Walking around the block with Eric and Mom, we were talking about my Grand Purge of 2020, wherein I am discarding, donating, or destroying many, many things that I have. I have been taking pictures of things before sending them on their ways.
Eric commented he'd been looking at pictures recently, of family members long since passed, people no one alive remembers anymore, and wondered if there isn't a fourth death.
"There are three deaths. The first is when the body ceases to function. The second is when the body is consigned to the grave. The third is that moment, sometime in the future, when your name is spoken for the last time." ― David M. Eagleman, Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives
The fourth death would be the last time someone looks at a picture of you.
I've been trying to see the good in crappy situations. I mean, 2020 is awful for so many reasons, and, for the most part, I am okay. Not thriving, but surviving.
As such, when crappy things happen, I've been trying to channel the thought "What's good? What's bad? Who knows." I'm also repeating, "But here we are," which is about the acceptance of the who knows thing.
The questions come from a Taoist story. The best I can find is from “The Tao Book and Card Pack” by Timothy Freke:
“When an old farmer’s stallion wins a prize at a country show, his neighbor calls round to congratulate him, but the old farmer says, “Who knows what is good and what is bad?”
The next day some thieves come and steal his valuable animal. His neighbor comes to commiserate with him, but the old man replies, “Who knows what is good and what is bad?”
A few days later the spirited stallion escapes from the thieves and joins a herd of wild mares, leading them back to the farm. The neighbor calls to share the farmer’s joy, but the farmer says, “Who knows what is good and what is bad?”
The following day, while trying to break in one of the mares, the farmer’s son is thrown and fractures his leg. The neighbor calls to share the farmer’s sorrow, but the old man’s attitude remains the same as before.
The following week the army passes by, forcibly conscripting soldiers for the war, but they do not take the farmer’s son because he cannot walk. The neighbor thinks to himself, “Who knows what is good and what is bad?”"
This week, I helped a friend. That's good.
This week, I lost my best friend, because I helped the first friend. That's bad.
And... who knows. Maybe my best friend and I will reunite some day, and I can explain. Maybe we won't and we'll go on to be happier, or maybe more miserable, than we were.
What's good? What's bad? Who knows. Maybe hiring that lawyer was the right choice. Maybe walking away is the right choice. Maybe being done with feeling like crap is the right choice. Maybe recognizing and remembering the bad is the right choice, such that growth happens.
What's good? What's bad? Who knows.
Yeah. I miss him.
I've given up the idea of having cold showers here. I'm told Denver water is cold, and Ottawa cold water is unpleasant. Here, however, the cold water is tepid at best and actually warms up after about four minutes in the water.
Which is to say, my extremities cool down enough that the water feels warm. I am uncertain if that is the point of the showers, but it seems to work.
Perhaps North Cascade showers will be cold enough to be unpleasant. I guess I'll find out in less than a week.
There's this thing (meme, call to action, trend, club, fraternity, inspiration) going around my small part of the internet where guys (always guys, only guys so far) fix one thing a day. I first noticed Derek Featherstone doing it, and maybe he has inspired the rest of us. I like continuous improvements. I like consistency. I like the magic that happens over a long time when small improvements are done consistently.
The mister replacements I ordered a week or so ago arrived, so I decided today's fix would be installing the missing mister element. The misting system in the corral has six misters, of which five exist and one was missing. For reasons I still don't understand, when I ordered the replacement misting element, I ordered six instead of the one I wanted to replace. Turns out, past self was seeing into the future.
I went out with three in hand, screwed one into the hole where the missing mister is, and turned on the water.
Mist came out only the one I had replaced. The other five were blocked.
I replaced the two I still had in my hands, wow the water in that pipe was hot. Given the air temperature was around 44˚C, I really should have been unsurprised that the water was hot. Really should have been unsurprised.
I wandered back into the house, grabbed the remaining three misting elements, wandered back outside, careful to avoid all the sheep who were convinced I was bringing food (I was not), and installed the remaining three new misting elements.
With the water on, the hose connection leaks, and the misters are misting.
Now I just need the sheep to realize the corral is 10˚C cooler with the misters on, and lie near them, instead of along the house, during the heat of the day.
Well, we (note the lack of capitalization, we are not royal) are on day two of "cold" showers and not much has changed.
I delayed jumping into shower this morning because reasons, but not by much, and by 7:30, I had the water on only cold, and was reversing back into the water.
Aaaaaaaand, again it wasn't cold.
I stood with my shoulders in the water for a bit. I slowly rotated the water onto my shoulder, my chest, my other shoulder, back onto my back.
I realized at this point, I had forgotten to start a timer.
Nothing to be done about that, except complete the full shower experience: my face into the water.
Yep, still tepid.
After counting to 100 in the water in my "oh my god that was the longest 10 second count" ultimate counting pace, I realized that the water was actually warming up. Even the cold water was starting to feel warm. Which is to say, my skin temperature may have lowered to the point where the water was feeling warm in some parts, but it was still mildly cold on my face.
I hopped out, mildly disappointed, mildly delighted at the ground water temperature around here.
Two days down, 28 to go.
Everyone it seems these days is taking cold showers, not for the reduction of sexual frustration, though some may be cold-showering for that reason, but for the health benefits. See Wim Hoff. See brown adipose tissue. See weight loss. See hand waves magically curing depression. All these reasons and I'm sure many, many more.
I listened to a Melissa Urban podcast episode yesterday where she talks about how amazing her 85 days of cold-shower starts are to her days, and heard her challenge for "take a cold shower first thing in the morning for 30 days."
Okay, fine. Claire has often commented about her puzzlement over the various challenges I put forth for myself, what is one more in a pandemic?
So, this morning, I woke up, and, to my delight, ignored my phone, and went to the bathroom. I undressed, turned the shower on full cold, no warm, stepped down into the shower, turned my back to the shower downpour, took a deep breath, and stepped backward into the water flow.
Yeah, so, I moved to Arizona last week.
Yeah, so, Arizona is in one of its hottest summers on record.
The water was at best tepid. The coldest shower I can manage at this moment is a body cooling tepid.
Urban's challenge is to stay in THIRTY WHOLE SECONDS. Yeah, 2 minutes wasn't a problem this morning.
Her winter water is in the 50˚s Fahrenheit. My summer water is likely mid to high 70˚s F. I'm going to need an alternate cold water plan for this to be effective.