I was resistant for a long time but I have to admit I’ve finally taken the plunge on pickleball. I probably don’t need another hobby but I might have found one.
I believe hobbies are important. The weirder and sillier the better. One of my favorite self-help-y books Four Thousand weeks advises, ”In order to be a source of true fulfillment, a good hobby probably should feel a little embarrassing; that’s a sign you’re doing it for its own sake.”
It’s been a stressful few days and just going out and having something to do made me feel immediately better. I was not very good but I learned something new and I had fun. Not a bad way to spend some time. That’s a good definition of a hobby.
Ally has recently been spending a lot of time dribbling a basketball in the driveway or asking to throw the football. I am happy to be her partner but also wary of offering too much feedback or even too much encouragement. Demanding excellence can often undermine the reason we picked up the ball in the first place. I don’t want to steal from her the simple pleasure of doing something she merely, but truly, enjoys.
Good, bad, or embarrassing.
[If you don’t subscribe to the book newsletter, a quick update on the next book] It is the dog days of summer and I am in the dog days of writing the next book. I’m approaching half way. If I look over my shoulder, I can no longer see the bright and exciting beginning. If I look ahead, it’s still a bit dark and mysterious. How are you going to get out this one, Max? The only way to find out is to keep going. Get on that treadmill and get some words down each day.
When that happens? Happiness and light. But it does have a darker side. Chasing happiness, even just through writing, can be exhausting. This time around I’m trying instead to focus on being grateful.
G.K. Chesterton said, “I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought and gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”
Unlike happiness, which is more a (fleeting) feeling, gratitude, I think, can be cultivated as a practice. It is a verb, something you do. Happiness is worth acknowledging, but gratitude is worth practicing.
I often complain about the kids in this blog, in a humorous way, but still usually some chiding complaint. I thought I should at least offer a positive story once in awhile. Just not too often. Don’t want them to get inflated egos.
Cecilia didn’t do well on a test (sorry, can’t call them tests anymore – check-in) earlier this year. To be fair, given the email we received from the teacher, many kids did not do well (which might make me think about the teaching methods…). I digress.
Cecilia latched onto this group failure as her life preserver. Sorry, not going to work, in school or life. You will make mistakes. Nobody is perfect and we all make our fair share of mistakes. Even Dad bloggers. Maybe one or two a year.
However, if you do not take responsibility for the mistake and do your best to correct it, then you are committing a second mistake. You can probably picture me telling her this. Or you probably have given your own kids similar advice. Take responsibility. Do the right thing, even though you may feel embarrassed by your previous actions. Don’t compound the error.
You also probably walked away wondering if any of that sank into their teenage brain.
Well, last Wednesday, I received an unexpected text that Cecilia was staying after school for extra help to prepare for a te-, eh, check-in the next day. She listened! She didn’t compound the error! She still rolled her eyes when I picked her up, but I’m sure she was smiling on the inside.
I’m ten years late, but I have a new favorite obsession: the Yonanna soft serve dessert maker and creamy banana ice cream.
It’s a toss up between a warm chocolate chip cookie and a bowl of ice cream as my favorite dessert. But if our current fitness challenge provides any evidence, I might be leaning toward ice cream. But maybe that’s just because it’s the summer. But I wouldn’t be alone in loving ice cream. The average American eats almost five gallons a year! That’s…a lot of heavy cream.
Enter the Yonanna soft serve dessert maker to save me from myself.
Both girls, but especially Ally, have a sweet tooth and I’m constantly on the lookout for ways to satisfy that need in a more healthy but still satisfying and tasty way. This easy 3-ingredient blender ice cream hits the mark. It’s simple, uses natural ingredients, isn’t full of sugar or workarounds, but still tastes great. In short, it still tastes like dessert.
I started thinking about the bridge, the traffic, the timing and had to stop myself. What exactly am I rushing to? Why rush through what little remains of their childhood?
We only have so many summers together. With Cecilia we are already more than halfway through our guaranteed eighteen.
I’ll certainly spend a good amount of time stuck on Route 6 this July and August but I’ll be stuck with the kids, too. Or maybe they’ll be stuck with me.
We had a rare Saturday where we had very little scheduled. We weren’t entertaining. We weren’t crashing someone’s house to be entertained. We had no houseguests. No expectations. The only official thing on the docket was a make-up field hockey game late in the afternoon. Otherwise we were free to make like Whitman or Thoreau, men who valued the virtue of loafing, and spend a Saturday doing very little.
You can probably guess how this goes.
It was a challenge for Michelle to turn off her puritan work ethic. The sweetness of doing nothing does not come naturally. The clutter in the basement, or under the cabinet in the bathroom, or that one drawer in the kitchen, was a siren song…