Howdy Traipsers,

Gardening season is over, mangled tomato plants and drooping sunflowers fading in our backyard. My bike ride yesterday featured snow and a chilly wind that I'm absolutely not used to yet.

That’s ok. I’m amped for less outside time and more piano and Italian study. And more T. Rex drawings.

Traipsing About edition #80 includes:

The tail end, winter reads, and anti-time management.


By the way, if you missed last week's post on upgrading to a fancy DIY gray water tank in the van, check it out.

A ride through fall colors on Moscow Mountain in N. Idaho.

The Tail End: How Many More Times Will You...?

My recent family visit in Idaho left me pondering diminishing time with people I care about.

How many more evening chats by the fire remain with my dad? Walks in the arboretum with my mom? Raucous games of tag with my niece and nephews that leave me with scraped elbows from diving on playground equipment?

Fewer than I’d like.

It brings to mind Wait But Why’s brilliant visual piece The Tail End. It’s a quick read, or there’s also a video version.

For me, it’s a reminder to savor experiences. Easy to say, hard to do, but recentering is valuable.

From The Tail End:

1) Living in the same place as the people you love matters. I probably have 10X the time left with the people who live in my city as I do with the people who live somewhere else.

2) Priorities matter. Your remaining face time with any person depends largely on where that person falls on your list of life priorities. Make sure this list is set by you—not by unconscious inertia.

3) Quality time matters. If you’re in your last 10% of time with someone you love, keep that fact in the front of your mind when you’re with them and treat that time as what it actually is: precious.

Chelsea's wonderfully snarky aunt Marilyn recently passed away unexpectedly. I'll miss her constant good cheer and commentary on my drawings.

Reading recommendations

Ooook, onto lighter topics! Summer mania and fall frenzy ebbing into winter. Time to enjoy hot tea and a good book by the fire. Yesss.

Looking for recommendations? Here are a handful of books I’ve enjoyed recently:

1) Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman is a cheeky, entertaining romp about Armageddon and two angels who aren't sure they want it to happen.

2) Going Postal by Terry Pratchett follows a convicted criminal who is given one last chance for salvation…but only if he turns around the failing post office. Incisive commentary on societal issues, all cloaked in an excellent story.

3) Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson is near-term scifi about climate change by a master of the trade. Starts out painful, but it’s worth it for all the brilliant postulated solutions wrapped into the story.

4) Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals by Oliver Burkeman is a fabulous anti-time management book. (See next section for some quotes from it.)

5) Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise by K. Anders Ericsson inspired the hell out of me and helped me create better practice techniques. For anyone with kids or looking to dive into learning a skill. (Or check out my friend Jono's writeup about it.)

6) A Drive into the Gap by Kevin Guilefoile is a poignant 70-page book about Alzheimer’s, baseball, and Roberto Clemente’s 3,000th hit. Loved it. (Thank Semi Rad for the recommendation.)

My take on Lord Vetinari, a character from Going Postal.

4,000 weeks isn't that many days

The anti-time management book I mentioned above, Four Thousand Weeks, is stuffed full of wisdom. I highlighted the heck out of it! In case you don't have time to read it, here are some quotes to get a sense of the contents.


1) I’m aware of no other time management technique that’s half as effective as just facing the way things truly are.

2) Once you truly understand that you’re guaranteed to miss out on almost every experience the world has to offer, the fact that there are so many you still haven’t experienced stops feeling like a problem. Instead, you get to focus on fully enjoying the tiny slice of experiences you actually do have time for—and the freer you are to choose, in each moment, what counts the most.

3) Two venerable pieces of time management advice: to work on your most important project for the first hour of each day, and to protect your time by scheduling “meetings” with yourself, marking them in your calendar so that other commitments can’t intrude.


Thinking in terms of “paying yourself first” transforms these one-off tips into a philosophy of life, at the core of which lies this simple insight: if you plan to spend some of your four thousand weeks doing what matters most to you, then at some point you’re just going to have to start doing it.

Thanks for dropping by Traipsing About. Unsolicited advice is a rainstorm during a bike ride, but sometimes there's a rainbow that makes it worth the pain.

This week's unsolicited advice: think about time and priorities (without obsessing about it). And read some Terry Pratchett. He's hilarious.


P.S. This funny YouTube video is for any mountain bikers who have watched Redbull Rampage and wondered, “How big are those cliff drops anyway?” Spoiler alert: reading by the fire is safer.

One more from the Elkhorn Mountains... Those clouds!
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