Random Thoughts from a Restless Mind

Dr. Darrell White's Personal Blog

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Sunday musings…3/12/2023

1 Spring. As in “spring ahead” and change all of your clocks to Daylight Savings Time, one hour LATER than this time yesterday.

Did I read somewhere that this is the last time that we will ever do this in the U.S.? That EST is now EDT? Forever?

2 Umbraphile. Lover of shadows. A belated RIP to Jay Pasachoff, beloved professor of Astronomy at my Alma Mater Williams College and perhaps the world’s expert on solar eclipses. Jay was a particular favorite of athletes at Williams (“Stars for A bars), and the feeling was mutual. The holder of the world record for most solar eclipses witnessed, he was famous for taking students and alums along for the ride as he chased the sun around the globe.

Sadly he will miss the next big eclipse which is set to take place in 2024. Let’s hope that the good folks in Sinaloa, Mexico are able to safely welcome Jay’s fellow umbraphiles as they congregate in his memory.

3 Monk. Malachy McCourt is 91 years old. Younger brother of Frank, he of “Angela’s Ashes” fame, Malachy was most famous for being a raconteur/n’ere-do-well who ran in the original Rat Pack circles. His memoir, “A Monk Swimming”, remains one of the funniest reads of my life. I vividly remember reading it on a plane, every five minutes bursting out laughing and wiping tears out of my eyes so that I could continue. My seat mates thought I was nuts.

Having outlived his siblings and pretty much all of the running mates of his younger years, McCourt will hold a lonely court this Friday in NYC at the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade. HT to the NYT for reminding me how much I liked his book; I think I’ll pick it up again, if for nothing else than to read once again where he got the title for his book.

Think “Hail Mary”.

4 Cool Adjacent. My “Lovely Daughter” Megan once described the three versions of her Dad. “Work Dad” was pretty intense. Not a whole lot of fun most of the time. “CrossFit Dad” was cool. I always got a kick out of it when she added “who thought a Dad could be cool?!” I am now “Lake Dad”. All chill. A different kind of cool.

I love this phrase, “cool adjacent”. For the most part that probably describes any phases in my life when someone might have used “cool” to describe me. Yes, I was deeply involved in CrossFit for some 13 or 14 years, and I certainly circulated in the same air as the truly cool among the CrossFit crowd both locally and nationally. Not unlike where I fit in with my professional colleagues on a national level now, what I really was, and likely am, is cool-adjacent. I fit comfortably near the cool kids or the cool stuff, and by and large they are comfortable with me in the vicinity. If I am being honest, despite my darling daughter’s lovely description, I’ve always been just a bit too old, or young, or whatever, to really, truly be cool.

But that’s OK. I’m happy to be in the neighborhood.

5 Level. As in level setting. As in I am so sore from three workouts over the last four days that it’s embarrassing. Mind you, these workouts were nothing like my prior CrossFit WODs, the things I wrote so much about when “Sunday musings…” was a part of my CrossFit experience. It’s the CrossFit Open season right now and even though my Coach is a very experienced CrossFit trainer and Box owner (hi Bill!) trust me, I am doing nothing of the sort.

What I am doing now is struggling to find my level.

I came across a quote a bit ago–I wish I could remember whose it is so I could give credit–that applies here. At least as far as my hobbies and other avocations are concerned. “It’s OK to not be too good at something that you like to do.” This does not apply to your job, of course. Especially if you have a job like my day job. There’s no way around it there; if you do the kind of thing that I do for a living you gotta be more than good, and you have to be more than good all of the time. This isn’t about what you have to do, though. This is about something that you simply choose to do because you like doing it.

Think golf. Or dressage like Beth. We watched a really cool documentary series on Disney+ last week called “Chasing Waves” about a group of young surfers shooting for Olympic medals or trying to make a living as “Free Surfers”. What interested me the most was the older surfers, the pioneers long past any aspirations for their surfing, who nonetheless headed to the beach at every opportunity. Each one admitted at some point that they weren’t really all that good anymore, at least in comparison to what they recalled as their competitive peak.

No matter. They were good enough.

I’ve spent quite a bit of time and wasted a bazillion electrons trying to figure out what will occupy my time as I eventually move on from that day job of mine. To be honest, I’ve struggled with the whole “not as good as I once was” thing with stuff like golf. It used to be a kick aiming for PR’s during my peak CF days. Even though it wasn’t really anywhere near any kind of elite level, deadlifting more than 2X my bodyweight at age 55 was a kick. Raising my lifting PR’s and lowering the times on benchmark WOD’s like “Fran” was for awhile my version of Beth’s progress up the dressage ladder of levels. Even though I was really and truly doing CF as a means to an end, elevated fitness as a way to be better at life in general, it just felt good to keep getting better.

But that’s all over now, and that’s OK. Exercise is just that, a means to an end with no aspect of “getting good”. I am working out, and putting up with the above-mentioned soreness, so that I can pursue a couple of things that I like to do. Now that I am past both of my hip replacements (and the ambush carried out by my TFL and IT Band after the last one), it’s time to get back to things I do just for fun. Because of the pain I never got up on a paddleboard last summer. Not once. I’m not all that good at the SUP thing, but I sure like being on a board. My functional workouts will hopefully get me back on a board, or back in a kayak.

Probably not getting up on a surfboard, but that’s OK.

The concept of not being all that good will be a bit more challenging, and the process of level setting much more complex with the activity that is most likely to be the most fun: golf. Not because I will be able to regain some semblance of the level I once enjoyed. That particular golf cart has sailed. Nope, what I need to do is to get to a level of “good enough” to be able to enjoy the best part of golf at my stage of life: playing golf with other golfers who really like being on a golf course. The reality is, you have to be at least a little bit good at those things you like to do, and on the golf course there is a certain level I’ll have to work to get to in order to be able to achieve my goal of being in those foursomes of guys who are doing what they like to do, however “not too good” we all may be at doing it.

So it’s off to the indoor range after my sessions on the C2 bike and rower, my muscles still trembling a bit from the sneaky-hard work my buddy Bill is getting me to do. The Orange Whip and Speed Sticks my brother insisted I buy last year are waiting their turn in the leveling process (gotta clear out some space in the garage), all part of the price I am willing to pay for the privilege of not being very good at something I know I like to do. And who knows, perhaps allowing myself to just like what it is I’m doing, however good I am or how good I’m not, will make it easier for me to find a couple of other things I can like to do. I mean, it may not be all that good to become very good at my latest discovery.

Have I told you yet about how much I’ve been learning about the world of rum?

I do like doing these “musings”, no matter how good or not good I am at it, so I’ll see you next week…

5 Responses to “Sunday musings…3/12/2023”

  1. March 15th, 2023 at 12:10 pm

    Maureen says:

    Just ordered A Monk Swimming and will give to Mom afterwards. Thx for tip. Mom had a heart attack, and stent, early Feb and has recovered very well. Cardio says she could live another 10. Mom, “I don’t want to live til I’m 100!” I’m with her M-Thurs 9-7pm. Work 1 day a wk in golf dept at Dicks, 8 mins from my place.

    I started golfing a ton this past Summer. About 4-5 times a week. Just joined Lincoln Country Club for this Summer and am sure I’ll meet up with some LHS peeps. My golf philosophy has changed. Play one shot at a time and rhythm and routine. Dropped six strokes but so love being outside walking in nature, so much more than improvement. Have a golf buddie I play with and a few guys.

    Hi to Beth. You sound well. Dan and Bern just had their 3rd boy 12-31-22 and twins are 2.5 yo. Wow, two hip replacements! Better hip than knee that’s for sure.

  2. March 15th, 2023 at 1:04 pm

    drwhite says:

    Hi Maureen!
    Mom in Atria out by the Mall. So-so acclimation so far. Rough to watch. Sounds like we need to hit the links some day!

  3. March 15th, 2023 at 3:48 pm

    Maureen says:

    I will give her a call and go for a visit. I wasn’t aware she had gone there. Mom turns 90 this June. Yes we’ll play some on your next trip here. 203-667-9892. Take care!

  4. March 15th, 2023 at 3:59 pm

    Maureen says:

    Tried to call front desk and thought I could leave a message for her but they can’t release any information about any of the residences so I need a number for her, cell or a landline. Jalanna was very friendly 😏


  5. March 15th, 2023 at 5:06 pm

    drwhite says:

    Same landline! Can you believe it?! 401-333-0026

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