Saturday, January 1, 2011

7 things I figured out in 2010.

1.> Finding the right balance between zen and motivation is less like juggling on a tightrope and more like sliding down Occam's Razor on your crotch.

2.> It's ok to give yourself a break once in a while.

3.> When in doubt, go for a walk. Seriously. I've made my first headway this year against a 16 year fog of depression and the key to it was walking. Making your brain make happy juice turns out to be easy... at least, things seem more manageable. I just want to point out that I am not a huge fan of exercise for its own sake, but I'm always glad after forcing myself to do it.

4.> About knowing yourself: we are creatures of habit. Your cognitive override is a quiet little voice riding on the back of a crazy monkey. That said, the monkey is trainable. Form good habits and then sit back and let the trained monkey do the work. Changing attitudes and behaviors isn't really an uphill struggle without end, just a conviction to overcome the inertia.

5.> If you are depressed a lot, or for a long time, that will change the physical structure of your brain to the point where it will become a self-sustaining state. Looking in the mirror and saying 'shee, I'm pretty awesome," is not about wishful thinking or pathetic overreaching... it's a way to reprogram your mental state. Surround yourself with supportive people as much as you can.

6.> Keep a clean, well-lit space for writing. That applies to every aspect of your life, really. Clean up the house. Clean up your head. Do all your email every day. Make those phone calls. The most prolific writers in the world (Isaac Asimov being a great example) had a habit of answering every fan mail they ever received.

7.> As for the existential crisis: we are built to see meaning in things and to react to perceived meaning. That fact is in and of itself either meaningful, or it isn't. People who assume that it isn't are exceeding their programming and wind up insane. So, even if God is dead or the sky is an empty black void or whatever, the awakened individual should understand that it is necessary to believe in something. What you do has meaning. The way you live matters, until Cthulhu rises.

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