Yes I know, I fell off the bandwagon for a while, and I got a little worked up trying to think about how I was going to fix it before finally I decided- screw it, let’s just start simple again, from scratch. There’s no point spending too much time keeping track of the big things- what matters is the little things, keeping up day to day.
Sleeping habits haven’t been great, but I have been keeping myself fit- I hit the gym a few days ago and it was great, and I feel like I’m strong and clear. I did two articles for Poached last night, so I no longer have that nagging sense of backlog.
Wow, I hate that nagging sense of backlog. It brings me back to unpleasant memories of school days, where you have a whole bunch of homework that you haven’t done, and you don’t do the new homework that you get, either, and it just becomes this whirlpool of quicksand. A total mess. And I claim to be good at crisis management. What a crock of shit, Visa. Learn and do better.
I’ve always wanted to get tattoos, but I’ve also always been delaying it because I want to be absolutely sure of what I wanted. For a period of time I was thinking of getting “think” and “transcend” on my wrists because I liked the alliteration and I thought it was a nice reminder, but I also thought I might be able to do better. (Also, ‘think’ is a bit of a redundant directive for me because I think all the time.)
As I was writing my Poached article and thinking about a whole bunch of other stuff that’s been on my mind (perhaps for years), it sort of came together- I may have expressed this before, but I’m not sure if I’ve been so explicit about it- or if I have, well, here’s some repetition for emphasis’ sake:
the two things I want above all, for myself and for my loved ones and for my nation and for the world, are thoughtfulness and compassion. I think they overlap significantly- and they also overlap with kindness and love. Of the four terms, thoughtfulness and compassion are the ones that resonate the most with me- it’s hard to say or use “love” as a directive because it’s such a loaded and complex term- it has so much baggage, there are so many interpretations. If I tattooed “love” on my wrist (heh, to write love on my arms), I can see myself taking it for granted. It’s just not the best word to use. What do you mean, love? Go and love, be loving, love yourself, love others. It seems a bit pompous and new-agey, even if it’s completely valid.
Kindness is great but I personally find it seeming and sounding a little too… soft? I know, kindness doesn’t have to be soft at all. Sometimes the kindest thing you can do is to be harsh, to be firm. Kindness and love are both valuable and important ideas to keep on the mind’s backburner at all times, and we should regularly take them out and play with them and make better sense of them.
But I return to thoughtfulness and compassion. I like thoughtfulness because there’s that idea of thinking, which I have such a strong personal affinity with that I find it redundant to say. “THINK”. That directive is embedded in me, I simply can’t help but think about things. But being thoughtful, that’s something I can work on. I’m not always thoughtful all the time, and I would like to be. I’m not always compassionate all the time, but I would like to be.
I had this discussion with a couple of friends over breakfast- this idea of how principles are greater than men, they become guiding beacons that keep us focused on the goal(s) at the horizon. Men err and falter, principles can’t, not really. We use principles as guiding paths. Principles are ideals, almost mathematical in their elegance, despite being very complex and varying from point to point.
Consider principles like “freedom”, and think about how you have to sacrifice some freedoms to attain greater freedom- there’s no such thing as absolute or pure freedom, but meditating on that principle allows us to make better decisions for ourselves, I think.
Ultimately that’s what life’s about, isn’t it, as a sentient being? We can’t choose the first set of cards we are dealt, but we can choose how we play the hand. So the question of life is- how do you play the hand? How do you figure out how to play the hand? What’s the best possible way to play a hand, and how much time should you spend thinking about how to play, instead of actually playing? You should play, take some notes, learn, play better… all of life is a lesson in love, in kindness- and I suppose thoughtfulness is the way through which we reach love and kindness.
It’s so hard to talk about this in words, discussing these concepts and ideas as though they are static. These are things that we have to communicate with our bones. But that’s my vision for myself which I would like to be held accountable to- thoughtfulness and compassion. When I die I’d like to be remembered as a thoughtful and compassionate man. I do many things that are incongruent with these ideals- I say and do thoughtless things, sometimes I shame and harm other people, because I might have thought it fun in the short run, or I might have been anxious or weak or- well- human.
I suppose it’s just one of those mini-epiphanies that’s hard to communicate to others but something swelled up in my mind when I was thinking about these things. Thoughtfulness is something relatively tangible and worth fighting for. The more thoughtful people we have, the more thoughtful actions we have, the more everybody benefits, we have a more beautiful, loving world.
So thoughtfulness would be the banner that I rally under. Thoughtfulness almost naturally leads to compassion, I think, and compassion is the source of love and kindness. So we should be compassionate, we become it by being thoughtful, and thoughtfulness is a choice.