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I don’t remember much already. Not in a neurodegenerative sense. In the sense that each past moment is truly gone. Aja said that the dots always connect in retrospect, implying that remembering is some kind of defining process. Sharon exemplifies that. That makes me doubt, that perhaps not looking back or recording is immature. I’ve been welcoming flashbacks but not putting much effort into taking notes. I just don’t feed the nostalgia or take pleasure in treasuring my memories.

I lost my mind quite a few times in 23. Most moments of peace came up when I was out and about, especially when running, cycling, or working out. I run in circles every day and do the same pushup sets... I’ve found that movement in a familiar environment works better than having the most ergonomic setup, hacks, and productivity routines. Somehow, the inner crippling self-talk fades as I get in motion outside of the house (whatever the place or house). Being out there in the world gives me the release I need. The cryptic gifts of walking abound as Craig Mod calls it. Outside is not always nice or easy. Weather, traffic, and fatigue (sweat and squinting, so much squinting) are always there but they take a reasonable dimension. Not like in the house where they seem to be overwhelmingly important to consider.

As I’m reflecting on being a father during conversations lately, I found myself rehashing the following: the existential shift lies in the moments in between. The quiet reveals naturally a deep sense of peace with the world where I previously needed ritualistic attention. The few mornings I wake up before him are sacred times.

Yann turned one. He is quite a dramatic baby. He is playing with us. No rules. His mood has been just as erratic as everyone around. Except that he gets over himself quickly. Witnessing a fully present baby going through his day is a grounding and maddening spectacle. He gets frustrated, smashes the thing, hurts himself, cries, then gets on to the next thing. I love him with the same intensity I hate him. The swings are wild. He is a baby, he has no responsibility – this might be the legalistic rhetoric our civilization has enforced to guarantee survival and not reflect the true feelings of parents.

I all, it’s the lack of presence in everyday moments that puts the sting in every missed opportunity for a good time due to that obsession with fixing (or getting to the bottom of) things. I have been trying so hard to get rid of the impulse to verbalize every thought that comes to mind, or observation (like – oh, there is {thing} there) that when someone around doesn't realize they are doing just what I'm trying to avoid, it feels like a lack of respect for my time and attention.

The situation is fairly simple: when one is not feeling good, one is not mentally primed. Primed for everything, empathy is the big missing thing. That’s what makes being a parent tough. There’s always someone feeling gross, something rubbing somebody the wrong way. Everyone’s contrarian impulses went from a quirky pain in the butt to absolute torture. I choose how I feel - most of the time. Shit will go down, it’s just a matter of time. And yet Sharon wants to act like if something is undesirable it should not ever happen again. That seems irrational. I feel like I'm lying to her when I say that I’m « working on it » - there’s no working on making sitting 6h a day behind a screen feel acceptable. And yet I do it and still sleep well. That might be the positive side of the Protestant work ethic... I give everything I have and that’s enough for me to feel like I’ve done my best.

We are now in a big house. We got the things we worked and waited for. I'm sitting at our old kitchen counter that is now my desk. So much of the emotional load of this year makes this moment feel like we just transplanted ourselves into a new container but have not actually changed our environment (NorCal, SoCal, MidCal... all the same. Now closer to Costco than ever). The world is still loud around us, perhaps I'm just too sensitive or I'm seeking catharsis in every transition. Zen principles surely have been working inside, coming in waves as the mood clears. All the clever, deep, or odd images fade into the blur of every day to sometimes surface in the form of a visceral acknowledgment of how all this is completely pointless, and yet it is.

As an odd ending note: anything is everything and nothing at the same time. House, hair, family, your own body, thoughts, work... all those things are concepts. Made-up stuff that means something post-conception. We can’t live only in the pre-conception state. We’re civilized which means living according to many concepts. It is exhausting and not meaningful in and out of itself. “Simply being” is hard and easy at the same time. My forehead attests to the struggle. I don’t need to find the right words to describe anything, especially my feelings. My lack of vocabulary and experience working through feelings is a blessing I’ll never be able to thank my parents for.

It is what it is...

← Index / Published on 2023-12-31