The air changes around the Eve of Tuesday. It’s one of the most noticeable features of this time of year. I was out for a run a few evenings ago and the smell in the air brought on a flood of September memories: dry land training, walking on train tracks, changing leaves, carpooling, and times of nervous excitement were just a few. While it’s most commonly called Labour Day in North America, the Eve of Tuesday, as it’s known around here, is an unfailing circumstance of reflection, and beginnings. It arrives with regularity, but brings with it the opportunity for new adventures, renewal, peculiarities, and risk taking. (Past posts are remarkably similar: 2007, 2008, 2009).
Before looking forward, this holiday Monday also affords us to look back at what we accomplished in the past season, or the past year. Recently, many of you overcame challenges, took to foreign lands, or laid the groundwork for what is about to come. You are to be commended for what you’ve accomplished recently, and deserve the holiday. On a personal note I’d like to thank those who offered me support in the completion of a personal adventure that took place over the past two years exactly. It would not have been half as meaningful without your support, and the balance and fun times outside of the adventure would not have been possible without fantastic friends and family.
For many, this time of year, means fresh starts to be had, and new adventures to begin. However, the next adventure is not always readily at hand, and even if it is, it’s form and features are likely ill defined. A new country, a new job, a new environment, a new relationship, new goals – each of these could be marked as adventures, but their unfolding is not simply a natural, or fated experience. We do not wander aimlessly when we adventure, even when we may appear to be meandering. Rather, our adventures are structured by the choices we make, and we are constantly making choices. We choose what words to use, and what words to listen to. We choose what paths to take, and what turns to avoid. We choose what to focus on, and what to neglect. We choose what risks to take, and what risks to avoid. We choose how to interact with those around us. These choices and so many more define the adventures we are preparing for right now, and they will define the ones that are to come. As well, for those of us that are without a specific adventure on this Eve of Tuesday, our choices in the coming days, weeks and months, will steer us to the next challenge – whether we like it or not. This is where intentionality factors in. Choices made without realizing there are options, or decisions that are unbalanced will only result in flimsy outcomes. This is not to say that we shouldn’t take risks, or sometimes make impulsive decisions. Risks and impulse are necessary to feeling alive, and taking on challenges. I am all for making mistakes, I’m quite good at it. However, risk taking, and even impulses can be intentional. Intentionality begins with personal values, and realizing these guide our choices – whether they be impulsive or carefully pondered. Intentionality continues with being aware that our choices always have consequences. Our choices reflect who we are, and who we want to be. From there our risks, our new opportunities, the relationships we want to strengthen, the challenges we want to take on, anything that Labour Day and beyond will bring will not be aimless – no matter how meandering.
Some might interpret what I am saying as a call to own your experiences, or take charge of your own balance. Perhaps. Looking back, I am content to put out what I have written for your feedback, and for you to rip apart. However, I must admit the thought process above now leads to a particular puzzle that I find coming to mind quite often recently: just how much does our cultural and historical past construct our current values and intentions?
I have no short answer for that question right now. Instead I do find it linking back to the introduction, and September memories. At this time of year we noticeably carry with us the memories of past experiences, past new beginnings. We can smell them in the air. It is somewhat like trying to go home again, but realizing home is not out there, it is in us, and that is why it shapes our values and intentions.
Finally, as usual, be ready to look to others, and have others look to you for support and balance in the days, weeks and months after Labour Day. For many of us, the speed will crank full tilt beginning Tuesday, and we can’t hold on alone. Rather it is the positives we take from our past, and the support from our present that gives us the grip. I look forward to hearing of your adventures, and intentional risk taking.
We’ll let the Arcade Fire take us out this year. You’ll have to go to www.thewildernessdowntown.com, and I suggest downloading and using Google Chrome. If you haven’t done it yet, it’s pretty much a must, as it will change how you view your interactions with media, even if you’re not an Arcade Fire fan. It’s a song and a groundbreaking video about linking to our past, but always moving forward – just like the scents of this long weekend.
“Now our lives are changing fast. Hoping something pure can last.”
Have a great Tuesday, wherever you are in the world!!
Peace and love – a bientôt,