Author’s Note: I’m currently in the process of migrating old blog posts to this new system. That may mean some links, syntax highlighting, and other details are broken or missing temporarily. Sorry for the inconvenience!

I meditated today. That was after writing in my journal for the first time since February. Now I’m sitting down with a cup of relaxing tea to write this blog post. I’m calm; I’m collected.

This is one of those “peak smugness” mornings, so bear with me…

Calm days

Most days, I’m very sad, very fearful, and very angry. You cook with the ingredients ya got, so I do what I can to stir those all up and make something palateable — or at least, non-toxic. I usually fail at that, which gives me something to be sad, fearful and angry about the next day.

But then I have days like this (or at least, a few hours like this), where somehow I manage to set aside some time to be “present”, or “mindful”, or whatever hippie term is the most palateable and non-toxic to you.

And I don’t want to overstate this, because it doesn’t make all the problems go away. The frustrating thoughts, the external triggers, those are all still there. But what I’ve found is I end up getting through the day just a little bit happier.

Living like a sim

You’ve played The Sims, right? Or you’ve watched someone play The Sims? It’s the dollhouse of the Millenials: virtual people in a virtual house that you can design and manipulate (both the house and the people!).

Note: I played the original The Sims, so if you’re imagining something high-quality and high-resolution, just squint until it gets all blurry and laggy so we’re on the same page, alright?

The Sims is an object lesson on the futility of time. There’s not enough time, and we all have way too many needs, and we need to sacrifice some of those needs just to squeeze in enough time to learn to play “Flight of the Bumblebee” on the piano, or not-burn-the-house-down while making little Jimmy his pancakes.

I’m sure that there were some nerds people who got out a pencil and paper and started trying to schedule their sims’ lives. “7am-8am: cook breakfast, 8am-9am: put out kitchen fire, 9am-10am: call neighbor over to visit and tickle them for some reason…”

I was never good at scheduling. My sims had dreams! And that wasn’t going to be served by a balanced lifestyle! You will sit down and read that book over and over until you become an expert at mechanical things! No, I don’t care that you’re hungry, or that you have no friends! YOU CAN SHOWER LATER! READ THE DAMNED BOOK!

Okay, that might be a slight exaggeration. But the point is, I’d have my sim do one task until their need for something else forced them to stop. Every moment of my poor sims’ lives must have been exhausting. It’s just a game of constant catch-up.

That wasn’t a tangent

Most of my days are rather like that. I work on an interruption based schedule. I will do “a thing” until my back hurts, or my stomach grumbles, or I get bored, or I get a notification, and…yeah. That’s how my day works. It’s a series of tangents from the main thread of my day. An endless backlog of open browser tabs, half-saved projects, and some hastily scribbled notes in the desperate attempt to convey some Memento-like revelations to my future-self.

I mean, it works. But it’s exhausting. Even downtime isn’t really downtime. It’s just an interruption from whatever I was doing before. Is it any wonder that I feel sad, angry, and afraid all the time? Narrative-following, writing-this-blog-post Kevin thinks this is obviously the root cause of ALL THE PROBLEMS! THE SILVER BULLET!

(it’s not. nothing is a silver bullet. which is obnoxious. life goes on.)

Meditation reminds you that you’re present. Not just desperately juggling endless browser tabs of your life.

It makes things just a tiny bit better. I need to meditate more.