September 14, 2020

The Holiday Paradox:

The contradictory feeling that a good holiday whizzes by, yet feels long when you look back.” — Claudia Hammond

2020 is the opposite of this. January feels like a lifetime ago, while at the same time my days in lockdown have looked so similar I can’t believe we are three quarters of the way through the year.

I realized this whole year could go by and I would hardly be able to remember any of it. So I’ve decided to try keeping a log to document my thoughts and activities. I hope it will be an interesting thing to look back on, as well as a way to occupy my time, practice writing, and help me process everything.

Compared to articles or notes, this log will likely be more personal, reflective, and eclectic. Some entries will be long and rambling, others may be short, quick updates.

The last couple of weeks have been hard. When the air in California turned toxic in 2018, I went to the cinema, or dined in at restaurants. When Covid started and indoor activities were no longer an option, I adopted habits of daily walks and eating al fresco. Now that I can’t do either of these, I’ve started to appreciate just how important recreational activities and changes of scenery are to my well-being.

I thought the lack of social activities would allow me to spend time on all of my side projects that I never get round to. At first, it did. I read more, I worked on my website, I recorded a couple of YouTube videos, I studied economics, etc. But now that I can’t do anything I am finding myself incredibly drained after a day of work.

I’ve considered moving out to the countryside, or even back to the UK for a while. But for complicated visa reasons neither of these are an option right now. So I continue to get intimately acquainted with my small Bay Area apartment. I am very grateful for my air conditioning.

I know in the grand scheme of things I’m very lucky - I have a job that I can do remotely, I have health insurance, and live in a small but functional apartment with someone who I can actually stand to be around for 24 hours a day. So I feel guilty for complaining. But the last couple of weeks have certainly tested the resilience of my mental health.

Things I’ve been reading

Cool things I’ve come across

What I’ve been doing

  • I’ve spent a lot of time reading up on the Indieweb and trying to adapt my website to work with Indieweb protocols. I love the ethos but there is a super high barrier to entry for people who aren’t proficient with web technologies… Would love to see more user-friendly Indieweb services.
  • I tried Readwise.io a while ago and didn’t find myself using it much. But now that it exports automatically to Roam Research its usefulness has skyrocketed! I use hypothes.is to capture highlights and annotations on web articles and make liberal use of the Kindle Highlight feature and it is awesome to have everything show up in my Roam database.
  • I tried acrylic pouring. It was messy but satisfying.

Tips

  • I can’t tell you how much money I’ve saved on ebooks and audiobooks using this Chrome extension which shows you whether a book you’re looking at on GoodReads or Amazon is available at a library. I have signed up for a few Bay Area libraries so I can usually find a copy for free.

Updated Sep, 18 2020


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