Squeezing Thousands of Years Into a Minute

I’m reading a book about the history of food and modern farming. I find it incredible that, even though we’ve been farming since 8500 BCE, it’s still a blip in the history of humanity and digestion. Our bodies still haven’t adapted to a sedentary, grain-based diet. (See: An Edible History of Humanity by Tom Standage, pg 4.)

Photo by Kees Streefkerk on Unsplash

If 150,000 years can be compared to a minute and a half, I need to rethink my view of adaptation. I ask the girls to adapt all day long – from an unplanned errand to a switch in who picks up Bea from school, teaching flexibility is a surprisingly big part of the parenting process.

Or maybe it’s part of the human process. I like a predictable schedule and often wish I could adapt to surprises and changes with more grace and ease. The reality is that I need time to process new ideas and perspectives. I often read the news or a book and then need to dig deeper, figuring out this (new to me) information.

I’ll emerge and want to talk about it with Frank, only to realize that I’m unloading a bunch of internal processing in the course of a conversation. Essentially, I’m asking him to squeeze hundreds of thousands of years into a couple minutes.

Ok, my analogies are mixing but what I’m remembering is that adaptation takes time. Yes, in the course of human history, 150,000 is a blip. We haven’t been farming all that long so of course our digestive systems haven’t had time to adjust. And yet, we’ve been farming long enough that none of us have any ties at all to our hunter-gatherer ancestors. We wouldn’t know how to survive, even though it’s the foundational norm.

I’m giving myself grace as I deconstruct and rebuild foundational norms, whatever they may be. When I get discouraged at the slow pace of society in general, I’m remembering that these long years are a blip in history. I need to stretch back and remember that life is a slow process and adaptation is often imperceptible.

Are you able to adapt quickly or do you need time to process? How do you ground yourself in history?

Linked with Five Minute Friday, a time to write without editing. Today’s prompt is “adapt.”

Books Referenced:

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Throwing a Popsicle Festival

I’m over at Debby Hudson’s today, sharing a story about the power of food (or popsicles) to built community. Head over to join the conversation!

We live in a neighborhood where the ministry of popsicles is alive and well. Most evenings, when the sun isn’t quite as hot or high, a little bicycle gang emerges and our cul-de-sac is filled with pedals and scooters and wild kids. They run until a knee is scraped and then someone brings out the healing power of frozen juice. We sit under a tree cooling off and recovering.

IMG_1125-1024x1024Bea wanted to buy popsicles for the neighborhood and have a “festival.” She planned where we would put the picnic blanket and even moved rocks to the corners so it would stay put. We went to the store and bought a big box of Pushup frozen fruit pops.

While kids are out most days, there are some in which Bea rides alone. I explained that it’s great to throw impromptu celebrations but we also need to be prepared for the possibility that our buddies have other plans – that they might not know we have a festival planned.

Bea nodded but the excitement for her party was apparent. After naptime, I tried to stall her with promises of extra screen time, coloring together, anything to wait a few more minutes to be absolutely certain the other kids would be out.

We went outside and waited. And waited. Bea wondered where they could be. Why weren’t they coming to her festival? She rode slowly around the cul-de-sac, making up songs, eagerly watching front doors. I had mentioned the possibility to a couple parents, but plans aren’t firm during this summer witching hour and I didn’t want to make our little festival too big a deal.

Finally, it was obvious we were it. Bea was clearly disappointed and you could see all the feelings on her face as she tried to process this failed party.

Find out the resolution over at Debby’s and be sure to join in the conversation!


The American way is to not need help, but to help…. What saved me was that I found gentle, loyal and hilarious companions, which is at the heart of meaning: maybe we don’t find a lot of answers to life’s tougher questions, but if we find a few true friends, that’s even better.

Anne Lamott, Stitches

Of our friends, there are three couples we see on a very regular basis. These are people we saw right after Bea was born, people with whom we share amazing news and sad news, people we make time for during tax season because three months is too long to go without seeing them. We’ve practiced being vulnerable together and have shared laughter, tears, worries, and successes.

When we first started getting together, as newlyweds and dating couples, we pulled out all the stops. We tried recipes we would never make just for the two of us; We saved our food budget and splurged on incredible dishes; We went through multiple bottles of wine and finished off with whiskey or port and left after midnight. As time passed, our meals continued but now prosciutto-wrapped halibut, chili, and take-out pizza are interchanged freely. We sometimes still stay up too late and drink too much, but with kids and pregnancies, we also go to bed earlier and drink more water.

I love that we’ve reached this place of comfort with our friends. We still use getting together as an excuse to try fancy new recipes but there’s no pressure if we plop the pizza box on the table, open a beer, and laugh together.

Linked with Lisa-Jo Baker’s Five Minute Friday, a time to write for five minutes without editing.