Posted in books, meandering, podcasts

Magnetism in enthusiasm

There is something delightful about people who get jazzed about a topic, even if the topic is weird (by my standards) or not something I’m necessarily interested in.

I have read most of Malcolm Gladwell’s books and have enjoyed them thoroughly. Some of the pieces within them are about topics that I wouldn’t necessarily choose to read about. But they were in the book. So I read them. And they were interesting!

He has a podcast called Revisionist History. Some of them I enjoyed because the content was up my alley. But then he turned to talking about music history which, oddly, I wasn’t super-interested in.

And yet, I was captivated.

He was so immersed in what he was talking about and so excited to share it that it was interesting to listen to.

Six-ish months ago, I bought a one-year subscription to MasterClass. Not entirely understanding what I’d purchased, I was delighted to learn that I had access to all of the classes, not just the one I thought I had bought.

I’m taking in all of the classes about either writing or photography. (The Kid has enjoyed some episodes of Penn and Teller and others about space travel.)

In the time I’ve been a member, new classes have been added, including one by Malcolm Gladwell.

It’s about writing, so I was going to watch it regardless, but by this point, I’d become a fan enough that I would have watched at least some of it anyway.

And it doesn’t disappoint.

Listening to the podcast adds voice, inflection, etc. that the consumer doesn’t get in writing.

Watching the MasterClass adds gestures and facial expressions.

If nothing else, he is excited about his work and the stories he tells.

I have no connection to him though I’d love to share a meal or afternoon tea, I get no kickbacks for books, podcast listeners, or MasterClass subscribers (though I think I can maybe give you a referral link to MasterClass and get a discount on a renewal). I am just delighted that his work has crossed my path at this point in time when I appreciate them.

Have you been in a space where you’ve been captivated by someone’s enthusiasm about something that you otherwise might not be interested in?

Posted in meandering, mindset

Creating our own identity

I make notes in my phone when I hear something that I want to remember: a quote, a book recommendation, a podcast recommendation, and so on.

Going back through my notes? Not always timely.

I found this one from May:

We have the freedom and the burden to make our own identity

It was from a podcast. I don’t know which one.*

But as anyone who has lamented not being a kid knows, freedom can be burdensome.

In some families/communities/countries, people in the system have a very defined role. They don’t get to choose or figure out who they are.

But they also don’t have to.

Not something I’ve thought about in this way. Fun to mess with my brain.


*I’ve started noting which podcast, which episode, and sometimes the time stamp in my notes. I used to believe the note was just until I got home, but I’ve wisened up…

Posted in about me, ebb & flow, meandering

AZ anniversary

Some time in the last week was my 16-year anniversary of arriving in Arizona.

(I could look at a calendar and figure out which day exactly, but it’s not that important. Early August is good enough.)

I came out here to go to grad school. To go somewhere hot and far away. To try to start over.

My boyfriend at the time drove out with me and stayed a week or so, and then I was here on my own. It was scary and exciting and has been exactly what I hoped for and not at all what I hoped for.

So much has happened in the time that I’ve been here. While it’s not up to half of my life yet, it is the majority of my adult life, even if you count college as “adult.” (Which I don’t, because of how my experience went. If you’re not supporting yourself on money you earned, you’ve not yet graduated to adult. In my opinion.)

Some of the things I wanted to be far away from stayed far away. (Hooray!) Some of them were part of me and are here. (That was a rough lesson.)

It’s just a reflection point. A moment to stop, think about where I’ve been, see where I want to go, and continue on.

I tend to do this more at this time and around my cancer-versary than at New Years, since these moments have significance in a real way, whereas January 1 is A Thing but not My Thing.

Here’s to the 17th year being better than the rest! (Why not?!)

Posted in about me, ebb & flow, meandering, mental health

A 20-year-old reaction returns

Twenty years ago, I graduated from The College of New Jersey with the education required to become a music teacher.

I’ve become really good at teaching. But at music? Mediocre at best.

Historically, I’ve been a fast learner without much grit. It took a lot of life before anything crossed my path that I was motivated to do better than I needed. Things were typically done well, but nothing was exceptional or in more depth than necessary.

As a result, I always played my instruments enough to be able to play what I needed for school, and sometimes songs for fun, but never songs harder than what was offered. (My parents’ refusal to pay for music lessons—because I had a music teacher at school and why would they pay for another one?—compounded this when I finally had a bit of interest.)

When I got to college, I wasn’t very good. And I didn’t think I could catch up. (Changing to trombone changed that mindset substantially, but that’s another story.)

I was extremely self-conscious about my skill level. I hated practicing. (The practice rooms were not sound-proof and I didn’t like that people could hear me). Ensemble practices were stressful.

Most of the hours and hours every day that I spent in the music building were at least twinged—if not completely fraught—with anxiety.

Decades have passed. I’ve had some musical milestones that I was proud of. I’ve spent a lot of time practicing. And, most recently, I’ve stopped playing in ensembles. Nowadays, most of the time, music is fun again.

Over the summer, we were on campus to meet a friend for lunch.

We walked into the music building, and the old familiar anxiety crept in.

It was so odd and so familiar and I thought it funny that after all this time, when I walked in with no expectations (and definitely not to play), it was still there.

Makes me wonder what else I have this reaction to…and how, after I find it, I can get rid of it.

Posted in meandering, podcasts

Recent podcasts I’ve loved

I listened to and loved two very different podcasts recently.

The first, titled Not really having this argument, was from Akimbo by Seth Godin. It’s only about 18 minutes long (the subsequent 10 or so minutes are follow-up questions from the previous episode, though there was one in there that I also found compelling, so keep listening after “the end”). I’ve listened to it three times. He talks about something I knew already but couldn’t have articulated most of the time, and I want to do a better job remembering it. So I’ve listened to it every few days.

The second is from Armchair Expert and is a live show with Dan Savage. I love Dan, and I love Armchair Expert, so this was a mashup of two of my favorite podcasts. If you’re not familiar with Dan Savage or Dax Sheperd, let me give you a heads up that the language isn’t clean and the content isn’t PG, but it’s fantastic to listen to.

Their fact check at the end (as they do with all of their episodes) is somewhat tedious for the first few minutes (but I had already heard Dan talk about what they were talking about, so maybe you’ll find it more interesting?), but then they fact checked the story about the girl who got pregnant from oral sex and it was true. So keep listening just for that, if nothing else. Super interesting (and no, obviously not something that the majority of us need to worry about, as you’ll see if you tune in).

Has anything you’ve listened to or watched or read really connected with you lately?