0376 – meditate and reflect to unlearn childish incompetence


  1. I’m still childish.

I’ve been an adult for a couple of years now and it’s sometimes funny and sometimes sad how the situation is. I definitely prefer it to being a child or a teenager, those things really sucked. I much prefer having my life in my own hands. What’s funny is what I do with it. I woke up at 12 noon today and lay in bed for a full hour clicking around on my phone. Then I got out and I wandered around the house for a while, cleaned the cat poop and put away some dishes and threw away a dead lizard that the cats had killed, peed, etc, and decided I’d write a word vomit. And then I ended up on Tumblr for a while. Now it’s almost two hours since I woke up and I haven’t really done anything yet. Is that acceptable or is it not? In the grand scheme of things nothing matters, but the grand scheme of things is not actually all that useful.

I am in control of my life now, and I’m still sort of residually ‘stuck’ in my old ways. I don’t want to say stuck– it’s more like… when you’re in one frame or context for a really long time and then you switch contexts, it feels like there are after-images burned in, there’s something about the old context that still lingers and leaks, like some sort of ghost.

Yeah, so I think that’s the frustrating thing. Being an adult but still carrying the child’s way of thinking, way of prioritizing, way of seeing. “Way of thinking” might not be the right phrase to use. The lens. The habits. The impulses, the instincts. A lot of these are outdated and I’m still trying to unlearn them. Trying to do it very forcefully doesn’t seem to help. Seems like mindfulness and meditation might be the way through. Just really sort of accepting that these are the old frames and these are the new frames, and these are the shadows and echoes that are reverberating.

Anyway, I wanted to write this to think about how I feel about how I spend my time.

I shouldn’t be debilitatingly anxious or panicky because that doesn’t get anything done, and is probably bad for my health.

I shouldn’t be entirely indifferent because then that leads to suboptimal outcomes, and sooner or later I find myself in a shitty situation where I get debilitatingly anxious or panicky.

So I need to systematically anticipate these shitty situations and deal with them before they become issues. This is the adulting that I need to do. Why am I not doing it? Well I am doing it to some degree, but I’m writing this because I feel like I need to get better at it. Why do I feel like I need to get better at it? Why not just keep things as they are? Because it’s been 2 years. This is what I’ve been waiting for my entire childhood, I think– the freedom to finally think and behave and act for myself, to do as I please, to be the master of my own destiny. If I am the master of my own destiny, what am I going to choose? What am I doing?

We can spend hours talking about the details of this, and that’s not what I feel like I should be getting into in the context of this vomit. [1]

Ugh, feels like I’m falling into a script, like I’m thinking “I don’t really care about this vomit, I just want to be done with it and go have lunch.” But I don’t want to do that. I mean, I do want to go for lunch. But I also want to at least cover something true.

I want to be a better adult. By that I mean I want to be better at taking care of myself, at parenting myself. Okay, what does that look like? What’s the desired end-state that I should work backwards from? I find myself saying things like yeah, sleep early, do my work, blah blah. Nothing particularly inspiring. (2016 Visa: Getting your act together and being a high-functioning human being is inspiring.) I suppose it feels like I lost my light or I lost my inspiration after I got suckerpunched in the stomach by reality. And I’m writing these to claw my way back, to insist that I will not be broken and I will not cower in fear and big bad reality. Yeah, I’m going to die in the end but I’m going to put up a fight, put on a show worth celebrating, worth remembering.

So… what do I need to do to achieve that? Why am I not sleeping early, waking early? Well I sleep late always because of some sort of regret, I think. I always feel like I don’t get enough done, and that I might be able to do more at the tail end of the day and make up for stuff. But that shouldn’t be the case. I should do these vomits early rather than late, if possible. I should finish my work at work.

Still feels like I’m on script. If we get off script what do we get? I believe I will make it through this and grow into a strong, mature, clear-headed adult. What’s stopping me? What are the problems that I need to solve? I lack discipline, I lack structure. What am I going to do to do that? Well, I’ve restarted working on my word vomits every day instead of whenever I feel like it, and I’m tracking that on my fridge. I’ve made a bet with a colleague about making sure I ship my work every day.

As for now, I’m going to publish this vomit and go have lunch with my wife, and I’ll think about it a little longer and write more.


[1] I need to get better at the practice of focusing on the thing that I most think I should focus on, instead of flitting from thing to thing randomly. To do this, I need to schedule and practice sessions in which I practice focused attention. Meditation will definitely help. Mindful eating will definitely help.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *