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Chronicle

Day 285 and Screw It

I don’t feel very focused at the moment. I don’t have any topics that are calling out to me. I don’t even have any emotions that I want to explore. I mostly just want to be finished with the day and the only thing standing in between me and an early bedtime is writing something for the day.

Filling space up with word salads makes me feel like a kid with an essay assignment. “Give me two pages on Franco-American relations in the wake of American revolutionary war” and suddenly you are double spacing and trying to make a point about…actually I’ve got nothing. I can’t even make a joke about fake essays with fake topics. That’s how much I don’t want to write tonight.

So I guess I’ll let myself off the hook. Not every day will be one with insights or emotions that are worth sharing. My mind can’t hold anything and I think I’ll leave it here.

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Chronicle

Day 266 and Out Like A Light

I nearly missed my daily commitment to write (or as it autocorrected “weird) everyday. Yesterday I was overcome by an intense need to sleep. I could barely manage to get a sentence on paper, tag it, and put it out before I passed out completely. It’s the closest I’ve ever come to missing my daily writing exercise in over two hundred days.

A narcoleptic spell would be pretty cool but I think it was a much simpler form of fatigue. I’d been so focused on a number of exciting projects (including a startup with a founder that is the best I’ve seen all year) that I just needed a rest. I couldn’t push it anymore and needed to sleep.

I didn’t feel any of the poisonous desperation from workaholic exhaustion that I’ve felt in the past. This felt like a simple tiredness that was so complete I couldn’t overcome. I fought off closing eyes as I tagged and hit publish.

And I was out. In the past fatigue has been a draining but far too lucid an experience. The kind of tiredness where you wish you could sleep but the combination of worry, focus, and anxiety would keep you awake is more familiar. I much prefer the clean tiredness of being unable to fight off sleep. Though if I need 12 hours of sleep if I work too many hours that might get a little annoying.

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Chronicle

Day 265 and Sleep

I promised to weird every single day. But I cannot keep my eyes open. I want to sleep early and right now.

Maybe I wake up later but if I don’t this is enough.

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Chronicle

Day 257 and Back to School

Today felt like the first day back to school. Everyone has finally returned from their various summer vacations and I mean that mostly mentally. People are back and focused. The whole damn day was nonstop for me. Like a shift happened overnight.

It’s not that everyone I know actually went anywhere this summer, quite the opposite, most people seemed to have stayed home. But there was a kind of mental “out of office” that pervaded. Maybe it was a bit despondency in certain parts of my network that “hot vax summer” never came to pass. August was a frenzy of people canceling shit.

I kept hearing stories of people that were living normally but I honestly didn’t know anyone that didn’t cope with the Delta surge in some capacity (even if it was simply to say fuck it). Everyone I encountered of all persuasions just seemed to be struggling to live through the summer.

And then today all that lethargy felt lifted. None of the basic on the ground aspects had changed. And yet a levity was in every conversation today. People were planning again. Projects were moving forward. Plans were being made. Big school is back in session energy was there.

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Chronicle

Day 253 and Lady Troubles

Occasionally I find myself annoyed that women’s bodies are less studied than male bodies. You’d think we’d want to know more about the vessels that produce the heirs to make fortunes. Grumbling about mishandling property rights aside, I do wish we knew a little more about women’s health.

I get migraines when I menstruate. If that particular tidbit of information is too much for you well sorry but maybe it might be helpful if the basic biology of women’s bodies were a little further to the forefront of cultural consciousness. Women talk about it with each other which is why I’ve got a host of folklore on cramps, bloating, headaches, sore breast, and emotional rollercoasters.

I’m fairly lucky to have migraines. It’s marginally more pleasant than what my friends with heavy flows or bad cramps go through. And I say this just having vomited from the nausea that comes with my migraines.

And on that note I’m signing off as I only went on a tangent about the need for more effective study and treatment of women’s health as it’s the only thing I can think of to write about. And I committed to writing something every single day. So here I am writing through the migraine. I bet tomorrow will be more interesting. And I’d be thrilled if later in life we solve for the interplay between hormones and headaches so I never write about this topic again.

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Chronicle

Day 249 and Vacation

The last vacation I went on was a long weekend to Miami in early February 2020. I had been following the outbreak as it unfurled in Wuhan at the time but it was before covid19 became a pandemic. It didn’t appear as if it had made it to America at that point. Three weeks later and I began locking down.

I remember having a terrible migraine on the second day of that vacation. It has been a question as to whether I was healthy enough to travel. We were still stabilizing my ankylosing spondylitis but we hadn’t been on a vacation for over a year at that point as I had spent the summer and fall in and out of hospitals. So we risked it. It seemed like we should at least try to take a vacation. Even sick folks deserve a break.

I took a picture of the darkened bedroom while I rode out my migraine in Miami

In hindsight obviously I’m glad we took a chance and went to Miami. Even if I spent a day of the trip in a dark room. As much as I was early on the pandemic, I didn’t fully appreciate that it would be so long and so restrictive. Even being able to be in a cold hotel room nursing a migraine was an unimaginable luxury for most of the pandemic. I’m so grateful we took that last trip. Sure it doesn’t look particularly exciting but to me I see it as the last time I felt safe traveling.

Now that I’m in Colorado, which is it’s own vacation destination, I don’t feel as much of an urge to get out of town as I did living in Manhattan. Sometimes you do really need to escape from New York. But no one needs to escape from Boulder.

Yet right now I am craving a vacation. I want to feel a change in routine. Hell a migraine inside a hotel is still more exciting than a migraine in my own bedroom. I’m not likely to get on an airplane as the cases are a mess but maybe its time to go somewhere. I hear Aspen is lovely in the fall.

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Chronicle

Day 200 and Accomplished

When I set out to be more creative in 2021, I set a goal of writing “something” every single day. At first it was hard. I couldn’t figure out what to write, I second guessed myself a lot, and my style varied wildly depending on my focus, energy and attention. But two hundred days of consistent daily writing has yielded significant improvements.

Even within the first month I began to see signs this experiment was making me a better writer and thinker. From Day 31:

The biggest change I’m noticing is a smoother less disjointed focus in my mental processes. This mental fluidity (which requires non judgement) is slowly improving the quality of my thoughts

I’ve covered a lot of ground in 200 straight days of writing. Which isn’t surprising. Every single day I open up the WordPress mobile app and I just start. I’ve become comfortable with not having a topic or even feeling terribly inspired. I just keep writing it out and see what comes of it.

My favorite part of having two hundred different essays is how much it has cut down on me needing to repeat myself. I’ve worked up pieces on so many topics I can almost always find one that is relevant. An extremely handy trick if you have reply guys.

I thought I’d want to do a “best of” round up but I think I’m happier noticing the occasion and being pleased with the achievement. After all, if I do anything but please myself then this becomes a blog with an audience and I’m quite happy enjoying this for its own sake. So good job me!

I hope if you are considering taking on some project or fast that will take hundreds of days to see results that I can provide a little encouragement. I wasn’t even sure I’d make it a month but I just kept at it. If I can do it so can you!

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Chronicle Emotional Work

Day 164 and Building an Audience

I’ve been writing this blog with complete disregard for whether I’m building an audience. I come every single day and I put down my thoughts on this metaphorical paper and sometimes it’s worth reading and sometimes it’s shit. The rule is simple. I write every single day. And I’ve been enjoying it for six straight months. I value this habit and this space for codifying my thoughts.

Because of the personal nature of the insights and the daily routine pace of the content, I’ve been hesitant to do anything to build an audience. All the strategic things one does – have a theme, give them value, cater to their interests – will force structure into my writing. I’m not sure I want structure. If I add in rules like stick to valuable content on a broad theme I’m not sure I can do that everyday.

This means I’ve stayed away from any of the tactical audience building tactics as well. I don’t encourage signups to read this in your inbox. I don’t have any pop-ups to capture your email. I don’t promote my writing anywhere but a single link on my Twitter account once a day. I rarely out older links to past pieces even if I think it’s a terrific post with insights worth sharing. There are dozens of ways I could be increasing my reach and growing my audience that I am just not doing.

I think it feels like too much pressure. As soon as I make any promises about what content you can find here it will add friction to my one simple writing rule. And friction eats eat away at momentum. I don’t want to do anything to slow or break a successful streak. I’m proud that I’ve written something every single day for 164 days. A lot of it has been genuinely good too!

And maybe I think that my one rule isn’t good enough for anyone but me. Why should anyone else care that I write every day? Daily content that must adhere to rules is practically a guarantee for regular “meh” posts. Sometimes I just won’t be inspired. That happens. I accept that as part of the process but if I cultivate an audience will they?

Of course I could do more to promote the content with the caveats that it’s a personal site with a rule that means you will get a variety of content. If you know what you are getting into than I’m not breaking any promises. I could post to more platforms with clear indications of what I do here. That wouldn’t put any pressure on me and would be transparent with any potential readers. But I’m still hesitant. I’d love to know why.

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Aesthetics Chronicle

Day 132 and Chaos Energy

Humans crave novelty but require stability. I guess this was probably fine when the worst we could do was gossip and club each other on the head. But giving humanity mass scale has been a mixed bag. Our constant dopamine seeking behaviors are piling up negative externalities as any individual can throw chaos energy out into the world with a single Tweet and fuck up the lives of millions. And I don’t even mean the former guy. Anyone can create chaos now.

Just today we’ve got a governor bribing citizens in Ohio to get vaccines with a million dollar lottery, Elon Musk once again choosing violence sending Bitcoin reeling, brain lasers zapping CIA officers more than we thought, and a gas shortage on the East Coast because infrastructure can can be ransomed (though at least that claims to have been fixed before market close). This is forgetting that the Republicans have decided to chose lies and I’m sure a thousand other chaotic things. And is just what is happening in America. I’m not able to even look at what’s happening in Israel.

The chaos energy was strong in 2020 and I think many folks tried to engage in stability seeking as the pandemic unraveled our routines. But our desire for novelty keeps cropping up weird shit and frankly I think you should be making preparations for a lot more future shock. Not because I don’t love chaos but because systemic shocks from all of this means stability is never coming back.

So we’d better get used to chaos. You need to find ways to live and thrive in this future. Because every one of the institutions we thought were reliable are just sliding into our DMs and showing us how the sausage is made. Insert dick pic joke sure but also distrust is fueling the chaos. We are ramping up the amplitude with every cycle.

I personally am living my life with an eye to less reliance on fragile complex systems. This isn’t to say I am against modernity. I’m actually more of a techno-utopian type. But Expanse fans will recognize the churn comes for all of us. I think it’s wise to become more invested in your local community and support what sustainable efforts you can. It’s wise to de-risk yourself from political and currency risks. And hell make sure you’ve got extra water. Because it is chaos energy out there

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Chronicle

Day 131 and Doing Less with More

I’m a lot busier recently. Maybe it’s a function of the ebullience that is gripping a vaccinated America but I’m finding more obligations in my calendar than I can recall in years. It’s still not quite to the place I was when I was a full time founder but I’m noticing fewer long blocks of time to myself.

I benefit from unstructured unencumbered time at rest. It’s not that I need it to be alone time or quiet time as much I need full on rest. I thrive when I have no reason to get out of bed. I do best reading and synthesizing when my mind is free to wander without any obligation to anything but that space.

Even otherwise pleasurable but not explicitly rest activities like going for a hike or painting my toenails doesn’t register as rest to me I’ll feel a kind of indignation when I’ve had an otherwise amazing day (filled with leisure activities) but didn’t get enough rest. I’ll think “sure it was fun” but also “now I’m tired and that wasn’t restful at all” goes through my head. For me the most restorative thing is not to do anything at all.

In fact the further away my activity is from boundaries like being constructive the more constructive I am afterwards. I try not to set myself up with the expectation that I am rewarded by productivity when I am at rest. That would set in motion the same circle of doing activities and not feeling rested because it wasn’t explicitly rest. That would become a kind of self limiting belief that leads to workaholism which I’ve pledged to avoid.

I hope that as the enthusiasm of exciting work and better help take more of my time I don’t feel tempted to indulge in activities that don’t feel restorative to me. None of this year would have been worth it if I went back to old unfulfilling ways of living.