A Time for Everything

Lately, I feel like I've been hitting my stride. I'm in the zone. Everything I've learned up until this point is now making sense and fitting into my daily life. Whether it's lessons from psychology, pop culture, business, productivity, technology, things are falling into place for me lately.

Tagging onto last week's topic of cycles, I think of how vinyl records work. The record player has to spin at a precise speed, so there are controls to adjust the RPM. There's a needle that fits into the groove at the outer edge of the record, and it slowly works its way inward. Each side of the groove is engraved with an audio channel (left and right), and as it travels around the record, the scratching translates from the needle to the cartridge to make an electrical signal, which is then amplified into speakers. When songs have loud noises, the grooves in the records are so deep that the needle jumps the track and skips. There was a time earlier this year when I would describe my life as having fallen off the tracks, but not anymore.

Why do I feel this way? Couple reasons.

Sleep used to be a big challenge for me, but I'm getting tons these days. If my sleep is off, my whole day is ruined. I know people who don't have this problem, but my day is heavily dependent on what my sleep quality is like. Calgary is super dry, so the portable humidifier makes it easier to breathe at night so we don't wake up feeling exhausted. The bed we have is amazing. The studio we live in is perfect because of the blackout blinds. The alarms on Carrie's Apple Watch (and her hour-long snoozefest every morning) aren't waking me up before I feel like it, so I think that was money well spent. I get to play music on the speakers that I like, and that gets me into the right mood in the morning. Most mornings, I feel hyped and relaxed at the same time.

Carrie and I are making the amount of money we want to right now. It's not too much, not too little. Just right. We cut a ton of expenses when she wasn't employed and we were paying for her tuition and our general living costs. Now that she's working and almost making the same amount as me, it's time to pay down some debt and buy a bunch of toys. I'm also trying to flip my wardrobe. Who knew clothes could make you feel better? I also have the things that I like, they work the way I like them to, so that makes life comfortable.

I'm having simply great connections with friends and coworkers. I enter a meeting, meal, or coffee date fully aware and mentally present. We'll talk about many things, ranging from recent life updates to philosophy. It'll be natural and fluid, fun and serious, and it won't feel forced. I'm pretty intentional about my relationships, so if I want to see you, I'll find a way. If I don't, then I won't. You know that feeling when you go out, and there's something that bothered you about the interaction with your friends that you can't explain? Having Carrie with me helps because we always debrief after outings. We talk about what bothers us or what we loved, and we process the emotions and thoughts together. Not only do I have a pretty good idea of who I like to see and in what contexts, but I also act on it and stick by my decision. I think a lot of times, we feel trapped or stuck in relationships, and even though we know what we need to do, we don't do it. I used to often feel like I was watching myself from outside of my body as I agreed to hang out with someone when I really didn't want to, or I would stick around when I really wanted to leave. Relationships are simple yet difficult, and sometimes all we need to do is to stick to our guns. With my trauma and toxic family dynamic, I had a hard time trusting my own judgement. I think I'm better at following through now.

I used to wonder why all the strategies in my playbook weren't working for me these past few years, and I now realize that my first act was done and I wasn't preparing for my second. I had so many problems and insecurities I was suppressing that I simply couldn't go on anymore. My ability to cope was limited by having my plate full of problems, so I had to deal with those before I could move on to my next act. A sponge can only soak up so much before you have to wring it out, and even as I've been wringing out all these problems, I can feel new life sinking in.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
— Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Carrie worries about me sometimes because I get so focused on an activity, lose track of time, and I forget to eat. I can't wait for her to be finished school.

Jonathan Phan Lê @jon_le