November 18, 2021

The New Thing(s)

I figured out a thing this week about the way my brain works…such as it does.

First, watch this two minute Jordan Peterson clip, from a podcast episode with Tim Ferris.


Got it?

Watch it again. Trust me. There’s a metric fuckton in there to unpack and it’s only two minutes long.

I’ll wait.

See what I did there? :p

Sure. I’ve heard it a thousand thousand times. Hell, probably a thousand from Peterson alone. But something about this particular instances, which I think I saw on Friday, really catalyzed in my head.

It’s funny to me that there’s really no new information in there. I might have been able to come up with something close to the exact couple sentences myself.

But to hear it from the outside, from a trusted source, said that particular way at that particular time came together in my head in a really spectacular bit of synthesis, and brought a certain clarity to the issue that I hadn’t seen.

Tough to describe, but what it amounts to is a sense that fighting against the extreme openness (in the Big Five sense) is a fool’s errand and that I should figure out some other way to manage it.

There’s a sense of being granted permission to be like this that’s rather inescapable. It’s a tough thing to admit outwardly (though notsomuch inwardly) because it sounds so fucking cheesy “permission to be who I am” and all. But it’s there. Is it because it comes from Peterson? Is it just because it came from outside myself? Who the hell knows. Either, both, neither. Meh. It doesn’t really matter. What DOES matter is that it seemed to work. It’s frustrating to realize that I still seem to need that kind of validation for something so deeply intrinsic. But since it ties in so tightly with the overwhelming sense I have of myself as A Broken Thing I’m inclined to let it go (or, well, swallow it, to use a more appropriate metaphor.)

The calm clarity about it is as unexpected as it is welcome. That’s not to say that I’m at home and at peace with that aspect of my personality. Just that, like so many other things I know now what box to put that in, however perforated it might be. That’s something that helps me deal with these kinds of things. Significant progress, regardless.

I’m never going to stop wanting to do everything, to try everything, to explore everything. But that’s not a reasonable way to live your life. There just isn’t enough money and time to indulge in everything in which I’m genuinely interested (ask me how I know.)

It becomes a matter of a controlled embrace of the trait. So I think what I’m going to have to do is something like this:

Dedicate a scheduled block of time (roughly, with a “permission to extend” if I’m particularly engaged) to the explicit pursuit of New Things.

The New Thing can be anything. Absolutely fucking anything. I’m going to have to put a dollar cap on it I’m sure. But I’m going to take a few iterations on it to see where I land on things before I can even pretend to figure out what the fuck that might be.

For instance, on Monday I went in to Hobby Lobby to “just kinda see what was around.” Fortunately it was mobbed in anticipation of the silly season (Already? November 15?) so I didn’t buy anything. But a couple things DID strike my fancy.


Stained Glass.

How fucking cool would that be?

I also thought about picking up a basic oragami book and little stack of cheap papers.

There are a bunch of other things kicking around in my head, but those are two that struck me as I snaked back and forth through the isles, dodging middle-aged women looking for something cute for their Thanksgiving tables or something to make for Christmas.

What I wonder isn’t whether I’d be any good at it or sufficiently interested in it to get to the point where it’s self reinforcing. I probably wouldn’t. But the process of committing to that kind of “creative playtime” might be at least a start, if not enough, of the bleeder valve that I need to drop the pressure so that I can focus on the other stuff I really do want to pursue.

But the deal is that, within cost boundaries: Anything goes.

I think it’s the only way I’ll be able to go about it that will feel like anything less than a constriction, a too-tight necktie.

Now the problem of course is going to be the actual structure of time. THAT I’ve never been very good at. But I run the risk, even in saying that, in falling prey to the “well I’m no good at that so I shouldn’t try” that befalls me in matters of organization and discipline.

So what is it, a day a week? That won’t work. I can’t focus on something new for that much time. A couple mornings a week? I kinda like the sound of that. It might help keep me off the fucking computer in the morning, which is one of my serious demons.

Okay here’s a tentative: Up to 3 mornings a week, floating.

Even that feels a little constricting, for the aforementioned reasons. It’s a bad feedback loop I use an excuse for not improving.

The other possibility is to make myself a “creative pursuit” activity list I can draw from. But I’m not sure what form that would really take.

hmm… Why not both? Both is good.

Yeah I think I’m going to do both.

I’ll have to see how it goes.