Apropos of nothing in particular, but the idea of sending four amateurs into space without at least one trained professional on board seems premature at best. I wouldn’t do that on a Cessna 172, and I damned sure wouldn’t do it on an orbital mission.
It is a bet that everything will go according to plan. And the wager on the table is four lives and the future of the civilian space effort.
I finished Matt Haig’s The Midnight Library over the weekend, just in time for the book club this week. Non-genre fiction is not normally my thing, but this was recommended by a friend, and it turned out to be a bit more piquant for me than, say, a Jonathan Franzen novel might have. Reading it at a turning point in my life a few weeks after retirement landed the story closer to home, as did some personal history.
Without diving into the dreary details, suffice sot say that I once had cause to speak to someone very dear to me about regrets. They wanted no regrets in life. I opined that there was no such thing as a life without regrets, that we make so many choices each day, and that the hardest choices we have to make are not between good and bad options, but between good and good ones. If we cannot avoid regrets, at least we have the power to choose them. What separates those of us who are crippled by what-ifs from those who are not is the possession of a North Star, a guiding light that allows us to discern which choices bring to us the fulfillment we need (which is too often different from what we think we need in the moment.)
Setting The Midnight Library down with that end-of-book exhale, I realized Haig had taken me, via the life of Nora Seed, to the next step: those of us who have come by our regrets honestly, following our souls rather than our lusts or avarice, may find that our regrets are so much bunkum, either artifacts of of self-doubt, shortsightedness, or a bit of both. Whatever their provenance, regrets are little more than deadweight save for their ability to serve as guardrails for the choices we make going forward. If they can guide us on a better path, great. If not, they serve no useful purpose and should be ejected.
I say this as a man in possession of a suitcase of regrets, so I am overdue to take the medicine Haig seems to prescribe. I’ll take a hard pass on Nora’s path, though. I have decided instead to exorcise my demons via poetry, writing a verse paean to each regret, cherishing it, and tattooing its lesson into my soul before casting it to the winds.
I swore my retirement would not be about golf, but here I am, not four weeks in, on a golf course at 8am Monday morning.
In my defense, I am here for a fundraiser for our local council of the Boy Scouts of America, and I am not playing, just carrying drinks and snacks to the foursomes as they work their way around the course.
I am more of a hiker than a differ, but on a day like this, with the temperature a modest 73F and a light breeze blowing off the Pacific onto the Spanish Hills, I see the appeal of the game.
My wife bought this insulated steel travel mug one day when we were standing in line at the Pinnacle Plaza Starbucks in Beijing back in about 2001. The motives were purely mercenary, as Starbucks in China was offering to take ¥1 RMB off of the price of a coffee each time you brought your own cup.
Given how often I was going to Starbucks in Beijing, I’d take this with me each day. I started traveling with it so that I could get similar deals elsewhere in China, and then found they were even offering such incentives in other countries as well.
This mug, my first, went everywhere with me. It has been dropped, kicked, and bounced by me, by the occasional bumbling barista, and by the reliably gentle baggage handlers it encountered, and it shows the dings and dents you would expect. But it still holds coffee, still stands mostly straight on the table, and still travels with me.
I am now officially overqualified to plan and lead a camp-out.
Seriously, though, attending National Camping School not only prepares me to run or oversee huge multi-day events like camporees, it also better equips me to plan and manage complex outdoor activities for our Troop.
I am chuffed as heck. This was a big bucket list item for me.
Working during the Pandemic had a few upsides, one of which was that I could justify ordering groceries online and having them delivered. The tips, the service charges, and the higher prices could be justified by the extra layer of safety offered by shoppers and contactless delivery.
We may not yet be post-pandemic quite yet, but I am certainly post-career, and that means masking up and going back to shopping the old-fashioned way. I’m hitting one grocery stop per week, reading the store circulars coming in the mail, learning where to get the best deals, and buying in slightly larger quantities. At some point, we will probably add a freezer to take advantage of sales and overstock.
As much as I enjoyed groceries on my front doorstep, there is a deeper satisfaction in going out and picking out my own food and finding the better deals.
In the months ahead, more bulk buying, coupon clipping, and leftovers.