0315 – sorta starting from scratch, managing the mind

Every so often it helps to start from scratch. What do I really want to be doing? What am I really all about? What should I be doing with my limited resources?

I know that I want to write, and that I want to get better at writing. That’s a good node to have at the heart of my system. I will always want to write, and always want to get better at writing. This might be a way of saying that I want to get better at thinking and communicating, clearly and effectively. It could be that I someday want to express myself through movies, through visuals, through diagrams and such. That’s fine, I think that’s just a subset of the fact that I’m very interested expression, and that I associate pleasure and quality of life with effective expression.

But okay, so expression is just half the equation. What am I supposed to be expressing? What do I want to talk about? The first thing that enters my head is “everything and nothing”, which is a cute answer but not very useful. Let’s make it smaller. I want to be at least a little bit practical. I’m idealistic, but I don’t want to be tilting at windmills and writing inspirational-sounding things that aren’t grounded in reality, that aren’t useful for me or others in living life better.

What does it mean to live life well? It means to sleep well at night, really. To laugh a lot. To smile. To learn. To grow. To be able to do more, make more of a difference, manipulate reality better. A couple of vomits ago I was feeling a little stuck thinking about writing processes. I’ll be very satisfied to one day be able to crack that open and run through it smoothly and skillfully. If I can repeatedly do that for the rest of my life I think I will be very satisfied indeed. That would’ve been a facet of a good life.

What are the other facets of a good life? Service to others. How can I serve others? It starts with serving myself, and serving myself so well that it spills out onto others, that it gives others permission to do the same. Okay, how can I serve myself? One thing I can do is to stop writing and start working on other things, but for the time being I’m suspending that to focus on thinking further, writing more. Collect before you select. I went to the gym yesterday and I’m feeling really good about that. I’ve had 3 workouts so far. It will be interesting to see what I’m like at 10 workouts, 30, 100, 300. I will be a different person. I’ve already started, and I’m just going to keep going.

Okay, but where does writing factor into all of that? It got me here, but what next? I guess I like the idea of keeping track of progress, but you need to make progress before you can keep track.

We’re meandering. Let’s move to another point. How can I serve myself? I need to identify my own weaknesses and break through them. Earlier I realized that I was feeling sleepy and tired, and decided to experiment by writing through it. And I have written through it, and some of it was ugly and messy, but I don’t care. I’m still going. And now I feel a bit of a sense of flow, and I’m going to keep going. I’d like to hit 320 today so that I can sleep great at night. Once I hit 320 I’m going to do other kinds of work, and then we’ll go for 340 another time. It’s all arbitrary, it’s all made up, but as long as I’m moving and I’m having fun, none of it matters. As long as it meets my own standards, it’s not cheating. This is what I wanted to capture, and I’m capturing it.

I suppose a huge part of all of this is me managing my own mental state, my own psychology. These words are just symbols, signifiers, signposts. What I’m really trying to do is to rewire my brain in a way that I feel is good for me. Cigarettes used to be a big part of my life, and I weeded that out. I have books that I want to read. I have habits that I want to form. What book do I most want to read next? It’s interesting that I don’t seem to have a short answer to that. I have about 4-5 books that I’m reading at the same time right now– The Box, A Sideways Look At Time, The Game, First Break All The Rules, The News… is there any particular reason why I’m reading any of them? Not really. Should I pick any single one of them to finish right now? I’m not really feeling that right now, but I think I might go through First Break All The Rules. The more I keep writing this, the more it’s going to become clearer that I should switch to doing the work that I’m hired to do. So we’ll get there. What shall we do until we get there?

I suppose it’s interesting enough that I sit and play with my thoughts and my words instead of procrastinating on Reddit or Imgur or other forms of cheap internet content consumption. I would like to ideally be free of that someday, to not really even feel the need to check it out– just as I have greatly diminished my need to have cigarettes be a part of my life.

Eergh. Feels like I’m just going through the motions saying things that I say over and over again. Would like to question some of these things and unpackage them and go somewhere new with them. I think for my next vomit I’ll go back to dialoguing with these characters I’ve been sorta-inventing inside my head, and we’ll see what happens there. Or maybe not.

It’s a little sad and amusing that, given the chance to do absolutely anything, we tend to fall into doing what we’ve always done– probably because it’s cheap, simple, easy, familiar.

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