Thursday, December 31, 2015

On New Beginnings

I do a lot of thinking and philosophizing while driving and exercising. Given that today is New Year's Eve, I was thinking about New Year's Resolutions and the big deal made about starting new things and how momentous new beginnings are made to seem. As though  beginnings are somehow special.

I'm not sure they are. At least not the ones that get all the fanfare, like New Year's Resolutions. The great beginnings tend to be the ones which didn't start out big or even really noticeable. The little starts and small changes that slowly grow and take shape and transform our worlds. The ones we didn't notice even starting.

We start things all the time. Every day is a new beginning. Every meeting. Every meal. Everything.  And yet, we tend to wait until the start of the year, month, week to make voluntary changes to our lives. Any time is a good time to start something. Like the Nike ad campaign said, you just need to do it.

It's possible that the focus on beginnings is because most things never finish. 

I will never be fit enough that I can stop working out and not lose physically. I will never be able to stop making healthy food choices without incurring negative health impacts. Learning and having new experiences will occur until I die.  I can always improve. I can always change. There is always another goal.  There might be milestones, but few true ends.

So perhaps what we should be celebrating instead is persistence. Being steadfast. Holding to the chosen path, while making course corrections as needed.

Persistence is how progress gets made and how progress and change are maintained. It's not enough to start or to change. You have to stick to the changes, even when it gets difficult or tiresome or lonely or ceases to be fun. You must keep going. You may never achieve your goal, but you'll be a heck of a lot closer to it than the person who either never started or who started then stopped. Just keep going.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Rolling Along

The sourdough starter was indeed alive. I've started using it to make sourdough biscuits fairly regularly. These make for a handy snack, but should probably not eat quite as many as I have been. My success making actual bread hasn't been that great. I also made sourdough pancakes but I have found that I didn't like the flavor much. So I'll keep working on my bread skills. I do have Reinhart's Bread Baker's Apprentice, Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Bread, Nancy Silverton's Breads from the La Brea Bakery, and the King Arthur Flour cookbooks, so have plenty of recipes to work my way through.

The first quarter at my new job has flown past. I seem to have caught on to how the job works. The job remains fun and the people are good.  I spent a couple days in Arusha, Tanzania for a workshop to develop and enhance regional disease surveillance networks. Turns out that the Arusha area is where the John Wayne movie Hatari! was filmed. Unfortunately we arrived and departed in the dark so I didn't get to see any of the countryside. I only saw the hotel grounds.