Year 1, Week 3: Another University Move

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Hard to believe, but three years ago I was in the midst of chemo but had negotiated a break with my medical team to allow me to help move our son move to university. Now, this weekend, we are doing the same with our daughter, with the same mixed feelings of sharing her excitement with this new stage in her life and, of course, the sense of loss and emptiness in our house that will result.

This week has focussed on getting everything – and everyone – ready for the move. As always, moving one’s child to university brings back some of the enthusiasm and apprehension I felt when I first started at university, as well as the realization, of what a great period of exploration university years are.

Another moment to be thankful for.

Fortunately, both kids (or young adults!) are at the same university, making visits easier and being able to support one another as needed.

Health wise, another good week with nothing to report. Will try to keep it that way.

I read Jeff Rubin’s The End of Growth, that develops further the theme of how the end of cheap oil will impact our lives, first developed in Why Your World is About to Become a Whole Lot Smaller (see earlier post here). While I am always somewhat sceptical about writings about the future, and how they always seem to over extrapolate trends to reinforce their point, it is hard to see how the current recession or depression will be followed by rapid growth again, given the debt overhang and the economic growth and energy pricing dynamic. Again, I think he is being overly mechanistic in this linkage, as have previous doomsday scenarios.

However, it is an important contribution and antidote to so many of the economic and political bromides being tossed around, and the lack of any serious policies and plans for the medium-term. It ends on a philosophical note, reinforcing just how difficult a transition we may be facing:

Recalibrating expectations for our future lifestyles is a place to start. In a static economy, we’ll have less income growth, which will translate into us owning less stuff. Rather than fighting to retain our current degree of consumption, perhaps we can learn to appreciate what we gain on the other side of the ledger. We’ll buy fewer things, but we’ll also have more time to enjoy our lives. Does anyone really like the rat race? Maybe we all need to slow down and take a minute to breathe. Go for a walk instead of driving to the mall. Ride a bike rather than turning over an engine. Put on a sweater instead of cranking up the thermostat…..

We can still shape the future we want, but only if we’re willing to relinquish the past we’ve known. As the boundaries of a finite world continue to close in on us, our challenge is to learn that making do with less is better than always wanting more.

I have been sharing some of my experience on blogging with some colleagues who are looking at blogging as a work tool. Of course, their challenge is greater given the corporate and institutional constraints, none of which are insurmountable, however.

Another month, so another report on which articles interested you most in August. Top 5, apart from the regular weekly updates and reflection pieces:

  1. Helpful things to say to someone who’s sick
  2. Life, Interrupted: Six Ways to Cope With Cancer – NYTimes.com
  3. My Semicolon Life: What to say to a cancer patient – USATODAY.com
  4. 10 Rules for Students and Teachers (and Life) by John Cage and Sister Corita Kent | Brain Pickings and Christopher Hitchens RIP – Takes on Nietzsche: Am I Really Stronger? | Culture | Vanity Fair
  5. A doctor’s letter to a patient with newly diagnosed cancer

Not much special planned for the coming week. Just ploughing ahead on the final steps in getting my book ready. For those interested, a fun infographic on book readership and habits (and looks like my planned price of $3.99 is the sweet spot of pricing!):

The DNA of a Successful Book [infographic]

For those of you with children going back to school, or moving or taking them back to university, best wishes for ‘la rentrée’.

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