We crave the things that are not yet

I finally started watching House of Cards, the Kevin Spacey/David Fincher show about Washington politics on Netflix. I'm sure many of you have already watched the 13 episodes. I know it was released in February, but I'm running behind.

Finally is an interesting word, isn't it? For me, it captures this moment in time perfectly.

Finally is everywhere. We talk about finally visiting a new restaurant, finishing the book everyone is talking about, seeing the summer blockbuster, and getting caught up. We use finally for watching shows that are only months old and trying apps that came out last week.

It's just a word, of course, but I think it's telling. So much of our culture and social media feeds that sense that we are always terribly behind. There's excitement about the latest thing, but with it the underlying fear of missing out.

I feel like finally used to be saved for really big things. I finally visited Paris. I finally asked him out. I finally landed the job. I finally graduated. I finally learned to cook.

What's interesting to me is that sometimes we let others decide what our finally should be and sometimes we decide for ourselves.

I'd like to repurpose finally. I want to see if I can step off the consumption treadmill and set my own pace. I want to finally lose track of time and finally forget what's on my to-do list. Maybe I'll finally ask, "Are you doing okay?" and one day, finally write a novel.

In the meantime, I hope to be fully present in the here and now. Finally.


Last week's dispatch asked, What three things would you do with a week free of responsibilities?

Joel wrote:

Hang with family, work at/on Amplifier, and hang with the Regulars.

Drew wrote:

Plan a week's menu to try cooking as many new dishes as possible, get ready to pick up a paint brush for the first time in many years, and create a list of people to call who I haven't talked to in a while.

Brad wrote:

Head over to Vintage Heart Coffee, work on bringing this wonderful community to life, one line of code at a time, then invite some curious and friendly Uncommoners over for a chat about the future.

Uncommon reads

Two very special Uncommon reads are now online. When the first members joined, we mailed 100 Tangibly Uncommon packages, which included essays by Jack Cheng and Kathy Sierra. They are a treasured part of the story so far. I hope you have a chance to spend time with each.

A Preface for a Community by Jack Cheng:

Here’s the thing about technology: for everything we gain, we lose something in return. We’re like the clown in the circus act, carrying an armload of bright rubber balls. We pick up one ball and drop another, and we go on, convinced we’ve made progress when all we have is a different set of balls. We’re nostalgic for the way things were, yet we crave the things that are not yet, and I have found no other way to come to terms with this than to acknowledge both what we have gained and lost, and at times look at the balls we’ve dropped and say, no, actually I’d rather keep that.

The API of You by Kathy Sierra:

Every website, app, brand, and ad is fighting for our attention. And they’ll do just about anything to get and keep it. In a world where “he who drains the cognitive resources of others wins”, we must defend our scarce cognitive resources. And we must help teach those we care about how to defend theirs. So far, the science suggests that to defend your resources really means avoid drains. Limit exposure.

Your turn

Is there a word that defines this moment in time for you?