I have thirty-three years today and feel inspired by Matt Mullenweg's "birthday posts" to start an annual reflection. As an alternative to end-of-year recaps where tons of people write and publish simultaneously, I think it would be interesting to collectively spread out these musings over the course of a year to 'balance the load', create more serendipity, and give friends opportunities to connect and be thoughtful.
To my fortune, almost every year I notice a feeling of being 'at the edge of myself'—not having anticipated to be where I am, not knowing what the future holds—and yet looking forward to jumping head first into tomorrow. As much as it feels challenging sometimes, I continue to be grateful for having a chance to pursue this path and wouldn't trade it for anything. But what's special about this year?
One thread is a feeling of more openness to people and possibilities. In the last year, I've shed a lot of psychological baggage so that I can travel lighter and have more space (for you, and us). Doing therapy regularly has helped me understand myself better and be more conscious of my internal mechanisms. I feel more mellow, relaxed, chill. I feel more capable of engaging with people I disagree with, ready to build social bridges.
It has historically been hard for me to connect with my body, given how much time I spend thinking, planning, structuring, whether in the mind, at the computer, or while doing almost anything else, and this is on top of a societal pressure that tends to view people as 'walking brains'. Recently, I've taken Pat Metheny's musical advice about 'practising until it's more natural to do it than not do it' and applied it to deep breathing. It's no longer a ceremony to mentally engage with but something that I train my muscles to remember—I find myself doing it at scattered moments throughout the day, a few seconds here and there, and it makes my body feel more accessible, less ethereal.
Musically, I was surprised to find myself playing and singing guitar in front of people. It was small but this was an incredibly significant performance for me, as I managed to enjoy being a musician for the first time in years. I feel unlocked to explore music in a totally different way, inchoate, without being too concerned with Mr. Music Institution's disapproving finger wag.
This was the year I started calling myself a writer. I probably wrote and published more text in the last year than in my entire life. Writing has clearly become for me the way I process my experience: it's through documenting my thoughts that I understand what I think, and it's the medium that feels most malleable and expressive. I enjoy finding interesting ways to phrase things, sharing stories, crystallizing a perspective, feeding my inner language nerd… I've always avoided writing on a set schedule for fear of drafting something superficially, but I have so many motivating prompts that I would like to give regular publishing a try, at least for a while.
The final change I would draw attention to is that after years, maybe decades, of going alone on most things, I'm finally taking steps towards going together. It's still at the beginning stages but I'm managing two forums for group discussion, hosting multiple monthly events, and organizing a salon on apps with my first co-host. It was hard to imagine myself breaking out of individualist patterns, but I can start to see some cracks now.
All this feels like being in the midst of abundant possibility: the past year of constantly planting seeds has yielded new fruits. The list of things that came into existence includes my funding system, Zero Data, friendship with Fission, Emoji Log, Joybox, The Café, Ephemerata, Easy Indie App, and various Interintellect salons. I still feel fertile with creative potential. I'm meeting more new people than usual, making new friends. I always wanted to have a 'show' interviewing people, and this might emerge soon as a podcast. I'm looking forward to travelling again, returning to Brazil someday. Even with few certainties, I think everything's going to be fine.
Thanks for reading and being here. I hope this was a nice surprise for you. Today was pretty sunny, so I'm reflecting some rays your way.