Fearless Dream

reflections of a pragmatic optimist, lover of freedom

Category: Books (page 2 of 4)

The Dilemmas of a Day Off

It’s the start of a wide-open day off where I have nothing previously planned, and as usual my mind is racing a bit with a completely infeasible number of ideas for things I might do. Picture the bits of debris whirling around in the Wizard of Oz twister; it feels a bit like that.

You might think a bit of simple rest and relaxation would be high on the list, and in a very real sense it is (I might even get myself to sit long enough to watch a movie), but in general I need something for my noggin to engage with. Creative projects of various kinds, and even simple “getting my life un-cluttered so I can feel relaxed and focus the next time I sit down to a creative project” projects are things I always wish I had more time for, and they come to mind on those rare occasions when the time actually becomes available.

The danger with a day like today is always that I’ll try to do a bit of several things here and there, and then wonder in the end, as I usually end up doing, what I actually did or where the day went. So today I’m thinking I’ll try to avoid the possibly inevitable, and start the day by prioritizing and choosing one or maybe a very few things to try to do or accomplish.

This would be the time when I fire up Things on my Mac or iPhone, and try to skim the cream off my To Do list. (Brief product endorsement here: I love Things, and rely on it as the place where I dump all the miscellaneous “I should maybe…” thoughts that would otherwise clutter and worry my overactive mind. I’ve become a big fan of “ubiquitous capture”, for the stuff that’s worth capturing at least.)

Thoughts for today: catch up on my blog/news reading (I’m days behind, and I miss it!), do some of the blog writing I’ve been wanting to get to (lots of ideas saved up, but never the time), go through our pictures from this weekend’s Big Sur / Pacific Grove / Monterey trip and post some, work on finishing one of the 2-3 books I tend to be in the middle of reading at any given time (right now it’s “An Innocent at Polebrook” and “Atlas Shrugged”, and I’m looking to start a book on getting a pilot’s license that I got for Christmas), organize the virtual mess of project files on the home computer that I never tend to since I spend my days in front of the work computer, do the same for my paper files (not so much the boring bills-and-receipts stuff, but the project folders where I’ve collected ideas and notes over the years), work on the office redecorating project we started a couple months ago (the walls are bare, and pictures need hanging), get a voltmeter so I can figure out whether the cordless drill needs a new battery or a new charger, and then get what the drill needs so I can run the wires for the surround speakers under the house to the back of the living room, fire up GarageBand for a little guitar or keyboard practice, etc. And those are just the things I’d like to do for fun. I’ve also got our baby shower to help plan, and probably a variety of other things that need doing around the house.

Of course, all this “meta” stuff of taking the time to blog about what I might do is taking time away from, well, what I might do… The hope is that sitting and taking a moment to reflect on the possibilities before launching right into anything might help me to make better decisions about how I’ll spend my day. Whether this pans out remains to be seen, but I’m feeling good about it so far. Pause to take a look around from 30,000 ft. before committing to a destination — yeah, that’s it. If nothing else, I will have written at least one blog post today, and even if it’s devoid of interesting content that somehow still feels good.

Happy vacation, to those who are on one! — May you have a much easier time simply enjoying it than I do!

Reading Atlas Shrugged

In response to the most recent of several recommendations over the years, I’ve finally picked up a copy of Atlas Shrugged and dug in for what I’ve been assured will be a well worthwhile 1166 pages of reading. (I’ve only made it up to page 232 so far, so no spoilers, please, as I’m muchly enjoying the story!)

Among my favorite passages thus far, this bit of insight into protagonist Hank Rearden in a moment of crisis (p. 214):

He saw for the first time that he had never known fear because, against any disaster, he had held the omnipotent cure of being able to act. No, he thought, not an assurance of victory — who can ever have that? — only the chance to act, which is all one needs. Now he was contemplating, impersonally and for the first time, the real heart of terror: being delivered to destruction with one’s hands tied behind one’s back.

Well, then, go on with your hands tied, he thought. Go on in chains. Go on. It must not stop you. . . .

The passage definitely struck a chord with me, as the mere opportunity to act of my own accord, even if sometimes in error, is all that I have ever asked, and all that ever seemed truly necessary to me.

I look forward to enjoying more such gems if what I’ve read so far is representative of what’s in store.

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