It’s a simple question. What do I want?
Boy, where do I start? I want to live a good life. I want to grow old fit and healthy, surrounded by people I admire, love and respect, and earn their respect and admiration in turn. I want people to have been glad that I came this way. I want to have been an asset to “my people”, however I end up redefining what that means. I understand that that’s probably a function of my biology, and I accept it. I don’t expect to change that in my lifetime, and so I’m willing to work with that constraint.
What does a good life mean? What does it entail? I feel like the biggest gap at the moment for me is “health“. To me, health is a thread. I’m not sure where it “starts”, if it starts at all – it’s so interconnected – but I think it’s sensible to start with the breath. I want to be good at taking deep breaths. [At this point I spent like 20-30 minutes looking up breathing related things, started a thread.]
What else? The next thing is sleep. And it’s 140am now as I’m writing this. I want to get more sleep. I don’t have fixed working hours now, so I can just sleep in. But still, I’d like to sleep earlier and wake earlier. Why is that? I feel like starting the day early means I get to start the day with a plan. Why not start the day with a plan even if I start the day later? There’s some sort of limiting belief there. I do feel that in my experience, my mood is different earlier in the morning. I’m more relaxed. Why?
What is the point of the better breath and the better sleep? The point is to be more clear-headed, more conscious, more alert, more focused. What is the point of those things? The point is to build relationships with other people.
My trip to San Francisco was the best two weeks of my life. I’m realizing this somewhat late – I’ll be turning 29 in a few days – that I want that experience in my life more often. What was great about that trip? Being alone was a part of it, being amongst great friends was a part of it. I want to experience blissful solitude, and I want to be amongst great friends.
I find myself thinking that one of the most important things I realized from that trip is that I don’t spend enough time with the people who matter most to me. I’ve been scrolling through my Facebook friends list, which has been an interesting experience.
Interesting how? Well – I’ve just been paying attention to the feelings I have about each friend and acquaintance that I have on that social graph. It’s not a perfect representation of all of the people I care about – it’s mostly a graph of people that I’ve met over the years. Childhood friends, acquaintances and so on. And… I’ve found myself coming to the realization that I’m not actually spending much time with my favorite people.
What does that mean? Why is that? The most important thing is that I rectify that – and I’ve started by messaging all of my favorite people and arranging to meet up, to hang out.
I find myself thinking about what it used to be like. I used to just message people all the time on Facebook and Telegram, and we would have these nice long conversations… and it was pleasant, but on retrospect, it was also lacking something. I think I know what it is now – there’s a specific part of IRL conversation involving body language and facial expression that you can only get into when you’re in person, and you’re responding and reacting to each other on the fly in realtime. It’s a special kind of game and it’s a very fun and nourishing game to play, and I feel impoverished when I haven’t had the chance to play that game for too long, with people that I like playing with.
I think I used to think that I didn’t really like playing that game all that much, which was why I spent so much time online. But on retrospect, the issue was really that I didn’t have much choice in terms of who I got to play with. Ie, the nuance in that statement is, I don’t like playing the IRL social game with people I don’t enjoy. When it’s with people I enjoy, it’s amazing! It’s nourishing. And… even simply having had one such session with a friend is something that shapes all my future text-only interactions with them. Because I now have a higher resolution image of what they’re like. What their disposition is. I now know how to read their words in their voice, rather than a neutral, disembodied voice.
So I’ve refined my goals in life slightly. I’ve long said that my goal is to make the best possible friends I can – to be surrounded by kind, smart, nourishing, admirable people at my 80th birthday party. I now realize that I don’t just want to be texting buddies with them – though that’s cool too – I want to meet them! I want to travel around the world to where they are, and have them show me around, and see the world through their eyes.
Which brings me to travel. Hoo, boy. I think one of my biggest regrets in life – and I’ll only be turning 29 in a few days, so hopefully I still have several more decades to rectify this – is that I’ve travelled so little. I don’t know why I never really felt the bug. Whenever I heard people talk about their travels, I don’t know, it never quite seemed appealing to me.
But now travel is something I’m excited about. Particularly because of the prospect of meeting friends. I am excited to become a better version of myself so that I can make more of a difference to other people, I can continue to make more friends.