With property drama handled, we're back on track. There's even a T. Rex in this edition!
Time to enjoy calm waters and spring temps: gardening, biking, some van projecting... Yay for May.
This week's quote from the excellent (but poorly named?) bookTravels with Willie reminds me that home maintenance and "adulting" serve a fine purpose:
You would think that the best way to be a world traveler would be to have no home, no base, no ties of any kind. However, I believe home grounds us as travelers. I’ve met too many people who severed all ties with home, only to become aimless wanderers. Traveling without a purpose or goal can become just as mind numbing as the world’s worst desk job.
Tomfooling About, Edition 102 features:
-Chess as life
-Trip planning like a dictator
A perfect spring day at Smith Rock. That big tower is Monkey Face, whichI climbed back in 2017. (<--YouTube video)
Chess as life
After enjoying chess in my youth, this winter I returned to playing online with friends. The nuances of the game and geometric beauty of the positions fire my brain up. (Whoa, I sound like a chess nerd. YES.)
One chess concept is called “working backwards to forwards.” Basically, you picture the achievable checkmate type based on the pieces you have (e.g. a knight and a rook). Then you work backward to the moves needed to achieve the goal. Different pieces, different type of checkmate.
What if we applied this to our lives? We all have unique constraints (e.g. work, family, pets, skills, finances, desire for particular activities). How often do we look at our available "pieces" and think, “My achievable goals are ____.”
Personal example: both Chelsea and I are jonesing for long-term travel. We also have an 18 YO cat who requires frequent care, including subcutaneous fluids every other day. He's going to live another 10 years at this rate, so we need to readjust.
Just like I can’t checkmate an opponent with only my king and a knight, I can't currently can’t travel with Chelsea. If I beat my head against the idea of long-term travel given my pieces on the board, frustration descends. Checkmate…on me.
Instead, I reframed things. We’ve traveled a ton and we’ll do it again. I can still bikepack with friends or take solo van trips, which I always enjoy. When I’m home, my piano beckons from the living room and Bend is a fabulous place to live and recreate.
Knowing the constraints helps me eliminate “ohhh, I wish I could do ____” and narrow it down to “this is what I can accomplish." I'm finding that it's quite useful.
Gotta love those spring blooms on the Portland waterfront!
Pay Yourself Memory Dividends
I just finished the bookDie with Zero and it totally resonated with me.
One concept I particularly liked was memory dividends, the positive feelings we get for years after an experience.
For example, my rosy memories of traveling for a year overseas after college, laughing split to burst during Oregon beach house stays with friends, or the satisfaction of riding 4,000 miles across the U.S. with Chelsea.
All of those things involved tradeoffs (e.g. delaying getting my first job vs. the world trip), and yet I’m positive that my life has improved every time I’ve leaned in the direction of making memories vs. maximizing income.
At then end of the day, our lives are a collection of memories. Might as well make them great!
Trip planning like a dictator
Trip planning season is upon us! I’m lining up various van and bikepacking adventures, filling in future calendar space to create anticipation.
“Two people plan the entire trip. There is no democracy. There is no input sought, nor accepted from the group. There is no, “Where does everyone want to go this year?” or “What dates work for everyone?”
The trip is a complete dictatorship. The two planners pick the trip, the location, the activity, the date, the cost, and the itinerary. We have a bunch of Type-A personalities but trust me, this works.”
Episode 102 is done and dusted, y'all.
This week's unsolicited advice: when the adulting is done, enjoy those smooth waters! They never last forever.
P.S. Looking for some smooth instrumental background music for spring chilling? (What does that even mean?) Anyway, I'm DIGGINGHania Rani's work. Such a talented musician.
All the eye drops in the world don't help during allergy season when you're a T. Rex.