A late summer vacation
Taking a little time off, to rest and rejuvenate — but I'll be back in August 👍
Good afternoon, my friends! (Or morning, or evening, depending on where you are in the world.)
Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve realized the degree to which I’m running on fumes. And as much as I might like to believe otherwise sometimes, we aren’t machines that can just be run continuously — we need breaks to rest, relax and recharge our batteries.
So, that’s what I’m going to do over the next 2 to 3 weeks; take a little time to get some real rest and downtime. (I’m going to take a week off with my family, and just catch up on some things I’ve been neglecting and get geared up for the fall.)
I won’t be going away for long. I’ll be back in your inboxes the second week of August, which I’ll be looking forward to eagerly, no doubt! If the muse strikes me between now and then, don’t be surprised if you see an occasional essay from me; otherwise, I’ll be trying to stick to just taking a break.
I hope you understand, and aren’t disappointed — rest assured this is only a temporary hiatus, and we will definitely be back together again in August.
In the meantime, here are some of the best issues of the first half of the year — I hope you enjoy them a second time around (or a first, if you missed them earlier!).
“It feels like ancient history now, but walking hasn’t always taken a back seat to running. A little over a century ago, long-distance walking was a competitive sport that saw front-page coverage in The New York Times — far more than running.”
“There’s something about when you can once again take risks, because it means that I’m not completely trapped in a state of vigilance; when you can once again play, or experience pleasure or joy, because it means you are not completely wrapped in the sense of dread. You can’t be on guard and let go. And playfulness comes with a certain element of letting go.”
“I do my best work when I’m uncomfortable, when I’m scared that I might not be able to do it… If I’m comfortable, I can do it, but those people don't get their money’s worth. It’s not that I want to fail, but if you can keep your gift right on that edge of adventure, that’s where all the excitement is. It’s on that front line. It’s not in that comfort zone, that you can go to your file drawer, and pull out something you've kind of done before.”
“Each of us carries around an unspoken set of assumptions that dictate how we expect our lives will unfold. These expectations come from all corners and influence us more than we admit. We’ve been led to believe that our lives will always ascend, for example, and are shocked to discover they oscillate instead. Our society tells us we should be basking in progress, but our experience tells us we are beset by slip-ups. Might this gap help explain the anxiety so many of us feel?”
I find that I oscillate between these two, never fully one or the other. Sometimes I still do feel a burst of purpose and energy and excitement; at other times, I’m content to take everything as it comes. I’m not sure there is a “right” answer as much as there is an answer that’s right for each of us in the moment we’re in — and the answer at age 17 is going to be much different than age 47. (And then again, we might find that excitement again at 57 or 67.)
“Dominus speaks with scientists who hold out tantalizing possibilities for life that most of us have probably never stopped to imagine. What if — and this is a big “if” — our lives could be extended to the degree that we’d have to think about them entirely differently? What if we could be like Audry Blaylock above, and have “practically another adulthood in which to try on a new self”?
“When I look at her, I’m often reminded of something an old college English professor of mine said once: “virtue is its own reward.” What he meant by that, I think, is that all the striving we do to earn things — from money to career advancement to love to the social life we desire — we do with the aim of getting to a place where we can finally feel contentment, that we’re where we want to be. Cultivating virtue, on the other hand, isn’t something we strive for in the same way.”
Some great photos
As a way to say farewell (for now!), I thought I’d share some beautiful photos sent in by the race director for Steep Endurance, a series of trail races that take place in the summer and fall in Connecticut. These are from July’s Angevine Farm Trail Festival, which looks like it was a blast. Enjoy 😃
Have a great rest of your summer (until mid-August!) and keep in touch!