things to remember

i) Running makes me happy. Seeing my body in shape makes me happy. Wear socks if running barefoot on the treadmill, or you’ll get blisters on the bottoms of your feet.

ii) I think my feelings matter – to me, if no one else. If it makes me inexplicably and incredibly happy to be discussing French philosophy en français with my French teacher – and it does – that means something. That should, you know? Even though there’s no reason for my draw to French, no cultural background, not even extraordinary motivation or interest, even though I can’t explain it. But using it makes me happy. Maybe I am tired of English. Maybe I think I’ll be able to find something in another language that I can’t in English.

I don’t think I can find sustainable happiness in places. It has to be things, people. I am trying to look out for the sparks of pleasure people’s company give me, to put intention in all my actions. I suppose that’s why my EE questions the assumption of territoriality in states, because I am not attached to the idea of land for itself. What do you do after you get something you want, a one-off, a possession? Some things are meant to be done, not to keep doing. Is that true? I don’t know.

Then again, one person’s happiness is such a luxury, isn’t it. I keep going back to the same weary conclusions. Steinbeck repeated the motifs of sorrow and death again, more ruthlessly and insistently, like a refrain. You only have to live long enough to encounter both – live, and time will take care of sorrow and death for you. But what value is holding on, what value is letting go? There are aphorisms, poetry exhorting both. I’m starting to suspect that the latter is simply evolution at work, the fishline we cut into our palms in order to be dragged to shore. Or maybe I’m taking them too literally. I’ve had the nagging feeling the whole of last year that I didn’t come here free and unencumbered, that I was looking back, always, always. Is that the right thing to do? But life should be so simple, shouldn’t it? Hold on to the things and people you love, the people and things that make you happy.

iiii) But put blinders on, and I think I have found a tentative equilibrium. I’m – satisfied, at least that I’m doing what I want under the circumstances. My brain attempts to lure me into changing what I think I want based on what is normal as defined by the norm, but as long as I start right and let inertia pull me along the right day and lift my head out of the water at times, I think – this is good, you know? It’s a lovely day and I am going kayaking later. I will miss the physical beauty of this place, spread open under the sun, but in itself, the place isn’t unique. It’s special, but. I refuse to believe in having ‘stages’ in life, having to move on, having to end things before they do, naturally. I can come (back) and soak up the beauty of the place whenever I want.

iv) I didn’t realize how long my hair is until someone pointed it out to me yesterday and I looked in the mirror, and ! Yesterday was Peace & Conflict Day, and more enjoyable than I expected. I engaged. There were swarms of circling vultures overhead in the afternoon, lingering in a portentous manner. I am co-planning the Asia-Pac regional day, which is immensely fulfilling and also imminently stressful; all my micro-managing and perfectionist tendencies are threatening to uncover themselves.

v) For Philosophy, I am doing my investigation the concept of The Other, and I am – identifying too much with what little I’ve read about it so far to be entirely comfortable. The insides of people, their mental states, feel inaccessible to me most of the time.

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