TBT Challenge round-up, plus life updates

We made it through all nine Tranquility by Tuesday rules! On January 20th, I started this blog series highlighting, week by week, the nine rules I write about in Tranquility by Tuesday. I noted in my calendar that the last post would go up on March 23rd. And indeed it did. Time passes.

I hope you found the challenge useful. I know when I follow the nine rules my life tends to feel better. This past week has been challenging in various ways — logistically in terms of day to day driving and activities and childcare arrangements. And emotionally — a member of my chamber choir passed away rather unexpectedly this week. We found out she’d been hospitalized right before rehearsal last week and then learned last night that she was gone.

(Longtime readers may recall that it was exactly this time of year in 2018 when I lost a fellow choir member from a different choir — you can read that post here.)

Anyway, I know that matters of productivity and time management can seem mundane. Or as I put it in that post from 2018, “We are spinning on an improbable planet in the middle of cold space. A young man with a rich and enthusiastic voice gets on a helicopter and a few hours later is being cut out of his harness. And here I am talking about turning a 30-minute meeting into a 20-minute one.”

But ultimately being satisfied with how we spend our hours leads to being satisfied with how we spend our lives — however long those lives may wind up being.

I don’t know how many days I have, but in general I have more energy on those days when I go to bed at a reasonable time and move my body if at all possible. I don’t know how many weeks I have (4000, maybe?), but in general those weeks feel less chaotic when I plan on Fridays and think through my priorities. My big adventure this week was traveling to DC to see the cherry blossoms at near-peak bloom — an experience that always reminds me of the wonder of this planet (with the fleeting blooms themselves being something of a metaphor). And life feels more joyous when I take one night each week to sing in my various choirs — making beautiful music with fellow singers who are all transiently here together.

I hope the Tranquility by Tuesday rules have been helpful for you as well. I’ve had a few folks ask about running an additional cohort for the challenge, and since the emails are automated I’m sure I can work something out that people can start at various points. So stay tuned on that.

In other news: Speaking of books…Gretchen Rubin’s new book, Life in Five Senses, will be out next month. I got to read an advance copy and enjoyed it! It is vintage Gretchen, and very much like the Happiness Project in style. She has a quiz to help you figure out your “neglected sense” here. Mine turns out to be “touch.” A good reason to turn on the seat warmer in the car during these last cold winter days…

Photo: Cherry blossoms — always fleeting — blooming around the Tidal Basin this week

12 thoughts on “TBT Challenge round-up, plus life updates

  1. Sorry to hear about the loss of your choir-mate. I went back and read the 2018 blog post, which was so beautifully written that it brought me to tears. We sometimes forget that we have many touchstones in our lives-people who matter to us in all sorts of ways. I remember sitting in the airport 4 years ago checking in with the husband of a close friend about my friend’s expected release from the hospital. He said that she was awaiting one more test result and expected to be released in a couple of days. Shortly thereafter, she got devastating health news, and died while we were out of the country on a cruise ship. It’s always a shock to lose someone who has been a part of your life. You have honored both of the people that you lost by writing about them.

    1. @BethC- thank you, I appreciate it. I still remember so much of that Louisville trip precisely because it did get seared in my brain with the associations. Time and memory are funny that way. It was kind of a rough rehearsal last night — emotionally and practically. It is a loss driven home by singing through complicated multi-part music for Holy Week as a small group down a very strong soprano. It is always a shock.

  2. Sorry for your loss Laura. I have enjoyed the challenge so much and have been reading along w your book – has gotten me back into analog reading which is great due to eye strain from reading too much ebooks on Libby! 🙂 thanks for all you do and for your inspiration

    1. @JGold – thank you. And too bad about the eye strain! I know I’m probably playing with fire with all the reading on my phone in the dark but hey…my little guy won’t need someone in the room forever, or at least I hope…

  3. So sorry for your loss Laura.

    We don’t know how long we are here, so let’s take time for appreciating the fleeting cherry blossoms, and all the loving people in our lives.

    1. @Kamala – thank you. And yes, we should appreciate fleeting beauty, in all the forms it takes.

  4. Sorry for your loss, Laura.

    I wanted to thank you for sharing about the cherry blossoms. I live w/i walking distance of the metro and hadn’t considered going due to kids activities. Your post prompted me to hop on the train after church for a “little adventure.”

    1. @Amanda- thank you, and so glad you got to have your cherry blossom little adventure! They are indeed beautiful.

  5. We just lost someone at work and found out this morning. She was our age and so active on campus. I just keep thinking, but she had so much more to do. She wasn’t done yet.

    1. @LauraK- I am so sorry for your loss. And yes, so much more to do! It is so hard to understand.

  6. Thank you Laura – for the challenge and for how eloquently you express the value of your approach. None of us know how long we will have, and it is worth it to try to get as much living out of life as possible. We used this Eleanor Roosevelt quote for my mom last year (she also died unexpectedly quickly – but was almost 92!): “Your ambition should be to get as much life out of living as you possibly can, as much enjoyment, as much interest, as much experience, as much understanding.” And to achieve that you have to work at it – it won’t just magically happen!

    I will continue to work on all of these rules. Some feel like second nature to me now. Others – well let’s say I need to keep practicing!

    1. @Cynthia – glad you enjoyed the challenge! I have to keep practicing on some as well, but things definitely go better when I do…I also want to get as much life out of living as I can. One of the reasons I’m continually figuring out adventures!

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