“Children are joyful and treat each day as a miracle—in part because they are continually surprised.
Each day, they hear a new word or listen to a new song or learn about a new animal. It’s their first time visiting that restaurant or jumping in that pool or riding that rollercoaster. The world is continually unfolding before them.
How can you introduce more surprise into your life as an adult? How can you renew your sense of childlike wonder?”
How, at 46, do I introduce wonder and surprise? That’s a tough one.
Going biking in new places brings about some surprise and wonder, as the weather may change, or I might show up right when a steam train is leaving the station, and I can try to “race it.” Those small, spontaneous moments, I guess.
Running is always a surprise, too, because I sort of never know how the body will feel. Most days it can be hard to get out the door (especially with the heat wave we have here on the east coast), but then 1.8 miles into the run everything feels great, or I see a breathtaking sunset, or I come across a dog who loves racing me from the other side of the fence.
In part I think it’s just getting out and doing something, throwing myself into the world and seeing what happens. That’s looked different in the past few years due to COVID, which has meant a lot of missed opportunities to meet new people, so lately it’s been about the experiences, and the scenery.
I always thought of these people as having the “audacity to dream,” and how I loved being around these folks, something I’ve been lacking in recent years given the pandemic and all.
The dreams have withered though. Maybe it’s because I’m 46, over a decade since I got rid of all my stuff and started riding across the US with my laptop, and crashed on the couches of my friends.
Money is hard to make, free time is scant. The time for dreaming is hard to come by, so maybe the dreams get smaller. I’ve heard more than once in the past few years, “wow, I wish I could just have health care,” or something similar. Like, that’s a dream for some people in America, which is fucking gross.
I know what the President said 13 seconds after he posted it, along with the 100 replies to that the statement, and the 14 articles that will be written about soon after. I know that the President read something.
But I don’t know if my neighbor had a good holiday.
I know so many random bits of NBA trade gossip, but can’t tell you the hours of the three places to get coffee here.
I know what my friends had for lunch, several time zones away, but I never checked to see if there’s a soup kitchen or community pantry in my town.
I feel like I know so much about such little things, and the big things right in front of me are invisible.
Not as many miles as I wanted this week, but it’s been brutally hot out, so the few miles I’m getting feel like more bang for the buck. Running in the heat is double duty on the heart; one for the run, two for the internal cooling.
There was a half mile stretch the other night where things came together. Warmed up, legs felt great, sun beating down, and settled in at my 10:30-ish per mile pace, which I am not usually doing. I’m puttering along most of the time, really, as I don’t want to press, and wipe myself out after every run – life is hard enough already!
But yeah, that little half mile section felt good. Settled in, accepted the discomfort, eyes on the prize, chest up, and yeah, got it done.
Today’s run at the nature preserve didn’t have the same vibe, but it was a lot more climbing, which felt good. I didn’t run much of it, but I got the heart rate up, saw some buffalo, and got home without destroying myself. Felt good to have all that under control.
It takes all the energy I can muster to get out for a run or a bike ride most evenings. Creating or making things is absolultey the hardest thing right now. Fuck, even trying to keep writing blog posts is hard, like this one.
But right now those runs and bike rides are enough. I’m not “creating content” like I used to, for other people to enjoy. I’m getting my butt outside, and off the computer, and just staying in the present moment enough to get the blood flowing.
Everything is hard right now, so I’m just trying my best to keep a bit of softness in my life, and not try to beat myself up for not being the most creative, or productive person right now.
Had two great talks this past week with two folks doing creative, vibrant work.
This after Tweeting less, posting less, and sending out one of my HEAVY METAL EMAIL newsletters after a month or two hiatus.
So often I think my words just disappear into the void, that I’m a horrible writer, that I should “write better copy” to get more work, and all the other shit you read from people who achieved success and think their method is the right method.
This is a weird spot to be in – not publicly posting things, sharing the work, whatever. But in these trying times, it’s all I can muster.
One of the things I told a friend was that I knew Taylor Hawkins more for his smile than his drumming. Now, of course, he was a fantastic drummer. But I ever video I saw of him, or photo, he was beaming. That smile was always there. It looks so whole and pure, grateful and affirming.
God dammit, it’s horrible to see him gone from this earth so soon. Just 50 years old.
“Don’t wait to feel better to write your newsletter, record your podcast, paint your painting. If we wait we will never know the outcome, the one we are waiting to be pleasantly surprised by.”
God dammit I’ve been waiting. Waiting for downtime that never comes. Waiting for the decompression that never arrives. Waiting for a bit of exhale, a sigh of relief, and it’s just never there.
Self employment means you get to work on everything all the time – finances, taxes, marketing, writing, planning, emailing, organizing, health care, and every other god damn thing under the sun. That also means my entire schedule is mine, so my afternoon walks and evening strolls just means my work gets pushed back and then I’m still working on stuff until 8pm.
And as much as I don’t want to wait, and I want to work on some new organizational system, or re-write an SOP for a VA, or try a new automation in Airtable, or spend 30 minutes stretching, or go on a run, a bike ride, a walk… sometimes playing Mario Kart 8 till 11pm is just the right thing to do.