Listen to Your Wisdom

My habit of getting up early and—thirty minutes to an hour after I wake—spending a like amount of time writing for my blog, is firmly entrenched. It is sufficiently habitual that I feel uncomfortable when circumstances prevent me from keeping to my routine. I have been doing it for so long that the ritual has become part of me, just as much as are the snapshot memories of my past. This morning, one of those snapshot memories sprang to the surface as I was watching and listening to a BBC video entitled, “Inside the stunning ‘new Athens’ of Central Europe,” a six-minute production about Ljubljana, Slovenia by Martina Zoldos. I recalled sitting with my late wife on a boat as we cruised along the Ljubljanica River. We marveled at the city’s spectacular architecture and at what seemed like an elaborately-planned city, designed for pedestrian enjoyment. I remember taking pictures of the Ljubljana Dragons on the Dragon Bridge and wishing all cities had been planned and executed as beautifully as Ljubljana.

I learned from the video, subtitled in English and delivered in Slovene, that the city was reimagined by Jože Plečnik, a Slovene architect who designed the city as it stands today after an earthquake in 1895 devastated the city. Plečnik called the project The Slovenian Acropolis; he was inspired by the design of Athens, Greece. After Ljubljana’s rebirth, the city served as the model for many other European cities, giving pedestrians precedence over automobiles and ensuring a grand, spectacular cityscape for pedestrians to enjoy.

Though we spent only a couple of days in Ljubljana, we fell in love with the place and occasionally talked about the possibility of returning there on our own so we could experience it at our own pace. Our time there, in 2019, was near the tail-end of an Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT) tour. Though the OAT tour was excellent, it did not provide enough relaxed, unscheduled time in any one city to really get the flavor of the place. That said, it was well-designed to provide more time on one’s own than most such tours, I think.


My intent with the section above was to express my thoughts about my habit of rising early to write. Yet I allowed myself to hijack my own thoughts with memories that my thoughts sparked. That is how I think; in labyrinthine webs that layer upon one another until their intricate design is obliterated by the tortuous paths they follow. My thoughts are connected, but they sometimes seem random or their connections appear irrational—even to me. Because of the way I lay out my thought processes—unfiltered and lacking in discernable planning—I sometimes think people who hear me talk or read what I write must believe I am remarkably stupid. I know I am not remarkably stupid; not stupid in the least. But I can understand why people might sometimes think I am. Perhaps I should give more time to plan what I write. But that would put a restraint on me that I do not want. So I will continue taking the risk of being viewed as intellectually challenged. Even when I look back at what I say or write and feel deeply embarrassed for the way it came out.


I spent part of the day yesterday cleaning up and organizing the three-car garage in our new house. The work was meant to be only a temporary “fix” to the disorder in the garage caused haphazard placement of workers’ tools and materials , old fixtures littering the floor, and junk left by the previous owners.  Once some of the stuff is removed and shelves and pegboard, etc. are put in their permanent locations, the garage will be extremely useful. I intend for the third “bay” to be our work area. At some point, I hope to get some power tools and related products (table saw, chop saw, drill press, router table, etc.) so I can have a reasonably decent, though not professional quality, shop. And I may eventually invest in some welding equipment and a plasma cutter. I cannot possibly justify the investment associated with obtaining all this equipment except to call it an expense related to a nascent hobby. It will not be an investment; it will be an expense. If I actually spend the money. We’ll see. What was I thinking and saying, recently, about acquiring things?  Experiences are what makes one happy, not “stuff.”


Yesterday, during lunch, my girlfriend and I talked about the possibility of buying a neighbor’s party barge. The neighbors have talked about selling it, but have not made any firm decisions. My GF and I would love to be able to cruise Lake Balboa any time the mood strikes us. Buying a boat is another “investment” that is, in reality, an expense. And I am not sure I want to be throwing money at something we probably would use rather rarely. But the idea really appeals to me. If we can’t have a lake property (and we can’t), maybe we can have a marina-based boat at the ready when we’re in the mood to cruise. Hmm. I need to be cautious about spending money that I may need to survive in later years. I should have won the lottery. But you can’t win if you don’t buy tickets. And even then, you probably won’t win. Wait. Didn’t I just reiterate what I said a day or two ago? About “…acquiring things?  Experiences are what makes one happy, not “stuff.” Listen to your wisdom speak, John.


Time for an early breakfast, then off to the new house to see what I can do to prepare for the flooring guys, who are set to return today after being on other jobs. They worked part of the day last Sunday. They may finish up on Saturday, but I doubt it. I suspect it will be Monday or even later. We’ll see.  Off to the races.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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