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2023-03-03 17:31:43 (UTC)

2023 Birthday Reflections Pt 3

Personal entry follows.

In December '22, I'd given mini-journals to the rest of the interns as part of their Christmas gifts. These small booklets included over a dozen questions they could use to reflect on the previous year's activities, and then visualize the coming year. I decided I would ask myself the same questions, and then record my thoughts here.

This is the third part of this series of entries.


7. What are your current hobbies? How can you make time for those in 2023?

I like to sing. I sing in the car when I am alone. Songs range from '60s underground garage, to '80s pop, to various thrash metal and punk. I've been wondering when I'd have a chance to visit a karaoke bar and sing in front of a crowd. Committing to that is something I can manage to do this year, for sure. It's just a matter of tracking down a karaoke joint. I still feel "new" in town in some ways, and this is one of them.

I enjoy watching movies, and then reflecting on them by writing brief reviews (which I've posted here as journal entries). Most weekends, I visit the kanopy website, and pick a film to watch, usually after dinner. Letting others here at the eco-institute know I'm setting up a film to watch in one of our common rooms is something I've done from time to time. This engages me in my hobbies, and helps in building community with the rest of the folks who are here. I've yet to see films in town, largely due to the fact that my bedtime is too early in the evening for me to make a late night out...! So catching movies here at the institute seems to be the usual (not to mention, more affordable) option.

Outdoor activities I enjoy include walking through town or on nature trails on the property, playing with the cats, stargazing, and taking photographs. The photography aspect (and in some cases videography) is something that's incentivized with actual money while I'm here, so that makes it easier to spend time doing those sorts of things. There are -so- many cats here, so that's easy to do as well. As long as I'm not interrupted by cats the entire time, I can watch the stars pass by at night nearly every evening. Even standing outside in the snow at night is a special treat.

I've fallen out of making video games, and I barely play them anymore. Tabletop game design comes in fits and spurts; I no longer have a game design group with whom to collaborate, and I've rolled-back to "lurker" status with the tabletop game design website I frequented back in the day. I don't miss video games, but I do long for tabletop game sessions that lasted an entire day, interspersed with pizza for lunch and then a legit delicious dinner. Not gonna happen with this crew, where I am these days.

Solitude and introspection are things I seem to have less time for these days, unless I'm in the car. I don't even have a bedroom to myself. The only times I'm truly alone when I am here at the institute would be in the bathroom and when I go on a walk in nature. Again, additional moments for introspective solitude will be difficult to find unless I make time for them. Of course, making time for it is the solution. I'll also have more opportunities for this when the weather changes and I move back into my tent.

8. What did you learn about yourself in 2022 that surprised you?

I can still be cheerful while being almost devastatingly lonely and while despondent regarding the future of humanity. Attitude is always a choice, and instead of feeling sorry for myself or whatever, I've made it a habit to smile more, to laugh more, to not be afraid to speak my mind.

If there's one thing I can appreciate about being the person in charge, it's that I'm afforded the luxury to choose my attitude and be able to express myself almost whenever I please.

Choosing one's attitude takes courage. The courage to not be swayed by circumstances and/or other people and their attitude being expressed (sometimes right in your face).

9. How well did you take care of yourself physically this year through exercise, sleep, and nutrition? Can you improve on this in 2023?

I make it a point to sleep at least 7.5 hours a night. Some days it's more. I find that I enjoy sleep a lot more these days. Early to bed, early to rise.

Every day, I am outdoors and active. No longer do I sit at a computer for work or play, 6 hours at a time. I am breathing fresh air, hiking, hauling, and thinking on my feet.

Vegetarianism has been my steady diet since I was 24 years old, and nowadays (22 years later) I find that I'm vegan about 85% of the time. I eat cheese and pastries - which may contain eggs - once a week.

Other considerable practices:
- eschewing soaps and detergents during showers, 98% of the time.
- cold-immersion for at least a minute during nearly every shower.
- a teaspoon of baking soda dissolved in a glass of water, every night before bedtime.

10. What does it mean to love yourself? How will you practice self-love in 2023?

I listen to myself and my intuition. I think critically and act on it to benefit myself. I say "no" more often. I do not dwell on my mistakes, instead correcting as much as I can. I stay true to my word. I carry no debts, and show appreciation to those who have been and who continue to be generous to me. I apologize whenever it's necessary. I try, and sometimes I win.

These things help me appreciate myself and all that I do, all the more often. I admire where I am in life, and how I move through each day with integrity. I love myself because of who I have become, and because I do my best every day. I move forward with what I want to accomplish in life without hurting others. I am an upstanding, driven man who chooses to do no harm to the rest of the world around him. I love myself because I know I am nothing special, and am otherwise undeserving of love. If I don't love me, then no one else ought to.


kestrel.diary [at]