Today I’m thankful for slight dissatisfaction.
I visited the older lady I help last week. I think I’m going to call her “Julia” to avoid some of the usual linguistic wrangling I force on myself. She didn’t need my help with any cleaning so we sat and talked for almost two hours. She was fairly upbeat. One of her sons is visiting this week and she is looking forward to seeing him. She’s lived a full life, has an intriguing perspective, and is happy to help if she can. I always learn something from her.
My experience is that every so often life can feel stale, and you evolve or flounder. I’m generally satisfied with my life. I enjoy my colleagues, my family is healthy and my ridiculous dog makes me laugh – especially when she snores. My plants are still mostly alive. All together, it’s a stable place to determine what might come next. I asked “Julia” her thoughts. The woman never says the expected. As a result, I’m going to try completing some courses for a doctorate in forestry.
I say “try” because it depends on flexible I can be at work. My employer offers very generous tuition reimbursement. I don’t know that I want to pursue the actual doctoral degree (earning the post-grad degree I do have was a comically horrible experience that may one day earn its own post), but I’ve always been fascinated by the subject, I’m trying to live more consciously, and I’ve got the one life so I might as well try to pursue what I love. Excelsior.
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This is a little more personal than I’ve gone thus far and a great deal nerdier. Don’t judge me. Today I’m thankful for J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth legendarium.
I’m a bigger Tolkien nerd than I generally care to admit in person. I don’t speak Elvish or wear costumes (some lines will never be crossed) but I did attend midnight openings with university friends, and I know why Fëanor’s sons are important. I think I was ten the first time I read The Hobbit. Gollum frightened me so thoroughly that I couldn’t reread those parts of the book for several years. I finished Lord of the Rings (the first time) somewhere around thirteen. I don’t know why specifically, but his works struck a chord and have been important to me for a long time.
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born in South Africa and fought in WWI, surviving the Battle of the Somme. He became a professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford University. He was great friends with a number of famous contemporary writers, including C.S. Lewis. He produced several well-regarded translations of Old English epics. The man was an enormous lover of languages, which is one of my favorite things about him.
Fangorn Forest is my favorite section of LOTR. I’ve also read many of the extended works. The Silmarillion is breathtaking. Tolkien’s concept of creation as a divine piece of music was deeply appealing to me. I think I’ve made my love of music transparent. As a student of geography I find the depth of fantastic history and culture he created awe-inspiring. He knew where his peoples originated, and how they developed. This is the story that stuck most with me from the Silmarillion.