What I learned last week (#70)

Sketch of Vivi on a rope swing

Quote I enjoyed:

“Feelings are just visitors. Let them come and go.”


Thoughts on running and marathons…and a lot more:

Ok, I love this subject of course, but this was truly a great read.

And so, in the spirit of experimentation, I decided to see if I could run fast marathons back to back. One of the great mysteries of running is the level of effort that breaks you. To a point, going harder makes you stronger, like blowing air into a tire that gets ever firmer. But there’s a limit, and when you cross it the tire pops. Your muscles collapse and your motivation falters. Each marathon made me feel like a rag doll. It could take months before I was ready to run hard again. But maybe, I thought, this year would be different. Perhaps there was air left in the tire for running the New York City Marathon just three weeks after Chicago.

To a point, going harder makes you stronger, like blowing air into a tire that gets ever firmer. But there’s a limit, and when you cross it the tire pops.

My two older boys had come to cheer me on in Chicago, but the youngest one, then 4, had stayed in New York. I had a feeling that I would never be this fast again, and I wanted him to see me running well too. Parents can never know for sure what will inspire their kids or scar them, and few people are better at seeing through our vanities and pretensions than our children. Still, at the very least, he would get a sense of this thing I do when I put on my running shoes.


Make art, don’t worry about whether it’s “good” or not:

“Good” can be a stifling word, a word that makes you hesitate and stare at a blank page and second-guess yourself and throw stuff in the trash. What’s important is to get your hands moving and let the images come. Whether it’s good or bad is beside the point. Just make something.

Of course, a lot of my art could be considered “bad” and I don’t care. Just like moods, ideas, recipes, or days, it’s more important to produce and get reps. You have to get through the bad to get to the good.

Who pays for the money that is being given out during the pandemic:

An interesting answer to this question that I didn’t understand until recently:

That’s how government debt gets repaid after it piles up. You don’t pay it off. You grow your way out of it. This isn’t intuitive because it doesn’t apply to people. When a person takes out a mortgage or a car loan, there’s a repayment date. But that’s only because people have finite careers and lifespans, so there’s an “end date” where all debts have to be repaid.

Countries (and to some extent companies) are different. They have indefinite lives. So they can remain indebted indefinitely, even with rising debt.

As long as nominal GDP growth is higher than the annual budget deficit, debt to GDP goes down, and spending more than you take in leaves you with a lower debt burden.

HT to Chiatanya


The pirates of the highways:

Diary of a modern highwayman. You drive around in a truck cab, you spot an uncoupled trailer in a parking lot, you hook it up, you drive away. Whether the trailer is full of canned food, or bricks, or phones, or nothing — who cares? “Some of the highest-value and thus most-targeted loads in recent years have been snack nuts. How are you to track individual nuts? When those nuts get transported to a warehouse where they are processed, and all are crushed and bagged, good luck telling the difference”

Really enjoyed this. Courtesy of The Browser.

What I was grateful for last week:

  • My wife and I celebrated our anniversary and I’m beyond lucky to have her as a partner in this whole thing.
  • I started a new morning routine this week and was reminded of the pristine mornings in Seattle in the spring and summer running along Lake Washington (and then sometimes jumping in afterwards).

Book excerpt that seemed important:

“…when each day is the same as the next, it’s because people fail to recognize the good things that happen in their lives every day that the sun rises.” (Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist)

Lastly, check out what we’re up to now.

Comments welcome!

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