NOT A MACHINE

For a minute I thought I’d do one of those “write something everyday in December” things, but then last night I was exhausted and was in bed by 8pm on a Friday night, so that’s out the window. But whatever!

We are not robots.

I asked a friend recently, “how are you being a good manager to yourself?” And for me, that’s been giving myself lots of freedom and flexability in my freelance work. I don’t mean missing deadlines, but more like, if I feel like I need to take a walk, or a bike ride, or leave something for tomorrow, I do it now. Fuck it.

Finishing work is actually never finished. Somehow there’s always more tomorrow, and well, I’m not a machine. I need rest, I need hobbies, I need to not work.

So missing a day in the month of December, 2022 is not the end of the world.

TOWN IS QUIET NOW

I can never quite remember all the lyrics, but I think about them when I’m out for my night time walks.

Town is quiet now
Like it’s holding its breath
Stone marks the spot
You know who you are
They outlined it in chalk
Word to the wise
And the barman calls time

‘Cone of Shame’ by Faith No More

The whole “town is quiet now, like it’s holding its breath” part. The college kids gone for the holiday, while everything else is just paused. Less loud cards, people, commotion.

Like the town is holding its breath, at least until school is back in session.

We’ve had a lot of tragedy in town lately. A shooting, with the killer still at large. A teenager climbed into a dumpster and was killed. Someone brandished a weapon in broad daylight at an intersection right up the road.

That was all in one weekend.

Then to find out that a Kutztown High School alum was one of those killed in the Club Q shooting in Colorado Springs.

Most nights on my walks the town is quiet, but seemingly things are quite chaotic.

MAKING SURPRISES

Love this from James Clear’s 3-2-1 newsletter:

“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?”

James Clear

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.

NOTHING SHOCKING

From @joysullivanpoet via Instagram.

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 NOTHING

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.

I JUST KEEP DANCING

Via @_meanmachine on IG

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.

FEELING STUCK

Via @NXHLVS

I don’t know how I had the energy to make daily loops in early 2021, or weekly Goodnight, Metal Friend mixes, or live audio streams a few nights a week.

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.

MUSTER WHAT YOU CAN

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.

KEEP CALM, FUCK OFF

Is there a better example of “the show must go on” than this?

Via NPR

There was a missile attack SEVEN MILES from the track, but the teams and organizers met for hours and decided to race anyways.

A MISSILE ATTACK.

I could hardly work on January 6th, 2021 during the fucking insurrection, yet the work world couldn’t stop. “Please ignore the attack on the Capitol building, answer emails, get on that Zoom call.”

Another example of everyone going “this is fine” and carrying while the entire world is in flames, sometimes literally.

I AM SAD NOW

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.