May 1st – May 15th, 2017
I wasn’t all that happy until my early twenties, until I got that monkey off my back and began to overcome the shyness. Since then I reckon I’ve been happy most of the time, even at my old 9-to-5 job. Part of that’s because I’ve been constantly chasing dreams, and that chase is fulfilling. But another part is gratitude, appreciation. If you don’t practice that, happiness can be right there and you’ll never notice.
Added a new item to my daily habit checklist. More a question actually: did I read a book while eating breakfast? I find that my day gets off to a better start when I do that, starting out more proactive, more conscious. The easy alternative is to watch YouTube videos while scoffing the porridge, and that can all-too-easily turn into binge watching comedy clips I’ve already seen a thousand times.
Last month I did 5 minutes of breathing exercises every day, plus 30 seconds of maximum cold to end every shower. Didn’t get much from the breathing exercises, so switching that time back to my regular meditation practice. Liking the cold showers though, will stick with that for another month. Exact benefits are unclear but it doesn’t seem to deplete my willpower and there’s something satisfying about it.
Knocked off work early today, went and spent the afternoon with my girl, riding bikes by the river, past a place where they may have built the rocket that put Yuri into space. What have I noticed about Moscow so far? Plenty of playgrounds and outdoor gyms, an impressive metro, electric street signs, wires in the sky, sad apartment buildings, beautiful women and tough motherfuckers.
About 2,500 words deep into producing an epic piece of content. It takes time – spent about seven hours at it today and I’m not even halfway through – but the process is fairly straightforward. Actually, I’m getting ahead of myself here. Let’s wait and see if it gets the traffic I expect it to. Otherwise it’s just an epic waste of time.
Reading aloud: A real man doesn’t play mind games or try to trick anyone. She asks for an example. Well, the classic one is a guy waiting three days to call a girl he likes. Dude, if you like her, just call her. What are you waiting for? Maybe thirty minutes from now, I’ll ask myself that same question, and realize there’s no reason to wait any longer.
The comments that have come in about me and my girl. Lots of assumptions, lots of projection, some of them downright mean. I guess that’s what I get for writing publicly about our relationship. Could be worse though. Watched a YouTube star read her mean comments the other day. Horrific stuff. When you find yourself criticizing someone anonymously online, chances are you’re being a dick.
A local chap here the other day observed that I’m quite comfortable finding my way around Moscow despite not knowing the language. On reflection, it’s likely because I’ve spent most of my days the past ~7 years living in non-English-speaking countries. Plenty of practice. Travel to enough foreign lands and your brain learns to freak out less, figure out more.
Big day in Russia, anniversary of the Soviet victory over the Nazis, some 72 years ago now. People wear green hats and striped ribbons and walk the streets holding black and white photos of relatives and ancestors who fought and died for the cause. There are aerial displays and fireworks and marches and people singing old songs and dancing in the street.
This morning a great improv sketch appeared as an ad before a music video on YouTube. I watched and was enthralled, had a strong urge to click through and find out more about the artist. But I knew that would lead me down a rabbit hole, and I had bigger, more important, less glittery fish to fry. So I let it go, reasoning that we must pass up some things we like to get more things we love.
Tough travel day. Lacking sleep, bag left on the plane, dose of the scutters, bank cards not working, couldn’t find our hotel, drove the rental car off a ledge in a dark alley, had to get a couple of gruff looking local dudes to bail us out after midnight. My lady came through like a trooper though. I speak maybe seven words of Russian so she had to talk our way out of each mess while I stood there trying not to look like a dimwit.
Memories of Iran five years ago, when I rolled into town with little cash and found my plastic was useless. Then the mad scramble to figure something out. Same deal now. Except I’m also dealing with bowel issues. In a cafe on the laptop trying to wire money to a Russian bank account – harder than you’d think – when I’m forced to run to the restroom, only to be confronted by my old nemesis: a fucking squat toilet.
What this peninsula lacks in internet and infrastructure and decent restaurants and toilet facilities, it makes up for with spectacular views. Hired a guide and spent a few hours hiking through a park here today, lush greens and volcanic rock formations falling into a black sea, namesakes of the devil but good for the soul.
There’s a path carved in the rock along the water’s edge, leading away from a town once called Paradise. A champagne-making prince forged this walkway century before last, passing through an impressive grotto under immense slabs of stone. Legend has it the prince hosted banquets here, famous opera singers performing while dolphins danced in the bay.
There was a girl on the train the other day with nails so long she could barely use her phone. They looked great, I guess, but were they worth becoming disabled for? Give me a girl who doesn’t mind a little dirt under her (trimmed) fingernails. A girl who wears shoes she can walk in. A girl I can climb mountains with. A girl who reads books, across from me as we have breakfast, drink coffee, eat dinner.
In the comments below, let me know which of the above Momentos is your favorite. Which can you relate to?