Hunting and Gathering in the Information Age

The July Project: Number 30

Yeah, I know it’s not July any more. The month ended in a flurry of activity during which I was too busy to complete any posts, so my first job for August is to wrap up July. Bear with me!


Great Rift Valley

A few years ago, I started thinking of my daily walk as a crude analog to the wandering of our African savannah ancestors in pursuit of game and other food stuffs. They probably spent several hours every day chasing after or rooting around for their next meal, and the one after that, and the one after that. There are three grocery stores within a half a mile of where I pitch my tent, so I don’t have to wander in search of food. But evolution optimized my body and my mind for this movement …[MORE]

The Slow and Steady Pace of Progress

The July Project: Day 29

Bouquet of roses

About a year ago, a business development client and good friend said to me, “I love my job, I’m doing exactly what I want to be doing, my whole life is perfectly on track except for this one thing: I’m fat, and it makes me miserable.’

My answer was, “Well, I guess we know what to work on next.’

She picked a bad time to get me fired up about a new project—the second week of August. She’s not a big fan of Houston summer heat. But she somehow pushed through her reluctance …[MORE]

Birds of a Feather, Part II: Frozen Fanatics

The July Project: Day 28

At the end of last November, in an effort to jump-start a weight-loss regimen that had stalled, I made up my mind to walk twice around the loop at Memorial Park every day for the month of December. November 30 was a Monday, so I started one day early for good measure. The next day, just in time for my “official” December Project kickoff, the weather turned nasty for two solid weeks. December 1, it was raining and 45 degrees by evening. Then a cooling trend set in. By Thursday, there was talk of snow. I woke up Friday morning to moderate flurries …[MORE]

Forget About Months…What Can You Do in Five Days?

The July Project: Day 27

Five, count 'em, five

We’re down to the last five days of the month. I woke up this morning thinking how easy it is to run out of steam right at the end of a project like this, and wondering what extra effort I might need to put forth to get the rest of the way to the goal, which was to give time and attention to this blog every day in July.

I was also thinking about how I’ve struggled for the last couple of months to get rid of the weight I gained …[MORE]

Moments of Pure Joy

The July Project: Day 24

Once in a while, everything comes together to create the perfect walk. There was an afternoon in Los Angeles in January of last year. I’d spent the day in a conference listening to brilliant people talk about their hopes for the future of human progress. I was high on contagious optimism and altruism. One of my new friends offered to show me the way to Griffith Park. I followed her through rush-hour traffic up into the hills, then she showed me where to park and where the running trail started. As I walked and jogged, the sun went down over the hills on one side and the San Gabriel Mountains faded to deep purple on the other. James Taylor sang “That’s Why I’m Here” on my iPod. I break into a grin from ear to ear / and suddenly it’s perfectly clear. It was an ecstatic moment. I’m sure that my feet never touched the ground.

Dappled sunlight through lacy spring leaves

And I recall an early spring day at Memorial Park in some recent year. Dappled sunlight was coming through the deciduous trees, just beginning to fill in with tender yellow-green leaves. The breeze was warm, and I knew it would only be a few weeks until it was too hot to walk at midday. But on this day, the sun felt great on my pasty-white skin. The soundtrack: Indigo Girls, “The Wood Song.” No one gets to miss the storm of what will be …[MORE]

Laying a Minefield of Metaphors

The July Project: Day 20

I received a note this morning from a Facebook friend who’s struggled as hard with weight loss for most of her adult life as I have. She asked, “Can you send me some of you exercise motivation magic? [I’ve] fallen off the wagon…. The battle never seems to end.”

I wrote back to say that I know the feeling very well, but that somehow it’s helped to stop thinking about fitness in those terms. I’ve tried to make exercise part of who I am—not a short-term project, and not a battle, either. Her words stayed with me all day: the battle never seems to end.

Last weekend I happened to catch an interview with Valerie Bertinelli on CBS News Sunday Morning in which the 49-year-old actress talked about losing 45 pounds, and about her efforts to come to terms with why she gained the weight in the first place. She mentioned plans to run a marathon, and the interviewer chose to sum up the story …[MORE]

Psalm for a Midsummer Cold Sufferer

The July Project: Day 15

For the queen bee, and also everyone else

You have a lot of priorities to juggle. You do what you can, you assign degrees of urgency based on trying to find some kind of balance between what you want and need and what the people who depend on you—your family, your friends, your co-workers, your boss, your clients—want and need. And with a little luck, you get all of the most critically important things taken care of on any given day. Or maybe you don’t, but at least you get to them the same week. Or maybe you don’t, but you do what you can do, and it has to be enough…right?

And while you’re working on all of that, be sure to take care of yourself. Like the man said, “Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.” Get some rest, drink plenty of fluids. Stay out of the hot sun. Let someone take care of you for a while.