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Underbelly: 10 Things - Perseverance

Wendy Kelly
Wendy Kelly
#129 in a series of wild and precious ways to keep going

1. TWIL
This week I contemplated perseverance. How to keep going. I thought of the steadfastness of the Voyager 1 — apparently still dutifully sending back data, 44 years, 9 months, and 29 days after its launch. Voyager 1 is the farthest human-made object from Earth and the first spacecraft to reach interstellar space. Apparently, it’s now 14.5 billion miles from Earth. I imagine it has encountered difficulties along the way — and yet it keeps going. Recently, it began to spew out “wacky” data, which reminded me of that oddity in perseverance — it’s really important to know when to re-calibrate. Or not.
In Voyager 1’s case, apparently, continuing on regardless is the best (only) course of action.
Diverging a little, another story that impacted my week was a conversation around the infamous “Marshmallow Test” — in this case, a reminder that we don’t actually know another persons’ best course of action in most cases.
Perhaps you could say that perseverance only makes sense when we know our mission.
And perhaps a corollary, spending time listening — actively, deeply listening to others — is a great and lovely way to get to know other people’s missions and thus be able to support them in their best course of action, should they want that :)
2. Quotes
“Just because the Voyager spacecraft are old doesn’t mean they’re not useful. Data from the probes revealed a previously unknown phenomenon of the interstellar medium, and Voyager 1 recently detected oscillations in the plasma of deep space. It’s basically a spacecraft’s equivalent to Tom Brady winning a Super Bowl at 43.
It’s possible that the source of the gibberish data readouts isn’t identified, and NASA engineers simply learn to live with the quirk. The issue isn’t affecting any of Voyager 1’s science instruments, all of which remain operational 44 years on, and the team expects that both spacecraft will continue to operate beyond 2025.” — Isaac Schultz, Voyager 1 Space Probe Is Suddenly Sending NASA Wacky Data
“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”
― Maya Angelou
“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.”
― Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture
“Sometimes even to live is an act of courage.”
― Lucius Annaeus Seneca
3. Prompt
Sometimes I truly think it’s important to put out a reminder that it’s a good idea to keep going — just keep going. Perhaps more slowly, perhaps even simply treading water for awhile — hey, perhaps floating along aimlessly while contemplating the universe and all that is.
And also, that we have no idea what most of us are carrying, where most of us are going, why most of us are still here. I’d venture to offer that we may not know any of this because we are so immersed in the lives of the Sideshow (the “lives” of random “people” we “follow”) that we have lost track of the Main Event.
Possible?
A dangerous question, but an important one — What keeps you going?
4. Quest
Choose one person this week and find out what keep them going.
Obviously, this needs to be consensual :) And if there’s no one in your life that you feel comfortable being this curious about, read a good biography or memoir.
5. Level up
Start a mini collection of reasons to keep going. There are quite a few, and tucking them away for a rainy day can come in handy.
6. Podcast — I kept thinking of our current obsession with what we call "celebrity"
Selects: How Freak Shows Worked - Stuff You Should Know | iHeart
7. Podcast
How Simple Is Too Simple? - Freakonomics
8. Poem
Imagining My Neighbor by Loretta Diane Walker - Poems | poets.org
9. Hero
10. Connect
Don’t miss out on the other issues by Wendy Kelly
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Wendy Kelly
Wendy Kelly @wendykkelly

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Nelson, British Columbia