This weekend was full of Uncommon moments as people arrived in Austin for the annual South By Southwest festival. There were impromptu conversations with curious folks, plus two small gatherings which were simply wonderful. I left each one grateful for the amazing people who make up Uncommon.
Since Uncommon is primarily this simple weekly email at the moment, the conversations around the table weren't about a product or an app, they were about life, travel, and ideas. There were hilarious stories and clever questions.
I hope that will always be the case, even as we debut the site and slowly add features. The site simply provides space for the community to gather. New features are like adding lights, a record player, and more chairs to the front porch. They are a means to an end, old and new ways to connect us, one to another.
Last week's dispatch asked, What would you love to cross off your list?
I would like to cut off my list... a trip to New York City! I would love to visit New York to experience her energy, foods, and maybe even take a ride in the Cash Cab!
For crossing off the list: anxiety. Always seeking to scratch out the anxiety.
Since my first mission trip to Africa, I've always wanted to return. Recently, I've been challenging myself to put life's distractions aside and remember the changes my friends and I made when we were out there all those years ago. If I had one thing to cross off my list, it would be returning to a place where I know help is needed and lives can be saved.
I was stoked to read Lisa's view on lists. I share a similar perspective about them being indicators of who you were in some brief, or not so brief, period.
First, pay off my student debt. It's amazing how debt can feel like an annoying ghost! Second, take a trip abroad, alone. I've thought about this longer than I can really remember. Perhaps it's time I start planning...
Bookkeeping. I run my own business and I find nothing more distracting and annoying than bookkeeping (and it's evil offspring, expenses management and tax preparation).
This is top of mind because I not only have just completed a round of preparing for 2012 tax filings, but I also decided to be a grown-up and do some financial planning for the first time in a long time. While some people fall in love with money and love the acquisition and accounting of it, it doesn't help me get out of bed in the morning one iota.
I love lists! I'm a Trello addict and their interface perfectly suits my list making. The item I'd love to cross of my current list is: Create a Trello blog. For real! My friends are so sick of hearing how I'm using Trello to organize my wedding, writing a screenplay and website development that they insist I create a blog talking about how I'm doing it.
I would love to cross all of the things off of my many lists. But if I had to choose just one, I think it would be visiting Argentina and Chile with my wife during the Southern Summer. A different way of life thrives beyond the equator and I yearn to take it all in.
The first thing that comes to mind is that I have a list of books I can't wait to read with my sons. Forty-two and counting. I have two boys, one approaching four-and-half, the other approaching two. And I have a list of books that I loved and explored as I grew up. Each one appears vividly in my mind's eye just at the mention of the title. They range from early readers like Dr. Seuss and Berenstain Bears, all the way up to award-winners and personal favorites "Charlotte's Web", "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn", "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory", and "The Chronicles of Narnia". It's not that I want to be done reading with my boys (we've barely started!), it's that I want to have the experience of reading and sharing my favorites with them; to make them a part of our relationship and their growing up; to find out which are their favorites.
It's addition by subtraction — crossing each one off of the list as the years go by and in return, adding wonderful, indelible memories.
I love lists too, but the thing I love turning up out of the blue is an old love letter... The thoughts in it couldn't be any further from the reality in your current world. The way I think at 40 is completely different to how I felt at 14 but it's interesting to remember how I felt when I wrote that letter, which I obviously never had the courage to send.
One turned up around 6 months ago. It quoted my undying love for a since long-lost love and that my love would never wain. Umm, yes it will, it has and thank goodness it did! At the time, it was an all-encompassing love which I thought would never die. It was so strong, I thought my heart would burst. Yet, here I sit, some 25 odd years later and the love I have for my family far outweighs the love I felt at that time.
The innocence of it was refreshing but also revealing. I still feel that way from time to time but the vulnerability is no longer there. With age has come a better sense of who I am, which is reassuring.
Why we badly need a slower Internet by Zan McQuade:
The problem, of course, is the current goal of the fast web is to thwart this type of usage. Slow usage = low page views = website death. The fast/slow web dichotomy is not a fair battle; it’s not even David and Goliath. It’s do or die. And so, on one end you have everything that the biggest sites of today represent: growth, addiction, networking. On the other, you have everything that we lament about having lost from the early days of the Internet: relationships that matter, valuable content (if not in commercial terms, then in terms of value to individuals and culture), and potential for new friendship.
Living With Less, A Lot Less by Graham Hill:
For me, it took 15 years, a great love and a lot of travel to get rid of all the inessential things I had collected and live a bigger, better, richer life with less.
Turtles from the Shells by Douglas Rushkoff:
Our real-time technologies urgently ping us with news from the world and our friends. We desperately try to keep up, as if an empty inbox and up-to-the-second Twitter participation means we are finally in the “now” of an always-on digital culture. But these technologies are rear-view mirrors that evict us from the now. The more likes and followers and retweets, the better we seem to be doing in the faux “now,” but it actually tracks how divorced we are from the real one.
What is your favorite day of the week?