I heard from several readers that they like the week number in the title because it gives them a reference point to how long we have been fighting Covid. So, for those who found seeing the “week” number stressful, I’ve called it a volume number as a compromise.
As I write this today, it is my 20th wedding anniversary. Jen and I are amazed that 20 years have flown by. We talk about planning for the next twenty years and it got me thinking about planning in general. I spending my days helping people plan and all of us try to plan as best we can for any number of things in our lives. This led me to consider some of the events, both personal and not, that have happened over the past twenty years. Right after we were married, as the the dot.com bubble was bursting, we had an election that was undecided on election night and took a Supreme Court ruling to decide (will history repeat itself?) A year later, the tragic 9-11 attacks occurred followed by wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2004, our daughter, Isabel was born followed by Matthew in 2006 and Alexander in 2008. These were three of the most joyous days in my life. We then had the Great Financial Recession of 2008 just as we, in the US, elected our first African-American President. In 2013, my father died unexpectedly. In 2014, my world was further rocked by the deaths of my nephew, Zachary, and my mother. The years between 2015 and 2020 seem relatively uneventful compared to those earlier years. Then came 2020 which brought the pandemic and the quest for social justice, both of which are unresolved at this point. Along the way, I have met many amazing people who are now my colleagues, clients, friends or all of the above.
I’m overwhelmed when I think about all of the events, good and bad, happy and sad, that have occurred in two decades. If I were predisposed to dwell only on the sad times, I might be a very pessimistic and unhappy person and vice versa if I considered only those good times. All these events shaped who I am and as opposed to characterizing my life as happy or sad, I would say that I have led a full life. Some might say that planning is a waste of time because who could have ever predicted the twists and turns over twenty years. But I would argue that in planning, I create a framework for making better decisions and it gets me ready to take on the next challenge however unlikely that challenge may seem right now.
This week’s selection is:
BOOKThis Is Happiness by Niall Williams
The Bloomsbury review states that Niall Williams' latest novel is an intricately observed portrait of a community, its idiosyncrasies and its traditions, its paradoxes and its inanities, its failures and its triumphs. Luminous and otherworldly, and yet anchored with deep-running roots into the earthy and the everyday, This Is Happiness is about stories as the very stuff of life: the ways they make the texture and matter of our world, and the ways they write and rewrite us.