Go Do

A practice in celebrating and savouring the full-tilt life

“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.” Ernest Hemingway

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Johnnyswim – Drunks

We met in the middle, driving the rest of the way together, deciding the destination as we went. It had been something to look forward to: an afternoon and a concert in the city. I so treasure having her in the province, for as long as she stays and as long as our taste in music concurs. With us, it doesn’t matter so much what we do. That day it was coffee in a shop with a giant chandelier, the long way through the city, pizza next to the street. We passed the tour bus and the lead singer on our way to dinner, where she sang along to the entire Ed Sheeran album and we waited until the album had finished before moving on.

Then, Johnnyswim came on stage. We know I love live music of all sorts, usually for the ensuing magical feels. But this one was special, because I’ve never described any other concert as hospitable, warm, and hopeful – not to mention musically magical. I’ve never heard a musician tell a crowd this is their living room for the night, so feel at home no matter what worries you brought with you. That’s exactly how the whole day was: a day of rest with one who knows me well.

More Gratitude

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Sufjan Stevens – Should Have Known Better

  1. April birthdays.
  2. They flew across the country, just for the weekend (and the mini eggs).
  3. On Sunday nights we tend to gather down the street.
  4. An Edmonton reunion.
  5. Pilot coffee.
  6. Fried chicken waffles.
  7. Duchess Bakery.
  8. The Wolfe of Wortley, finally.
  9. First patio at Revel.
  10. Final loan payment – !

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Ben Rector – Brand New

I’ve recently realized my style can best be described as an over-sized t-shirt, then sort of just cross my fingers and hope my hair makes up for it. I’m not sure why I’m sharing this with the Internet, but here goes nothing!

Scenario one: A concert night in Toronto with my sister where we discussed outfits for weeks before I chose a giant shirt and tights. “But don’t worry,” I told Amy, who had meticulously selected her outfit to coordinate with mine, “my hair looks amazing!” As if that helped her.

Scenario two: A fashion show last week which I prepared for by going to 2 different malls (a mountainous ordeal), before selecting (you guessed it) what looks like a crew-neck t-shirt that grew into a dress. Once again, fingers crossed the heels and wild hair made up for it. Not likely.

Until notified differently, I’m assuming the basics always work, right?

Anyway, there have been some decidedly treasure-filled troves on my regular haunts on the interwebs lately. Maybe you’ll find this treasure-filled, too, or maybe let’s not think too much about it!

Nikaela‘s view is always breathtaking, a memory of the Habit blog to me.

I love how Gemma describes music and memory.

This guy is coming to London. Who’s coming with me?! (Update on all the good feels: When your friend gives an automatic yes to attending a show without asking who’s playing.)

London now also has cronuts and a new donut shop! Here’s hoping one of these lovely coffee shops is open late on weekends this summer (amiright, Renee?)

I wish I had come up with ObjectsICantAfford.com.

It’s time to stop wearing white sneaks or Birks to work. I’m thinking these might do the trick?

 

 

 

Lewis Watson – Little Light

“I never had any for a long time. Decades. And then I had a ton. There is still wishful thinking and a sense of time wasted. I did a lot with my time, but there was so much I never even attempted because I thought for sure I would be bad at it. Or good at it. This is why I never learned to ollie very well and why I didn’t pursue writing as a legit career until I was about 28. At 28, I had been freelancing steadily for 12 years and publishing a zine, and I still was under the mistaken belief that I did not have what it took to be a writer. Matt convinced me I should try, and I did, and I realized about three weeks into “trying” that could have been writing full time for years, and my cowardice–fear of my own ambition got in the way. And that is my regret. That I lived without a sense of permission for so long.” – Jessica Harper on regret, via Ann.

I’m not sure what to do with this, but here it is, beckoning.

 

 

On Spring

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Kevin Garrett – Little Bit of You

It’s just barely spring, and already I’m chasing after the season with the same urgency I hunt fresh coffee in the morning. It’s impulsive, instinctive, like your tongue feeling cotton and suddenly thirst is all you can think. Once it starts, it’s hard to go back.

Saturday brought a visit to the cemetery, ground all squishy and scents all earthy. Sunday the sun invited the first patio of the season – closely followed by the second patio of the season later that afternoon. Bon Iver’s Sinatra blue light arrives early now, and the dew slicks the wood on the front steps. There’s a cool dampness about the morning that catches me and sends me to the Camino in an instant impulse. Memory is such a fascinating human experience. I can’t get enough of spring.

For my ever-loving country roots

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Bon Iver – 8 (circle)

I used to say I’m my worst self when I’m alone. I would shake my head and furrow my brow like it was the darndest thing, this trying to live well without anyone watching. And worse, the living alone in a city where I knew only a few family members and coworkers (admittedly, exceptional folk).

It takes time to build community, even for this extrovert. I say this to encourage you: these things take time in the best circumstances; it’s not you. Building community is not rocket science, but it can be slow. For me it is in fits and starts. What I can recommend is that you show up again and again, to church or small group or whatever social group you’ve committed to. Show up for coffee or a walk or dinner or whatever offer you propose or accept. Keep showing up. And accept that time alone does not mean something is wrong. It’s okay to have nothing to report on Monday when your coworkers inquire about what they can only assume was your fascinating weekend. It’s more than okay to like spending time with your parents and count phone calls as real social encounters.

This may not be how you expected your mid-twenties to look and feel, but if you’re anything like me, you had no idea what to expect even a few years ago. It would be a bit silly to hold yourself to that standard. My solitary life rotates on a reel of treasures my former selves couldn’t have seen. There’s a closeness with my family I never imagined embracing, a deep repose in Tiny Apartment with its creature comforts, work that teaches me more about myself than I’d like to know, a community that continues to grow and surprise me. It is good. And for me to live continuously in a state where I don’t believe it is good would be wrong.

I used to say I’m my worst self when I’m alone, but I wouldn’t say that anymore.

“Do not ask your children
to strive for extraordinary lives.
Such striving may seem admirable,
but it is the way of foolishness.
Help them instead to find the wonder
and the marvel of an ordinary life.
Show them the joy of tasting
tomatoes, apples and pears.
Show them how to cry
when pets and people die.
Show them the infinite pleasure
in the touch of a hand.
And make the ordinary come alive for them.
The extraordinary will take care of itself.”
– William Martin

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James Newton Howard – Bennet’s Decision

Today has been criss-crossed with confidence and fragility. With one breath, I can do this; with another, why try? I packed it up at noon and drove home for an afternoon with mom, grateful for a job that affords this flexibility. I’m of the firm belief I prove nothing by not taking sick days or using vacation and lieu time. In fact, it helps me be myself better.

Today, certainly, this is true. We chatted over mint smoothies and croissant caramel pudding (!!), and I stretched out on the couch to calm the ache in my centre. Mom is a storehouse of remedies. Know your limits, take your time, be gracious with yourself.

We Christians are called to more and greater things, to leave past selves and sins behind, all the while knowing in our weaknesses Christ is shown strong. We live in the tension of showing up for the hard work of progress and relying on his Spirit in us. It’s in this tension that we grow in relationship and reliance and plain old self-awareness. And it’s in this same tension I’m learning to be gracious with myself, as Christ has been gracious. So we grow, and we let ourselves off the hook, and sometimes we take an afternoon off.