On Discipline

The process of becoming an adult is largely the process of getting better and better at maintaining what can reasonably be called “a life,” which is itself largely a series of things you do regularly to fulfill an ever-expanding hierarchy of needs and, eventually, wants.

I am now firmly in my “late twenties.” I’ve got the list of things I need to do to make sure I don’t die Extremely Down. I’ve moved swiftly past the things I did not want to do as a teen and young adult because brushing your teeth is good for your health, having a made bed and a clean space makes me feel like an Interior Design Professional, and, fuck it, being responsible is just inherently satisfying.

As I feel I’m reaching the end of my list of things I am mostly obliged to do – having just signed a lease for an apartment which I will share with my long-term significant other, and being on the hook for a myriad of recurring bills – I’ve been starting to add more things to my regimen of Things I Do Regularly Just Because.

For one, I’ve been journaling every day. Last year, I bought a Hobonichi Techo because I wanted to try my hand at pen & paper organization. And also because they look cool. I found it to be not just helpful in keeping track of things I needed to do daily, but also soothing, centering, and insightful. Who knew putting all my thoughts and feelings in context and on paper would yield such results (lots of people is who).

My experiment in pen & papering last year was largely successful from January to April. You won’t believe what happened next! Suffice to say I eventually rededicated myself to journaling daily later in the year, purchased a new 2021 Techo, and have marked every single one of this year’s 39 days thus far.

One of many delicious veggie soups we’ve made.

I’ve also been cooking dinner with my girlfriend almost every night of the week for almost an entire year. When the entire world shut down due to the uncontrolled cloud of death circling the globe, my girlfriend moved in with my sister and I. One nice regularity to come of this situation, for my girlfriend and I, has been the opportunity and ability for the two of us to engage in the time-honored domestic ritual of cooking a meal together.

Every night around 5:30pm, we head to the kitchen, agree on a dish, and cook. It’s one of the best parts of my day. I usually do the chopping, the grating, etc. She’s better at flavors and technique and times and temperatures. But I do the cleaning, so it all evens out.

Finally, I’ve decided that this year, I want to start learning Japanese again. I took a semester of it in high school, and then it all just faded away. As a serial Liker of Video Games, I’ve always wanted to be able to read and understand Japanese, and as this desire has returned (partly due to an eBay auction that I accidentally won, which will almost certainly be the subject of a future blog post) and there is certainly no shortage of resources to get myself started, this is as good a time as any to jump back in with both feet. So I’ve started re-learning the Hiragana and Katakana bit by bit and quizzing myself every night.

This is an incomplete list of things I have started doing every day purely because I want to, or because they better me in some way, or for some other reason that is not “I’ll die or smell bad if I don’t.” I’m sure there are about a thousand other little things that qualify, but these are the ones that come to mind immediately, and lists of three are tidy and easy to digest.

Now we come to the point.

I am here today to add another thing to the list, to lift another plate aloft and set it spinning. The chosen venue for this announcement is no mistake. In the words of Marshall “Global Village” McLuhan (how’s that working out, Marshall?), “The medium is the message.”

So here it is: I want to start writing every day.

This goes beyond the journaling of my day that I already do in my planner. I want to open this blog every day, stare down the empty page and blinking cursor, write something, and click ‘Publish.’

I have no delusions as to the purpose or outcome of this exercise. The audience of this announcement is myself. I do not expect to gain a large following, nor any accolades, compensation, or even employment. My purpose is purely self-driven. I like writing. I like how it feels to publish a blog. I want to do it more often.

Perhaps in the course of this experiment, my skills will improve! This seems likely, given the observable correlation between practice and perfection. That’s probably not true, though. I mean, perfection isn’t, like, real. So. I certainly won’t aim for that. But I think my gist is simple enough as to be reasonably assumed to be understood.

I like writing.

I was always told I was good at writing throughout my academic career, especially when I spent more time than the night before on whatever I was working on. In fact, most times, I didn’t give nearly as much of a shit about what I was writing as I probably should have, and STILL got an honest-to-god, face-to-face compliment from my professor to the effect of, “Hey, kid, you’re pretty good at this.”

Writing also has a good amount of distance from – while still being adjacent to – the thing I want to do with my life: video production. It’s just far enough to not quite feel like work, but still close enough that improving one will improve the other. Besides, writing is merely the first step in the process of producing a piece of video. Getting to stop there and call it finished feels like getting away with murder!

So here I am, back on The Go To Hell Space with a declaration of intent, of which I am almost certain to fall short. I can only hope my shortfalling comes later rather than sooner. My guidelines for this self-imposed challenge are slim to none. I can write about any topic, at any length, in any style. I just have to write something.

That brings me to the end of day one. The hardest part, as they say, is over.

I’ll see you right back here tomorrow. I could have ended by saying, “I’ll see you write back here tomorrow,” but I didn’t. These are the kinds of heroics and false-endings you can expect going forward. God bless you for reading even as far as the second sentence, honestly.

Goodbye now!

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