Hi Jason,

My husband and son want me to pick telekinesis as my superpower. (“You know what, I think I like the couch and the loveseat better where we had them originally. You guys ready, or do you need a break?”)

But if proprioception were an actual superpower, you might be able to predict the future!! Somewhere in the jumble sale I laughingly call my memory, I recall hearing that we move our bodies a split-second before we consciously decide we are going to move our bodies. My hand is already reaching for the coffee cup a split second before I decide to reach for the coffee cup. So my body actually decided before my mind thought it decided. William James speculated about this, and I think science eventually proved it, and it comes up occasionally in discussions related to free will / determinism. So to my mind, proprioception becomes a superpower if you can predict next moves.

I’m getting over a cold. I was just thinking, “What if I had telekinesis, and whenever I sneezed, the cupboards blew open and my dishes fell out?” What would happen with superpowers if you get sick, or have nightmares, or a fever-induced delirium or something? (Another Marvel movie, probably, but what else?)

I love the fall, too! I grew up in New England, compared to which Virginia is but a pale imitation, but there’s an arboretum in the area with a gingko grove with about 300 gingko trees. The leaves turn a gorgeous, saturated golden yellow color which looks amazing against a deep blue sky. So my husband and I will definitely make time for that. I also want to put aside time to visit a family member who is ill. This is difficult, as they live about 300 miles away, and I have to plan for time off and call coverage for work. So I’m trying to figure which days I can take off in the next month or so, in between holiday travel and visitors. Perhaps another great superpower would be bilocation, like a Catholic saint!

You have the ability to hear a lot of details and sift through them and organize them in your mind in such a way that you see what is necessary, and what is superfluous. What a wonderful superpower to have! You are well-placed in your line of work. You called this “meta-structural awareness,” I’m thinking of it as “essentialism,” the ability to see what is essential.

I think the ability to subtract the superfluous is wonderful, and hard to come by. To remind myself to simplify, I printed and posted this equation at my desk, which comes from yet another source I don’t remember off the top of my head:


Agreed that when it comes to collaborative data and tracking lots of data, digital is best. I still keep a digital calendar for that reason, although most of my personal systems are paper-based these days. Back in the day, though, I had a Palm Pilot!

Have you been able to get outside during this beautiful fall weather? What are your favorite places to go to enjoy autumn?


Hi Anna,

I’ve spent just a little bit of time outside so far. It’s something I really should remedy– I know how important it is, but like eating well and moving often, it sometimes just doesn’t happen (and then I feel bad and wonder why). I don’t have a lot of places locally that I associated with “awesome for autumn”, which is sad because it is my favorite time of year and I do have those places for spring. There are a few spots within a 25 minute or so drive that have 2-4 mile hikes or walking paths that are all worth doing when I make the time. Most of them are wooded, and so perfectly pleasant this time of year. But none of them have the kind of “must be there each autumn” feel that a gingko grove would have.

Just around the corner from my house there’s a small field at the entrance of a park with a Zen Garden that I love in spring. There’s something about sitting there just as all the leaves are starting to come in when there’s a nice breeze that I really love. But for some reason, I don’t get the same feeling when I head there this time of year.

Right now, I’m wishing my super power was checking things off of my to do list. I feel like an old convertible with “Just Married” painted on the back and a trail of cans tied to my bumper. I have so many small things that are not individually difficult, and I find myself totally unmotivated to do them, yet the cumulative weight is clearly taking a toll. This is part of the cost of complexity– being responsible for many things, with lots of context switching is just plain hard. It feels like the kind of modern “we weren’t built for this” problem. I know the tools that help people in general, and I know the tools that have helped me in the past, but I just can’t… DO IT. There’s definitely a touch of burn out– I thought I was doing better on vacations and such this year, but it turns out I accumulated a fair amount of vacation time I didn’t take.

With November fast approaching, and two work trips and one “fun” trip coming up in that month, I’m going to try and maximize the cozy I can get for the remainder of fall. For me, this means heading to a pub/tavern type spot or a dark cocktail bar on Friday or Saturday. Sometimes with a friend, sometimes with a book. The key is getting out of my house and spending time somewhere dark, warm, and with a moderate background din. I have always needed third spaces, but never more than post-COVID, fully working from home, when the sun is down long before I stop typing away.