I’m asking myself seven questions a week, and here are this week’s questions.
015. In what area of your life are you struggling the most and why?
I think my biggest challenge is one-half focus and one-half procrastination/laziness. I have a lot of interests, and as the isolation factor is pressing my depression and despair buttons, I am feeling very unmotivated on a lot of the options. I have what I would call “projects” although it is more like “groups of projects” that range from a writing project to doing movie reviews. For the Movie Reviews, as an example, I have organized my movie collection of DVDs, and there are thousands more on Netflix or Prime or Disney that I could watch. When I was younger, I could watch a movie and if I wanted to review it, I could probably do so up to 1-2 years later and still recall enough to go into detail. Now? I pretty much have a week and then it’s gone for anything other than generalities. But I also want to watch a number of movies with the family, yet with our schedules, we have trouble synching, and next thing you know, I’m 3 months later and haven’t watched any of them. We’re trying to do a “movie night” once a week, but even that hasn’t worked out. We also like to watch things like The Book of Boba Fett or Hawkeye, so if we finally manage to sit down together to watch, it’s easier and lighter fare to watch those than to start a movie at 8:30 at night after a busy day. Instead, I end up vegging and binging TV shows rather than movies.
I have my to-do list, and I’m making progress on stuff, but I don’t feel like I’m making huge progress on any one project area or even enough on all of them to add up. I’m going to review my list of projects this week to see if there is a way to think of them as a group, rather than individually.
016. Write down a list of small things you can do that will have a long-term positive effect.
The obvious choice are health-related, but I think there are some that serve multiple goals. Like going for a walk with Jacob around the block. It gives me progress on health, it helps Jacob with his walking/leg stretching, and we spend time together in a very light / low-intensity moment just doing something together. Games, puzzles, cooking are other options too, but they often tend to involve giving up something else to make time to do it, and we’re not always in synch for schedules.
017. A drawing, short story or poem that portrays your authentic self.
If someone asked me to represent my authentic self, I’d likely point to my blog. My frog logo means a lot to me, it represents my blog and my blog represents me. It’s not a skinny or little frog, it’s a full-sized adult frog. It has presence, substance, at least to me. Beyond that, I like the idea of Fifth Business, as suggested by the book by Robertson Davies. In it, the narrator argues that he is like “fifth business” in a classic play, after that of Hero, Heroine, Confidante, or Villain. He’s not a “main character” but contributing to the stories of others and thus important on his own. A catalyst in some ways. If I had to choose a drawing, it would likely be of a man or boy reading.
018. Which institutions and/or media outlets are you following without questioning?
That isn’t really a thing for me. Because of the way I learned to be a writer in high school, and how my grades seemed to have no correlation with my effort, I stopped caring what others thought of my writing approach. I trust my own judgement above that of others, and it trips over into everything I read or see. I can read a paper by someone I trust, and yet if they veer towards something that I don’t think is proven, my brain twigs to it pretty fast. I am, of course, still subject to confirmation bias like everyone else, but I can’t think of too many institutions nor any media outlet that I would trust. I take the parts that make sense, I tend to ignore the rest.
But that doesn’t stop me from generally trusting articles from the Wall Street Journal. I started reading it in university, and whenever I see something online that someone has linked to, I often will try to read the WSJ original article. I like their editing style, the prose resonates with me. As I said, though, not everything is worthy and I challenge their analysis and conclusions too. I think I’m just more open to considering what it says over The Economist, any Canadian news articles, etc. For TV analysis, I like a guy online nicknamed the Grim Reaper for his statistical analysis of show ratings and what it likely means for renewal / cancellation. I enjoy Ken Levine’s blog about his life as a sitcom writer, the Passive Guy’s curation of news in the publishing world, etc.
019. What would you like to experience this year? Write down three things.
A trip somewhere with Jacob and Andrea to stay at least a few days in a hotel. A public star party to share astronomy with others. And an evening out without masks for entertainment — movies, play, musical, something.
020. What would you ask your 80-year-old self?
I don’t believe in regrets in the normal fashion, so asking about it would be pointless. I doubt I’ll believe in them then anymore than I do now. It is also presumptuous to ask if they’re happy, like that would tell you something. I think I would ask them what makes them happy then, at age 80. Asking them about the past would spoil the surprise and journey. But what they enjoy at age 80? Something simple? That sounds about right.
021. The best 7-day diet that would work for you.
I don’t do diets, so that’s an easy answer. None of them. I don’t do crash-test health stuff, slow and steady is all that interests me.
Again, an interesting list of questions. Which one would challenge you the most to answer?