Howdy Traipsers,

Winter Dakota has arrived: recently I've played piano and researched crypto like they were part-time jobs. Full-submersion learning is the best.
Buuuut summery December weather made it impossible to say no to a friend's last-minute invite for a van trip...which is why I didn't publish a newsletter last week. I trust you survived without T. Rex drawings.
Meanwhile, the end of the year approaches, which means I'm making resolutions to change everything about myself. Uh, NOPE.
My focus continues to be deep learning and creative growth, plus occasional
sufferfests outdoor adventures. Most of all, I'm loving the shift from a focus on physical activity to a more balanced, creative existence (while still grinning away on bike rides).
Letting go of a label is never easy, but Cheryl Strayed knows what's up:

Tramping Aboot, Edition 87 features:

-The weakness of strength

-Mega closeup eyeball photography

-Six spokes of an optimal life
-Why T. Rexes have terrible breath


December, the new September, minus the smoke! Sigh.
(Top of King Castle Trail, a favorite of mine.)

The weakness of strength

The concept of "weakness of strength" keeps bouncing around in my head. I encountered the idea in Alain de Botton's The School of Life and find it quite powerful.

Alain discusses it in terms of making allowances for people when their strengths in one area create a weakness in others. E.G an intensely creative person who can't stick to a calendar: the thing that makes that person creative might also mean they're not good at showing up on time for lunch. By recognizing that, we can give them the benefit of the doubt.
Beyond that, I'm struck by how it applies to me. For example, some of my strengths (enthusiasm, action taking) are great for jumping on an opportunity and executing plans. They've served me well. But that is NOT a strength when I get pumped on ohhh let's say investing.
I learned this the hard way in 2007 when I was frequently buying and selling stocks. It did not go well. I recognize my propensity to get carried away and stay far, far away from day trading these days. Buy and hold for the win.
However, I felt the old energy creeping back in as I dug into cryptocurrency land. To deal with it, I deleted various apps from my phone and tried to establish a framework to prevent my enthusiasm from spurring dumb decisions like buying Ethereum at 11:30 pm after watching an inspiring YouTube video. (Hey, I only did that once last month!)
I'm continuing to interrogate my strengths and see how they are actually weaknesses in other arenas. A fascinating concept and useful exercise for all of us, methinks.

Camper vans definitely don't list jumping as a strength.

Up close and personal

Photography projects that grab me often fit into three categories: near (macro), far (drones), or repeated themes (long-standing projects like 10 years of selfies). Ok, ok, and bikes in beautiful places.

Slot this one in the near theme: macro images of eyeballs. Whoa, they are like mini-universes. So. Freaking. Cool.

The six spokes of an optimal life

What are the components of a fantastic life? According to the Six Spokes theory, they are body, mind, love, play, money, and work.

Too bad "eating cupcakes" isn't a spoke, but hey, can't have it all.
A broken spoke creates a weakness that can compromise the entire wheel, just like on a bike. If you hit a curb and have a broken spoke or two, the wheel crumples.
I've been there with too much work, money and physical at the expense of the rest. Shifting energy to other spokes had a powerful effect.
A little more detail:
Body: The condition of your body, including your diet, stamina, strength, and recovery.
Mind: Your ability to focus, rest, and acquire knowledge.
Love: Your relationship with family, friends, kids, and intimate partner. 
Work: How much inner satisfaction and financial rewards you receive from your career.
Money: What you do with the money you have.
Play: How well you’re able to entertain yourself.

Lots more on applying the Six Spokes theory here. (H/T to Recomendo for the link.)

Gawd, even toothbrushing is hard for a T. Rex?!
(Thanks to Traipsing reader Stu for the idea. Always open to suggestions, bring 'em on.)

Thanks for dropping by for this issue of Traipsing About.

Unsolicited advice is like bailing on obligations for a last-minute roadtrip: it might freak out newsletter readers looking for their weekly T. Rex fix, but can be totally worth it.

This week’s advice: think about unwanted past labels you're surrendering joy to, reflect on the weakness of your strengths, and ponder which spokes of your life need attention. (Whoa, that's a lot of serious advice.)

P.S. I'm loving (and currently learning to play) Liszt's Consolation No. 3. I just finished learning Consolation No. 1, which is also beautiful.

P.P.S. I do listen to other music...but the PIANO album December by George Winston is an amazing alternative to syrupy Christmas tunes.

Following my friend Patrick through the magic wizard trees on Mary's Peak near Corvallis.
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