Tonight I am flying to San Diego. We had a FOUR hour delay sitting on the plane at the gate. There is a man behind me named Bob who didn’t shut up for the ENTIRE time. I have heard Bob’s full life story. From childhood in Alabama to how he “fondly”calls his daughter’s boyfriend a “lazy dumbass” to retired life in California with all the “crazy granola eaters.”
So, I gathered a few nuggets of Bob wisdom for you. Because Bob loves talking and misery loves company:
"Normally, salad is what my dinner had for dinner."-Bob talks dieting methods
"It is sad. Ok. And it is a disease. Fine. And all that mumbo jumbo. But he was just batshit crazy."-Bob shares his thoughts on mental illness
"It’s like when someone has a grandma seizure, you just give ‘em room."- honestly, I have no idea what he was talking about
"I had an aunt who used to throw hot grits at my uncle when she’d get mad. I say that’s a waste of good grits."- Bob’s insights regarding the Ray Rice scandal
"I opened the pan on the buffet and thought ‘That don’t look like bacon. And it sure as hell don’t smell like bacon. You know what it was? TURKEY BACON. That’s some bullshit right there.’"-Don’t mess with Bob’s pork products
"I will admit that before I joined the military, I had experimented with marijuana. And that experiment lasted from 1976 to 1984."-Bob explains some things
Per usual I’m like 5 years late on liking a song. But I’m obsessed with this one for inspiration for running right now. Incidentally, it’s also great for motivation on Tuesdays that are definitely masquerading as Mondays.
My alarm went off at 3:20 this morning. I shoved the sweatshirt I slept in back in my duffle bag and tugged my hair into a ponytail. A 5:15 flight out of Texas meant I was at my office desk in North Carolina filing invoices by 9:20.
In a Dallas airport gift shop my eyes caught on a book cover titled “You’ll Get Through This.” Seems logical.
I’ve been to too many funerals lately. People tell you their purpose is for the living to celebrate the dead and grieve together. But I think that like a lot of ceremonies in modern culture, they’re just mostly tradition that we don’t know how to break.
I prefer my grieving the way it was last week, when my dad and I went for a long swim and he talked about his mom and my tears mingled with the salt water on my cheeks. Or the other night on a run when they mixed with my sweat until I stopped on my steps and buried my face in Pawley’s thick fur and allowed myself to imagine the sound of her voice.
I hate the tightness of funerals. The feeling of holding it in. People share touching stories and I force myself to count the petals on a rose in the flower arrangement or think about a grocery list. Anything not to think about how much she would have loved to have been gathered with this group. Anything not to think about how deeply this is hurting people I love. Anything not to think about the finality of death.
The truth is, of course, that the book title is right. You’ll get through this. Everyone does and has for thousands of years. You’ll eventually find the balance of grieving and moving forward. And you’ll go back to work and to play and one day you’ll be surprised it hurt this much because you can’t even remember what that feels like.
I’d say I wished that day was today. But I think that if there is one (albeit small) benefit to funerals, it’s that they do remind you to savor every moment of this brief life. So I’m doing that. Because sometimes even hard days are good days.
“You know, I hate Sundays because you’re just prepping for the hell of Monday. But you know what I’ve realized I REALLY hate? Tuesday. Because at least you’d prepared for Monday being terrible. But then Tuesday shows up and it’s f’ing awful and you didn’t even see it coming.”—
“I told you that writing was like boxing, but it’s also like running. That’s why I keep sending you out to pound the pavement: If you have the moral courage to run a long way, in the rain, in the cold, if you have the strength to keep going until the end, to give it all you have and to reach your goal, then you’re capable of writing a book. Never let fear or fatigue stop you. On the contrary: You should use them to help you keep going.”
-Joel Dicker, The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair
“But everyone has been to the country, everyone knows what that’s about. Trees, screaming cicadas, sweet-smelling air, routine doses of astonishing ordinary loveliness that exhilarate and revive you like a drug.”—How much my novel cost me — Emily Gould (via redheadbouquet)
"I started thinking about who I want to be. About what’s working in my life and what’s not. About how great it would be if I ran my life instead of the other way around. But mostly I thought about my dreams—the things I bury under to-do lists, meal plans, budgets and paychecks."
You guys, my friend Danny is a Writer. Like, with a capital W. You should probably follow her blog, and you should definitely read this entry.
A few weeks ago I was talking to my brother about my frustration with my seeming inability to make big choices. He’d sent me a chapter from the book Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions. It’d come at just the right time as I was trying to make about 17 large-ish decisions. The point of the chapter he’d sent was that we humans get so caught up in choosing the right door, we often leave WAY too many doors open.
I’d thought about that a lot—and then, of course, decided to leave all my doors open. (Did I mention I’m bad at decisions?) But then my brother made an off hand comment that really struck me. He said, “You know, you don’t actually have enough information—and no one could possibly have enough information in this situation—to know what the right choice is.”
This might be the best thing anyone has ever said to me. Decision making is my greatest source of anxiety. And I don’t necessarily mean the big moment of making a choice even—I mean the constants. Should I still be in this job? Should I continue to spend time with this person? Should I remain living in this city? They play on repeat in my head.
But this thought—that I might not have all the information yet (or ever) to make the “right” decision—it was a game changer for me. A few weeks later, I watched philosopher Ruth Chang’s TED Talk on “How to make hard choices.” It reinforced this idea—and added to it. Her point is that with hard decisions, no choice is necessarily better or right. But that with hard choices comes immense opportunity to shape who we are—we ultimately have the chance to become the person we choose to be. “The lesson of hard choices: Reflect on what you can put your agency behind—on what you can be for,” she says. “And through hard choices become that person.”
I’d imagine to a lot of people this is obvious life stuff—make the best choice you can and then embrace it. But I don’t think I’m alone (since, you know, these books and talks are awfully popular). And I like that part too. We all struggle with indecision. Which—if Chang is correct (and I think she is)—means we all have the chance to become the people we want to be. I like that.
In a bedroom in a townhouse near Amsterdam, Miguel Panduwinata reached out for his mother. “Mama, may I hug you?”
The research, reporting, and writing that created this article are remarkable. The stories are actually fairly unremarkable—and ultimately that’s what makes them devastatingly sad. It’s worth a read if you’re ok with crying at your desk.
When Frank was a puppy, his future did not seem very promising. According to owner Rafael Borges’ video description, when he adopted the dog, Frank was 5 months old, was not vaccinated and weighed about 7 pounds.
On Sunday afternoon I flew home from a weekend with family on a lake in Alabama. It would take about 47 pages of blogging to explain all the reasons I felt crazy stressed by the time I boarded that flight, but I did. And all I wanted to do was sit in silence with my thoughts for the hour and fourteen minute flight.
Then a guy sat down next to me. “This isn’t my seat. I’m supposed to sit over there, but someone else is in my seat.” I nodded. I liked his voice. You know how you can hear kindness in someone’s voice? I think I’m probably a terrible judge of character in general. But I get voices.
He began talking almost immediately. “I’m a therapist so I ask a lot of questions. Just tell me if you want me to stop.” “I’m a journalist so I’ve been told I ask a lot of questions too. We should be good.” I’ve also been told I ask questions to deflect the subject from anything actually personal about me. But I figured I’d let the therapist figure that out on his own.
We talked for an hour and fourteen minutes. Sixteen if you count the deplaning. I literally poured out my worries and concerns as if this was a legitimate therapy session. It obviously wasn’t. We also talked about him. And as the plane was landing he was like “So you’re pretty shady.” I laughed, “I hope you don’t say that to your patients.”
Actually though, therapists should probably say stuff like that. I mean, it’s got to be tempting. Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about stuff like fate and timing and random circumstances. I don’t exactly know where he fell in that spectrum, but I do know that I’m really glad someone took his seat.
“One of the things I tell people these days is that there is no perfect fit when you’re looking for the next big thing to do. You have to take opportunities and make an opportunity fit for you, rather than the other way around. The ability to learn is the most important quality a leader can have.”—Padmasree Warrior (via vindikateor)
“I love the South. I love the drawl. I love the pork lard. I love too much salt and too much sweet. I love the humidity. There is a patina on Southerners. I think it is because of our very dynamic history. There’s a lot of pain that has happened in our history; a lot of mistakes made. But an unfortunate circumstance can turn into an opportunity for greatness. I think the South is great because of all the trying times—the tensions, hardships, wars, and riots. All those things really make a place… Well, for me it makes it home. There is grace in every sorrow. I think that is being Southern.”—