It’s winter break this week. We are not a skiing family. We tend to stockpile our vacation days for the summer which means no February trips which means that by Saturday morning Ally was already saying she had nothing to do and was bored.
Good! I think boredom is important and quickly becoming a scarce resource. It’s really hard to be bored these days. The internet and social media are always available to soak up attention.
I love being bored because it allows you to indulge in curiosity and that in turn often leads to creativity.
Cecilia is taking an entrepreneurship class this semester and I pitched her an idea of doing her project on boredom spaces. They have rage rooms. Why not a apathy cafes. You could make boredom a luxury item like a spa. Come here and be bored. Discover something about yourself!
I was only half joking.
I spent the last week going over the edited manuscript for the new book. It might be the part of the process of writing that I enjoy the most. It dovetails nicely with my “fix-it” brain. See a problem, evalaute a problem, fix a problem. It’s a lot easier than the actual writing. Very few writers like that actual writing. They like having written.
But this fix-it mentality is a double-edged sword. Writing, or parenting, or life in general comes with expectations. Trouble can start when the expectations don’t match up with reality.
That stress between how we thought something would go and how it actual plays out can either make us or break us.
There is certainly possibility in that friction especially when you are trying to be creative but if you are parenting hanging on to those expectations will often lead to frustration.
I am trying very hard these days not to be quite so inflexible about those visions in my head and rather to pay attention to what’s in front of me and the possibilities of what I can do with it.
I finished writing a book this week. I wanted to stop and chuck it many times over the past year. But I didn’t. I thought about Octavia Butler instead:
Forget talent. If you have it, fine. Use it. If you don’t have it, it doesn’t matter. As habit is more dependable than inspiration, continued learning is more dependable than talent.
Persistence, she said, was her most important talent. Sticking with it.
So I just kept going and eventually found my way to the end.
You know what I’m going to do next week? Start writing another book.
Persistence tied to a positive obsession can take you to some interesting places.
We went to see Elf with friends (Happy Birthday, Ty!) at a rented movie theater this week. It was a great time and spoiled ever going to a theater with strangers again. It also meant that Ally had plenty of sugar after 7 p.m. Her appetite for candy and desserts has been well documented here. She was a hyper Christmas pixie by the time we made it home. Her contagious silliness infected her sister. It was time for bed but they only had mischief on their minds. Giggling, fighting, laughing. Thank god the glitter was out of reach.
It was late. I was ready to pack it in. This was definitely not time for a rumpus. I was teetering on the verge of shutting it down by parental decree (i.e., yelling) and yet…a question popped into my mind instead: who has it better?
Nobody. Nobody has it as good as your own family. It’s a mad, mad world out there right now. Hang on tight to those dear to you. Lean into that craziness. Try to enjoy it.
When we moved three years ago, one of the most under-appreciated aspects of our new neighborhood, for me, was the trail access to a local reservation right at the end of our street. Suddenly, I had no excuse not to try trail running. Except for the mud and snow.
Once winter came, I did what I always did and headed down into the basement for a season for running on the treadmill. I actually really don’t mind the treadmill, but it can become monotonous month after month.
It would have been nice to escape onto those trails again, but I was always worried about slipping or pulling something with little traction in the ice or mud.
Real runners don’t use treadmills. Or something like that. There is a bias against treadmills in the fitness community. Some just find them boring. Some think they can cause injuries. Some just really hate them for other personal reasons.
Living in the Northeast, I’m not going to say I prefer running on the treadmill, but I’m glad they exist to help keep my motivated and in-shape in the dead of winter. However, being a data nerd, I do often wonder about treadmill workouts. I certainly don’t totally trust the numbers the treadmill is spitting out.
Just how hard are you actually working on the treadmill? What is the pace if you change the incline? Do your mechanics change on the treadmill? Should you really always set it to a 1% incline? Let’s get some answers.
We made it to February this year, but finally succumbed to the dreaded mid-week, no-school, snow day.
How did it go? I’ll show you.