading done between all the miles, including some fiction: Small Mercies by Dennis Lehane, A World of Curiosities by Louise Penny, Zero Days by Ruth Ware, and Valdez is Coming by Elmore Leonard. Plus, some non-fiction, as well: How to Write One Song by Jeff Tweedy, The Best of It by Kay Ryan, and Play: How it Shapes Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul by Stuart Brown.
All worth the time. I’ve reached the point where if the book isn’t working for me, I don’t plow through it, I just put it aside.
Anyone else read any great beach or vacation books this year?