what I love
I’m currently in the process of moving to a new place, so things are a bit hectic.
It’s hard to find time for writing or other things that I would like to do. Someone said that procrastination is a signal that tells you what is not important, a signal that shouldn’t be ignored. You don’t procrastinate on things that are really important to you. If that’s the case then reading is really essential to me, since I’ve read the whole 1Q84 trilogy by Murakami this past month. Borges: “Reading . . . is an activity subsequent to writing: more resigned, more civil, more intellectual.”
I hope you’ll enjoy this month’s piece,
It was said that developing taste is just being very particular about things you like or dislike. So here is a list of things that I currently love doing or experiencing:
slow mornings - I really love not checking the phone first thing in the morning and just picking a random book and a cup of coffee instead. Taking it slow. Although I had a period when I liked just starting working right away after I woke up, I now savor these slow moments in the morning, forgetting about all the obligations I have for the day. Makes the whole day more chill.
starting the day with great coffee - We’ve been using Aeropress for the past ten years, and we really love it. We’re on our second one since the rubber on our first one got worn out over the years (I should probably just order replacement rubber). I’ve even gifted one to a friend, and he is amazed. Try it out if you haven’t.
lifting weights - Doing this regularly has made me way less anxious and worried. I recommend it to my friends who are higher on the anxiety spectrum. Or translated into meme language: “Lift the heavy stone, make sad head voice quiet”.
not thinking about obligations when I’m doing other things - I’m not 100% successful at this. But I try my best. This means I’m not checking work stuff when I’m at the gym. This means I’m not thinking about work during my slow mornings. I’m trying to silence this stupid voice that constantly tells me that I should either write, work on side projects or do something for work whenever I have time for leisure, which spoils it completely.
tending the orchard - Any kind of work is enjoyable when it’s not mandatory. This is true of physical labor as well. I really enjoy spending the entire weekend in the orchard, which is the reason why I have sunburns in April first time ever.
the fact that the number of my friends reading fiction is increasing - And not because I’m making new friends (insert joke for being in your 30s and trying to find new friends), but because the old friends are discovering the joy of reading fiction. I was a big non-fiction reader in the past and looked at books as resources — like how Exxon executives look at oil fields — only in my case, I looked for knowledge to be extracted. This approach stimulated my intellect but left the other spheres malnourished, which is why I’m reading fiction. It makes me more whole as a person. Is this the right time to start my rant on the whole self-improvement movement? Nah.
simplicity - I remember my friend’s partner, who is from the States, said that this is not a virtue over there. I’m not sure it’s a virtue here in Croatia. But for me, it definitely is. I like simple people more than complicated people. I think simplicity is downstream of humbleness. I like people who are a little bummy. Who don’t require a lot to be happy and satisfied. (My bummyness is a legacy from my teenage punk days, which included bumming for change near the central station.) The sky is the limit with the standards you require, but once you get used to that standard, it’s hard to get back to anything below it. It’s like that with food, with accommodation, with transportation.
working on a single problem for a long time - This is like meditation for me. The time flies by. There’s something magical in being focused like this. When there are no distractions. No context switches every five minutes. Just me and my work.
random Zagreb walks - I sporadically walk from the office to the city center when the weather allows it. It’s very pleasant, especially with noise-canceling headphones that eliminate all the traffic noise. I really love seeing people chatting over coffee, grandpas and grandmas sharing the latest gossip either walking by, holding their hands at the back, or leaning on their cranes, grouped around their favorite park bench.
long one-on-one conversations with friends - Larger gatherings always disappoint me somewhat because we don’t have the opportunity to dive below the surface. One-on-one conversations allow intimacy and are not as concerned with the judgment of the words spoken. Emerson: “Two may talk, and one may hear, but three cannot take part in a conversation of the most sincere and searching sort.” The best conversations are the ones that transport us to another reality where time doesn’t exist. This reminds me of a beverage that’s usually present during these conversations and of another thing I like doing.
not drinking more than two beers – Forgive me for stating the obvious: beer is a social lubricant. Yet, beer addiction is also a road to ruin. The optimal amount is not none because:
I don’t want to be a killjoy
I want to silence my shyness and social awkwardness
but also not too much because:
I don’t want to say something cringe that I’m going to regret later
I want my tongue to remain functional
I don’t want to deal with the hangover tomorrow
Which is why I think the optimum amount of beer is two. G.K. Chesterton: “We should thank God for beer and Burgundy by not drinking too much of them.”