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Out Of Office
Soooo, I'm taking a break from the whole professional scene.
So, I'm taking a break from the whole professional scene. My last day at Loom was March 17th, 2023, after five and a half years of startup craziness, eight years of being a technology brother, and about fifteen years of being in one rat race or another.
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I plan to stay unemployed for at least the time it takes to find something that feels right, or at most a year. I've got my budget budgeted, logistics logistic’d and i’m free to rabbithole all the rabbitholes i can muster.
Over the past month, I've taken a few tangents. Through it all, I've realized that it's really helpful to create some routines and rituals for myself. That's where this weekly series comes in, and I'm committing to writing one every single week. I think it's important for me to do this, and i’d like to look back here someday.
Instead of creating brand new posts from scratch i’ll be leveraging scribbles in my journals + someoranotherAIGPT™️ + my own smooth brain 🧠. I’m trying to not be too polished.
On picking rabbitholes
On the whole, I feel like I'm caught between a few decisions: make something wholesomely wonderful vs make something chaotically wonderful, spend time on music vs spend time on AI and technology, spend time on enjoyment or spend time creating revenue. Even as I type this out, it's pretty clear that some of these are false dichotomies.
But with that knowledge - with which one would presume a path is picked or at least the choice narrowed - I am now at the hill of commitment. It takes energy to go up, and if there are any scars of age and experience on me, it is the personal conservation of energy. Even though I know deep down that what is said of money is also true of energy, you must spend energy to make energy, there's still an attached hesitation to it. Though overall with these thoughts, I think approaching my day does become much simpler. Hopefully, we can spend some time on this fact and internalize it strongly enough that we don't spend energy churning emotionally. Things are definitely simpler than I think:
Time + Energy + Thought = Whatever I think I want.
I do think that I am starting to fall into some sort of a steady state where I can do something or the other on that front at any time. Maybe picking one thing until it picks me doesn't need to happen. Exploration is also a voluntary act, and I think it does line up with trying to pick a process that I love rather than an outcome. I think a lot of my friends thrive on being outcome-oriented, and even though I have that part in me, it has dictated the last decade or so of my life. Overall, even though I'm very lucky with outcomes, I think this switch to process is an infinite game that feels much more substantive.
On my malaise towards action
I think this malaise is equal parts body, mind, and heart. Should we write music even though it may get subsumed by AI, even if that's what I am pulled to do today? A part of me understands that we can't rely on roadblocks as a signal on what to do vs not. Because if we are drawn to something, the roadblocks are precisely what makes it engaging.
Another part of me yearns to stay away from AI, not because we don't find it interesting, but because the pace of it feels exhausting. But then again, I do feel like exhaustion is what brings satisfaction to my day. Not the exhaustion of energy (though that may be a part of it) - but also the exhaustion of inspiration for the day.
I've read "The War of Art" by Steven Pressfield, and I think it did capture my imagination - war metaphors aren't cool these days, but they work for me - and I find a lot of beauty in them. Maybe just how my brain is wired, but I'm happier now to mold my life according to my wiring than forcing reconnections (unless the reconnections are worth it, which sometimes they are).
I feel invigorated just writing this stuff out. I think large swathes of my morning pages in the past few months have been placeholders for the practice itself rather than a vessel for myself. I think that is laudable because that is exactly what I think is needed in other parts of my life. You don't maintain pipelines for practices that you haven't deeply internalized as important to your life and spirit; it just doesn't happen - and just like this morning pages practice has internalized itself and to a certain degree my singing, I think it is time to find what fits in that space that can also bring me a living income.
I was talking to a close friend who's on the latter end of his year-long sabbatical, who was in a similar situation, and we both agreed that a large chunk of cash is not what gives you the freedom to disengage from the rattier parts of the race - but it does give you the freedom to figure out what kinds of cash flows can.
Things i did
Refurbished my dining table
Literally the first thing i did after i left Loom was to dive headfirst into refurbishing my dining table - though i didn’t really understand why i wanted to do this at think i have some thought on why i was so drawn to it. Before i pontificate, here are the before and afters:
Reasons why i think i did this:
It was a complete palette cleanser from my previous day
All atoms no bits
Learnt a lot about woodworking and finishing from scratch
Theoretically i could save $$$ not having to buy a new dining table (though w/ all the supplies and gas costs it came out to be the price of a nice second hand one, but you can’t put a price on experience amirite?)
Things i learnt:
I was very outcome oriented to begin with - gave myself an intensely optimistic timeline for someone who’s never worked w/ wood or knows anything about it and treated the work like a chore.
Sometime during the end of the first week i ran into my first major setback w/ applying a polyurethane finish, i was very depressed this day as i made my way back home (i’ve been working in Paulius’s garage in mill valley since i live in a 1bd apt)
The above to factors led me to realize that i had to revise my timelines and learn to pay attention to the process and find joy in it
I was able to do that and even though i had to redo the whole thing from scratch after my setback i managed to both 1) Feel at peace doing it + 2) Do what took me 4 days initially in one day.
I will be taking a break from woodworking until i can figure out a better logistical situation than commuting 40 mins each way to my friend’s garage.
I can (and have) bought expensive furniture that has messed up finishes because a) i can just fix it and b) i can lowball my offers.
Started a songwriting circle at the SF Commons
I wanted to do this because i find music to be very nourishing for my soul + being the facilitator would be a forcing function for me to think through my own process and also come up with new music
I was a little nervous about the first session since i didn’t know how the dynamics would progress but since then we’ve had a handful and it has morphed into an organic hour or two where people discuss what they’re doing and help each other out - i really enjoy these couple of hours.
An impromptu lesson around Ableton.
I’ve also made progress on an original new track for Desert Elf that is much more in the RnB realm, where i’ve spent most of my time musically over the past year or two. Very rough demo below
Cooked (a lot)
Palak Paneer w/ Feta
Did i nail it: Yes.
Chicken Rogan Josh (Supposed to be Lamb but the butcher was out)
Did i nail it: i fucking nailed it, this shit was incredible.
Did i nail it: Yes. (i like cilantro)
Matar Mushroom Masala
Did i nail it: It was good, a little too close to the Matar Paneer i mentioned in flavor but that was good so this was good.
Protein Banana Bread
Did i nail it: Nailing it would be a stretch but it was 100% pleasant to eat and didn’t feel like a compromise on banana bread
High Protein Cookie Dough - the less i say about this the better, i ate it all over a week as penance for being the creator.
High Protein Brownies - this was as meh as a brownie could be, but still leagues ahead of the cookie dough (shudders)
Shredded chicken w/ sour cream - just thinking about this makes me want to puke.
Became my brothers gym buddy
This is the first time my brother has started to take the Gym seriously and it shows. And i couldn’t be happier - we send each other our workout and talk a bunch about how we’re doing thigns etc. Can’t wait to see him a year down the line.
The NBA Playoffs
I’ve been watching a lot of basketball, i’m on r/nba all the time, i love basketball now. The warriors are absolutely all over the place in terms of performance this season but still WAAARRIOOOORS!
What i read:
Things are progressing along, i think i’ve started to fall into a rhythm and am figuring things out, i have a list of side projects i’d like to build (some dumb and awesome and some reasonable and monetizable) that i seemingly don’t have enough time for + a set of more artistic goals - above all it’s important that whatever i start next has to align with me falling in love with the process and not purely the outcome, that is imperative.