beyond working ourselves to death

“We are working ourselves to death. We call it cancer or heart disease or auto-immune disease and that’s fine. But just below the surface, beyond the label, we know the truth because it’s something we’ve felt our entire lives. Before the doctors gave it a name, we felt it. We are all dying of the same thing … a gaping hole in our heart, a lack of love, a sense that we’re not good enough, a belief that we’re unlovable.

And so we work … and work … and work in hopes of filling the hole or, at the very least, distracting ourselves enough to forget about the pain. But it’s all life in the end, and we all end up addressing the hole at one point or another. For some this comes as a trip to the therapist, for others a trip to the oncologist. For a moment we see clearly: we connect with the hole and sense there must be something more. But that hurts (unbearably), so we ease the pain with a stiff scotch or a pharmaceutical cocktail. And we are lost again.”

This essay by Jason Garner made me cry.

ten recent thoughts

1. What’s the rush?

2. Time expands when you’re focused, contracts when you’re distracted.

3. Approach everything with the mind of a beginner.

4. Don’t be fixated on knowing where you will end up. Enjoy the journey; your joy will bring you to where you need to be.

5. Happiness is not needing or striving to be happy.

6. Watching one really good drama series is better than watching twenty mediocre ones.

7. The most mundane things in life are really the most important and beautiful ones.

8. We are here to do important work. We do important work by being true to who we are.

9. Investing is philosophy + psychology in action, and a real test of character.

10. Everything is just a thought.

100 online courses

“After 73 days of self-paced learning, I’ve become a firm believer that learning, or more importantly, knowledge, should never be a privilege, it is a right.

While we should all work towards a particular goal in our career (in my case, to become a doctor and find ways to improve our public healthcare systems), my insight from taking these courses has made me realise that we should not limit ourselves to just our career-centric fields alone.

Because we are the sum of what we learn, in school, at work and in life.”

The quote is from this interesting article about a girl who took 100 online courses during 73 days of COVID lockdown. Oddly inspiring!

And he made great art.

“Chad deeply valued his privacy, and I wasn’t privy to the details of his illness. After his family released their statement, I realized that he was living with his illness the entire time I knew him. Because he was a caretaker, a leader, and a man of faith, dignity and pride, he shielded his collaborators from his suffering. He lived a beautiful life. And he made great art. Day after day, year after year. That was who he was. He was an epic firework display. I will tell stories about being there for some of the brilliant sparks till the end of my days.”
– Ryan Coogler on Chadwick Boseman

ten recent thoughts

1. Most of our problems are imaginary problems.

2. It would be nice to enjoy, for once, being here, rather than always wanting to be somewhere better and doing something more interesting.

3. What we have now is what we used to want.

4. Just because other people are doing A, doesn’t mean I need to start doing A.

5. There are no real obligations in this world.

6. Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity.

7. Perfectionism is more toxic than you imagine. Watch yourself and notice how often you’re being a perfectionist without even realising it. And see how it chips away at your happiness.

8. Read everything but don’t be afraid to give up anything that turns out awful or mediocre.

9. Writing is the medium of learning (not the other way around).

10. Find opportunities to be kind. Every day.

Bonus thought: Practise what you believe as much as you can, but always be kind to yourself when you can’t.