This entry is completely off-the-cuff.
For this blog, I have a whole Kanban board to organize ideas, and schedule posts; precisely to deal with moments like this, where I don’t really know what to write about, but want to keep up with the cadence - the regular schedule that I set for myself. (and for you guys too!)
But today, when I opened it up and looked at the post that I was meant to edit and publish, I just stared at it blankly. Some little voice within saying ‘nah, this isn’t you. let’s publish something else.’
The entry I was supposed to publish today was about Growth - about playing infinite games and how there is no end destination to life. All we can do is be the best version of ourselves in this current moment, in this present slice of life.
Honestly, its a pretty nice message, and one that I do indeed resonate with. After all, I wrote it, right?
But looking at the half-written entry, feeling that hesitation to finish it, then going back to the Kanban board to see what other entries I could publish today instead, nothing spoke out to me.
They are good ideas, but they don’t feel alive.
Rather, I don’t feel alive enough to carry them to this final stage before releasing them out into the world.
Okay that sounds abit too negative.
More like, I’ve been pushing myself pretty hard recently, shipping out other projects and products, putting myself out there more, and I haven’t been paying much attention to the blog for I'd say the past month plus.
So this morning, running on fumes, the inertia was real.
It’s not that I don’t have anything on my mind - its just that my current mindspace is pretty different from the ideas on the Kanban board. Maybe some are sprinkled here and there, but nothing really captures its essence.
Fresh blog entry here we go.
Much longer intro than usual, but I want this entry to be raw, authentic, un-edited. Really just like a journal entry, but public.
And with all my journal entries, my ‘Meditations’, they all start with a standard question: what’s been going on with my life?
2023 has started off pretty well imo - and I typically measure this in terms of the tangible stuff like work, hustles, hobbies.. and only later on do I reflect on people, relationships, etc. Force of habit.
When I say ‘pretty well’, I mean the first three:
This is the first time that I start the year with the same department, same job scope, as the previous year. One thing about my military career so far is that the early years are quite fast-paced, switching between different departments pretty frequently. This year, having this area of my life be the same is something I’m grateful for. It comes with the gift of consistency, of stability, of predictability. I’ve come to see the work for the parts that I enjoy, that I look forward to, and also accept the bits that could be better. But this is how life is, isn’t it? Perfectly balanced, as all things should be.
With hustles, I stopped streaming (I think most people don’t even know that I was lol) and generally stopped playing Axie Infinity - the observation I have so far with games is that I would dive so deep into them that it takes over my life. For Axie, its happened two years in a row now - me dropping all my other life habits, dropping relationships, even - just so I could play for hours and hours each day, plus streaming, plus video editing and publishing and tweeting and discord chats. A decade ago, it was DotA that consumed my life.
I don’t deny that gaming has a special place in my heart - I’ve loved games all my life, and particularly love pulling them apart and piecing them back together in a new and better way. So this year, I want to lean further into that - watch this space: you guys are in for a ride.
I feel like my relationship with hobbies became pretty toxic last year. I clung on to them as the rest of my life changed and crumbled. I hedged my identity on how many books I read, how regularly I worked out, how many dance classes I went for. And in doing so, I became the kind of self-help person I’d always hated - the obnoxious, arrogant guy with a superiority complex. I constantly had to prove that I was better. That I was different.
Hobbies should just be hobbies - things I do because I like them, that's it.
If I’m trying to read more, it should be because I genuinely want to learn what's within the pages of the book. I should read at my own pace, even if that means reading multiple chapters on some days, other days nothing at all.
Working out should be an expression of self-love: taking care of this vessel that needs to carry me for maybe 80 more years. Also feels good to work out. Literally, with the endorphins and stuff (don’t quote me, I’m not a fitness guru).
It took me a long time to once again look at these things like this. To come to a healthier relationship with this aspect of my life. ‘I am not my hobbies’, ‘I am not my habits’. Not needing to identify myself with them, to center my whole identity around them.
It also took me a long time to learn that the more different you strive to be, the more isolated you will find yourself. If you want connection, find ways in which you are similar.
This is a concept from The Book of Joy, by Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama - its a book that I had read a couple of years ago, but has recently kept coming back to my mind. I’ve been seeing life more and more from the lens of the lessons in the book - ideas around selfless giving, about letting go of our self-regard and caring for another. Ideas on happiness, on joy. The path to joy being connection, the path to sadness being separation.
My previous blog entry talked extensively about relationships, about turning my house into a home. About letting people in, about being a good host, taking care of the guests who enter the home.
And I suppose as a continuation of that entry, I’ve been thinking more about sustainability: ‘how can I maintain this state of mind consistently each day? how can i show up well, choose to be kind, generous, etc. and make that my default?’
Because, setting a goal is one thing. Wanting to build a home is one thing. But execution, day-to-day interactions, that’s another.
In the days and weeks following these blog entries, I realize that reality gets further and further away from the ideal. I find myself sliding back into the old habits, old mental models, losing the motivation for these goals. Its no coincidence that its around the time of the year when new years’ resolutions get dropped.
But I think its worth battling against. Its worth exploring a way to truly take steps forward with regard to relationships. Just as how with happiness, I have a good sense of what I'm striving towards, and how to prime myself to get into that state, so I want a similar thing with relationships. A baseline level of generosity, of caring.
I’ve been having more and more regrets about my past - regrets with people, in particular. How I treated them, failed to care for them, failed to be responsible, to be kind. I suppose it could be interpreted as a sign of growth - that the current iteration of myself is more mature, and is able to learn from the past, and hopefully do things differently moving forward.
But, me being me, I ask myself how I even let that happen - how was I not self-aware enough to notice it as it was going on, to course-correct midway rather than do a post-mortem after it has ended?
This is going to be a pretty abrupt ending. But honestly, most of my journals end this way too - I pour my thoughts, my heart, out onto the page, and once the flow stops, so does the writing.
I suppose this has been a nice check-in for me, just to see where I’m at mentally and emotionally, and ‘factually’?? with my life right now. Its going to be a busy couple of weeks ahead, and I am going to let myself dive full throttle into the projects, passions, and people. See you guys in a bit!