to (ride a bike) (write a blog) (take the train) (eat bacon)
First there was XOXO and its admonishment to “Work on something you are passionate about, because if it becomes successful you’ll have to do it all the time.” Then there was Bret Victor’s talk on “Inventing on Principle”. Then there was the news that Nic Hughes had lost his fight with cancer. Then there was an acknowledgement of the similarities between Margot and Lucy and the moment I’ve described as my biggest regret. There’s been a serious theme around here and it’s not going to stop with this post.
Nic’s memorial was last weekend and my friend Steve Collins attended and documented some of it.
We gather in protest
in defiance of the absurd and arbitrary cruelty of illness
and say that we will not be cowed
that, though we should not be here
now that we are we will raise our hearts
in glad remembrance of a truly wonderful man
and raise our voices in loud song
against the silence of the grave
and raise our glasses in merry rebellion
against that which comes without thought
and takes those we love from us
In response to the experience, Steve wrote:
nic’s death is a warning. we always think we can meet up some other time - when we’re less busy [but we’re always busy]. and suddenly there is no more time.
the same busyness claims the time we should have been doing the stuff we were placed here to do - our unique contribution or gift. instead we shopped and cleaned and cooked, made trivial phone calls, worked for money, in the hope that when we’d done all these acts of maintenance they would give us time and space for what we really meant to do.
“How You Will Die”
Then, to top it off, Deliberatism (one of my favorite blogs, probably now to become one of your favorites if you take the time to read some of the archive) reminds us:
Like so many things in life, we complicate matters by treating edge cases as high probabilities, while skipping the obvious (and easy to remedy).
The good news? By leaving work early, walking home the long way, and enjoying a good dinner, you’re taking direct action against public enemy number one. Isn’t it a pleasant surprise to find a remedy so appealing?
Unfortunately for us, Nic and Margot were both taken from us too soon and in unlikely ways. Nic’s cancer was exceptionally rare, and I still struggle with the number of unlikely events that led to our loss of Margot. To say it has raised my anxiety and made me particularly prone to “treating edge cases as high probabilities” is putting it lightly. But the additional good news is that the treatment is still the same.
“Cycling’s part of that subtle end of the spectrum.”
One of my main prescriptions is bicycling. Over in
my podcast I’ve recently posted two clips of Mike Burrows from The Bike Show, which has this to say about him:
Mike Burrows is probably best known for his design of the Lotus 108 pursuit bike that Chris Boardman rode in the Barcelona Olympics, winning the first gold medal for a British cyclist in over 70 years. But Mike has made a huge contribution to pedal powered machines more widely. His compact road frame first developed for Giant is now a design standard and his designs have moved the world of laid back or recumbent bicycles on from the early, pioneering days in 1970s California. Burrows remains inventive, opinionated and passionate about bicycles.
first clip is about the freedom that a bicycle engenders, both a freedom in movement but also a freedom from toil.
second clip is about money and happiness.
So I write this while at work. With a little bit of irony.
Yesterday Penn and I had a day together. First we went to Cindy’s for a 2nd breakfast. Then we hung out at the office for a while; I completed a couple of tasks and he read his book report book. Then we walked to the train, took the train to Mockingbird station, had a drink and a bite at Trinity Hall, shopped at Urban Outfitters (a dress for mom, a hat and a gag gift for Penn), took the train back downtown and drove home, making a quick stop for ice cream. He was perfect the entire afternoon.
So this is just the usual, a post about meaning and more ruminating about how it might be staring me in the face the entire time. Maybe I’m just having a midlife crisis. Maybe I’ve never really been able to distinguish between the important and the merely urgent. Maybe I should just go home.
Later, at home…and maybe I should just keep writing.