Three-Quarter-Year Check-In

With almost 9 months down and a little over 3 to go, it’s time for another check-in. I’m doing this check-in about 6 weeks after Brunei re-introduced restrictions to combat a 2nd wave of COVID this time including the Delta variant. Things are a lot stricter than they were the first time around and tensions are running high all over the country.

Getting rocked in the body

In my mid-year check-in I listed my gym sessions and shooting hoops to be going well. Thanks to partial lock-down, all gyms are closed and I’m very wary of going outdoors to shoot hoops even in my own yard. I’ve substituted them with some home-based workouts which have helped keep me moving but I am not as consistent with them as I would like to be. The ambient stress and the need to handle once simple tasks like grocery shopping has really taken a toll on me mentally and emotionally which also drains me physically. It’s humbling to once again be reminded of how interconnected all our different parts are. I’m going to allow myself to scale-down my home workouts to keep the consistency.

On the other hand, stretching seems to be doing better than it was mid-year. I started doing them almost every evening before I retire and find it results in better sleep. The original plan was to stretch immediately after every gym workout but that didn’t work, the obstacle was I didn’t want to use their dirty shared mats. So again, in the interest of consistency, doing it in the evenings has yielded better results even if it happens hours after my workout.

Sudden surges

In my mid-year check-in I acknowledged that there were some work projects severely lagging in effort. Since then there has been a metaphorical (not literal, learn to use that word right!) explosion in one project both in terms of effort and scope. It’s 90–95% complete based on my original plan but the scope has since increased and there is still work to be done. It’s exciting eventhough I’ve hit a little snag. They say the devil in the details so it’s time to exorcise some ignorance by going back to the beginning and re-treading what I’ve done. It’s only a hunch but I believe I’ve missed something… Overall, I’m happy with how things have progressed.

I’ll also grant that my cardistry experienced a little surge as well. I learned a few new moves, re-visited some others, unintentionally improved my Cascade and also developed what I believe is an original move of my own. It’s not very flashy but it’s mine.

Press Start to Continue

About a year back I decided to get back into gaming as a way to remind myself that life is more than just work. It was hard at first because every time I picked up the controller I could feel a cloud of guilt settle on me. Now I am able to allow myself to enjoy my time gaming and it isn’t in any way obstructive to the rest of my life (though I will admit Polytopia is challenging my resolve!)

Stuck

Of course, not everything is going to be moving smoothly (or at all). I’ve completely neglected my mental exercises since the last check-in (or if I did do them I don’t remember. That’s a clear indication of how often I did it!) Like physical exercise, these mental exercises can be quite demanding and given how my life was even before the re-introduction of COVID restrictions it’s easy to understand why I rarely had anything to give.

But it’s not all doom-and-gloom. My stretching and the subsequent better sleep have helped tame my thoughts and emotions. While they can partially fill the gap they are not a perfect substitute and I know for a fact I have been having some recurring thoughts and the emotions they bring. Just last night I was reminded of Pennebaker’s Expressive Writing exercises, I think it’s time to re-visit them.

And speaking of writing, I also have not worked on any of my story ideas for a while. I know it’s not writer’s block because I often play around with scenarios in my head and have a good idea of what I want in the plot. Part of the obstruction has been the work-related projects which would often spill into my scheduled writing time but also there is that constant shadow of fear standing behind me. What if I don’t like how it turns out? What if others don’t absolutely love it? Yada yada yada, I’ve been down this road before. This really is one of those times when there’s nothing to do but to do it.

Or to take my own advice, “shut up and write!”

My meditation practice has long felt like trying to start a really old car. Sometimes the engine takes but more often than not all you’ll get is some sputtering before it falls silent. Again, the stretching does partially fill this void but is far from being a substitute. No one needs to meditate but it brings so many good things I can’t bring myself to drop it.

One option is to use what worked last time — a combination of tracking and accountability. Back then I drew squares on a card and coloured one in every day I successfully meditated. At the end of the week I’d share the card with accountability buddies.

Another is to look for a substitute mindfulness activity which others have found success with. I could certainly re-visit my Tai Chi and Qi Gong practices.

Or this could be another case of “shut up and meditate.”

Polishing the insides

I usually try and do one general development course for myself a year. You’d think that with stay-home orders I’d have all the time in the world to do this but working in IT means my projects were pretty much unaffected by the pandemic. I’ve already got my eyes on an online course and it’s even self-paced but I don’t trust myself to do it consistently to completion because my life feels like an over-stuffed suitcase.

I have no answers for this right now.