Happy New Year, Traipser Aboutererer!

Ever think back and wonder what your previous self would think of your life now? I'm pretty sure my 2019 self would have loudly scoffed if the things that satisfy me now were forecast two years ago.
How cool is that? As a new year kicks off, I want to be continually surprising my previous self with new horizons and my approach to life. Anybody with me?

Traipsing About, Edition 90 (getting up there!) features:

-Developing skills versus goals

-Who takes these amazing photos anyway?

-Laughter and troubling friends
-A T. Rex doing his best in the snow

Onward into a fantastic 2022!

BTW, if you missed it, I did a roundup blog post of T. Rex drawings last week.

I'll tell you what: cartoons are way easier to draw than portraits.

Don't set goals. Develop skills.

(Read this on the blog)

Ah, a new year! A fantastic time to hate the old us: let's whittle away our bloated physical bodies, quiet our ping-ponging minds, change our crappy jobs, and eat celery while taking cold showers and doing pushups.

Meh. I don't buy it. Can't we just be happy with who we are and still be on a personal growth path?
Maybe that's why I loved Mark Manson's recent
thoughts on goals vs. developing skills.

"What are you improving at? What are you learning and gaining?

Instead of thinking about what you want to achieve in the new year, ask yourself, "What do I want to be good at that I'm not?" Then get to work on it."

Goals are things you want to accomplish. Skills are things you DO. (Which, incidentally, can help accomplish goals.)
Want to lose weight? Skill: learn how to cook three healthy meals. Want to make more in-real-life friends? Skill: Learn how to be more vulnerable and listen better.
In the past, I've prioritized freedom and flexibility over a strict schedule. Game for an outdoor adventure or a friend hang at any time. Benefits, yes...with the downside that I wasn't consistent with skill development.

Last year I booked weekly Italian/piano lessons and committed to drawing consistently. Thanks to that, I made tangible and incredibly satisfying progress. Small, consistent efforts lead to real skills.

I'm not as available now, but the tradeoff in schedule flexibility is 100% worth it. Now the days where I barely play music or skip a drawing session feel incomplete. I can't imagine going back to the old me.
Which reminds me of this quote from Stillness is the Key...

So: to hell with goals. What skill can you commit to developing this year?
I'll go first: I want to improve my portraiture skills, so I'm starting 2022 with drawing a portrait every day in January. Gawwwd they are hard!

A youthful Franz Liszt, the virtuoso pianist and inspiration for "Lisztomania," aka fans working themselves into a frenzy over his brilliant piano skills and aquiline nose.

Meerkat or lynx...I vote for both

Whaaat, these people choice "best of 2021" stunning photos from Natural History Magazine are beautiful. The meerkat and lynx cubs are my two favs, with the kangaroo in a burned out Australian landscape winning most poignant in my opinion.

Fun side note: in 2014, I wrote an article for Natural History Magazine about desert tortoises. Hero in a half shell!
I don't drink coffee, but everyone I know does. Don't give it up, folks! Not even for the new year. (Thanks for the chuckle, mom.)

Laughter and troubling friends


Austin Kleon shared this 2-min video of Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama laughing gleefully during an interview. At one point, Tutu is asked,

"What is it about your friendship that allows you to have this extraordinary joy?"


He ponders a moment and says, "He's always troubling me..." and then cracks up.


I just love that. Because what better friend can you have than someone to laugh uproariously with one moment, then turn around and be intellectually challenged by them in the next? (Clearly this is my interpretation of what he means!)
Some of my closest friends come to mind. In fact, I've realized I struggle to get close to people who can't both go deep and be humorous. An interesting filter for who I invest time in.


I am oh-so-very biased here, but I couldn't agree more with this line from the co-author on a book about Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama called The Book of Joy.


“Having worked with many spiritual leaders, I’m tempted to see laughter and a sense of humor as a universal index of spiritual development.”

Mighty short wings on your snow angel, Mr. Rex...

Thanks for dropping by for the 90th edition of Traipsing About.

I'm officially retiring "unsolicited advice is like..." Turns out I never really like my metaphors. Now you just get the advice, no caveats!


This week's advice: pick a couple skills and put 10 minutes a day into them. See what happens. And ditch them anytime a hilarious-yet-troublesome friend wants to hang out.

Happy New Year!

P.S. I know, I know, I link to too many bike videos. But hey, it's midwinter and dammit if Danny MacAskill doesn't keep blowing my mind. His ability to survive falls is almost as impressive as the tricks!

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