What I learned last week (#131): the should trap

Watercolor painting of a plant pot with burgers in it.

Book excerpt I enjoyed this week:

What should you be doing?

“Shoulds are full of traps — traps laid by society and your limited rules for yourself. No wild animal has ever participated in a should. What you know to do it deeper than that. No one can tell you what your track will be or how to know what calls you and brings you to life. That’s your work to do. But a great tracker can ask: How do you know you love something? How do you fell when you are fully expressing yourself? Learn that feeling and then start looking, not for the thing, but for the feeling.” (Boyd Varty, The Lion Tracker’s Guide to Live)

Quote for the week:

If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.

Bruce Lee

What are they thinking?

A really funny and enjoyable 30 mins spent listening to David Foster Wallace read his essay How Tracy Austin Broke My Heart.

It’s about sports but not really.

Ever wondered why great performers, when asked on TV how they “do it”, typically respond with really basic, banal statements like “My goal is to make my teammates better” or “I just wanted to focus on doing the best job I could”? This is about that, and more.

Toiling for knowledge:

I miss renting (physical) videos and games. The required bike ride to and from the video store was a legendary summer activity from my youth.

Now that we do a lot of grocery shopping online, I really miss going through the aisles (and miss a lot of food discoveries as a result).

Perhaps Netflix and other streaming services are sending young, twenty-first-century minds rafting down tributaries of their own. I would love to imagine an algorithm steering these minds from an interest in the latest Wes Anderson product to a curiosity about Peter Bogdanovich’s obscure, proto-Andersonian screwball delight They All Laughed and then on toward a taste for greater vistas, like Jean Renoir’s The Rules of the Game.

But speed of scrolling, algorithmic assistance, and instant access weren’t what my friends and I needed, even if we might’ve welcomed them as conveniences. We needed that long subway trip downtown. (We were the farthest stop west.) We needed the sobering disappointments and sporadic victories. We needed the longueurs that new technology seeks to close, as if abolishing boredom ever does anyone a favour. Mostly, we needed wind resistance. It took effort to cultivate our enthusiasms in a desert, but it’s clear now that we took the desert’s role for granted. Knowledge tends to stick when you’ve toiled for it.

Life in the Stacks: A Love Letter to Browsing: https://thewalrus.ca/life-in-the-stacks-a-love-letter-to-browsing/

Trying to do math too much, too little, or just right:

Check out #32 The Price of Wings 🤣

53 Times People Actually ‘Did The Math’ And Found Out These Interesting Things: https://www.boredpanda.com/they-did-the-math-interesting-calculations

Another one just for fun, and because my friend likes to draw penises:

“Boys, you’re gonna see a lot of cocks.” Indeed they are; as the van begins its descent, the penis in all its myriad forms springs up as far as the eye can see. Every hundred metres or so, sometimes flying in formation, there are male genitalia; phalluses, cocks, willies, schlongs. For each one, the Eraser Men hop out in the middle of the road and grab their paint pots. Best case scenario: genitalia are artfully transformed into a butterfly or a bear. If time is pressing, several random brush strokes are enough to at least render it unrecognisably penile

Eraser Men: censoring the roads of the Tour de France: https://www.rouleur.cc/blogs/the-rouleur-journal/the-eraser-men

What I wrote and drew about this week:

What I did, was reminded of, or was thankful for last week:

  • I finally got back to running after 4 weeks off due to injury. Getting going again wasn’t hard, but my stamina had definitely taken a hit. Running is in the so-good-it-hurts column at the moment. It is good to be back.
  • Unlike what I did last year, I have been keeping the same work routine into the summer of starting work early and taking a longer break during the middle of the day. But no more! I just started a new routine this week taking extra time in the mornings for exercise and then working after (rather than the reverse). It’s been a nice change of pace. I forgot how much I like to train first thing in the morning.
  • A couple of nights last week we went on a family walk in the evening after dinner around the neighborhood. Super simple and perfect for easing into bedtime for the kids (and us).

Last but not least, check out what I’m up to now.

Comments welcome!