Thoroughly Thursday - the "Cleveland Built" Edition
Welcome back to Thoroughly Thursday, the Cleveland Built Edition. Greetings from the wonderful city of Cleveland, OH! Years ago, when K and I first started dating and we would visit her family here, I had a tendency to dismiss this small(ish) industrial city: “Sure, it’s fine if you like burnt-out neighborhoods and bad food choices, but it’s no Chicago.” In the many years since, I have grown incredibly fond of this community, from it’s many Universities, the West Side Market, the lush greenery, the site of one of my favorite No Reservation episodes, and the distinct, fervent pride of its people. In recent years, Cleveland has started to have a renaissance as a biotech and startup haven, but for me, its best feature will always be that it is the (probable) fictional home to Bill Waterson’s Calvin & Hobbes.
What I'm Reading (Article) - It’s the End of the My World As I Know It (and I Feel Fine)
On the advice of Nancy Davis Kho (who publishes the excellent Midlife Mixtape podcast with the byline “For the years between being hip and breaking one”), this week I read the Atlantic article “Your Professional Decline Is Coming (Much) Sooner Than You Think” by Arthur C. Brooks. Brooks, who is the President of the American Enterprise Institute and all-around “accomplished person,” has a series of experiences that begin to show him that trying to live up to past accomplishments as an aging professional can become its own very personal form of Hell. Our brains change as we age, he learns, from emphasizing fluid intelligence (the ability to make giant leaps through innovation) when we’re younger to a more crystalline intelligence (the wisdom that comes from decades of experience) as we age. In an era that increasingly rewards “fluidity,” growing older can feel like a double-bind in that continuing to innovate becomes more difficult while our experiences are less valued (“Yeah, yeah, your experience with 90’s era dot matrix printers sounds REALLY useful, grandpa.”) The best way to handle this transition, Brooks writes, is to embrace it. Those individuals who have the most rewarding careers usually begin a transition in their later years from “trailblazer” to “mentors” to the younger generation coming up (he cites that often the best teachers at universities are in their 60’s or older). Additionally, he takes advice from the Indian concept of Ashrama, the third stage of life within Hindu teachings. Where the second stage Grihastha is focused on the pursuit of worldly goals, Ashrama is the time when one’s focus should transition to more spiritual pursuits and our ability to serve our community. So, unlike the youthful advice to go out in a blaze of glory, as we reach middle age we’re encouraged to stick around so we can be a light to others.
What I'm Listening to - The Nerdiest Sorta-D&D Podcast Ever
Back in 2014, podcast stars Travis, Justin and Griffin McElroy decided to sit down one night with their father Clint and play a game of Dungeons & Dragons in front of a microphone. Justin and Clint had never played before, and Griffin had limited understanding of the “new rules” of D&D that had just been released a few months before. The first episode was an hour of four men trying to understand which dice to use, alliterative naming convensions, and the occasional dead gerblin. In the strange world of podcasting, it was a huge success and the Adventure Zone was born. I didn’t actually know any of this until earlier this summer my oldest, after weeks of hiding in her room and laughing uproariously at random times, announced that TAZ was her favorite podcast ever, and I had until the end of August to listen to 68 hour-long episodes so that she could finally have someone to gab about each episode. Since June, I have been caught up in the continuing adventures of Magnus, Takko, and Merle, in a winding story-telling spectacle produced and managed by Griffin. Though it follows some D&D principles (spell-casting, melee rounds, and hit points), by episode 4, the saga had moved into a fantasy-scifi adventure involving time-traveling ghosts, floating mystic jellyfish, and a giant bugbear named Klarg. Most of all, its a chance to enjoy a family of accomplished improv artists try to make each other laugh.
What I'm Thinking About - Well, They Have That Going For It.
They always say if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere, but I say that about Cleveland. - Machine Gun Kelly
All the best, and remember, tomorrow is Friday. :)
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