Last updated July 10, 2023.
I live in Somerville, MA and work remotely from home and various nearby cafes. My community is extremely walkable and safe. Two years in, living in greater Boston is growing on me. The weather leaves a lot to be desired but the general level of human development is very high and the social fabric is stronger than other places I’ve been in the USA (still far weaker than in most other countries I’ve been to, of course). I’ve been doing a lot of gardening with my roommate, which is quite satisfying.
I feel optimistic about life overall. My physical health, mental health, social life, and work life have all been trending up in 2023. I have been cultivating mindfulness with 15 minutes of meditation most mornings and a general effort to pay more attention to the moment. The general idea is to observe the thoughts and judgments that rush into my mind as existing at some distance from my core “self.” When I catch my attention wandering to unwanted places, I gently and with the utmost self-compassion return it to a place of equanimity and ease. I am no expert but this is really working for me. I reliably fit this in using a morning checklist that I wrote on my bedroom whiteboard and follow by moving a magnet down beside each item as I work through it.
Exercise has become more important to me than at any point since before Covid. This blog post really landed for me, specifically: “In fact, it is possible to get into great shape doing only things that are fun for you.” I like to go on a vigorous ~1 hour hike in Middlesex Fells after work three days per week, plus calisthenics. If it rains I hit the exercise bike, which is less fun but still gets the sweat going and the heart rate up. I would exercise even more if I had a better handle on time. As it stands now, I feel like I have to steal those 1-2 hours, 3-4 days per week, just to get what feels like the minimum exercise to keep my body and brain happy (“Ultimately morale is physical. You think with your body, so it’s important to take care of it”).
Speaking of time, a problem I continuously grapple with is that I don’t see any way that a person can have a normal (weekday) social existence, work and exercise daily, and still get 8 hours of sleep (the minimum for me to be effective). If you are awake for 16 hours and spend 8 on work, 2 on exercise, 2 on eating and hygiene, that leaves 4 hours per day for literally all errands, chores, commuting, interruptions, distractions, personal downtime, and socializing that might enter your life. The math simply doesn’t work. I live in a state of perpetual, low-level frustration due to this fact. Imagine having kids. I think the solution is “not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities,” as Stephen Covey says. This is the fundamental challenge for those of us with ADHD.
I’m hard at work assembling the manuscript of the memoir. We’ve done a lot of work in the last 7 months and the story we have to tell kicks ass. I’m excited to see what other people think of it. Aiming to wrap up this phase of the project by end of August and move on to finding a publisher.
My fiction work has been on ice for six months as I single-tasked the memoir. This is lowkey killing me but the only way out is through. I am looking forward to participating in the International Three Day Novel Contest again in September.
I am currently reading Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse. For some reason the Kindle edition I got is overflowing with typos which may or may not be translation errors. I’m still enjoying it though. Much easier “falling asleep” reading than what I read last.
Prior to that I read Inhibitor Phase by Alastair Reynolds (⭐️⭐️⭐️). For what it’s worth this is apparently book 4 in a series that I had not read any prior books in; that really took away from some of my comprehension and undermined my appreciation of certain parts where I knew something significant was happening but couldn’t figure out what. Still, the writing left something to be desired. This book could be the poster child for why “just make your first 50 pages as good as possible” might be bad writing advice, even if it helps you sell your book.
It occurs to me that my reading diet is easily summarized as “fifty percent books people read in high school, fifty percent books whose covers depict an alien planet with some lens flare.”
I just finished watching PsychOdyssey, a YouTube docuseries about the making of the video game Psychonauts 2. Tied with The Beatles: Get Back for best overall documentary and best documentary about the realities of doing creative work that I’ve ever seen. It made me really curious about the video game industry.
I also watched half of Glass Onion the other night and wouldn’t mind finishing it, though movies don’t typically hold my attention for whatever reason.
The Red Sox are in last place in the AL East and yet I think they have a completely plausible path to the playoffs through the Wild Card due to an easy schedule in July and August. I’m just saying, watch this space.
I’ve been binging The History of Byzantium, amongst my more usual rotation of comedic/tech/indie talk show podcasts. It is an absolutely worthy successor to The History of Rome, which I finished last year.
Somehow I already have over 60 hours in Tears of the Kingdom after starting it barely three weeks ago. This is a huge problem lol.