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Decoding life decisions using enthusiastic consent
If it isn't hell yeah, tread carefully.
Howdy Traipser! If you’re new around here, I’m Dakota and this is my newsletter about reclaiming creativity and ditching tired personal paradigms.
If this was June 1861, the U.S. Civil War would be raging and I’d have to hire the Pony Express to deliver this newsletter…for ~$150 in today’s money (payable in gold nuggets only). It would take 10 days to traverse the U.S. Instead, ZAP, here’s the 123rd edition of Traipsing About in your inbox.
Here in Bend, we’re back from a much-needed getaway to an Airbnb on the Oregon coast. We even brought our cat Oliver along for the ride! He got into big wave surfing while Chelsea and I enjoyed hiking, beach walks, and listening to the spring weather rage on the rental roof.
After a long winter, our trip felt like a shift to spring. Now we’re planting the garden, riding bikes (my back is feeling better!), and generally feeling refreshed and grounded. Even in small doses, travel can be so clarifying.
This week on Planting About, Edition #123:
What are we actually accepting?
It’s just priorities
A decision making metric
Traipsing Tidbits: avoid falling trees, a bike mantra, bike mirror, DIY oil change, and dinner prep music.
Side note: Bikepacking.com published my guide for plant-based bike travel and it was met with enthusiasm and many thoughtful comments. The editors were leery of a war in the comments, but instead everyone was cool. Yay humanity! A hearty hello to all you new readers who found Traipsing About through it.
Maybe a magnifying glass isn’t enough
Last newsletter I wrote how future casting with a telescope is no bueno for me and that peering through a magnifying glass is a much better approach. Present moment for the win.
With my focus in front of me versus spiraling on the future, I feel centered, connected to others, and generally good.
As I creep into my 40s, I’m struck by how life loses the carefree nature of earlier years. Whether it’s me and Chelsea, colleagues, friends, or family, someone is usually navigating a tough life experience at some moment. It’s like the weather forecast changed from clear and sunny to “thunderstorms and golfball-sized hail for someone in your network….always.”
It makes me wonder if this was happening when I was younger and I was just too self-absorbed or busy to notice. (Hooray for our 20s!) For sure life is more complex, plus health issues simply crop up more as we age. As my friend Brandon told me, “our culture acts like it’s not the case as it upholds and worships youth, but we know better.”
So if difficulty and dealing with it is the norm, what to do?
In my telescopes and magnifying post, I quoted the book Radical Acceptance:
"The way out of our cage begins with accepting absolutely everything about ourselves and our lives, by embracing with wakefulness and care our moment-to-moment experience."
Mostly, my “acceptance” of life challenges has been that they’ll change…for the better. Aka DIFFERENT. However, another wise friend said, “Maybe the silver lining of the whole ordeal will be mastering acceptance and enjoying the present without needing anything to change to feel better?!”
Whoa. And YUP.
This too shall pass…but maybe the goal and lesson is that the ultimate win is being ok even IF things don't change, or get worse. What if I’m fine even if things go poorly relative to some expectation of mine?
My work continues.
Don’t tell me you got passed
Pedaling around my local trail system this week, I pulled over to let a fit, huffing guy sail by me. A few years ago, this would have irked me—nobody passes me!
This time around, it reminded me of an important thing: priorities. That guy obviously has poured many hours of time into cycling and earned the fitness. I’ve been there! It’s fun. It’s also requires a LOT of time to stay fit, especially in multiple sports at once.
I’m still very active, but now I’m spending more time on creative pursuits and don’t feel the drive to log the kind of hours I did before. Nah, I’d rather play piano or draw with the extra energy or free time.
I love the idea from James Altucher for dealing with envy: simply envision trading lives with the person. ALL of it, not just the positives…which includes wind sprints and training or practicing even when you don’t want to.
(Pair this idea with my blog post on overcoming envy.)
Hell yeah or no
Making decisions regarding big life events ain’t easy. Relocations, new jobs, who to partner with… All potentially life-changing decisions.
A tool to navigate that is a concept new to me, “enthusiastic consent.” It evolved out of the dating world (like is making a move ok), but can extend to other events.
A PhD therapist friend told me that’s also his recommendation for potential parents who are deciding whether to have kids. Rather than “well, we got a real job, bought a house…what now?” he reframes it as “if it isn’t a HELL YES, KIDS,” don’t do it.
Why? Having kids won’t fix things. Your relationship. Your dissatisfaction with a career. Certainly not your sleep!
He goes as far as saying that anything less than hell yes means you’re setting a kid up for potential trauma since they’ll sense the subtle resentment from any parent who isn’t 100% on board.
Traipsing About Tidbits
For zee dangerous activities: I’m back on my mountain bike and chanting my favorite mantra: 10% slower, 90% safer. (It’s still fun as hell.)
For dat safety: I can’t recommend a helmet mirror enough for any pedaling around cars and have used the Take a Look for years for commuting and bike touring.
For doze ears: the Spotify playlist Chill Evening Mix is perfect for chopping some vegetables for dinner.
For you DIYers: I changed our car oil recently and draining the oil was SO easy and seamless thanks to my Fumoto valve. Just say no to lame drain plugs and oil-covered hands.
Quote of the Week
“You are not supposed to be happy all the time. Life hurts and it's hard. Not because you're doing it wrong, but because it hurts for everybody. Don't avoid the pain. You need it. It's meant for you. Be still with it, let it come, let it go, let it leave you with the fuel you'll burn to get your work done on this earth.”
You’ve reached the end of Traipsing About newsletter #123.
This week’s unsolicited advice:
For your next big decision, try out enthusiastic consent and see if it’s a resounding HELL YES or a mehhhh.
Catch you next time!
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