Disclaimer: this is backlogged content, yo.
It’s been a lifetime since I’ve posted in this space, and I’ve inevitably become a more refined (read: greying - oh god, the grey) version of myself. That said, I still find it important to create a personal narrative that people can stumble upon instead of tarting it out at every opportunity.
I’ve never been enchanted by the notion of life hacking, but jumped aboard the self-improvement metrics train when a tiny, suspiciously southern voice in my head started whispering “you gon die” on a semi-regular basis. Abiding the drawling death rattle, I started creating a food log, tracking vices (poorly…), obtained a solid healthcare plan and dietician, bought a digital fitness tracker, created a sleep schedule, a light cardio regime, an auxillary acitivities log, a…..you get the idea. It’s a part-time job in itself.
My findings ranged from insanely useful knowledge (you are alert an hour longer with vitamin D supplements, a 45 minute vs. 30 minute walk jumpstarts your brain when you’re stressed) to excruciatingly obvious banalities (poutine and bourbon depletes said alertness, watching Tenenbrae for the eighth time does not melt anxiety). Mostly, this has merely smothered that aforementioned tiny voice for good, which I suppose is one item off the 2013 bucket list.
The eyebrow furrow that magically appears when people mention lifehacking to me isn’t personal - I understand it’s a deeply engrained passion for some people, and mentoring on the subject is a hobby or charitable perogative for others. We’re just living in a world after the advent of “The 4-hour Charlatan” and other bullshit tomes that present us with one-size metrics on how to obtain profitability and happiness in one historically revisionist blow.
My major beef with the subject is that it addresses a major symptom of the hyperattentive and chronically engaged - a lack of that ubiquitous work/life balance, abandoning play for profitability, health for engagement, and a host of other gaps a busy yet charmed life mercilessly consumes - but seems to abandon the reader at the end result. What does one do with the time and resources they’ve hacked for themselves after working themsleves into oblivion for years? It’s a vice in it’s own accord, and finding your way out of that wormhole can be a nightmare that is infrequently addressed.
My stumbling block right now is that my creativity has been stunted by two years of “reactionary management”, which thankfully began to ease at the commencement of the new year. As an essential precurser, I adore my work and my second “chosen” family that I share the majority of my waking life with, and have no doubt that we’ll take over a small piece of the universe together in the forthcoming year. I adore the two (very huggable) honcho’s of the record label I now advise more than co-instigate, as I had to scale my life back in that aforementioned struggle with health and well-being. I adore all the charity projects and community events I advise or lend facilitation skills to, and the graceful and generous characters within that make me feel better about this world I inhabit. A stumbling block is just that - a barrier in an otherwise happy and productive existence.
The short-form biography I just voluntarily offered inhabits about 55-60 hours of my week, and the problem is that I misconstrued them as hobbies. They are in my marrow - I have to do them to both satiate my drive and need of sustinance, and I can’t fathom my life without them at this stage. This does not a hobby make, though, and my burgeoning record collection is more of a irresponsible RSP than an extracirricular at this point.
That stated, the first time a friend suggested I “get a hobby”, I went haughty and indignant all over their face, and this tradition resurfaced each time someone alluded to it over a series of weeks - when you’ve lived in a state of high alert for several years, people can’t help but notice the deafening sound of your own boredom when it dissipates, and you still misconstrue your works as hobbies that incidentally are all-consuming and high-stress.
Last week came the reckoning, though - I can no longer ignore my bass guitar and the cobwebs that are slowly consuming it (albeit they look like beautiful fractals, so I musn’t disturb them). The beautiful blank journals gifted to me, which are slowly accumulating in my cabinet (whose pages I would have readily devoured 3 years ago with short stories) are a constant reminder that I’ve misplaced my ability to conjure fantastic lies. My unabashed loathing of group classes, urban excursions, and all varieties of recreationally-oriented societies are a flimsy masquerade for the fact that I’ve misplaced my ability to contribute any creative output to them. In short, I have been tooting my “creative facilitation” horn over the past 24 months while secretly regressing into a Dilbert cartoon (but only if he dug Nick Cave, was smug, and lived in Greenpoint).
What lifehacking, life coaches et al. don’t tell you is how to get back on track with your ideal life after you’ve exhausted and remedied it’s pain points. At present, all advice offered by my loving compatriots oscillates between empty platitudes (“Paint! Play your guitar! Cookery! Write something! IT’S EASY”) and the more useful reminder that I am only suffering from a case of WASP plague, and it’s curable (this much is true).
People are notoriously bad at figuring out what makes them happy - and there’s no point in being more efficient at being unhappy. I think my character archetype leaves more to chance - all I need is time and patience in adapting to my new life, and being receptive to the cues of the universe around me. This sort of sustained hope is
oftentimes always absent from the lifehacking lexicon, yet it is the exact thing I know will inevitably lead me down a happier and more creative path.