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Breaking the Chain

Breaking the Chain

I journaled for 372 days in a row. And last week I stopped. Morning after morning my cursor punched track marks of words. 1,087,085 words piled up. My Python scripts graphed progress, creating a year of time-capsules.

This sack of a brain poured sights, sounds, emotions, thoughts into the page. After emptying the working memory, I encouraged myself to create experiences. Panning a stream of consciousness, the golden flakes separated from the chaff. Those powerful desires that make me get up in the morning — paragraphs etched by my motivations. Following a trail of gold, a theme emerged.

I want to grow, to contribute. Each journal finishes with my motto,

"Laugh. Cry. Think. Make."

When I fall asleep I had better be damn tired, after living each day to the fullest. A life is made of years; years of months; weeks; days. Packing each day with delightful, challenging and loving experiences makes me spend the hours plowing away at things that matter. I learned how to be present.

Friendships are like post-it notes. Squares of all colors fill up my desk, my working memory and space. And when the window opened, when the vacuum pulled, when the rain poured in, only a few stuck around. Only a few latched on. Farewell and good luck to those who float away. I learned that friends are earned.

Break things. Smash them to pieces, run them through particle accelerators, shear the screws and toss the lid. This last year I found myself enraptured by the most challenging thing I have ever encountered. Physics. Understanding the barest of metal. Getting close to the hardware and software of nature doesn't just put a smile on my face, it submerges my head in things I have yet to understand. And oh my do I love it! When we are uncomfortable, we are learning the most. I learned that if you want to fix something, you gotta take it apart. Figure out what's important.

This last year I read a book a week. The Autobiography of Malcom X, paired with Daniel Kahneman's Thinking, Fast and Slow showed me how we work through adversity or give in to our most base assumptions. De Profundis and Between the World and Me showed me that despair can be an opportunity for connection. Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! and The Joy of Discovery breathed fire to my curious spirit. There is so much to this world. The deeper I go, the more I am humbled by how little I know. I learned to appreciate the details.

Yesterday wasn't any easier. Today isn't any harder. It is just a bit faster. Struggle, gnash the teeth, beat at the floor, dance, laugh, smile. Don't be just busy to fill the time. Do work that matters.

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