Monday, January 07, 2019

Gabbie: Make 2019 The Year Of Maximum Enthusiasm

You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm.”
― Colette

Houseplant silhouette
On green wall. Morning sunlight
Hinting at what's real.

“I'm not young enough to know everything.” 

Rebecca Solnit’s Lovely Letter to Children About How Books Solace, Empower, and Transform Us

“Some books are toolkits you take up to fix things, from the most practical to the most mysterious, from your house to your heart, or to make things, from cakes to ships. Some books are wings… Some books are medicine, bitter but clarifying.”

Good advice for 2019, and all the time we are given, regardless of when, where or how – via Make 2019 The Year Of Maximum Enthusiasm - Outside Online: “…In 2019, I urge you to notice when something is awesome, as it often is, and exclaim or murmur or just make a mental note of it. Isn’t it just goddamn fantastic that you have your health, for example? Or running water, or electricity? Or that you have enough money to actually pay someone else to make you a cup of coffee? Or if you want ice cream, you are at any time in America probably only 5 or 10 minutes away from a place that sells some form of it? (Trust me on that one)…

We would do well to inject more childlike wonder into our lives.  If you approach your future jaded and with limited imagination, you experience less of the good stuff.  Let the young ones remind us that life is about stepping outside the boundaries.  How age affects your reservoir of optimism is a decision.  Anyone can choose to stay young and joyful by participating and being open-minded to the power of ideas.

The Year In Inspiration

Consider the fable of the dragon-tyrant. Literally, it’s about the possibility of extending the human lifespan and human flourishing, instead of sacrificing the young and old alike to the tyranny of death. But allegorically, as Jason writes, “humanity has lots of dragons sitting on mountaintops, devouring people, waiting for a change in the world’s perspective or technology or culture to meet its doom.”

Consider, too, the calmness of airline pilots. In the midst of disaster, good pilots actually get calmer, and this helps them solve their problems.

Do you need to get yourself out of a funk? Or console or otherwise help a grieving friend? Think about what Augustine says about hope: hope stretches us out across time. It makes our hearts bigger in order to contain it. And all our secular hopes help to prepare us for the great hope to come, that all might be redeemed and made perfect, and we can find our true place in the cosmos. Think about Dean Allen, one of the kindest and most talented people in the tech universe, and whether or not he’s found the peace that eluded him — that eludes us all — on Earth.

We are, all of us, explorers and hermits, both searching for adventure and longing for routine. This is why, despite it all, it is some small comfort to know that humans right now are better at Tetris than they have ever been. And that if we decide to move to Los Angeles, we’ll have to solve a lot of problems with ourselves first: “How do you help care for the city that drew you in, rather than allow your presence to steamroll its culture?” And, to generalize: how can we care for 2019, as we’re drawn inexorably into its vortex, rather than allow it to steamroll us all?

It’s been a great year. I’ve loved writing this newsletter, and being able to chime in with my Friday posts and occasional guest weeks. (Guest editor Chrysanthe Tenentes put up some great posts this year as well.) Cheers to Jason for continuing to host the best blog in the universe. Here’s to more and better in 2019. Here’s to blogs making their inevitable comeback. Here’s to another twenty years.


Robert Roche was the first firefighter to arrive. He also was one of the first firefighters to enter the burning apartment building. And because he did, a woman who depends on a wheelchair for mobility is alive today. He’s not, however, just a firefighter. Roche is an assistant chief of the Knoxville Fire Department, based at headquarters downtown.
Assistant chiefs are not typically the first on the scene of a fire and rarely the first of the firefighters to enter a burning building with heavy black smoke rolling and flames roaring, as this apartment building was.
But enter it he did … on his hands and knees … and returned on his hands and knees with a woman on his back.

In a soundly run organization, the managers can handle the jobs of the people they manage, and will do those jobs when necessary.

He still works full time, putting in 40 hours a week.
His advice for living so long?
“Well I advise a lot of people not to quit working. Keep busy. Some retire too soon and they get old fast,” Mancinelli said.
Mancinelli started cutting hair at age 11, 96 years ago.
“I wanted to help out in the family,” he explained.
He went on to have a family of his own, and was married for 69 years.
“I miss her. I go to the cemetery every day before I go to work,” he said.
His son Bob is 85.
“He is in better shape than I am. He is still going. Still working five days a week,” Bob said. “I retired when I was 81.”
Mancinelli has no plans to slow down, saying he’ll keep going to keep the younger generation looking sharp.
He’ll turn 108 in March. He lives on his own and drives himself to work every day.
An inspiration to us all.

Your life, even the bad parts, is…amazing. And most of the small things that make up your life are amazing, too—mountain bike rides, rock climbs, ski runs, sunsets, stars, friends, people, girlfriends and boyfriends, dogs, songs, movies, jokes, smiles … hell, even that burrito you ate for lunch today was pretty phenomenal, wasn’t it? What was your enthusiasm for these things last year? I recommend you step it up in 2019…”