(This post is sponsored by Target.)
This is my 7-year-old child craning his neck to see what’s on the television screen I’m watching, while he plays on my laptop.
It’s his preferred state of being, and I take full responsibility. I’m not sure what was in the bowl in front of him, but probably extra-dye M&Ms coated in high fructose corn syrup and then rolled in crunchy sugar crystals. He’s a growing boy.
I kid, but there are some screen-related things I don’t obsess about. I don’t worry that he’s becoming stupider, and I don’t mind that his heroes include robot trucks. I do care about spending enough time together engaged in non-watching activities, and making sure he’s hitting all the developmental marks along the way. We’re great on the reading front (relief), but he’s never been very interested in making things.
I grew up covered in glitter and Elmer’s Glue, but Hank can’t be tempted. We once gave him a giant activity book, which he read cover to cover, and then wandered away from it. He won’t even use safety scissors to sneak away and cut his own hair. This didn’t worry me much, kids have different interests, until he came home from school one day and said that he’s not good at art as the other kids. Aw man.
Time to get more serious about glue stick practice and Scissor Holding-101. I thought for a while about how to get him engaged for more than a few minutes in a way that wouldn’t leave him disliking art more than ever.
Hank has always been into science and robots, but lately he’s been interested in a very specific type of robot. So when the Tooth Fairy brought us this killer book called Welcome to Your Awesome Robot, I suggested maybe, we could, you know, make a Transformer.
If he wanted.
Optimus Prime is listening. Proceed.
You have no idea how hesitantly he engaged with this tape, my friends.
But he got into it! We built for a couple of days, and I encouraged him to come up with his own ideas and build things himself.
Innovations include, this sign that warns you not to stick your face too close to the input flap, lest it be chomped off.
Here is our threat monitor, which indicates when it’s time for the Autobots to roll out.
In the middle of drawing an arm hole, Hank said, “Mom. Building robots is SO. MUCH. FUN.”
Truth. And then we jumped around for a few minutes, because I’d been waiting seven years to hear something positive about cardboard and pipe cleaners.
We added party hat receptors, and a view slot, and an Optimus Prime sword, which makes very convincing robot sounds and doubles as an interior light source.
This photo is exactly what I thought it would be like to be a mom.
But what does it transform into?
“A fort! … can I play iPad inside?”
Sure, little guy.
I bought a used juicer and started doing the green juice/smoothie thing this week by trying random recipes on the Internet. You will be shocked to hear that many of them are blech. But! The other morning I made a good one. And then I picked out a pretty glass and straw and took photos of it next to an air plant in my bathroom, like so:
It had mango, spinach, pineapple, and bananas, and even Hank was into it. It’s called the Beginner’s Luck Green Smoothie if you’re game to try.
KALE CAN EFF UP YOUR THYROID? YES.
Also, my friend Molly warned me that she knocked out her thyroid by drinking juiced kale too regularly. Has this happened to any of you? I looked it up and found out that all cruciferous vegetables (kale, spinach, broccoli, and so on) can tax your thyroid. Here are some links to info, which can be summed up as “Moderation. Etcetera.”
JUICING IS NOT THAT HARD TO CLEAN UP
Also, I was afraid of juicing because of the general complaint about how hard it is to clean up afterward. It turns out that’s not a thing. My juicer is a Breville Juice Fountain, and it’s a little easier to clean than a food processor. I also have an old Vitamix blender that I was paranoid about purchasing because it’s ludicrously expensive, but I use it every day and it’s incredible. It’s a beast when it comes to blending vegetables, and it’s even easier to clean.
Read this book. I’ve mentioned Martha Beck several times over the years, she’s a career development specialist and a columnist in O Magazine. I’ve reread this book twice over the last few years, and it introduced me to a couple of concepts that come up a lot when I’m considering what I want to do next.
First, the Generalized Other, which is the people we’re actually referring to when we say “Everyone will think I’m dumb.” Ms. Beck posits that we often pull a handful of terrible people together to make up our “Everybodies,” because of the natural instinct to avoid danger and preserve social access. She has a whole chapter on how to replace your Generalized Other with people who support you. Useful.
Second, the idea that we’re perpetually cycling through four general life phases: 1. Death and Rebirth, where we lose our identity to a catalytic event like a death or, on the converse, winning the lottery. 2. Dreaming and Scheming, where we try on new plans for ourselves. 3. The Promised Land, where we work hard toward our goals. 3. The Hero’s Saga, where we achieve our aims and work on a daily basis to maintain our life until another catalytic event knocks us back to a new identity shift. She offers strategies for tackling each phase, because her theory is that all of us have trouble getting through at least one of the phases.
More best parts of Finding Your Own North Star, by Martha Beck:
“Keeping your body still when it wants to recoil or rejoice creates the physical tension that locks sensation away from consciousness.”
“Even if you achieve things that seem outwardly fabulous, an unhealed emotional injury will make you experience them as empty and unappealing.”
“If you begin to face your fears, something bittersweet is going to happen to you: You’ll grow up. You’ll lose your dependency on the grownups of the world, because you’ll realize that there is no time, no age, at which fear suddenly fades and you become one of these impervious beings.”
“Describing what you want is probably the most important step in any confrontation.”
“I don’t believe in suffering for its own sake. Enduring a thankless, painful life doesn’t mean that you deserve happiness as a kind of recompense; it just means you’re enduring a thankless, painful life. If I’m going to suffer, it better be for a damn good reason. It better yield me more joy than it costs. If not, I will do anything I can to avoid it, and advise all my clients to do the same.”
Last year was our fifth year running Mighty Events. Our events have raised over $80,000 for Charity Water, spawned countless collaborations and personal victories, and even helped inspire a few books.
So I’m sad to say that there won’t be a Camp Mighty this year.
Life List resource share wall at Camp Mighty, photo by Nicole Stevenson.
In the last five years, the landscape around blogging has changed dramatically, and our team has gone through lots of personal and professional transition as well.
Photos by Leslie Fandrich.
We thought about switching venues, making the weekend a little shorter, changing the pricing structure, all the things one considers in these situations. Unfortunately, Camp Mighty has become too difficult to swing both financially and logistically.
Margaret Gould Stewart, Facebook Director of Product Design, wears her Go Mighty necklace while ticking off her goal of speaking on the TED main stage. Photo by Susie Katz.
The Life List community at Go Mighty is where I, and many of you, have housed adventures over the past couple of years.
Nicole Balch, publisher of Making it Lovely, checks off her goal of going sightseeing on a scooter at Camp Mighty.
Go Mighty member Jenny Stockton‘s first paycheck for something she wrote.
The violin Go Mighty member Caitlin Marlotte made with her hands.
Seeing everything you’re doing there is inspiring in the no-bullshit sense of the word.
On a personal note, I’ve been surprised by the deep sense of accomplishment I get from seeing all my own aspirations gathered and ticked off over time.
I look forward to having more time in that space.
For those of you who have found your people through our events, particularly Camp Mighty and Mighty Summit, I hope you’ll continue doing what you’ve always done.
You support each other in person and online, share resources to help each other achieve personal victories, and do good stuff for the world.
Artist and Camp Mighty speaker Lisa Congdon‘s print “Deep,” which she sold to raise her Camp Mighty donation to Charity Water.
I hope Go Mighty can still help with that.
Thanks for giving us a chance to get to know you. You are good people.
The best parts of The Garden of Eden by Ernest Hemingway:
She took her coffee without sugar, and the young man was learning to remember that.
“The whole way here I saw wonderful things to paint and I can’t paint at all and never could. But I know wonderful things to write and I can’t even write a letter that isn’t stupid. I never wanted to be a painter nor a writer until I came to this country. Now it’s just like being hungry all the time and there’s nothing you can ever do about it.”
This was the first writing he had finished since they were married. Finishing is what you have to do, he thought. If you don’t finish, nothing is worth a damn.
She drank the glass off and then held it, looking at it, and David was sure that she was going to throw it in his face. Then she put it down and picked the garlic olive out of it and ate it very carefully and handed David the pit.
“Semi-precious stone,” she said. “Put it in your pocket. I’ll have another one if you’ll make it.”
His father was not vulnerable he knew and, unlike most people he had known, only death could kill him. Finally, he knew what his father had thought and knowing it, he did not put it in the story. He only wrote what his father did and how he felt…
His father, who ran his life more disastrously than any man that he had ever known, gave marvelous advice.
He had lost the capacity of personal suffering, or he thought he had, and only could be hurt truly by what happened to others.
So you must write each day better than you possibly can and use the sorrow that you have now to make you know how the early sorrow came.
“I do like to look at you though and I’d like to hear you talk if you’d ever open your mouths.”
“How do you do,” said David.
“That was quite a good effort,” Catherine said. “I’m very well.”
“Have any new plans?” David asked. He felt as though he were hailing a ship.
“Can’t I read it so I can feel like you do and not just happy because you’re happy like I was your dog?”
There had been too much emotion, too much damage, too much of everything and his changing of allegiance, no matter how sound it had seemed, no matter how it simplified things for him, was a grave and violent thing and this letter compounded the gravity and violence.
They were inside at the bar and the day had come in with them. It was as good as the day before and perhaps better since summer should have been gone and each warm day was an extra thing. We should not waste it, David thought. We should try to make it good and save it if we can.
Vadepeñas – a Spanish Denominación de Origen (DO) for wines located in the province of Ciudad Real in the south of Spain
“the get” – an animal’s offspring
kraal – an enclosure for animals
Ngoma – a type of drum used by Bantu-speaking people of East Africa
We had a heatwave recently in San Francisco, which would have been much more expected in October. My apartment was an oven, so we decided to have drinks on the roof, but the only ingredients I had on hand were for my breakfast shake. Which is surprisingly good with rum in it.
2 cups almond milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
4 shots Kraken Rum
Here’s to friends up on the roof, long naps in the sun, and being good with where you are.