It’s been a crazy few weeks of business travel, and I’ve spent a lot of the travel time trying to figure out what I want from my life. I’m frustrating myself with my lack of progress toward big goals. Lack of progress? Lack of clarity.
One of the best new podcasts I listen to is “The Nuanced Life,” done by the same ladies who bring us “Pantsuit Politics.” I listen to and enjoy them both, but “The Nuanced Life” is really my jam, frankly just because it’s not about politics. I care about politics, I have strong, deeply held and usually unpopular opinions, but talking politics is typically exhausting for me. I’m listening to it because being politically aware is the right thing to do, and I find it less painful than I thought it would be, but given the choice, I’d rather talk about or listen to something that makes me less tense. Something like the anything but politics they talk about on “The Nuanced Life.”
Yesterday, a cute guy walked with me into the office. We were parked near each other, and talked about the parking garage. It was nice. It seemed like he went out of his way to bump into me, and to keep talking to me, and to find out where I worked and to make sure I knew where he worked. It was lovely, and it made me smile.
I’m reading Michael Lewis’s latest, The Undoing Project, about Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman, Nobel laureates whose insights into the systematic ways that people behave against their best interest, financially and otherwise, changed how we think about how people are wired. I’ve been interested in this topic for a long time— I’ve read a lot of Dan Ariely, the behavioral economist at Duke who designs experiments to prove that we can’t really be objective about money/material goods. I’ve published a book or two on the topic, I’ve built a course on the topic— it’s a key area of personal interest for me.
It’s not a no-challenge thing, I’ll grant you, but in a time where it seems like everything is just a little more challenging than I’d like, gardening is my bright spot. I’ve been starting seeds since Good Friday, and I transplanted the first group into larger pots over the weekend. I was a little overwhelmed at the idea of 23 broccoli plants (I’ll have 4.5 raised beds for growing, this year, compared to 1 last year, but my ambitions always outstrip such concerns) but only 15 have survived the transplant process (and hardening off) process. I’m hoping I’ll get better at transplanting, because I’ve started fewer seedlings of every other variety.
This week, man. Started out by going for the throat, with my mom falling and ending up in the ER for four hours with a concussion Sunday night. Yesterday, I had a 2.5-hour meeting that’s going to result in hours and hours of expedited work. This morning, the inappropriate member of our Toastmasters club made a sotto voce Klan joke. She wasn’t going to get a podium for it (she was barred from Table Topics this week because she held another role, as was I) and then she got up to deliver her role report and turned it into a Nazi joke that offended several members. And then, this guy in the club started out praising something we did, then he ended up telling me that I was wrong and saying over and over again that I was projecting when I said that his blanket statement was not universally true. And for the record, I wasn’t projecting (or if I was, I wasn’t projecting myself.) Mom and I have struggled to find agreement this week, which means, in part, that I’m going to have to leave work early to take her to the doctor even though I think the doctor isn’t going to do anything more than tell her what her discharge paperwork said, which was that concussion symptoms commonly persist for 10 days to 2 weeks. Maybe they’ll give her an ill-advised refill on the opiate they gave her in the ER to treat her head pain. I guess I should be glad that she’s not demanding that I take her back to the ER.