Friends came over for coffee today. Great family friends of my parents, they have known me since I was a child. I grew up with their children. They come from Kenya and after some text messages to arrange things, they suddenly appear at my house. Appearing not only out of a taxi, but out of my past, out of my memories. They make me smile as soon as I see them.
Nostalgia runs deep with visits like this. Talking with them of family, Kenya, the way things are versus the way they used to be – it’s a little like watching a beloved film for the umpteenth time. I often feel that I know what we are going to say before we say it. I am comforted by the familiarity of everything – their accents, their faces, their memories.
Pride sweeps through me too. I show them my new house, I introduce my children. I give them coffee and pastries. I describe my life to them. I hope they see progress even in the face of Africa, the pandemic, gruelling life. Their compliments are kind. I am most proud of my family.
Fear hits me when they leave. I feel it – a jolt in my stomach and at the base of my skull – and I hope I can see them again soon. I am so far away from the people of my childhood. Age is catching us all.
Thank God for my chaotic family. After a beautiful visit is over, my children and my wife bring me right back to the present. I have so many things to do. Til we meet again.
I’ve had to buy a new iPhone. The old one died in a fit of convulsions. Dead battery, slow performance and broken screen – after four years it all seems to happen at once.
In setting up the new Beast, I’ve become interested in the layout and settings on my phone. In particular I’m concerned about how the default settings on an iPhone drive certain behaviours. Notifications, constant sharing of information and confinement to the Apple ecosystem are all worth considering, I feel.
“Exhaustive” is the word I’d use for the article, but I also found it fascinating. It has resulted in the below home screen for my phone which I am liking very much.
These phones are running our lives more and more. From work to social interactions. As Ben Evans says, The smartphone is the Sun in our digital solar system. Everything else revolves around the phone. This being the case, it’s worth thinking about how we set up the phone and interact with it.
I’m very easily hooked into social media Buti am trying to set up the phone to make it easier to drive more productive and healthier habits than scrolling Instagram, Twitter or WhatsApp all day.
It is often the big events which give new impetus to a project or a lagging goal.
I was busy before the pandemic and now I have a very busy life. So far COVID 19 related lockdown has been a blur of work, babysitting, house cleaning, logistics. I know I am not alone and many people have even more to do than me. I also know some people are going through this lockdown with no work and no children to worry over. I wonder what that’s like??…..But I digress.
Impetus itself is a mid 17th century word from Latin. It comes from impetere ‘assail’, from in- ‘towards’ + petere ‘seek’. This suggests a searching and overcoming of obstacles. Impetus is often an externally generated thing in my life. I wish it was more internally driven.
Start of a new streak. Here’s hoping I have the impetus to keep it going for at least 30 days.
We are in lockdown in a beautiful location. We are lucky. There are regular scenes resembling a cover of a sci-fi novel.
Peach and pink sunset over the bay, the sea was perfectly still as a navy submarine, half submerged and performing a routine drill, cruised past like an alien ship in the evening. All the while a bright white moon hung in the pink sky. La Luna smiled down on us from the other side of the bay, almost scraping the pastel colored mountains which surround us like one of Mars’ orbital rocks.
On another morning, further out to sea a pod of hundreds of dolphins were in a feeding frenzy. They gorged themselves on a huge shoal of smaller fish which they had trapped. A boiling, choppy circular mass moved along through the water until the feeding was done. From high up here it looked like one of Jupiter’s storms passing by.
Now at night time the darkness of the water fills up space from our viewpoint to the city. Far on the other side of the bay is where the water ends and the city starts. I see an amber glow and winking, yellow lights floating on the blackness of the sea. The city is like a huge mothership hovering on the ocean.
Look for the sci-fi around you because it’s surely there.
The addition of ‘escape the jungle’ to my blog’s main menu is taking shape. I plan to add a few sub menus to cater for all the things in life that help me to escape the jungle – to be less chimp and more rational being. Less anxious and more free.
So far I have art, design, productivity and psychology.
Within these categories I will post my favorite stuff. There will be subcategories too I guess…sport goes somewhere. This is the stuff I love and enjoy. The stuff that makes my life better.
Actually, there is no mourning – the newsletter didn’t last long enough for me to become attached in any way, shape or form. 3 episodes was more than enough.
So what has happened? Well, in my quest to build a meaningful website I have realised that I do not need to have a newsletter, and that worse still – I do not really have meaningful news to share!
Instead, I ought to work on what I get excited about. I love making podcasts, and I love the idea of ‘escaping the jungle’. This idea was a feature of my newsletters but I have instead brought it into the website under its own page. It’s likely to feature a broad range of things I find helpful. A record of life hacks and interests which help.
As painful as this might be to follow, I am slowly figuring out what I want. It is all in realtime as I develop this blog of mine. “Escaping the jungle” could just as well be called ‘coping with life’. Life is hard, so let’s figure out how to cope with it best. Let’s keep record of what helps.
It’s a little narcissistic to keep on rearranging something to suit you and your readers. It’s also a trait of mine – for example I will often feel a compulsion to rearrange my house. Things could always be better, but there’s a limit. I am going to leave the site like it is for a while, drop the newsletter, and see where it takes me.
For a few days I couldn’t write. I don’t believe in writers block, but exhaustion and overload are real and encourage resistance to create.
We are all in the middle of a war. The global pandemic is spreading. As much as it is a war against a terrible disease, it is also an assault on the senses. A drain on our energy if we succumb to the non stop media coverage. It grabs attention. The media distraction is only exacerbated by young children and old grandparents relying on my wife and I to help navigate the family. It has been a load and for three days it squeezed any bandwidth I had for writing right out of my mind.
For me, this is a mini-tragedy (compared to the global mega-tragedy unfolding around us) because I had built up a decent streak of writing every day for over a month.
It is surprisingly hard to start fresh. But once you start, the words do flow. You just need to start.
More creativity to cope with tragedy. I’m back and I will hit a month again.