A number of things happened at once, I guess. For one thing, there was that blog post that went viral, and eventually found itself on Huff Post and in Reader's Digest: I got my fifteen minutes of fame and found that I loathed it. The very last thing I want to be is a public person.
For a long time I had thought that I wanted to be a public person. Or, I don't know, you just fall into that, if you like to write, and people praise your writing. If you want to write, you must want an audience, right? And a bigger audience is obviously better than a smaller audience. It's your step for launching into immortality: make it as broad and sturdy as possible!
So -- yeah. But it turns out I don't want immortality. I don't want fame. I don't want to belong to my message and have to scurry around promoting myself and endorsing myself. I want to criticize myself, and discover everything that's wrong about what I said last week. A "brand" is exactly, precisely, what I do not want to have. Ever. Immortality at the price of immobility? Too steep. I ain't paying that kind of money.
But I was already ruined, by then: I was thinking about my accursed audience, and what I ought to say, and what they needed to hear. Which was generally, "not any of things I am currently thinking about."
So, yeah: fuck that. Incipit vita nova.
So anyway, how y'all been doin'?
With my massage practice on indefinite hold, I have a bit more disposable time. And I may not resume that practice, even when this country limps its way to some extraordinarily belated end of the pandemic. I'm winding down. I'm not even sure I want to keep my day job till I'm seventy, at this point. There are other things I'm anxious to do: and I don't know how many years I'll still be sharp enough to do them.
So what am I doing? Let me count the things.
1) I'm maintaining my food and exercise regimen. For two years I've held my weight around 160 pounds, and I've laboriously added five or ten pounds of muscle during that time. I basically know what I'm doing, now. This takes a lot of time and focus and effort, and any fantasy that it would ever be effortless, something I could do on autopilot, is long gone. It's going to take about 25% of my disposable time, until I no longer have any disposable time. So be it. It's the price of mental acuity, and it's not negotiable.
2) Spanish. I was in a holding pattern, really: for the last four years I've been tracking my reading (which has been the only skill I've been cultivating) and really it's been stalled out at ten or eleven pages of reading per day, for that whole time. I have gradually read somewhat harder texts, but the process is taking far too long. If I want the skills -- even the reading skills -- I need to do something other than noodle along reading a dozen pages and drilling myself on vocabulary every day. I've doubled my reading volume. I'm beginning to watch videos in simple Spanish. And I need to start producing Spanish, speaking it and writing it. I still believe (basically) that massive input is the key, but obviously it's not going to deliver the ease I want, even in reading, without an active component. I must start writing and even -- somehow, no matter how painful it will be -- speaking. Speaking might not happen this year: it might be an after-pandemic item. But it has to happen.
3) Reading great books. I want to read all the great books. Obviously, my death will intervene before I'm done, but so what?
4) Writing in my blog, for my own precious self and no other persons, unless they decide to hang around, for whatever odd reasons, and at their own risk. I'm not editing myself on anyone's behalf. Done with that.
Until I retire, this is really all I have time for. There are other things I would like to do. I would like to program some games; I would like to program some stock-picking algorithms; I would like to learn statistics in depth. I'd love to build some climbing structure with ropes and monkey bars to play on. Acroyoga, wouldn't that be a blast? And how I would love to get back to cartooning. Oh, there's lots of things I want to learn and do! I don't have time for those things now, and I don't see where the room for them will open up. If I get my fluency in Spanish I'll just want to go on to recovering my German and French: I don't think I'll ever want to forgo languages. Those are central. So, for now, it's the Four Things, and that's about it.