There was a report on the news this morning about some study on climate change. A woman was saying that people probably think this last decade was exceptionally hot, but with climate change, the next decade will be much hotter such that our current temperatures will seem relatively mild.
When I heard this, my first thought was, “why is this still being reported like it’s some surprising news that no one considered before?” But I was in the middle of doing other things, so I continued on with my morning without thinking much more of it.
That is, until just a moment ago when I was reminiscing about how relatively carefree life used to be, and lamenting how troublesome life seems to be right now. Pandemic aside, I feel like this year has brought a lot more “responsible adult” tasks for me.
(Is there a point in adulthood when there is no more to learn about being an adult, and you can just get on with life i.e. relaxing, doing nothing, etc? Probably not?)
I have a friend who makes ceramics — mugs, vases, cups, bowls, sculptures, whatever she feels like. Last week-end, she sold some of her creations at a laneway market. She booked a stall, bought an Eftpos machine, and invited everyone to come along. Being very excited for her first market day, I went and bought one of her cute little hexagon mugs (and my partner bought a cube vase — a photo of these can be found on my Instagram (see side panel)).
I think she sold more than she expected, but numbers are just numbers, and I’m more inspired by her efforts and her courage than anything else. To create something with part of one’s heart and soul, and then show it to the world, is a tremendous thing.
A friend of mine shared an infographic on Instagram a while ago. It illustrated the difference between fixed and growth mindsets with regards to race issues. Instead of just thinking that you don’t know what to do, or that you won’t make a difference, or that you simply don’t have time to get involved (all fixed mindset thinking), it encourages people to seek new information, learn about how to help, and have the courage to take part in something that has far-reaching implications (growth mindset).
It’s easy to think that a singular person cannot have much impact on greater issues, but if every person thought that, nothing would happen, nothing would change, and nothing would improve.
As someone who attended their first protest last month — for Black Lives Matter — it really reinforced this notion of “yes, I’m just one person, but together we can be a force to be reckoned with”. It was incredible to stand amongst so many others, all assembled for the same reason.
And yet, the realist in me keeps wondering what will be the true outcome of this — will there be lasting change, or will people just settle back into “normal life”, and grumble about other things?
The same friend who posted the infographic has also been sharing resources for how to support the cause further, how to support indigenous Australians, and how to just be a better human. I’ll admit it’s a lot to keep up with, and I haven’t read everything she shared, but every step in the right direction — no matter how small — equates to progress, and it’s further than I’d gone before.
Now and then, when I meet new people, and talk to them for a while, I am reminded of someone I already know. This doesn’t happen with every new person I meet, but I’ve been noticing it happening more and more. I’m not sure if this is just because I’ve already met enough people that everyone has some sort of similarity to someone else, or because I’m just taking more notice of small details in how people communicate — both their speech and body language.
In general, it’s not usually (or ever?) an exact match between the new person and the person I already know. It’s more of a vague impression that this person acts similarly to the other person in some way. It could be the slightest thing — difficult to pinpoint and describe — but it is enough to make me think of someone else.
It might be as simple as their inflection or tone of voice when they talk about something in particular. It could be an air of confidence or nervousness or some other emotion in their words and the way they carry themselves. Perhaps it’s even just the way they tilt their head or move their hands when they speak.
For several weeks now, I have been thinking of this quote from Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations, and I’ve been meaning to find it so that I could blog about it, but I either haven’t had time or, when I did have time, I just couldn’t find it.
During my first reading of Meditations (now a few years ago), I used some scrap paper to jot down some notes regarding noteworthy passages. For some of these, I copied out the passage (if it was short), and for some I simply noted the book and chapter numbers. I kept these scraps of paper as reminders — some within the pages of Meditations, and the rest on my bedside table. I had hoped that the quote I was thinking of would be on one of these but, alas, no luck.
But, no matter, I thought, there is a helpful index in the back of the copy I own, which can be used to find passages relating to various subject matter and concepts, so I tried this next. I pondered over words that might lead me to the passage, but these either did not take me to where I wanted to go, or they did not exist in the index.
As a last resort — or perhaps just a despairing effort — I flipped through to random pages, hoping to find it by pure luck or coincidence. (Keep in mind that I didn’t do all this searching in one day; it was spread over several weeks, whenever I thought of it and had time.) Unsurprisingly, this tactic proved fruitless too.
Last night, however, I was really determined to find it. I was so determined that I resolved to go through each entry in the index that was even remotely relevant, starting with A and working through the entire index to Z.
Recently I’ve had a certain passage from Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations circulating around in my mind. As with other thoughts that float around in my head, I thought I’d record it here on my blog. I think it’s worth sharing too.
Do not imagine that, if something is hard for you to achieve, it is therefore impossible for any man: but rather consider anything that is humanly possible and appropriate to lie within your own reach too.
(Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Book 6, Chapter 19)
Perhaps a good reminder in these uncertain and ever-changing times.
Perhaps, also, a good reminder for me as I continue to try to learn how to play the piano!
I wonder what prompted Marcus Aurelius to record this particular meditation. I wonder what could have possibly put self-doubt in the mind of a Roman emperor; or maybe it was just pre-emptive, anticipating the mind’s natural tendency to recoil from difficult and laborious endeavours.
Anyway, I don’t think the passage needs much more explanation, elaboration or deconstruction. Just something to remember in hard times.