Surely we all occasionally buy books because of a daydream we’re having – a little fantasy about the people we might turn into one day, when our lives are difference, quieter, more introspective, and when all the urgent reading, whatever that might be, has been done.
I’m not sure what I’ll do, but— well, I want to go places and see people. I want my mind to grow. I want to live where things happen on a big scale.
I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.
The problem, often not discovered until late in life, is that when you look for things in life like love, meaning, motivation, it implies they are sitting behind a tree or under a rock. The most successful people in life recognize, that in life they create their own love, they manufacture their own meaning, they generate their own motivation. For me, I am driven by two main philosophies, know more today about the world than I knew yesterday. And lessen the suffering of others. You’d be surprised how far that gets you.
The human predicament: the fact that we’re living in a nightmare that everyone is making excuses for and having to find ways to sugarcoat. And the fact that life, at its best, is a pretty horrible proposition. But people’s behavior makes it much, much worse than it has to be.
Do not waste the vast majority of your life doing something you hate so that you can spend the small remainder sliver of your life in modest comfort. You may never reach that end anyway.
It’s summertime in Minnesota, which means most of my coming weekends will be spent in a small cabin just two hours north of here. What I’ll do up there is anyones guess. Part of the reason I make that drive is the unrestrained freedom the atmosphere provides. Freedom to sit and read. Freedom to not wear socks. Freedom to not check Twitter. Freedom to close myself off from whatever is happening in the world and live in my own bubble of secluded bliss. It’s these liberties, and many more, that make summertime weekends a unique experience and something I look forward to four and a half days a week during my favorite season of the year.
And then his mood shifted completely. The kids climbed to their feet and followed their coach back to practice. He faced the most deeply entrenched attitude problem in his players in 31 years. His wife, Peggy, had hinted to me that for the first time, Fitz was thinking about giving up coaching altogether. He faced a climate of sensitivity that made it nearly impossible for him to change those attitudes. He faced, in short, a world trying to stop him from making his miracles. And on top of it all, he had the flu. It counted as the lowest moment, easily, in his career as a baseball coach. Unfairly, I took the moment to ask him, ”Do you really think there’s any hope for this team?” The question startled him into a new freshness. He was alive, awake, almost well again. ”Always,” he said. ”You never give up on a team. Just like you never give up on a kid.” Then he paused. ”But it’s going to take some work.”
And that’s how I left him. Largely unchanged. No longer, sadly, my baseball coach. Instead, the kind of person who might one day coach my children. And when I think of that, I become aware of a new fear: that my children might never meet up with their Fitz. Or that they will, and their father will fail to understand what he’s up to.