Mid-Summer Musings

A random set of musings about things happening right now. 

Contact Clean-up Project

Inspired by Marty (blog link) and with time on my hands, I did a Contact Clean-up project. He warned me it might be cumbersome or frustrating, but it didn’t take as long as expected. I went from 731 contacts to 385. First, why did I ever have 731 contacts to begin with?   There were a lot of old company contacts, some so old that they didn’t even work at the company any longer, but I still had only the company contact information. A lot of contact info on people I have not talked to nor heard from in over 6 years. There were even quite a few of “who is this person”? And sadly, there were a few people who are now deceased. I’m not sure if it was liberating to delete old contacts that make no sense to keep anymore, but there was a feeling of closing a door and moving on.


“Buy Hyacinths to Feed the Soul”


I saw this quote in an astrology reading I had done and needed to look it up the reference. I’ve always loved the smell of hyacinths in the spring, but this quote really goes beyond that. It might be my new favorite quote!  My astrology reading indicated that I need to spend more time appreciating the beauty of nature… something I’ve been putting on my to-do list all year! Perhaps this fall I can implement that to-do – get out and about in nature more –  because putting cut flowers in the house only aggravates hubby’s allergies. 


Know Thyself

A big part of Retirement Transition is knowing what you want your life to be. Not the societal expectations, not the ”I’ve always done it this way”, but the deep understanding of who you are and/or who you want to be. To this end, I do a lot of “know thyself” discovery work and so was intrigued by a Coursera Class entitled that exact thing (link here). I was expecting pop psychology, which I enjoy. Imagine my surprise when it was all about philosophy and the concept of “discourse & inquiry.

But I continued through the 2-part course and while I don’t think I came out with a better Know Thyself, I did learn a bit about a number of philosophers and early psychoanalysts, both ones I had heard of and ones I had not. A few of my favorite take-aways:

  • From Socrates: The “examined life” means not running with the herd but to do self-examination of what we care about, what we value, what we know, and what our limitations are.
  • From Sartre: How we experience secondary (non-basic) emotions (like shame, guilt, pride, curiosity, hope, resentment, judgment, etc.) can be changed (modified, cultivated) with determination, consistency & patience – to become “the kind of person I want to be”.
  • From Anna Freud: Understand your own mechanisms of defense coping strategies (ex. passive aggressive behavior, repression, projection, even Implicit Bias) to help modify your behavior through awareness (bring the subconscious into consciousness).
  • From Damasio: Based on the theory of Practical Rationality (doing an appropriate action based on value ranking, probability, and liking subjectivity), pay attention to how your body reacts (your somatic markers, gut feel, intuition) – literally, do you cringe or smile at something?

It was fun to explore a new area (philosophy) and I plan to continue taking some courses, especially as I take them “my way”.  I don’t take quizzes or exams, only do assignments if they sound intriguing, and don’t engage in the chat spaces. Basically I audit the lectures, take notes, and then synthesize my learning into “cliff notes” for myself.

Have you used this pandemic social isolation time to learn about something new?

13 thoughts on “Mid-Summer Musings

  1. Hello Pat. I enjoyed your musings…hearing a little of what’s going on with you. I’m not sure how much I’ve learned during the pandemic, but I did take up jigsaw puzzles. Working on them brings warm memories of my mother, who always had a puzzle in progress.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I did a few jigsaw puzzles myself in the early stay-at-home days and have put it back on the list for the fall. My challenge is I feel a huge need to get them done… so I binge completing them!


  2. I can’t say I’ve learned anything new this year. Well, I have learned more about Medicare as I am approaching 65. I wonder if that’s why I’m feeling so unsettled and kind of blah right now. I love being home but maybe even I have reached the “too much” point. Maybe I’ll clean out my phone contacts. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I chuckled about the Medicare thing… I did as well because hubby is turning 65. I didn’t add it to my new things tracking though. The contacts clean-out was a pretty quick project and did give a sense of accomplishment. I’m definitely having up and down days right now…the high uncertainty of everything creates the unsettled feelings. Having an accomplishment I can control… makes the day a bit better.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Pat – this was another interesting read – especially based on my post this week about feeling so unsettled atm. I’ve started following your blog so I don’t miss your posts after we finish #MLSTL this week – I keep my blog following to a bare minimum, but there are several that I’ll be keeping in touch with after the party ends and who I hope stay in touch with me too. Blogging is one of my few remaining constants (and I’m even questioning doing that atm – as Marie Antionette says “nothing tastes” this year).

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Leanne, I am so sorry you are stopping MLSTL. I get it, but am definitely going to miss it. One more routine thing I love gone in Covid-19. I’m pretty sure I’ve started following most of the regular MLSTL folks (I’ve followed you for years), but I enjoyed having a single place to go and pull up a bunch of blog posts to read.


  4. Great job culling your contacts! I can’t believe you still have 385!!! Are those all friends and acquaintances or does that include a lot of business contacts?

    I’ve also used this time to try some new things, which I plan on writing about soon. The funny thing is that this current isolation hasn’t changed my day-to-day all that much, so why did I wait? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Janis, I know… I’m shocked at still having that many. It’s about 50/50 between work people (still – folks I might want to still connect with, consulting contacts, book contacts) and non-work. Non-work covers a lot – friends, family, service people, doctors, volunteer connections, etc.

      I’m looking forward to hearing about your new things…. my new things tracking goal of 101 is going to be hard to hit this year.


    1. Tom, It was interesting, although unexpected. The fact I enjoyed something I was unsure of at week one made me more open to try some other classes. Is there anything you might recommend look into?


  5. You cleaned out almost half of your contacts! That’s pretty good. I’m still only halfway through mine because I took a break and just haven’t gotten back to it yet. I do like your thought of closing a door on some of these former people in our lives. A friend of mine contacted me after I posted, and he said that he has over 2,000 contacts which he never intends to delete (though he said he does make a note for those who are deceased). This is someone who’s very organized, so it surprised me that he wanted to keep them in the phone. Everyone rolls differently. – Marty

    Liked by 1 person

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