As I write this, it’s been around six months since I wrote anything for this blog, or anywhere/anyone else. I never made a conscious decision to quit, but between my full time job, new relationship, new friends and new habits, the time and mind space needed for writing seemed to slowly slip away. This hasn’t been all bad, however, as the past year has probably been the best of my life. For the first time, I’ve been able to consistently stay more positive and enjoy myself for the vast majority of the whole year. Sure, sometimes bad things would happen, and it would cross my mind that the universe conspired against me and that I needed to pity myself – old habits die hard, right? – but they never became more than moments. There were no weeks.
The most negative period of last year was perhaps a few weeks after I stopped writing in which I sometimes felt guilty about it. In hindsight this might have been the last straw that actually caused me to stop writing for a time, as guilt adds another barrier between you and actually getting things done.
New Habits Acquired Over The Past Year
As far as new habits go, there are two main ones that I added to my day to day life. I started practicing martial arts, not any one in particular, but an unusual mix of JKD, Shooto, FMA, etc. Other than randomly starting to shadow box at any given point during the day, I’ve been going to martial arts practice for the last few months (2-3 times a week, 3 hour sessions).
I started hanging out with friends doing actual things (not just playing video games or drinking/eating.) This wasn’t an entirely new habit, as I had started doing this 2 years ago after I started my new job, but after I moved to a new office at school and made new friends, it became a bigger part of my life I guess. Although a lot of this took place during weekends, or breaks, it still played a big part in the past year, making me healthier(getting me out and about and moving, and even was what got me started with martial arts) and happier. Instead of ending most weekends feeling like I did a whole lotta nothing, many ended with a feeling of time well spent, having gone to a new place or done new things. Again, not a new concept or experience to me, but a much more regular occurrence than before.
I Enjoy Life
Between these two things the way I fundamentally feel about life seems to have changed. I’m generally enjoying myself, and I know it. Sure, I may not look forward to work on some Mondays (or other days), but that no longer seems like some sort of overwhelming significant thing that is part of a larger pattern of ‘everything sucks’. I’m more confident in general, I feel more grounded in myself and my own habits rather than outside opinions and influences.
Old Habits To Revisit
First and foremost, writing. Not just for the sake of the innate benefits of writing, but I also intend to rekindle my freelance writing efforts – slowly but surely this time (as to not overwhelm myself again). Writing (and sharing that writing online) is what finally got me out of a 1 year rut after I came back from my exchange studies and graduated. I was unemployed, had 1-2 friends in the country that I rarely saw, and my thoughts about my life and future generally involved self-pity and despair. This is not an old habit to revisit, just something to remember, as good a reason as any to restart my writing efforts.
Secondly, restart learning about Web Development and WordPress other CMS. While teaching English here has been an enjoyable learning experience, I feel like I’m gradually approaching a time for me to move on to a new stage in my life, and having valuable, marketable skills will surely help me in getting there.
Thirdly, meditation. Although I do yoga at the end of every martial arts practice, and there seem to be some meditative moments interspersed throughout, over the coming weeks and months, I want to take up meditation again. Not only for the many general cognitive and emotional benefits, but to maintain the brainspace needed for writing consistently.
After all this I still have the same goals. The freedom of body to go and do what I want. The financial freedom to be able to afford to do what I want (not talking millions of dollars or even hundreds of thousands, just a buffer of a few thousand that means I can afford to quit my job or move to a new country without any real risk) and the freedom of mind to enjoy day to day life.
So here I am, back to writing again. It feels good.