December 16th – December 31st, 2016
It’s obvious to me which people have issues with alcohol by the way they respond to my non-drinking ways. If they’re at peace with their alcohol consumption, they’re usually cool with me not getting drunk alongside them. But if they have some demons there, shoulders tense and eyes narrow. This holds true for many things. We hate what we fear.
Speaking of sobriety, few things beat the feeling of letting loose on a dance floor with nare a drop of liquid courage. Hung back for the first few songs this eve then ventured out. A jazz band in the square, ripping out classics from all decades. Local tunes too, that we didn’t recognize but it didn’t matter. Strangers beaming and dancing, everyone belonging.
Shopping for clothes, checking a big table of v-neck tees when along comes a teenager – maybe 16 years old – with his parents. “How about these?” asks his mom. “Nah, v-necks look kinda gay,” the kid responds. Poor chap. Like me at that age, way too worried what other people think of him. I pick up three v-necks and head for the checkout.
Six straight hours today lost in flow, finishing off a little guide called the Cheap Flight Checklist. There’s something beautiful about those long, uninterrupted stretches of work, especially when you’re focused on something challenging, pushing up against your edge. That’s the deep work Cal Newport talks about, the stuff fewer and fewer people make time for, and which is thus more valuable than ever.
Thinking back on 2016. I launched 3M1K, spent time in seven countries (and two of my favorite cities), jumped out of an airplane, spoke in front of 100+ people, completed a 19km obstacle course, started surfing, improved my Spanish, dated some beautiful women, met and befriended some great people, upped my video game, read 30+ books, stayed healthy. Yeah. It’s been a good year.
Up at 3:45. Leave at 4:30. 45-minute walk to the bus station. 25-minute bus to the airport. Five minutes through security. An hour in the VIP lounge. 30 minutes to the gate, boarding. 4 hours in the sky. 20 minutes off the plane, through customs, bite to eat. 25-minute bus to the city center. 10 minutes to spare. 2.5-hour bus east. Picked up at the station. 15-minute drive. Home.
A weird thing happens when I’m home for a while. I tend to fall back into old habits, like I’m once again a shy, lazy, perverted teenager. So I’ve set a few goals this time around, have my Mastermind buddy holding me accountable. Nothing crazy, just enough to keep me on the rails. 50 push-ups, 50 crunches, and 5 minutes of stretching every day. And no fap.
Had $1,500 worth of free flights to play with via a credit card bonus so was online looking for an adventure this morning. Had in mind Bali at first, but somehow ended up booking flights to Taiwan, will be there April and May. $638 the cost of the tickets so I still have more than $850 to play with. Travel hacking for the win!
Catching myself checking my phone more often than usual, hoping for a message, or some other distraction. Why so? It’s loneliness, missing intimacy. This time of year you feel it more. But when I stop and accept and breathe, I’m at peace with it, soltero by choice after all. You can have anything you want, but you can’t have it all at the same time.
Walking back from old pillars with missing gates, having a chat, asking a question I’d been putting off. The answer is long but the essence is easy to get. Add that to my list of motivations, the reasons I’ll keep working and striving and building what I’m building. I have opportunities most don’t. And I plan to make the best of them.
The range of our conversations. We’d be talking about mindfulness one minute, basketball the next, then sharing perverted thoughts and cracking each other up with teenage trigger words, still hilarious half our lives later. Laughed so hard the other night on the phone to him I had tears in my eyes. Ah, the people I have in my life. I hope you’re as lucky as me.
To compliment a woman, to tell her she looks beautiful, or her hair looks nice, or you love the very presence of her, without hoping she’ll like you or fuck you or make you a sandwich in return. A simple, stringless celebration. Because the women in your life are beautiful, and you want them to know this. Because the more beautiful they feel, the more beautiful they become.
I’ve barely lived in Ireland the past ten years. Every time I come back, I appreciate it more. A simple rolling hill. Sheep in a field. Bird on a branch. Thatch on a roof. A crisp morning sky. The red edge of a cloud. An old castle crumbling and overgrown by the roadside, yet still tall and proud and apologizing for nothing. And those green fields, disappearing now beneath the clouds.
Started reading A Walk In The Woods last night back in Las Palmas. Three chapters deep already. It’s my kind of book: author takes on a big, interesting challenge and writes well and humorously about it. Entertaining and informative. Moonwalking With Einstein and The Year Of Living Biblically fit this mold, too. These are the kinds of books I aspire to write.
Found it difficult getting out of bed this morning. Almost talked myself out of it, but got up and did a bit of work, had breakfast, and by the time I arrived at coworking, two hours after I awoke, I was practically buzzing. What does that tell me? That I can’t take my moods too seriously. You never know how or when you’ll get a flash of inspiration, a buzz of excitement, renewed confidence. Every minute has the potential.
That’s it for another year. Finish it off with the usual 5:30am start, a few solid hours of work, a nap, surfing, basketball, and then a wander around town with my Slovenian flatmate, a 24-year-old with his shit together. We catch fireworks, dance badly and try chat up a few chicas. We’re mighty mighty men, young and in our prime. Let’s go round again.
In the comments below, let me know which of the above Momentos is your favorite. Which can you relate to?