Sunday, February 21, 2021

Life Lately: My first snowman and rediscovering a sense of play

My first snowman. I promise subsequent ones will be cuter.

I have been trying to play more lately. My natural tendency is to take things seriously and that is no fun, so I’ve been looking for opportunities to rediscover the sense of play I lost as I transitioned into an early adolescence. So, when it snowed recently and it occurred to me to make a snowman, I shut down my first reaction – which was “but I should continue reading this book about Index Funds”.

The idea of making a snowman and the reality of making a snowman turned out to be different. First, we didn’t have a lot of snow so I needed to shovel the snow on our balcony with a dustpan. Second, I didn’t realize I couldn’t just wear any gloves. I couldn’t compact the snow no matter how hard I tried in gloves and my fingers got wet very quickly. So I took them off and went with my bare hands.

It’s definitely not a handsome snowman but that doesn’t matter to me. What matters is that for those five to ten minutes when I scurried around looking for buttons for the eyes, a Sharpie to draw on the smile, and a bamboo skewer for the arms, I felt like the happy child I remember from the 90s.

Speaking of play, I feel that these notes got very serious over the past two posts. In the note about A Life on Our Planet, an attempt to write about a book I’d read recently turned into a serious post about how we’re threatening our place on earth. Last week, a post that was intended to describe fleeting thoughts after seeing a LinkedIn update became an essay about my approach to making important decisions. So I’ve decided to really dial it back down this week!

What happened between the last note and this one? I got through some really important work over the past week, thinking a lot about our customers and doing some foundational work to ensure they can continue to access a wide selection at great prices despite current cost pressures. I’ll be building on that work this week and I’m looking forward to it! My daily meditations (Headspace) and our family devotionals (YouVersion Bible Study plans) are now at the 50-day streak mark and I’m very happy with the consistency. The benefits of mindfulness really add up with time and I’m glad for the stability it has brought to my emotions and stress levels.

I also finished Yaa Gyasi’s Transcendent Kingdom, a good novel about a family of immigrants in the US. Among other things, the book follows a first-generation immigrant whose career choices are shaped by her brother’s death from drug overdose. One benefit of book clubs (I’m in two at the moment) is that I discover these gems that I wouldn’t ordinarily have considered reading. Lastly, it was beautiful outside yesterday and I logged a long walk, including going off-trail, unwittingly interrupting a kissing couple, and freezing when confronted by an angry dog.

The Chinese pagoda at the Victoria Park, East London

One of my priorities over the next few weeks is to “fix” my evenings. I’ve got a solid morning and workday routine, but that run of approximately four hours between getting off work and going to bed is still pretty unstructured. Sometimes I’ll practice a new piece on the piano and read for hours, or I’ll park myself in front of the TV and enjoy old episodes of The Big Bang Theory, or I’ll replay a second leg Champions League match on FIFA21 as many times as it takes to beat the computer. I’d like to bring some structure to this block of time over the next few weeks, and maybe I’ll have an update on that at the end of March.

Well then, that’s one less week to the end of these COVID-induced lockdowns. Cheers to the coming week.


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