- I guess I didn't really mention this last time but the first thing that happened when I started work again this year was one of my longest-running and most reliable clients dropping me. For good reason, to be clear—they have developed sufficient internal capacity such that they longer require my services, and good for them—and totally amicable, but it managed to arrest my recovery from mental tailspin and added a bit more spin of its own. It wasn't so much the question of money—other clients were already asking me if I had more capacity—but more adding to the sense that things I had felt stable were not.
- Last weekend was when things came to a head—we were visiting some of CM's friends and I had what I guess was a brief dissociative episode? Many years ago I had knew someone who said that they rather liked dissociation as it was just a bit floaty, rather than the relentless grinding of their other mental health issues. At the time I didn't really get it but now I do. Not something I want to be doing every day, certainly, but I'm actually quite grateful that it happened: it provided the opportunity for a reset. As I was slowly coming back to myself, I sat down with pen and paper and listed out all of my worries, big and small. I isolated the ones that I could take action on there and then, did what I could, and then tried to plan how I could start tackling the bigger ones. I've been steadily doing so, and improving ever since.
- I've also realised that I've got a lot of unclosed mental loops of various kinds, so I'm trying to write off projects that have hung around for too long unresolved, not start new things I can't finish, and cut loose commitments that I don't feel like I'm able to live up to or give the full measure of my energy. That has felt good, too. Admitting to myself that I can't do everything—and, nearing 30, no longer having the energy to just stay up late to substitute for that—isn't limiting, it's just acknowleging real, existing limits. Frankly, it's a relief.
- There have also been lots of nice things too: coffees, dinners and parties with friends. There have been quite intense discussions of David Hume. I've made and delivered several birthday cakes. I've tried new types of meditation and hustled people at Scrabble. I've sat on the beach in the sun. I've got halfway to my lifting goals for this quarter. Seagull subscriber numbers are going 📈. When I wrote a list of my worries, I also wrote a list of things that make me happy, and it's all this stuff. In many ways, I already have the life I want: I just need to slow myself down a bit and enjoy it.
- I'm writing this at quarter to five. The sun has, per my favourite sunrise time tracker, just set. But it's not fully dark! Soon, we won't be finishing work in the dark; we're on the slow creep to those lovely light, warm evenings where you can go for a wander at seven or eight in a t-shirt and it's still pleasant. I can't wait to wake up with the sunrise again.
- I had a thought about how various ventures might be to do with a fear of infinity. This kind of thing would usually just be a tangent on Memhaz lol, the perils of getting old and being too busy/exhausted/absent to record every week. There was a while where we did 3 hours weekly for a year or something? Bonkers. Please, if you're in your early 20s: enjoy that while it lasts!
- I wrote about another podcast idea that I had a while back which never actually got off the ground but which I would definitely like someone to do. Maybe if I've got a bit more time in 2027.
- I also wrote something about trying to use carry my phone a bit less. Speaking of Old Memhaz—this is very ATP of me, I think. Still: it helps a bit, I think.
A bit thin, for obvious reasons. Write as much as you can, y'know?
I wrapped up Oliver Burkeman's Four Thousand Weeks and will be noting it up soon hopefully; as I got through it I felt more and more... affected? I'm quite a sentimental guy at the best of times but this really got to me. All books like this are a few core insights padded with references to philosophy and examples to create emotional resonance and ensure understanding but this all really did resonate. I think before getting my ADHD diagnosis I had a certain idea of how I should be productive and thought the problem was with me for not being able to reach it, and now I'm medicated and can get a bit closer to that, I'm realising that, in fact, that idea was wrong all along anyway. I've been reading Burkeman's newsletter for ages but I found a lot of the things he mentions there are developed more thoroughly and feel more... integratable(?) in the book. Notes coming soon but as I say: really good, and for me at least, the right thing at the right time.
I'm also starting on the next few books for my masculinity exploration project, and after reading an interesting review of a book about him in the LRB the other day (and having my brother go on about something of his a while back), I've picked up the selected works of GK Chesterton from the library, so that should be fun.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention the delightful space rock of friend of the blog Andy's band Jemp Lalion, whose first two singles are out now. I've also been listening to jazz pianist Gerald Clayton's Bells On Sand, standout track for me being Just A Dream, an appropriately dreamlike song with ethereal vocals floating over the top of the piano.
I've also been listening to the album of the Viennese New Year's concert which I caught on BBC2 on New Year's Day. Lots of Strauss, very energetic :)
Keep it real, everyone. Over and out.