Significant repeated themes & motifs in my life

I'm reading Sarah Susanka's The Not So Big Life and while some of it gets a little woo-woo new agey for me, I'm generally enjoying it. The pieces which are more tightly connected to her brilliant work as an architect and thinker on how we can occupy spaces that keep us happier are better than the generic spiritualism, I find.

Along the way there are various self-exploration exercises. Here's the list I brainstormed up about what are the significant and/or recurring themes/motifs/objects in my life.

  • books
  • checkerboard spheres
  • little whimsical things (but non-obviously so)
  • approximately Edwardian things and art
  • wood
  • unexpected angles (thinking here of the ceilings of my room as a kid, of a little table I have from the club I used to work at)
  • walking
  • libraries
  • public transit (and I was writing this brainstormed list on the MTA originally)
  • fresh produce
  • spices
  • alphabetization
  • simple, practical, sturdy, beautiful objects (e.g. a wool blanket I bought in Scotland the summer after high school and still use regularly)
  • Japanese art and design
  • writing
  • sleeping enough (or more than enough)
  • dark bedrooms
  • practical shoes
  • The Web
  • Macs and iPhones
  • music usually playing
  • sounds of the world
  • lists
  • showers
  • reading
  • kindness
  • San Francisco
  • London
  • places where redwoods grow
  • sourdough French bread
  • British humor
  • wit
  • wordplay
  • dictionaries and encyclopedias
  • curiousity
  • spring green
  • all natural greens, really
  • guitar music
  • The Beatles
  • Vince Guaraldi
  • smiling
  • fresh-cooked meals
  • uncomplicated starts to the day
  • naturalness (e.g. no makeup, honesty)
  • dark chocolate
  • cheese
  • the feel of clean sheets
  • being warm enough
  • noticing details
  • old houses and new houses with a sense of time and detail
  • Victorian houses
  • Craftsman furniture
  • Craftsman aesthetics
  • trying out new foods
  • perpetual upgrade

Published by

Dinah from Kabalor

Author. Discardian. GM. Current project: creating an inclusive indie fantasy ttrpg

4 thoughts on “Significant repeated themes & motifs in my life”

  1. Came upon your “significant and/or recurring themes/motifs/objects.” I like very much.
    In thinking about a list — it occurs to me a list I would have made when I was, say, 21, would be different than the one I would make today. As one gets older one comes to appreciate the simple and humble. As a youngster I was excited by bright, shiny, objects: the more modern, exotic, complex, or bizarre — the better. I wanted to impress others (and myself) with my taste for the quixotic and the completely outrageous.
    I like your items “sleeping enough” and “being warm enough.”
    I would add: A nap in the afternoon. (Something I’ve learned to appreciate.)
    Also: silence.
    Go out in the countryside or desert (because a city can be heard). Let time go by. No more background nervous irritating accusatory drum-beat mind-scold hash!
    When I do this I realize: I have enough.
    Reminds me of Hemmingway’s short story “A Clean, Well Lighted Place”; about an old deaf man who enjoys brandy in a quiet café late at night. Hemingway was doing other things with the story (the Lord’s Prayer as “Our nada who art in nada, nada be thy name. . .” and so on) and hinting at existential “nothingness” and suicide — but actually these nods are feints. Come on! The story’s about the place.
    When young I was often out all night in my VW driving around LA going to bars and coffeehouses and parties and happenings, trying to find unusual and interesting people — blaring “progressive rock” in my ears — and would occasionally think of the “old folks” in plain houses never going out: how out of touch and lonely and blighted their lives must be! Why don’t they do more? I’m not going to do that when I get old!
    I wrote to a pastor recently (with whom I sometimes share letters) and said if I could start over in life as a 21-year-old I would stop searching for emotional and intellectual candy, put aside silly notions of feeling rejected by society (from which I felt thrillingly alienated) –- train for a high-skilled job (economics or engineering) and deliberately make a lot of money and marry early and raise kids and then retire at 53 and buy an old Victorian house with a porch overseeing the sea with a big rocking chair and a fine carved pipe with good tobacco and sit there and read.
    He wrote back and said “It’s a good thing you didn’t!”
    I still think he’s wrong.


  2. 🙂
    It’s all good. I still like mixing it up; solo quiet time and bustling crowds; country silence and live concert and familiar hum (yes, sometimes in coffeehouses) which is both noise & silence.
    You’ll find more of my writing about silence and stillness over here in Discardian: especially in the “clearing your head” section. 🙂
    Thanks for stopping by!


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