Week 33 of 2023 has arrived. People are cramming in the last vacations of the summer, and rushing home to buy pencils, Trapper Keepers, and college ruled paper.
Time to walk over to your 4K Weeks poster and fill in another square. Done?
It is insane to think that we are in the home stretch of 2023... But I suppose that isn't any more insane than the fact that we are as far away from my birth year as my birth year is from 1931. (The ballpoint pen, fiberglass, and the chocolate chip cookie were invented in 1931).
I have been walking around in a state of wonder lately, and I am not exactly sure why. Yesterday I looked at my kids, and thought, "I can't believe I get to witness these humans grow up, first hand."
But it's not all blissful...
At basketball this morning, I was struck by how much quicker a few of the younger guys were than me. At 46, I have lost a few steps that I won't ever get back and those 28 year olds don't even see it yet. That is both out of my control, and also a bummer. Why do we decline with age? Is it just one more expression of entropy? I wonder.
It's hard to use these silly words to articulate a feeling this squishy, (and I know have already lost some of you with how long this intro is...) If you want to know how I am feeling, watch these videos and try to squish them all into one thought.
Video #2 (curse word incoming)
I don't know...This is just all so magically strange and wonderful and hard and easy, and we all (myself included) walk around most days like it is the standard pace...
Thanks for being here and reading. It is vital to "sharpen the saw" as a regular practice. (It's also important to "use the Saw". I think that is where I am today!) I think of these emails as a way for me to sharpen my saw and help you sharpen yours.
Week #33 in the year 1990, Paleontologist Sue Hendrickson discovers the remains of a Tyrannosaurus Rex in South Dakota. The dinosaur, known as Sue, is a permanent feature of the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, Illinois. She was 2132.29weeks old. (40.72 yrs)
Week #33 in the year 1969, photographer Iain Macmillan, takes one of the most recognized images of the 20th Century, The Beatles crossing Abbey Road. The image was used as the cover for the band's 11th album, Abbey Road. He was 1607.14 weeks old. (30.82 yrs)
Week #33 in the year 1926, Willie Mae Thornton, better known as Big Mama Thornton records the legendary hit-song Hound Dog. The song is seen as key pillar in the beginning of rock and roll due to its use of guitar as the main instrument. She was 1339.57 weeks old. (25.69 yrs)
This Week's Quote
We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey.
I know this quote is about emotional pain, but I think physical pain can show us a path here.
Have you ever stubbed a toe, or cut a finger? What is your first instinct? To grab it... to squeeze it tightly just until you can get past the moment of panic and then assess the situation.
I think a lot about pain and pain tolerance, and one thing I notice is that it's only when a pain is so big that I can't "wrap my arms around it" that it begins to feel unbearable, and starts to be a bit scary, like I might tumble off an infinite cliff of pain forever... And in those moments, the only thing to do is relax and let it all pass through you, if you can. After all, pain is just a sensation...
If you can manage not to burn yourself with it, the white hot embers of pain can be a very effective fuel.
What I am Consuming This Week
Cautionary Tales With Tim Harford, "The Man Who Played With Hurricanes". Man! The hubris of Man in the mid 20th century! Staggering.
The Ezra Klein Show, "How Martin Wolf Understands This Global Economic Moment". This is a great conversation... (actually kind of a monologue) about the state of the global economy... where it has gone and where it is heading... I just read a paragraph in the book Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About The World where the author, Hans Rosling, says that pretty soon the Level 4 Peoples of the Western World will be outnumbered by the Level 4 Peoples of the rest of the world, so this conversation was perfectly timed.
People I Mostly Admire, Steve Levitt, "David Simon is on Strike. Here's Why". David Simon created "The Wire" and a ton of other very popular tv shows. He is also the negotiating committee for the Writer's Guild of America. Super interesting podcast. I have some mixed feelings about Unions... mostly because I like to get things done (personally, not necessarily using other people's labor), and can't stand stuff that stands in my way. But... there is ZERO question that unions are a net good for humanity... We might all be working 7 days a week, 23 hours a day for one global robber baron without them... So, I don't cross picket lines. I suppose I am a proletariatistic bourgeoisie.
These Short IG clips:
Normal is Broken
I'm still laughing at this...
What I am Thinking About This Week
This morning, my mastermind group was talking about trauma. A few of the guys have been reading this book The Body Keeps the Score and I just finished Know My Name: A Memoir.
One of the MM guys is firmly in the camp of "everyone has trauma", and I always push back, just a bit. I have been very lucky in life. No denying it. My wife often says that I am "remarkably unscarred". So, I often have a hard time agreeing with the "everyone has trauma" line.
But maybe my role here isn't to push back, because I know life can be hard, and that humans can be careless, or mean, or down right terrible to each other.
Maybe my responsibility is to be a light.
As I was thinking this through, I thought of this metaphor:
If I was standing under a lighthouse, looking out at people struggling to swim to shore after a shipwreck, I wouldn't stand there and wag my finger at them about "their attitude", or judge their swimming technique, or yell to them "there isn't any risk of drowning over here!"
I would be helping. I would be lighting the lighthouse, or rowing out to help those who were at the end of their ability to swim.
The only trouble I see with this metaphor is that we are all swimming in a sea of our own making, and a person can drown in a shallow bucket of water.
One person reacts to a devastating event by using it as the fire for their boiler, and another reacts to a small slight by being totally devastated. I suppose neither is wrong, each just is... and there's wisdom in Marx's quote: "From each according to their ability, to each according to their needs."
So, maybe it should be "Swim as hard as you can, and those of us on shore will man the lighthouse and the rescue boats, and try to be a light."
Do you all have any thoughts here? Can you imagine a world where most people are "unremarkably unscarred"?
The Govenator's take.
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
What's long, green, and slowly turning red?
A cucumber holding its breath!