Breaking, Building and Leaning Into Limits

Nature fumbles all the time. Things break. Early sprouts freeze and die back. Erosion takes down hillsides, even hillsides where humans have not clear-cut. In the long run, our trying to catch up with nature is what ends up looking more damaged. Nature has built-in ways to compost and recycle what falls. We humans sometimes skip the recycling and head straight into rebuilding. Are we determined to live on the wet hillside with a view, or the ocean front flood plane?

I think it goes deeper than that. Maybe we need the possibility of “faux pas.” Maybe it’s part of an instinct for leaning into challenges.

I was thinking about inconvenient instincts this morning while watching my cat play with my bath water – such a joy. He is *fascinated* with the reflections and movement of water, *almost* to the point of wanting to get in on purpose. Once in a while there is a great scattering noise as he does whatever is needed to recoup his balance, but in a few minutes or less he’ll be right back at it.

When I pull the plug and the water has drained to about the last 1/4″ he often jumps into the tub: 1/4″ to 1/2″ is his kitty cat faux pas wet paws limit. He cringes a little as he lands in the wet bathtub. Fascination overpowers cringe almost immediately, as he races to watch the last of the water go down the drain, and then stalks and pats at water droplets rolling down the side of the tub.

I am like that when it comes to programming. I know how to do a few very small things with php, and it fascinates me. If I lean in too far, or get in over my head, it’s chaos. Wet paws are just enough, over and over again. I like patting at those water droplets.

My php tolerance has gradually increased. I remember when I felt the same way about html, and later on about css-based layouts. These transitions would not have happened naturally, without my encouragement, any more than it was strictly natural for humans to create culture protected by dikes and levies in Holland and New Orleans – but look at what we can accomplish. I like it, I work at it, and I protect it by building on what I’ve learned. I build my own version of dikes and levies – I look at what I can accomplish, and it makes me happy.

Lexi and iamlosts’s comments on my post, Sympathy for the Technology Avoider, led me to wondering about what makes us tick when we go for it anyway, whatever “it” is at the moment. As Jenn Osborne’s Blog Strategy series is on my mind this week, and I had planned to respond to her last post about coming up with blog post ideas for challenging industries, my next post is going to be about blog post ideas, with a little twist. I’ll be looking at how to approach blog post ideas for the technology avoider.

Ironically, I’ll be writing as it rains. We’re at the not-so-nice edge of Spring here, and I want to be doing outside things in between rain drops. I’m not going to glue myself to the computer until the sky is falling. When I’m outside I’ll be avoiding the rain. When inside I plan to glory in it.