Week 31 of 2023 has arrived. And boy she's a doozy! I mean why not... I suppose it is possible for every week to be above average if each week is that much better than the all the ones that came before! An exponential curve of satisfaction!
Time to walk over to your 4K Weeks poster and fill in another square. Done?
First, you can now replace "My Life in Weeks" at the top of any poster you order with your custom text... try it out!
Second: I am still stuck on the caterpillar/butterfly part from last week. It has been sloshing around in my brain, and then one new thing was added... Here is a refresher...
Buckminster Fuller said "There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it is going to be a butterfly."
The truth that a caterpillar almost totally liquifies as it transforms into a butterfly.
And then the new thing... The Mystery that keeps Neil deGrasse Tyson up at night.
In the Tyson video, if you cut to 7:01, you will hear him talk about unknown unknowns, and how what we know to be true for future generations of astronomers might be true for us, too, but we can never know...
The butterfly doesn't have a memory of being a caterpillar, and the caterpillar doesn't know it will be a butterfly. What were you before? What will you be after? Are we humans the caterpillar or the butterfly?
Thinking through the implications of this is blowing my "secular humanist with a dash of divine potential" mind this week.
Thanks for being here and reading. It is vital to "sharpen the saw" as a regular practice. I think of these emails as a way for me to sharpen my saw and help you sharpen yours. You can always read past weekly newsletters here.
The 4K Weeks Brightsider- A Multicolor Extravaganza!
The 4K Weeks Fade to Black- Momento Mori, Anyone?
The 4K Weeks Long View- A Different Horizon
Week #31 in the year 2014, Linda Ronstadt received the National Medal of Arts from President Barak Obama. She was 3550.00 weeks old. (68.08 yrs)
Week #31 in the year 2021, Sunisa Lee becomes the first Hmong-American Olympic champion in any sport when she wins the women's artistic gymnastics gold in Tokyo. She was 766.00 weeks old. (18.40 yrs)
Week #31 in the year 1987, Jerry Garcia, American musician and co-founder of the band Grateful Dead, gets an iconic ice cream flavor named after him: Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia (cherry ice cream with cherries and fudge flakes). Seriously, so delicious! He was 2347.57 weeks old. (45.02 yrs)
This Week's Quote
"What you are is what you have been. What you will be is what you do now." -Buddha
So simple, and yet not easy. In some ways it would be easier to be the caterpillar, turning to mush and reforming as a butterfly, with no trace of the creature that came before.
It would be so much more pleasant and clean cut to make a change for the better and not have to carry your old self into the future with you.
But... that is not the way it is. All of your now affects all of your future, and all of your past affects how hard or easy choosing your future will be.
That is why it takes so much energy to change directions. All the grooves, and habits, and routines are tugging you back to the into the rut of the old you, and you MUST keep working until you are free of the gravitational pull of the old stuff and into the orbit of the new you.
You can do it. You just have to do it, and then keep doing it.
Now go on and get to being what you will be!
What I am Consuming This Week
The House of Representatives hearing on UFOs. This. Is. Insane. My good friend sent it to me. (Thanks, Mike!) It is pretty boring and stuffy up until one hour in. A few highlights: "Do you believe that our government is in possession of UAPs?" "Uh, absolutely." and "non-human-biologics". That we are openly talking about these topics is insane. And to be fair... there is a lot of pushback on the veracity of the claims... But... still... insane.
Snap Judgement Podcast: "The Ledge". Snap Judgement is always a good story. This one is about a death, a friend saving a friend at his own expense... so fair warning.
How I Built This, Hosted by Guy Raz. "Hank and John Green". My wife shared this with me. I used to love this podcast, but stopped listening for no reason or another. (See below.) The Greens' story is amazing and a model for what is possible. (Not their fame mind you - windows open and close - but their satisfaction with what they are doing.) Make things because you want to, learn things because you want to, share everything you make and learn joyfully with the world. That is a rich and fulfilling life.
A note about how little friction it takes to stop a good habit: "I used to listen to podcasts all day...now I only listen to a few a week." I had that thought as I listened the above episode of How I Built This... "I liked that habit... I benefited from that habit...what changed...? " Well, it seems that a year or so ago, my $30 headphones broke, and I didn't replace them. Take care of your good habits, so they can take care of you!
What I am Thinking About This Week
This passage from Know My Name by Chanel Miller:
"This and other small invitations saved me: Driving to the pond, to lay out on frayed towels amidst thunder warnings. Riding with Angie in the cranberry-colored van with missing seats, sitting on flattened cabbage boxes. Purple Rain projected on a hanging sheet. Eating cherry pie, listening to dubstep remixes of the Seinfeld intro. I was cast in a minor role in their summer, and my presence may have barely registered in their memory reels. But I can't imagine those days without them, would never forget how it felt to be included."
It's a library book, so I can't underline it. So I got up out of bed last night and walked to the entry of our room where the phones stay and took a picture to email it to myself.
The chapter that precedes this passage is about a person adrift, in a difficult situation, with a soiled and spoiled sense of home. And so I kept waiting for the hammer to fall... for her to spiral out of control... it seemed inevitable.
The little kindnesses that these new acquaintances did for her were so insignificant for them, and so monumental for her.
It reminded me of two huge moments in my life that were likely insignificant to the key players.
#1) New to town and school, in 8th grade, knowing no one, I sat by myself at lunch for a few days, not daring to stick my neck out for fear of being ridiculed. Most of these kids had been friends since kindergarten.
On the 3rd or 4th day, 2nd period, Nathan Stephens leaned over to my desk and said "Hey man, you can sit with us at lunch if you want."
There is a star on the Kindness Walk of Fame for him because of that. I will never forget it.
#2) Same new school, early in the school year. Lunch seating was secured, but I still didn't really have anyone to hang out with. After school, a few weeks in, when we were all streaming out to cars and busses and sidewalks, Steve Krohn walked up beside me and said "Hey, a few people are walking over to my house after school. You can come if you want."
I don't remember much from that year. It was fine and great and whatever. But if I ever have grandkids, I will tell them those two stories and how those 2 little kindnesses meant the world to me, how amazing it felt to be included.
If you can, include someone today.
Have a great week!
Thanks for being a part of the journey with us! Please tell me if you liked/disliked the email this week. Ask my wife... those are the only emails I like to get!
Spencer, Owner of 4KWeeks.com
Dad Joke O' The Week
Did you hear about the actor who fell through the floor?
It was just a stage he was going through.
And here is a bonus sent in to me by Duarte last week:
When does a joke become a "dad joke"? When it becomes apparent!