Today’s Daily Stoic writing prompt: Can I test my own opinion before trusting it?
This is where my critical thinking/history training has become so valuable. Not only am I used to testing my opinions by looking to multiple experts and reviewing the evidence, I am also extremely open to changing my opinion based on new evidence or an evolution of understanding over time. I am not a person who becomes knowledgeable about a subject and then ossifies in it, nor am I a person so confident in my own abilities and interpretation that I become utterly closed to anything that might challenge that confidence. I suspect this comes from the fact that when you study the past–especially going as far back as the fields I have specialized in–what evidence you have is all hundreds of years removed from its context. We usually don’t know feelings or emotions, and we have to work with the limitations of the sources we have. In the case of material finds, we often don’t know how typical they are, and unless you are fairly confident about that context–knowledge of manufacture and design, knowledge about things such as historical milieu, class, physical location, and knowledge of historical timelines that can help fill in gap–you cannot have an informed opinion. It humbles you.
Not quite done–but probably reachable tomorrow evening. All of the folds on the sleeve turned out to be fairly challenging, and there still may be some tweaks before it’s finalized.
It’s been a weekend pretty much subsumed by this project, but I’m now starting to plan what’s next. First up is a piece of writing I need to do. I also want to start the book I received on Friday, so I will likely start up on the small kit embroidery in order to have some handwork to occupy my fingers. There will be another marginalia cat up next after that, probably crossbow cat. I haven’t decided yet whether I will keep to the grey colour scheme or go for orange. Probably the latter, just to mix things up.
I also need to do a bunch of scanning for my taxes, and start in on the Imaginary Letter of Intent. I know there are a ton of submissions for that; I just need to get going on them. A lot of that will likely take place next weekend, along with the short piece I’ve promised to write for AskHistorians.
I haven’t talked about what’s going on in the outside world for awhile. The news is somewhat more hopeful. We’re holding fairly steady on daily case counts. Meanwhile, two new vaccines have been approved, we’re due to get more of the Pfizer than expected, and it looks like the strategy is going to be tweaked to get more people at least one vax shot, delaying the second on those that require one. I am still not sure what the impact on me will be, so I am expecting the worst (September) but hoping for better. I’m not in any risk group, other than a very slight elevation due to age. We shall see. Every day that passes hopefully gets a bit closer to the end of all of this.
Mental health-wise, I’m OK. But I am heavily leaning on very interior-focused things right now. There are a pair of Discord servers (three, if you count the one we use for Pathfinder) that are keeping me sane–one with a bunch of SCA heralds, one with a bunch of Shostakovich fans with wicked senses of humour (there is a very, very small group of people who’d get all of the horrible jokes we make there). And those outlets are everything. Today was the first anniversary of the last SCA event I attended, and tomorrow will mark the anniversary of the last in-person gathering where we did not worry about COVID. Friday will be the anniversary of the last day at work, the last GO train ride–not really the last day of normal, because that was probably March 10, and even then….
This has indeed been, and continues to be, a kind of siege, and even with hopes rising, the threat is still real, as is the little flashes of anger for people who just still, after a full year, are willfully not getting it. And at this point, if you don’t get it, it is, indeed, willful. I am lucky that I believe about 98% of my friends are not in this category (or are being very quiet about it). Just as exhausting, however, are the small group of friends who continuously complain about idiots or continually bring up how scary the variants are. Yes. Your friends list likely knows. I’m not talking about a single frustrated post or two–I’m talking about a constant litany of things that are not in my control. I am far more likely to reach out to someone who expresses how exhausted, tired, or scared they personally are. I can do something there, if only to say I hear you and I care. Because I do, and I want to spend my limited resources on my friends, not on howling into the wind.