I am really inspired. This has happened before.

This is part of a work in progress; I have a lot of ideas floating around and I’d like to track their progression over time.

Tourism is boring me. You can read more about that on my travel blog if you like. The thing is, I’m just not inclined to go see more buildings or natural sites or, hell, wonders of the world. Nor even to find the best coffee or beer.

I feel like I’ve just been consuming. Consuming food and drinks, consuming experiences. Traveling around the world to find the best experiences to consume.

Now, let me be clear that I don’t see any moral wrong in this; I just see it as unfulfilling. I don’t think that being The Best at consuming (either as a gourmet or as No Impact Man) will lead me to a life that I am satisfied with. Consuming seems to be just one part of life.

I’ve felt like this before at least once: after coming back from Maastricht. My five months there were some of the most carefree and debaucherous (though, really, still not very debaucherous) of my life. I got so fed up with consuming and excited about coming back and getting things done. What happened? I immediately made a few really productive changes to my life. Before I left, in December 2006, I was living in a basement, grumbling about academic and extracurricular commitments, bored with work and eating too much GoLean Crunch and soy milk. After I returned and made these changes, in August 2007, I was enjoying classes, drawing cartoons, living in an awesome orange room in a house owned by one of my best friends, beginning a great new relationship, researching fervently in a new lab, committing myself selectively to extracurriculars, and listening to The Knife. It was one of the best half-years of my life.

Let’s (royal we) do this again. Let’s begin a new career in a new town. But let’s do it even better this time. Now that I know a bit more about how life works, perhaps I can recreate my life with a bit more wisdom. What are the parts to a fulfilling life, and how can I make those easy to achieve? I’ll start with a “wish list” of floaty ideas, and see if I can then boil them down into concrete things to do.

- career, sure. Think I’ve spent enough time on this one. Grad school will be a challenge, and hopefully also a joy, but either way it’ll be unpredictable enough that I don’t know how to optimize it yet.
- eating right: some ideas include only buying food that cannot be immediately eaten, committing to three square meals and no snacks, or cultivating the joy of hunger that I’ve been working on. A less likely but still neat idea is refined-sugar teetotaling.
- exercising right: first, I will ride bikes everywhere, as usual. Second, though, I think just biking is not enough. I think I would like to do something else, something to work on all the parts of the body besides cardiovascular health and leg strength. I would like to fight people, like wrestling, because fighting requires strength and balance, and is fun. Perhaps the closest real-world analogue to this is a martial art? If so, which one? Finally, some yoga might help too.
- mental and spiritual health. Keep on meditating. Go on retreat sometimes. Do not lose the urge to get enlightened, and mindfully monitor the rest of my life, changing stuff if necessary.
- healthy social group. I’ve always been working on this. One thing that will help is the new less-judgmental attitude I’m developing. Maybe I should entertain more? I like throwing parties and hosting small gatherings; maybe I should invite more people more often with a cause. Some ideas include an album listening deal (like a film club but you listen to an album instead) and this creative circle thing I’ve tossed about but never done.
- dating. I should dedicate some energy to this.
- creating. As posted a couple posts ago, I think this is healthy, and I don’t do it much. Also this.┬áMy current whim is that I want to start making some designs. Probably digital. Maybe try something like a Wacom tablet to do some drawing? Also, code more. This is very floaty, but I do want to find some time for, y’know, “hey, what if I could write a script to run my refrigerator for me?”
- serendipity. Make 20% of my life surprises that I don’t like, so I keep growing. This feels like a cross-cutting concern, a way to do things instead of something else to do, and I don’t know how to do it.
- listening to new music. I still like doing this, and it doesn’t seem to fit anywhere else.


Jingyi -

I tried grappling (mostly no-gi BJJ with a little bit of wrestling) in my last semester at CMU, which was pretty fun.

Dan -

That does sound fun. It’s popular these days, maybe for good reason. What are the odds of getting seriously hurt?

Jingyi -

I’ve never seen people getting seriously hurt during the time I trained, as long as you tap out when the chance of getting out is small. I did break my glasses when I left it beside the mat though.

helix -

I can understand a bit of burnout, after our trip. It was like Benny Hill, in fast motion going to Paris in back in one night. Cue the silly music… :-))
there are surely other ways to do it, but I feel like we saw so many amazing things that we lived 3 months in 3 weeks….They keep coming back to me in technicolor -and I am so grateful you were there.

Dan -

Hi Mom! Did you mean to post that comment elsewhere? I wrote this post about 4 days into our trip. I agree, our trip was great. We always travel like this, and while I grumble sometimes about how we’re moving so fast, I don’t know any better way to do it when we’ve only got a couple of weeks. I’m still working on it. Anyway, thanks again for taking us!

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