Ice Storms & Candlelight
The tension between external chaos and internal peace
I’ve spent the past two weeks in the early 1800s.
It started with Pride & Prejudice and ended with Bridgerton as I moved through more and more Netflix recommendations. I don’t normally watch much television but since I’ve been battling carpal tunnel (which I erroneously self-diagnosed as tendonitis), even holding a book is painful. So Netflix it has been.
This foray into the 19th Century from the comfort of my couch has made me particularly appreciative of several things during what has otherwise felt like a restrictive period in my solopreneur journey. Here are some thoughts to that end.
The most obvious contrast between now and then is women now have options. Most of the scenes I’ve watched in the past two weeks centred around marrying off daughters for dowries and there’s a particularly gripping scene from Bridgerton that blew my mind.
A recent widow labouring with her eighth child is being ignored by doctors who will strictly consult with her eldest son (who’s but a teenager) on medical decisions concerning her life. Her pleas are otherwise ignored. Thankfully, her doting son instructs the doctor to do as she wishes but the absurdity is palpable—especially when the mother tries to reason with the doctor by declaring “that ‘man’ came out of this very body.” Insane, right?
When I think of the powerlessness women of that time endured, I feel an immense sense of gratitude that women now have their rightful autonomy and can act on their ambitions to build careers and companies in addition to building families. It’s something that women from the early 1800s could have only dreamt of.
So next time I feel like I can’t do something outside of my comfort zone, I’ll remind myself I can. That’s reason enough to be grateful, regardless of the outcome.
External Chaos & Internal Peace
Wednesday a wicked ice storm plunged a million Quebecers into darkness. My power was out for forty-four hours and many are still without despite service workers working around the clock.
I was fortunate I had family and friends who were unaffected but those who didn’t had to make use of emergency shelters stationed throughout the city.
Here’s a map from yesterday pinpointing the outages that occurred across Montreal:
Quebec is arguably the best-equipped region to manage extreme winter weather so it goes to show how extreme Wednesday’s weather was. Fortunately, otherwise characteristic Spring weather mitigated the effects of the uncharacteristic storm. Had this happened mid-Winter it would’ve been way worse (especially considering the 1998 ice storm that left millions of Quebecers—some for up to a month—without power).
Here are some artful photos of Wednesday’s aftermath:
It struck me as ironic that I wrote the first sentence of this newsletter—I’ve spent the past two weeks in the early 1800s—right before my power went out. Because later that evening, as I lit candles in each room, I felt I’d reached peak 1800 vibes.
It was nice though. It made me realize how much more chaotic life feels—even within our very homes—when you don’t rein in your use of technology and hell, even electricity. Whether it’s having bright lights on, TVs blaring, or constantly checking your phone, your nights and evenings are far less relaxing than they are when you dim the lights, burn some candles, and moderate your screen time.
As I read by candlelight, I realized the tension between the violent weather outside and the gentle flames inside exemplified the dynamic I strive for in my work. It can be overwhelming to find a flurry of notifications through email and social media but I have to remind myself that that’s my external environment and it’s my job to maintain the tranquillity of my inner one to wade through it without drowning.
If you watched The O.C. in the early 2000s, then FYI Lady Featherington is the Julie Cooper of Bridgerton. In addition to their shameless schemes to acquire money and their misguided approaches to looking out for their daughters, they even look alike. (Though I have to say, Julie was far more fashionable.)
📌 Teaching tip: Anytime you introduce a new concept to students, activate their prior knowledge by having them compare and contrast it to something familiar. For example, if I was teaching students about character creation and using Lady Featherington as an example of a specific persona, I could ask them to identify a similar character from a series or film they’ve watched.
In that case, someone might choose Julie from The O.C. and they would analyze their similarities versus differences. That in turn would help them understand the broader strokes of the concept versus the interchangeable details that factor into it.
The more examples you have students apply, the greater their understanding will be. After all, the goal of learning is transfer—meaning you want students to be able to apply what you’re teaching them to as many different scenarios as possible.
Thanks for reading this week’s newsletter and have a wonderful week,
P.S. If you’re in Montreal dealing with outages or damage to your car or home, hang in there. The worst is behind us. 💛
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