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chasing answers newsletter #69
On my mind - 2
“I love older things that people have used and cherished. They have personality, character, and soul.” - Anna Hillegass
Like last week, here are a few ideas that have been bouncing around my head. There might be something to one or more of these, or I could forget about all of this by tomorrow.
The Things I Enjoy Not Knowing
Twenty years ago, when the company I work for was building our first real offices, my boss (who is also the owner and one of my best friends) asked if I wanted to come in that weekend and help him run the electrical wiring for the new offices.
Neither one of us knew anything about electrical work, but that’s how small startup companies in rural Ohio get things done. You don’t bring in investors through a seed round to raise money. You figure out how to do stuff on your own. Stuff that you probably shouldn’t be doing.
When he asked, the first smart-ass response that came to mind was, “No thanks, electrical work is one of those things I enjoy not knowing.”
It was a throw-away comment, but for some reason, it stuck with my friend. Over the last two decades, I’ve heard him use it hundreds of times in meetings, while sitting at the bar, and everywhere in between. And each time he does, he gives me that knowing glance.
I’ve never thought about what the phrase meant because when I initially said it, I really didn’t mean anything. As I said, it was the first smart-ass thing that popped into my head. But, a few weeks ago, he used it in a meeting, and for some reason, it hit differently.
There actually are things I enjoy not knowing because not knowing those things makes room for what I do enjoy. Or that I want to know.
When we figure out what things are unimportant to us or our families, eliminating those things can bring us more joy.
For me, some of the things I enjoy not knowing are
Whatever the latest hit series on Netflix is (I’ve never even had a Netflix account)
The trending topics on any social media platform (this probably goes without saying)
The latest gossip in the workplace (I carefully limit how much time I spend talking to co-workers about anything not work-related)
Anything involving the Kardashians
Who the latest front-runners are for the Republican nomination for President
When people ask me about these topics, I thoroughly enjoy being able to answer their questions with a blank stare and a quick, “I have no idea what you are talking about.”
I don't even have to fake it.
These things consume none of my time, giving me more time to focus on the important stuff. More of the important stuff brings more joy.
It took me decades to realize that there really are things I enjoy not knowing.
I bet there are things you enjoy not knowing, too…..even if you aren’t aware of it.
Is Jealousy a Bad Thing?
I don't often get jealous. I'm a pretty simple guy with basic needs. If someone has a fancier car or nicer home than me, it's probably not even going to register.
But there is someone I am incredibly jealous of.
This summer, we returned to a familiar vacation spot that I've been going to since I was a kid. It is a beautiful lake surrounded by wilderness and hours from any significant civilization.
We visited with a couple of my relatives who are lucky enough to live in this paradise three months out of the year. They have an 800-square-foot cabin that is only accessible by boat, has no electricity, no running water, an outdoor shitter, an outdoor shower house with water pumped to it directly from the lake by a small generator, and the closest neighbor is a mile and a half boat ride away.
I am so fucking jealous of these people I can't stand it.
But I don't think that's a bad thing. It's not that my jealousy causes me to wish anything bad upon them. I just want something they have. Or, at least, something very similar.
To me, this is motivation. Through them, I have seen and experienced something that I want. Now, it is up to me to make it happen.
Like anything, if taken too far, I'm sure jealousy can be horrible. But in this case, I don't feel it is an inherently bad thing, and I think overall, it gets a bad wrap.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this.
Nothing Ain’t Cool ‘til You Wear the New Off
The older I get, the more enamored I become with old things.
To a degree, this has always been the case, but it's becoming more so. I love things that are beaten up, broken in, and worn down.
I get so upset when one of my favorite items, which I've had for years or decades, finally needs replacing. And I get this incredible joy from making something last years longer than it should.
I remember my Dad being this way and my Grandparents. I thought it was just because they were old.
So, either I am old now, or there is another underlying factor.
Photo(s) of the Week
A pic from our last vacation of the summer.
I hope you all have a great week!
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