This weekend, I went home to Reno, Nevada with Jonah and my brother on a few missions: to try on my mom's wedding dress, go skiing, and help my parents adopt a new dog. (Two out of three were successful!) Usually after a weekend trip, I'm dragging my feet come Monday, but, this morning, I felt a true joy walking to work. The weekend served as such a welcome recalibration and reset in terms of reminding me of what's important, namely spending time outside which is so easy to forget in a city that doesn't exactly celebrate outdoor adventures. This week is already packed with plans, but I'm prioritizing after-work hikes (it's still February Fitness month, after all!) and morning walks to work. Here's what else I'm loving this week:
This American Life recently had a delightful show on, well, delight! Hosted by Bim Adewunmi, the show covers the unique, floating feeling of delight, but it was the poet Ross Gay's take on the emotion that really captured my attention. According to Gay, delight doesn't just come to you—you have to seek it out: "Delight and curiosity are really tied up. You have to be OK with not knowing things. You have to be actually invested and happy about not knowing things." He spent an entire year capturing moments of delight for his book, The Book of Delights, and found that you have to prime yourself to be able to truly experience it.
His take reminded me a lot of my experience with Jury Duty last week. At the beginning of the week, I decided I was going to enjoy it and treat it more like a field trip than a chore, and I spent three days literally delighted by the process. Sure, I had to work late to make up for lost time during the workday and schlep myself downtown each day, but I also got to see a courtroom firsthand, meet people I would never otherwise have the opportunity to, and made a ritual of a daily decaf espresso during lunch where I put my phone away and simply people-watched. As soon as I listened to the show, I walked to my local bookstore, Book Soup, to purchase Gay's collection of essays, which celebrates the small joys of life (while also acknowledging its complexities and darkness). You can also listen to it here, read by Ross Gay, and find the This American Life episode here.
I was two minutes into the short film, The Neighbor's Window, when I realized I knew exactly how it ended, not because I'd guessed it, but because I'd heard the story before. The first time I listened to the Love + Radio segment "The Living Room" on Radiolab, I cried on the New York subway (side bar: anyone who lives in New York will do this at least five times), I was so affected by it. It stuck with me for years, and the film, which took home an Oscar last night for Best Live Action Short Film, captures the story beautifully. In it, a married couple with three children see a twenty-something couple across the street from their New York apartment having sex. As the seasons pass, the young couple represents all the vibrancy their own relationship has lost, until something shifts... The entire 20-minute film is available on Youtube here.
P.S., Maria Dizzia, who plays the wife in the film, is also in the L.A. run of the play What the Constitution Means to Me, which I loved. It's running through the end of February at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. I highly recommend you buy tickets here before it leaves!
I'm not vegan, even though I've tried to be, but I do make an effort to make swaps when possible, and I've found the Instagram @immy.keys (formally @totallyveganbuzz) by an illustrator and vegan advocate to be inspiring and informative! She shares easily save-able drawings of vegan calcium sources and booze, as well as reasons to think twice about meat. Even though I still eat animals, her images have inspired me to make small changes (that may someday finally end in a vegetarian or vegan diet!).