The first month of the rest of my life

5/10: Could use major improvements

“Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on…”

—Philippians 3:13-14

I didn’t mean to fall off the face of the newsletter-writing earth for over a month but that’s what I did.

So, we can conclude that turning 40 did not magically improve my writing consistency.

Turning 40 did not magically do anything for me.

I didn’t expect it to, just like I don’t expect New Year’s Day to magically give me more willpower or Thanksgiving to make me more grateful or any other arbitrary point in the timeline to confer new abilities or enhance my character traits.

I do like to mark points in the timeline, though. And New Year’s Eve/Day is my favorite of all holidays, because it is literally about nothing but marking a point in the timeline. There’s no country-founding story or religious meaning or moral lesson (though it is rooted in pagan traditions, so do what you want with that).

But practically and currently, it’s a night to party out the ending of one part of the timeline followed by a day to welcome and make resolutions for what you’ll do in the next portion of the timeline.

I like to mark points on my timeline because I am always trying to learn things and better myself, and establishing timeline points helps with both.

  • A timeline point is a way to reference and remember something I’ve learned (or hope I’ve learned), and

  • A timeline point is a way to establish a beginning, the start of a project or attempt or effort.

Maybe life would be simpler if I would drop those hobbies—the learning and the bettering—and just let life be whatever it is, and the current version of myself be whatever she is, in any given moment, and trust that the lessons will get to me without some serious attempt to ferret them out.

Nah.

I have adjusted my approach and intensity.

There’s a learning that stems from avoidance, from attempts to keep oneself safe. Learn, understand, examine, analyze: and maybe, in the process, you’ll find out whatever you need to prevent some potential bad thing from happening to you.

And there’s a learning that grows from curiosity.

More and more, I lean toward being fueled by curiosity.

It’s a nice change.

There was a long, weird period of my life, starting with the birth of my first child and ending—along with my marriage—several months ago, in which all my efforts to learn were, if not entirely motivated, then at the least deeply colored by avoidance.

It started with wanting to be sure that potential bad things did not happen to my children.

It ended with the striking and core-shaking realization that you can learn and seek understanding and gather information and examine and analyze and do your damnedest to avoid the thing you fear, and it might just happen anyway.

Avoidance is a bad strategy for learning and for living.

Curiosity still serves me well.

Let’s talk more about that soon. What are you curious about?

👩‍🍳 Is your muffin buttered? Is your love in a time capsule? Here is a good way to exist. And a relevant insight about learning which basically sums up my entire writing process, at least on my best days.