8: Rethinking 'hermitting' and reflecting on energy and goals
TL;DR: I've been feeling a little bit hyper and am thinking about ways to manage it better; I'm dusting off some medium-term exercise goals that I've been putting off for a while; and a lovely evening with a stranger makes me think I need to get out more
Is there such thing as too much energy?
June saw me finally dropping my shoulders and relaxing my jaw. Logseq Mastery Tutorials came out of beta, meaning I was no longer buried deep in my laptop every waking hour. Unsurprisingly, this came as a large relief. There's still a lot of work to be done in the second part of the course, but I've finally been able to see the forest for the trees.
One of the consequences of this unwinding is looking out to a blue sky of areas to explore: different questions that I'm interested in answering or projects that might be worth pursuing. It's been an energising process, maybe even too energising if there is such a thing? I'm not 100% sure what the definition of mania is, but my subjective experience feels close to that: an underlying excitement and buzzing in my body that has left me slightly concerned at times because it's so unfamiliar. I'm experimenting with stopping my ADHD medication for a few days to see if there's any connection. Nevertheless, trying to contain the energy and channel it effectively feels like a good problem to have.
Reviewing some medium-term exercise goals.
In the last museletter, I mentioned that I signed up for another Vipassana retreat and registered at a local yoga studio to strengthen my back ahead of the retreat. I'm happy to say that I've finally found some consistency in my yoga practice, and my down dog now looks more like a triangle than an old man trying to regain his balance. My back is already feeling measurably stronger, although I have no illusions about it being an easy ten days, either way. It will also be a nice pause from the franticness in my mind.
The retreat is something I've put off for several years. My first retreat was in August 2018, and it fundamentally changed my relationship with my mind. That's not to say that afterwards, I had it all figured out. I'm always suspicious of people presenting their modality of therapy/awareness practice as a panacea. It feels disingenuous and slightly myopic, but that's a thought for another day. Instead, it was another tool in the toolbox of life, and I'm grateful that that too has persisted.
Talking about putting things off, I've had some other goals that have been on the shelf for a while, which I'm now dusting off. Maybe publicly setting the intention/putting it out there is helpful, so here's to running a sub-3-hour marathon and getting my blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) within the next 18 months. I've never run further than half marathon distance, so there's still a while to go before running a full marathon, let alone sub-3, but I believe I can get there with some proper training. I've struggled with niggling injuries whilst running in the past, so this provides good impetus to sort my hips and knees out. That means adding one Pilates class a week in addition to yoga to improve my stability and finally sort out my ITB.
On the BJJ front, I started training in earnest in August 2019, but my progress was halted by COVID lockdowns, first in South Africa and then in the UK. I haven't trained for over a year for various reasons, and I was also reconsidering why I was doing it. Was I too easily influenced because people I listen to/admire endorse it, such as Sam Harris and Tool's lead singer Maynard James Keenan? However, last week a friend of mine showed me a video he's working on for his YouTube channel (definitely going to re-tweet it when he's finished), and I realised I miss being on the mat. There was a healthy camaraderie and intensive cerebral and physical challenge that goes far beyond some renowned person's recommendation. I also want to kick my friend's ass (love you, Andrew 😋).
More on Andrew, last week he called me up on Friday night asking what I was up to. I was enjoying a quiet dinner in my pyjamas, preparing to turn into bed early and read a book, a classic 30-something-year-old Friday evening. But Andrew had other plans. A friend of his who had recently moved to South Africa was in Cape Town for the weekend and didn't know anyone (Andrew lives in Johannesburg). He insisted that I should get out of the house and meet her for drinks. I've been hermitting hard, so I figured it might be a nice change of plans (it wasn't too hard a sell). I was still very sceptical as to how it would turn out given my recent introversion and general distaste for small talk.
I was pleasantly surprised at what a lovely evening it ended up being. Conversation flowed (without much wine flowing), and I was again reminded that you can connect with random strangers on deeper levels than even regular friends given the right circumstances. I think I may even have to rethink my hermit lifestyle. Maybe I can find a patch of land in the city where I can still grow my veggies and go off-grid, whilst entertaining a healthy dose of new people every once in a while. Oh, to find balance...
The month ahead looks like it will be a busy one. I have a running list of projects that are occupying my headspace, and there's more to be done than time to do it in. Maybe another month of hermitting is exactly what I need. Isn't that a dangerous proposition? "Just one more..."
Until next time 👋🏽