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5 Quick Things #296 🌱
analog life, real happiness, supporting good work, and Middle-earth
Touch grass. That’s a common retort among the adolescents I teach (and parent), a refrain that says, “Connect yourself to the reality that is the analog world and disconnect from the tunnel-visioned myopia of the internet.” It’s meant as an insult, but with love: You’re disconnected from the real world and you shouldn’t be. More and more, I’m seeing this current generation of teenagers trend toward detaching from the incessantly connected culture they’ve been raised in. This makes me sixteen kinds of happy, the least of which is that perhaps their example might model for their own parents — my generation — what it looks like to not always be online. (You know, like we were when we were their age.)
But I also love this phrase — touch grass — because it’s a stark reminder of what we humans truly need at a most basic, Maslovian hierarchy: to physically walk outside into the real world, veer off the concrete sidewalk, and literally tread onto sod.
So, I say this to you as much as I say this to me… This week, touch grass. Read this letter and these links, yes, but close your devices — leave them at home, in fact! (gasp) — and connect with the God-made world. I bet you need to. (I say this because you’re a human living in a culture that pushes its AI on you constantly. I’m right here with you.)
Thank God! — literally — for grass.
5 Quick Things ☕️
1. 📻 A new episode of A Drink With a Friend! 📻 Seth and I are back for a new season of chatting over drinks! In this latest episode, we reflect on the old idea of Ignatian examen and how it applies to us moderns, as well as why morning and evening bookends are a great idea. (...And yes, this ties in seamlessly with the journal.) Dust off those earbuds and join us!
2. A guide to teenage happiness, written by a smart teenager. “Like human happiness, teenage happiness does not flourish when everyone has the freedom to live just as they please. Where there is neither order nor necessity in life—no constraints, no inhibitions, no discomfort—life becomes both relaxing and boring, as American philosopher Allan Bloom notes. A soft imprisonment.”
3. It's all well and good to desire our adolescent to grow into mature adults disconnected from smartphones — but how do we do this? And how do we do this early on, when they're still little? On , Ruth Gaskovski has some practical advice: “Excessive screen use does not start with teens and TikTok; for a growing number of children it starts in the crib.”
4. Are you or your people Tolkien nerds as much as mine? 🪄 This ONE Lord of the Rings epiosde to rule them all was a fun listen on our drive home from Ohio.
5. And finally,makes plain why it's good to pay writers whose wisdom and words have benefitted your life; and that if you can't, it's okay — yet that doesn't mean you should be automatically granted unfettered access to their work. (I love it when people say the quiet parts out loud!)
Currently Reading, Watching, Listening 📚
The Art of Living, by Edward Sri
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“There's never enough time to do all the nothing you want.”
- Bill Watterson
What did you do after high school? 🎓
My son reminded me that The Commonplace does, in fact, have a wide age range of readers and that in the last poll, I failed to include the option "not yet done with high school." So for his fellow adolescent Commonplace readers, my apologies. I love that you're here.
(Oh, and the tiny orange slice is ‘traveled,’ representing 0.8% of you. I can’t get the label to show up. 🤷♀️)
Find this week’s poll here.
It’s here! 📫
First Light & Eventide is officially out in the wild, and I’ve already heard from SO many of you how much you’re enjoying it. I’m truly glad to hear it. ICYMI, here are more of my thoughts on how this journaling practice has benefitted me.
Quick Links 🔗
Question(s) For You to Ponder… 🤔
How will you touch grass this weekend?
Have a great weekend,
Related: I’m teaching Hamlet again this month. 💀