I turned 40 a few months ago. That brings with it a certain amount of introspection, and that’s a good thing. Add to that the inevitable new year’s resolutions and things are in danger of getting out of hand. And there’s a new job coming up to boot, which is great. Very exciting.
So what’s going on? Well, I’ve resolved to put what can now only be laughably referred to as my youth behind me once and for all and embrace, if not absolute teetoalism, then a very close approximation. It’s been a blast, or it seemed to be a decade or more ago, but alcohol in any sort of volume quite simply doesn’t agree with me any more. So that’s an easy one. By which I mean obvious, not actually easy, but I’m optimistic it won’t prove too tough a change to make.
We’re eating a lot less meat these days, for health, ethical and environmental reasons (that’s if the last two are in any way different). So that’s good. Really enjoying it too.
Lastly, I’m resolving to double down on dadhood as the most important thing I’ll ever do. I’d like to think I’m a good Dad but there’s always room to do better. I’m very lucky to have a wonderful daughter, and she’s nearly 6 now. I say that like that’s an important milestone, which it isn’t. It’s all important, obviously. But now is the best time to try harder, to make time, to be, er, “present” and, crucially, to plan doing lovely things.
Loosely in that ballpark I’ve decided to level up my media consumption to consume way less stuff created solely or predominantly by straight white men – i.e. people like me. I’ve made efforts in this direction for some time, but nowhere near enough. I hope this will help me be a better Dad. I may talk more about this.
Lastly and most wankily, I want to stop treating zen as an academic interest and actually do some routine meditating. I know, everyone’s at it. But yes, after years reading around it, I’m sold that zen as a philosophy makes a lot of sense as something to actually put into practice. If there’s one thing all the theory has taught me it’s that you can throw the theory out of the window. All you need to do is sit, ideally in a lotus or half-lotus, concentrate on your breathing and let the inevitable thoughts go as readily as they come. Forget progress. Just do this, and everything else should fall into place. So: time to sit.
So there we are: many wagons for me to fall off in the coming months. Watch this space.