Goal Progress: October

November 1, 2020 • #

October is over already?

At this rate, it’ll be New Years in no time flat.

Anyway, let’s check in on the 2020 goals:

Activity Progress Pace Goal Plus-Minus
Running 534.25 miles 543 miles 650 miles -8.90
Meditation 1070 minutes 2607 minutes 3120 minutes
Reading 23 books 25.07 books 30 books -2.07

I made middling progress in areas, like some better runs in the first couple of weeks. Felt good to have some overachieving progress. But then we did a week out of town up in Georgia last week, and my plan to do some trail running didn’t become reality. Between schoolwork (Elyse was still remote-learning from the Georgia countryside), rain, and a surprise tropical storm, much outdoor activity was a challenge, to say the least. We did get in 1 hike, but 5 and 3 year olds aren’t that compatible with long excursions.

I went a full 7 days without running, the longest gap in probably 2 years. While it wasn’t necessarily intentional, it’s probably good for health to get some air space there every now and then.

On the reading side, I finished Stephen Fry’s Mythos, which is his reimagining of the greek myths. I listened to the audio version which is read by the author himself, and if you know any of Fry’s work, you’ll know this is the proper way to consume this book. An outstanding rendition of the tales, more accessible than Edith Hamilton’s Mythology or something like Ovid or Virgil classics.

Ross Douthat’s The Decadent Society was both thought-provoking in its claims, and occasionally frustrating by its pessimism about the state of western culture. I tend to agree with many of Douthat’s views on his “4 horsemen” of decadence: stagnation, sterility, sclerosis, and repetition. I’m skeptical of, but open-minded to, the theories of technical stagnation that you read about in the works of Peter Thiel and others. There’s a compelling case to be made that something is going wrong, and Douthat has an interesting take on where he thinks the issues lie. My skepticism is less around the presence of decadence, decay, or drift than it is around the severity of the issues. It’s a worthwhile and provocative read. Along the same lines I’d highly recommend Yuval Levin’s takes on institutional decline in his book A Time to Build from earlier this year.