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Week 1/52

The first edition of a series of self interviews for 2024.

Intro

Welcome to the first edition of my self interview series!

I've always struggled with being consistent with anything that has a self-imposed deadline. Essentially, I can do things when I'm held accountable by other people, but not so much when it's myself keeping myself accountable. My therapist thinks I struggle with this type of self motivation for two main reasons:

  1. I have way too high expectations for myself and am scared to fail in public.

  2. I'm taking on things that I think I'm expected to like, but realistically I don't actually want to do those things.

The first one will be the easier of the two to change, probably. I just have to start doing the thing. Whatever it is, just start. Don't plan, just do. Focus on the journey more than the end result. Rather than setting goals like "Build Rome in a day", set goals like "learn how to make a brick" and "stack two bricks together". Aim for "good enough" instead of perfection. That sounds much more reasonable, right?

The second one - figuring out what I want to do - not so much. It reminds me of a cast I saw earlier this week from July on Warpcast:

And yeah, they're right - it's easy to know when you like something. But it's not easy to know if you will like something. The only way to know for sure is to give it a try, and probably try it more than once. Once you've tried it a few times, then you'll know if you like it. You do have to be honest with yourself when it comes to what you like about it specifically - do you enjoy the actual activity, or the external attention/appreciation you get from it?

These two contributors to my intrinsic motivation issue have resulted in a loss of trust within myself too. I set these goals and start projects that are essentially promises to myself, and then I never finish them. I'm great at keeping promises to other people, but fall short when keeping promises to myself. I'm stuck in a self-limiting cycle, and it's time to get out.

All of this to say: these small, 5 question weekly interviews are meant to help me clear out my project bottleneck, but more importantly to help improve my issues with intrinsic motivation and self accountability. I'm starting a small, easy project to see if I like writing consistently. I can write as little or as much as I want. And my interview questions will help me start noticing patterns in what I think about most and what excites me frequently.

The Interview

What was on your mind this week?

  1. Optimistic nihilism and what it means to truly experience life.
    In short, optimistic nihilism is a combination of nihilism and existentialism, where embracing life's lack of meaning is actually freeing. We don't exist for some greater worldly purpose, we exist simply to exist. We can create meaning in our own lives and just enjoy the time we've been given - relish in the present moment and just experience the life we have.

    This got me thinking: what does it actually mean to experience life? And I'm starting to think it's more about how many times you laugh and smile, how much you cry, the people you meet, the grasses you touch, the events you witness. It's not about achievements, or leaving a legacy. It's not about staying the course, it's about changing, growing, evolving.

  2. I really need to buy a microwave.
    I haven't owned a microwave in 5 years. I've been trying to start meal prepping as a habit for years. Maybe I haven't been able to form my meal prepping habit because the reheating process has so much friction without a microwave?

What challenged you this week?

I had quite a bit of trouble getting started on the visuals for a client project which requires way more graphic design than I'm used to. I've been focusing on UX design for such a long time now that I've lost some of the natural eye I used to have. I have an interesting conundrum - do I specialize even deeper in UX or do I take some extra time to sharpen my graphic design skills?

The real question is: which one do I enjoy doing more?

What new thing did you learn or do?

I got lost in the world of interior design this week.

I taught myself SketchUp and watched loads of YouTube videos on interior design and feng shui (shoutout to Cliff Tan and his very useful TikToks).

My living room is an awkward size (12x17ft) and has weird wall protrusions due to radiator and air duct placements throughout the building so it's hard to create a layout with good flow and symmetry. I also work from home, have a lot of hobbies that require space and good storage (sewing, painting, ceramics), do morning yoga, and love hosting people for dinners or movie nights on my projector. So this space has a lot of jobs to perform.

I modelled the room to spec and started experimenting with wall-to-wall shelving to make the space look more cohesive and allow me to remove some extra furniture and free up floor space. If anyone loves interior design and wants to help me figure out a layout with mostly existing furniture and come up renter/budget-friendly changes I can make, hit me up.

What are you grateful for?

Strangely enough, I'm extremely grateful for my hospitalization and all the subsequent changes in my life I'm starting to notice as direct or indirect consequences.

Yeah, I had to cancel a 6 month trip in SE Asia and Oceania that I'd been looking forward to for almost a year. Yeah, I lost the most lucrative job offer I ever had because I got sick. And yeah, for sure the 2 weeks spent in the hospital were horrible and traumatizing. But - I wouldn't change any of it.

The mental and emotional clarity I have now are at levels I've never experienced before. I feel at peace with exactly who I am and the decisions I've made. I'm seriously stoked about the extra free time I have now and all the opportunities that have opened up because of it.

Instead of being scared of my future and wishing I could bring back the comfort of past moments, I can't wait to step into it and see what's there to experience.

What are you most excited about right now?

I'm really excited to focus on what feels good this year. Whether that's building something of my own, learning new things, taking more active roles in communities I enjoy (hello Farcaster and Web3MTL), going outside more, spending time with friends, or simply doing nothing. I'm really really looking forward to learning how to enjoy life again and feel at peace within myself.

See you all next week,
Erica

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