I passively aggressively tease my wife for her regular habit of leaving open jars of food on the counter. She likes to keep them out to save herself the trouble of reopening them. Meanwhile, it sits on the counter inviting a party of potential food-borne illnesses.
I really shouldn’t be casting stones though. My students gawk in horror when they catch a glimpse of my laptop…with over 200 browser tabs open. I pretty much leave digital jars open for the same reason. Umm…I’m still using them!
Dozens of handwritten papers full of random ideas litter every square inch of my office. I have hundreds of digital notes on my phone. I’ve even written a paragraph each on 20-30 different blog ideas (all left open on my desktop), none of which are finished.
I have a serious problem.
Starting a daily writing practice has helped because it’s been a way to slow down and reflect on my default habits. Habits I didn’t intentionally create with any deliberate thought. I’ve been recently reading Atomic Habits by James Clear, which offers up some practical action steps to creating intentional habits. But I have the same systemic problem with these kinds of books as I do with my internet tabs…which is trying to do everything at once and keeping them ambiguously open-ended to give myself the false sense I’m doing it all.
So if I’m honest, I’ve been living my life as a donkey.
I first heard of the Buridan’s Donkey parable from Derek Sivers in his advice, “Don’t be a Donkey”.
“Buridan’s donkey is standing halfway between a pile of hay and a bucket of water. It keeps looking left and right, trying to decide between hay and water. Unable to decide, it eventually dies of hunger AND thirst.”
That pretty much sums it up. I have a disturbingly difficult time making decisions. It’s why I’ve taken so long to write a blog. It’s something I’ve thought about for almost 20 years, but I didn’t start till now. Imagining how much further I’d have come along as a writer and a creative if I had started 20 years ago drives me crazy. But dwelling on that is like screaming at myself for not buying bitcoin earlier. It’s an exercise in madness.
The donkey parable and advice indeed feels relevant but doesn’t quite fit exactly to explain my problem with closing things off. Maybe if I revised it a bit.
A donkey sits at the center of a circle surrounded by a thousand buckets of different foods. Unable to decide what to eat, it decides to eat all of them a little at a time. The donkey slowly walks up to each bucket, and takes a small nibble, then goes to the next, and the next. It doesn’t starve to death, but it dies before ever finishing a single bucket.
Cheers to picking a bucket and finishing it all up! I’m off to close up some tabs.
Hugs & kisses,
Here’s a mashup of what I’ve gotten into this week.
How Politics Became Pro Wrestling | Part 1 and When Fake Growth Leads to Real Violence | Part 2 | “Kayfabe” is the system of stratified lies that undergirds professional wrestling. Originally written as an essay in the anthology, This Will Make You Smarter, the two video clips convey Eric Weinstein’s ideas on how politics and professional wrestling have grown troublingly similar. There’s a lot to appreciate about these two videos, including the technical elements of how they were constructed.
It was particularly poignant for me because my dad, who grew up as a wrestler in Iran, believed professional wrestling to be real. So I grew up watching all that stuff. In fact, I held onto my Hulk Hogan lunchbox till my mid-30s #noshame.
How to Cure Aging | This Kurzgesagt (“In a Nutshell”) animation gets into bunch of neat science stuff about growing older. Specifically, instead of increasing lifespan (how long we live) where most of our later years are spent sick and in pain, how can we increase our health span (the period of time when we’re healthy relative to having longterm sickness)?
The clinical trials surrounding the treatment of senescent cells really got my attention. Senescent cells are normal cells that basically turn into zombie cells that cause damage to the cells around them. This transformation is the byproduct of aging because with each iteration of cell reproduction, a little more of a cell’s DNA unravels. What’s shocking is that these senescent cells never leave our body and are the culprits for diseases such as diabetes and kidney disease.
Does cellular senescence hold secrets for healthier aging? Since the video was made around 5 years ago, I was curious how the research has progressed. If you’re interested this article cites some encouraging research. Far from being applicable as a treatment, but encouraging nonetheless.
Recipe of the Week : Browned Butter Miso Chocolate Chip Cookies | Probably one of the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve had, but I am partial to miso flavors. Highly addictive. Each bite hits hard with the browned butter finished with a hint of miso. Will join the hall of fame recipes for the year.
Quote for Reflection
“This is a fundamental irony of most people’s lives. They don’t quite know what they want to do with their lives. Yet they are very active.”— Ryan Holiday
Well that’s it for now. Have a wonderful week! Much love!