December 5, 2021•888 words
One Helpul Idea is the title of a newsletter from Spencer Greenberg. The newsletter includes a 30 second read about psychology, philosophy, or society, a question, a link to the newest episode of the Clearer Thinking podcast, and a link to one of Spencer's essays. Spencer is a human dynamo for generating and sharing thought provoking enquiries and ideas.
The 3-2-1 Newsletter is from James Clear. The newsletter is sent out every Thursday. Each message includes three short ideas from James, two quotes from others, and one question for subscribers to consider. James is the author of Atomic Habits. His ideas and work have helped me to develop and grow in many areas of my life during 2021.
Until recently I'd not given much thought to the questions posed in each of these newsletters. In a time right now when doing so goes well with other activities I am engaging with to live fully as is. Writing in Standard Notes / Listed lends itself to helping me ponder.
Spent some time last night thinking about the following question which was included in the One Helpful Idea newsletter from 01/10/2021.
What is something you used to really love to do as a child that you don't do anymore, but maybe should?
Doing so invoked a pleasing experience of nostalgia. It made me feel good. I felt connected with the experiences of my past and to the people in it. I recalled much that I really loved to do that I don't anymore.
I loved playing in the garden. Imaginary play. With toy cars in the dirt and action figures. Digging holes. Deep as I could go which was often only as deep as mum would let me. Rummaging about in the garden shed. Mixing up what paints, powders and liquids I found hoping for an exciting reaction, which never did occur.
Going to the cinema. I loved Saturday morning pictures. Went with my brother and sisters. We went to the local ABC. Queuing up, getting the ticket, running to the best seats we could find to watch the matinee. Cartoons, a main film and an episode from a serial or two. Coming out of the dark auditorium a couple and half hours later and it taking a minute or two for my eyes to adjust to the daylight.
I loved playing with matches. Especially Swan Vesta which could be lit by friction on anything dry. The smell of sulphur dioxide. Building small fires. Going to the green shop on the corner to buy mum and dad cigarettes. Pouring them 'two fingers' of scotch and topping up the glass with ginger ale.
I loved going to the big outdoor pool near our house. I imagined I was powered by a steam engine. I pictured shovelling coal into the furnace so I could swim faster. Competing for the town in swimming galas. Learning to dive and bomb off the boards. Hot Bovril from the cabin. Helping out sometimes before morning opening. Filling the foot baths with fresh water. Being the first in the water. Swimming when it poured with rained. Swimming in the local river when the weather was hot. Jumping from weirs and sliding down sluices.
I loved riding bicycles. Nipping around town with my brother with his and my friends. Riding out into the country side and to neighbouring towns. Putting together custom bikes from salvaged parts.
I loved doing a paper round. Being out and about while others were still in bed or getting up and ready for the day. Riding my bike in all weathers. Getting the job of marker up. One of the backroom boys. Counting out and preparing the newspapers for all the rounds. Getting the rounds done for those paper boys and girls that did not show up. Knowing every round there was in the shop. I loved that.
I loved drawing. Copying by eye characters from the 2000AD comic and Mad magazine. On my school exercise books. Doodling on the pages and on the school desks.
I loved comics. My nan bought them. Whizzer and Chips for my oldest sister, Dandy for me, The Hotspur for my brother, and Bunty for my little sister. Speed, Tiger and then 2000AD came later. I read each one from cover to cover. Collected the Tiger comic up into a big stack. I remember laying them out on my bedroom carpet like tiles. I felt happy doing that.
I loved sending off for stuff in comics and magazines. Joining clubs and getting the freebies and members pack in the post. I loved getting stuff in the post.
I loved living at my grandads. The AGA stove in the kitchen. Watching as logs were put into the fire. The big kitchen table. The bone handled carving knife. Eiderdowns and blankets on our beds. The log fire in the sitting room. Christmas time. Boxes and boxes of tangerines and chocolates. Playing stations with uncles, aunts, cousins and siblings.
I did not give so much thought to that which I (used to love doing) maybe still should. Something to ponder on. Swimming, reading, using my imagination and drawing seem like good things to do. I still ride bicycles and doodle a lot.
I enjoyed thinking about this question and have benefited from doing so. I shall do another.