5 Quick Things #258 🍂
middle-age, hand-me-downs, scheduled silence, & the life of the mind
Rain is streaming down my windows as I type this and I’m almost done with my second cup of coffee. I may go wild and get a third.
This week has been a reminder for me of the classic truth I tell my high school students all the time: it’s easier to act your way into a new way of thinking than to think your way into a new way of acting. Do the right thing, even when you don’t feel like it. Easier said than done, I know, but it’s true—and I definitely needed the reminder this week.
I had zero intrinsic desire to work out, write, teach, go to weekday Mass, cook, clean, and generally do little else besides sip cozy drinks, read one of my current books, or watch my current show. But I’m a grownup and I have to do many, many things I don’t feel like doing. So I did the required stuff anyway. And I always felt better, more grounded, and more whole after doing so. I went to bed resting in the grace that this is my work, and it is good even when it doesn’t feel like it’s good. (I still wanted to just read novels and watch British mysteries, but alas, that’s not how life works. And that’s okay. That’s part of what Sabbath is for.)
5 Quick Things ☕️
1. My pal Seth turned 45 recently, just two months after me (live shot of us podcasting). He recently had good thoughts about this weird middle age.
2. I’ve been feeling quite nostalgic and bittersweet about my oldest’s current senior year of high school (I’m sure you’ll read about it in my writing multiple times this year). … Dangitall, I hate being such a cliché by saying it goes by so fast, but it really is true. I loved this piece about the sacramental meaning underneath the passing on of our kids’ hand-me-downs.
3. What a delight to listen to Rachel Bulman chat with Chloe Langr (a Commonplace member!) about her story + our collaborative book of collected essays about the life of the mind for women. (If you’re curious, my essay is on the intellectual benefits of writing for all women—yes, you.)
4. “Silence functions like a universal language. It conveys gravitas, encourages reflection, and allows information and experiences to sink in. Why, then, do we limit structures of silence to the remembrance of national tragedies? They should be built into the fabric of our institutions, our cities, our culture.” Really good food for thought about the value of structuring moments of regular silence in our schedules.
5. And finally, I’ve been asked by several of you about micro.blog… I use it as my Instagram alternative, but if you’re looking at it as a Twitter replacement, Alan Jacobs has bits of wisdom for you. A few months in, and I’m a fan. (And yes, it costs a few dollars a month… which is a good thing. It means we’re not the data.)
Currently Reading, Watching, Listening 📚
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“Weak things must boast of being new. …Strong things can boast of being old.”
— G.K. Chesterton #
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What’s the best way to spend an autumn weekend? 🍂
I have to say I was a bit surprised by the frontrunner here! I’d have guessed numbers one and two would be swapped with this crowd. Happy to agree with you on the order of every bit of this.
Find this week’s poll here.
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Question(s) For You to Ponder… 🤔
One year from today, what will you be glad you did this weekend?
Have a good weekend,
p.s. Hide and seek. 🐶
I’m now at the end of writing this, putting on its finishing touches, and spoiler: I, indeed, went for a third.
If you’re a woman, of course. But hey, writing’s good for all of us, no matter who you are.
If you haven’t yet read this brilliant modern philosopher, this is a good place to start. It’s a collection of his best-of shorter essays and speeches.
Absolutely loved your essay in "With All Her Mind"! Thanks for sharing the podcast!