Assumed Audience: Someone who misses blog-walking Epistemic Status: Understood through experience
The night was still quiet when I woke up around 03:30, as the day had just started to wake up. The sky in the past week was gloomy, while the neighborhood was empty and silent. It indeed felt like the end of the year. The rain started drizzling all day long, making the days colder.
My daily journal in the past week essentially become an exclusive weather report covering the looming storm. Here's an excerpt:
"I read about the potential stormy weather tomorrow. No wonder the temperature was cold from early in the morning until the afternoon today. It was getting more serious since my office suggested staying at home tomorrow. This storm could be devastating, as I saw a purple shade on the cloud at sunset. It was a sign of high atmospheric pressure that precedes a storm."
Since early this week, the bad weather prediction has taken the regional part of the internet by storm. However, at the end of the week, I just thought, "oh," to myself. Sure, it came with all-day-long rain, strong winds, and humid air when it finally arrived.
Although, have you ever felt anticipating something just to feel "oh" when it's here? Don't get me wrong; I didn't want catastrophic weather either. But I realized the uneasiness of waiting for something terrible to happen had decapitated my ability to enjoy the minute by minute of breezy air, calm winds, and silent mornings.
To me, The looming storm resembles our worry about the future.
I don't entirely agree with the saying, "Stop worrying about the future. It is useless because it hasn't happened." Well, perhaps that is the exact point of worrying about the future; to reduce the probability of unwanted things happening. However, ‘stop worrying’ is a misdirection. We need to discuss more on how to channel worry for our benefit. The goal is not to be worry-free but to listen to its bodily signals and use the energy for better use.
Worry could drive practical preparation and creative problem-solving, as a structured framework to divert this energy could potentially be more helpful. My go-to structure comes in three folds:
I repeatedly asked, "Yeah, but why?" to figure out what I was actually worried about.
Put constraints to worry. I told myself, "Okay, if that was what I'm actually worried about, I will stop thinking about it once I ..."
Shit will happen. I tried to frame "What if" into "Maybe I could do this and that."
This thinking structure calms me down and helps me refocus on the things I could actually manage (stoicism, anyone?). Why? Because the step-by-step thinking process grabs back the sense of structure and — to some extent — control.
The rest was just giving it more time to let go and accept things I can't control, but this initial getting-back sense of structure definitely helps. After all, balancing between putting your head in the future and keeping your sight in the now started by realizing the future and now as two mental places.
The Meaning Making Machine
I missed blog walking. In fact, I said it a lot in my tweets, like here and here. However, the more I think about it, the more it didn't feel fair if I didn't publish something myself. I've been writing a private journal every day for the past two years, so I naturally doubted myself, will there be room for another writing effort?
This reframing helped me: writing and publishing once a week is scary, but writing 52 publications in one year seems doable. At least for now.
I'm sure some of you have been in a similar situation. I caught myself trying to reframe things to see how I would feel about them. For example, recently, I purchased an online course, and I initially felt bad about making such spending even though I had already prepared the budget. After I reframe it into "It was a small monthly spending amount of investment for myself, even smaller than my daily meal budget." Now it didn't seem so bad at all.
So here it is; the Meaning Making Machine. A periodic publication where a human tries to make meaning out of his hebdomadal journals. Humans are meaning-making machines, after all (even when there are no meanings!)
The primary audience of this publication is me. So don't worry if this is absurd to you. Nonetheless, if this sense-making also makes sense for you, please share a piece of your thoughts in the form of questions or your own experiences.
At this point, the direction of this publication is still unclear. My current notes were structured to serve a specific purpose, ranging from fleeting thoughts to a more permanent knowledge-binding. I have:
The Stream: fleeting notes for spontaneous thoughts such as: "Why do parents of twins purposefully dress the kids similarly? Why make it even harder to distinguish the two? Are they playing find ten differences game?" The questions can be outrageous, comedic, angry, or stupid.
DayTrack: a daily journal where I capture what happened in a day and try to shift my perspective from someone having a bad day to someone observing someone having a bad day.
Broader period reflection: is currently missing and what this publication tries to fill in.
Yearly Themes: a different frame of yearly resolution where I didn't set a specific goal but kept my options flexible throughout the year while basing all my life decisions on a theme or principle. This year it's a year of revisiting the basics.
Captain's Log: ironically, non-chronicle-based writing consists of developing ideas or thoughts. Purposefully unpublished.
Evergreen Notes: these are my learning notes, which were interconnected from one idea to another. It adopted many good ideas to manage information, such as the zettelkasten.
The Meaning Making Machine publication may be as long as this first post or as short as a few tweets. So if you have low-low expectations and are fed up with the nonsense of un-elaborated triggering thought that is a tweet, but needs something to read anyway, consider subscribing to this.
In the best-case scenario, you will be thought-provoked, enlightened, or entertained by how puny the writing was. Worst case scenario, you lose 2-3 minutes and get infuriated by how incoherent the writings are. So no significant loss, I guess.
I thought that some things only make sense when you look back, and if they didn't, perhaps it needs more time for more data points to pop up.
See you around.
Things I enjoyed in the past week
Last year I started saving my favorite coffee shop in google maps (perhaps I could share it later). I discovered a new coffee shop called Tumbler Coffee, which was a hidden gem. The brewed coffee was perfectly balanced, and the latte was mouthful and creamy with a dash of bitterness.
Another one is a menu, not a coffee shop. Since I have known 36 Grams coffee since its opening time. However, their Dark Creamy Latte was a delightful rediscovery for me. It was strong and acidic, but the more I let it sit on my tongue, the sweet aftertaste lingered in my mouth. Be careful with its highly caffeinated content, though (Everyone has different caffeine sensitivity).
I rarely listen to music, but since subscribing to YouTube Music last month (one of the best decisions in 2022!), I've listened to much more.
Last week I discovered Yoasobi and got hooked on their songs. I just realized that their music was popular on TikTok.
I recently paid attention to one of their song's lyrics titled Racing Into the Night (Yoru no Kakeru 夜に駆ける), and upon reading it, my heart raced, and I felt disturbed after realizing how twisted it is. The story's structure was beautiful, but the story was dark. Please give it a listen and try to absorb the meaning of the lyrics!
Questions for next week
What do you worry about the most? And after asking yourself, "yeah, but why?" what are the actual worries?
What plans could you reframe to make them more manageable, justifiable, and comfortable to you?
What is one small thing you are okay with to try doing (maximum of 15 minutes) every day for the rest of January?
I'm intriguing with the Reframing concept.