How do you ride a bicycle?

A Cycling Big Year would differ from a Jogging Big Year. I’ve been running for over three decades, on a bike I’m only slightly more competent than a ten-year-old with training wheels. Oh, I exaggerate slightly but in truth when I took the Specialized Sirrus out for a whirl, twice recently, I felt just like a kid. Turning a routine corner, I crashed into a pole (luckily at near zero speed).

But such a sense of freedom! Practice session #1: 13kms. Practice session #2: 24 kms. Both of them slow but who cares?

(Notice the complete lack of proper gear.)

 

Single versus album?

The role of songs versus albums . . . esoterica for most, but I’ve always eschewed the “hit single” in favour of the more meaty album. Pondering the role of music in my life, pondering a Music Big Year of some sort, the “30 Days, 30 Songs” notion resurrects that debate. (By the way, I’m not criticising this playlist per se – the first two artists, Death Cab for Cutie and Aimee Mann, are among my favourites.)

Big Year as psychological safety cocoon?

Check out “Productivity and the power of trust.” A short interview clip but coming from Charles Duhigg, whose new, wise book I’ve just worked through, and from Susan Cain, hero to us geeks, I read it carefully. It’s true, psychological safety is, for some of us questing souls, hard to obtain. I like to think my Big Years, within a wondrous family and life, offer me a refuge, at least a little.

Jogging Big Year: Keeping the flame alive

Unexpectedly, a wonderful two months of hiking was affected by the Jogging Big Year. I’m investing much emotional energy into that year, so distancing myself from it for so long – two months! – worried me. Luckily, part of the running commitment, one I rarely allude to – is that I’ve committed to stretching (a long-established routine of one hour) – each and every day of 2016. By hook or by crook, no matter what country I was in, I managed to fulfill that resolve. Peace arrived, like a dose of Zen.

Writing Big Years: Does apocalyptic brooding strike you?

Twice recently, in rambunctious social gatherings, dread has seized me, completely unbidden. I recall one specific thought: Armageddon is nigh. A dead weight settled over my chest.

Both times the sensation departed as quickly as it arose, but I’ve kept thinking about the topic. Like melancholy, dread is a therapeutic notion in small doses, an emotion preventing complacency.

My Dark Novel Big Year – a novel so dark my family should reject it – might slot into 2021, so it’s distant. But the book’s idea is a first page I drafted years ago, and it’s somehow always close to my heart. I felt it again this week. Welcome, blackness.