Self Knowledge, Bullet Journals, Cooking – thoughts in a pandemic

This morning, I found myself getting nostalgic for the bleary-eyed, early morning train rides I used to take into the city on my way to work. I remembered the way my eyes would burn a little in the mornings when I hadn’t gotten enough sleep the night before, and the way my head buzzed as I tried to stay awake, and I felt a little romantic pang at the memory.

It is weird how you can be indifferent to something, or even hate something with your entire being, and miss it so much when it is no longer an option for you.

feel like pure shit just want her back

Anyway, setting aside the nostalgia that I will inevitably regret approximately two days after I have to take BART to get to work again. On to what I want to talk about.

Self Knowledge and the Bullet Journal

I started using a bullet journal this year, after watching a thousand videos on YouTube that outlined the process. Watching someone else plan their life out using a dot grid notebook*, gel pens, and stickers made me believe that that was the way I was going to get my life together. And now, eight months into the year, would you believe I still don’t have my life together?

What I do have, though, is a new sense of self-knowledge. I don’t mean that in the emotional sense, like therapy and journaling. I literally mean understand what is going on with my body in a physical sense. When did I last see a doctor? What did I eat this week that may be making me break out / my joints flare up / etc? These are all such important things to know about yourself, and things I never really had to think about before entering my mid-twenties.

I had a ton of health issues this year, and having one source where I can track my health issues has been so helpful to keep track of what exactly is going on in this fleshy turtle shell that is my home for the rest of my life.

Finding Joy in Cooking

My job is fully digital and in front of a desk. My shoulders are always hunched, my work outputs are all digital and somewhat fleeting, and my work days are broken down and logged in 15 minute increments.

For years, I have felt jealous of people whose jobs have physical outputs: nurses who are on their feet and work with people, baristas who make drinks and food for people, and booksellers who get to make recommendations and handle books.

This desire to use my hands and create a physical output resulted in a recent obsession with cooking. I used to consider define cooking as combining Trader Joe’s frozen gnocchi with their frozen bolognese sauce, so this is very surprising to me.

In the last week or so I’ve made my own teriyaki sauce (to serve with salmon and coconut rice), pasta sauce, and vanilla syrup for coffee. This may not sound like a lot (because it’s not a lot) but as I said, I used to EXCLUSIVELY shop in the Trader Joe’s frozen food section. So, you know, baby steps.


As I wrote a few months back, I am trying to improve my focus and attention span. So far, it’s been slow going, but I’m making the following promises to myself: to assign periods during the day where I am allowed to use social media, and to consciously incorporate the Pomodoro Technique into my workday.

Focus is such an important, foundational quality in a person and mine has been destroyed after 15+ years of regular Internet use (and like 6 years of somewhat frequent… herbal use). It’s even harder in the middle of a pandemic and election year, when it feels like a million different, things are calling for my attention at once.

Again, I don’t have a solution for these problems and I don’t know if they’re just part of modern life. That we’re all just destined to have our focus shattered like a mirror, refracting light everywhere. But I hope that that’s not the case, that one day I will be able to stay fully focused on something for longer than 30 minutes.

Or maybe that’s just a pipe dream. This has been a long post, I’ll see you in 336 Pomodoros.

*AOC uses one, which made my inner stationery lover weep with joy.

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