Hours Add Up

Been thinking lots of “screen time,” as the past few months have been a killer. Trying to keep up with *everything* has been exhausting. I’m not trying to beat myself up over this, or anyone else. Just trying to be more mindful.

“The trajectory of your life bends in the direction of your habits.”

James Clear

There’s been day where the hours add up, and by the end of the day I’ve stared at Twitter for four hours.

Four hours.

Of course that’s not four hours straight. But time adds up.

I want to get better at making music. That starts with making music. Not writing songs. Not releasing an album. Making music.

Today I ran five miles in about 55 minutes. It’s my 57th straight day of running. The goal wasn’t win a marathon. Or a gold medal. Just run.

Now, I know I need to some other exercise. More planking. Lifting more weights. For whatever reason I haven’t “found the time” to do any of those. The time is there. I just don’t wanna. It’s not a habit, and 10 years from today I bet I’ll wish I did a few more sit ups.

Get Living

“It totally confounds me how some writers, artists, even speakers, like stick to one thing and keep doing that one thing/preaching that one message. I get that it’s bad for branding, but I always want to be changing, growing, evolving. That’s art to me. That’s living.” Jocelyn Aucoin

I know I want to make music. I sit down, open up Abelton, and eh, we’ll see what happens. Sometimes I’m not in the mood for making music, so those nights I’ll work on my Goodnight, Metal Friend mixes.

Neither is “the thing,” I don’t think. Though I won’t know if I don’t keep at it. It helps that I enjoy the process.

Running became a thing. Been doing that since 2016, and more often than not I’m wearing a running shirt instead of a band shirt. How’d that happen?

Sitting in front of me is a fancy pants MIDI-controller, which makes working in Abelton even more fun. I’ve looked, and I’ve been toying with Abelton for since December 2017, so I guess that’s one of my things now, too.

The thing is, none of these “things” needs to be a thing. I’m probably not going to be an iconic producer or marathon legend, but that’s okay. That’s still living.

Forward Steps

What happened last Wednesday will be in history books. People will talk about the insurrection 100 years from now. Yet another horrible stain in our nation’s history.

Then I thought of the images of the zip-tie guy. Antlers guy. The guy with his feet up on Nancy Pelosi’s desk. They’re going to be in history books, too. They’ll be in video montages in December, in those cheesy look-back clips.

Then I remembered NJ Rep. Andy Kim helping clean up from the aftermath.

“I’ve spent a lot of time in Afghanistan and Iraq, I’ve been in war zones where I’ve had to shelter in place, but I never would have imagined that this would happen here,” he said, noting that he didn’t know at the time whether the rioters were armed. “It was a terrifying experience.”

There is ample room for everyone’s reactions, hot takes, and snarky comebacks. I don’t mean to take that from anyone. But for many, it just aren’t hard-wired. The reaction is more about mobilization, helping, donating. Less hard. Soft. Just as important.

Even if you’re not introducing articles of impeachment, or delivering a monologue of zingers on late night TV, that does not mean you’re not part of the positive reaction to this event.

Some of the people who were arrested for this invasion will probably serve light sentences. They’ll lose their jobs. But then out will come the GoFundMe campaigns, and they’ll make a chunk of change.

On the other side, we’ll send money to our local food bank, mutual aid, hell… write a friend a postcard.

Every positive step forward, no matter the size, will get us where we’re going.

Photo Andrew Harnik / AP, via NBC News

What a Week

This week started with bean dad, and ended with an attempted coup. Thousands of COVID-19 deaths. Talk of impeachment.

They’ll be talking about these event 100 years from now. Well, probably not bean dad, but still.

For the week ahead we’ll all try and show up for work as if any of this is normal, dealing with the ambient dread however we can. Lots of coffee, mid-day walks, mid-day naps – whatever. Wild times call for wild coping strategies.

Help Daryl Murphy Build Free Libraries

Daryl Murphy has ran a 5K every day for over 265 days in honor, and silent protest to the murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain and way too many others who’ve been killed by police. Now he’s onto his third fundraiser, using his running for another great cause:

The goal of Miles For Justice III is to raise $10,000 to bring 10 Little Free Libraries filled with books that feature POC authors and POC characters into communities with limited book access. Each library will be placed in a highly visible location with ample foot traffic that’s easily accessible for all members of the community.

Right now he’s at about $1,000, so if you can contribute, do it. If you can’t just share the link: https://pledgeit.org/milesforjustice/

Your Website is Your Truth

A friend looking to possibly maybe starting down the path of a new gig. They’ve got this experience, but how do they really show it off?

“A website,” I exclaim!

“But how will people know it’s stuff I really did?

“Because your reputation precedes you. You’re a good person, you’re not a crook. If it’s on your website, it happened.”

Of course, that takes a few decades of building trust, establishing character. Day after day of trying to do the right thing, with the right people. But that’s the work.

Photo by Christina Morillo from Pexels

Back to Things Without a Break

Usually a Christmas holiday break means spending time with family, dinner with friends, ice skating, nice conversations in cute coffee shops… but not this year.

That’s what makes getting “back to work” that much more difficult. There was no unwinding, no reprieve. No break from the tragedy. No break from being vigilant. No break.

So we start January with a Slack outage, which is about as on-brand as you can get for the state of the world we’re living in now.

Forming Good Habits in the New Year

Sticking to a new habit, especially one like running which isn’t exactly know for being enjoyable, is tough.

Think of other things you enjoy around running that you can work into your system. Treat yourself to a nice running cap, or maybe your favorite album in your earbuds. Make a playlist for Mondays, something you can look forward to. Schedule a reminder in your calendar.

In my latest Soft Run newsletter I talk about supporting your goals with systems, which I learned from Atomic Habits from James Clear.

“The purpose of setting goals is to win the game. The purpose of building systems is to continue playing the game. True long-term thinking is goal-less thinking. It’s not about any single accomplishment. It is about the cycle of endless refinement and continuous improvement. Ultimately, it is your commitment to the process that will determine your progress.”

My first reason to start running was because I had friends who were runners and I wanted to join them in their adventures. It’s the same reason why I started playing music – my peers in high school were learning to play music, and I wanted to be a part of that.

Eh, maybe that’s some peer pressure, but 30 years later I’m still making music. And this will be my fifth year running.

Now, I’ve always wanted to be someone who says they do 100 push-ups a day, but never had the motivation. It never stuck. I’ve stopped and started (I wrote about it here in 2018), but ultimately I guess I really don’t want do 100 push-ups a day.

Could I make it a habit? I suppose, but I just haven’t built a system to make it happen, and I’m just not in a big hurry to do it, either.

Photo by Olya Kobruseva from Pexels

Work Together on Cool Stuff When You Can

If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.

The behind the scenes episodes for The Mandalorian just blew me away. The level of “I didn’t know if I could do this” energy was astounding, but it goes to show that people are capable of amazing things when you trust them, support them, and give them space to fly.

Remember, if you’re not “thriving” with all your work calls and video chats it’s not because those things are bad, it’s also because we’re operating during a once-in-a-lifetime event. People will be talking about this moment in time 100 years from now.

Go easy on yourself.

Put On Your Shows

Been feeling the feels a lot lately about the whole “working with people” thing. I blame the making-of videos on Disney+ about The Mandalorian. I’m talking the energy that comes from being in the same room, or on a call with someone you’ve worked with for years and you’re just plotting big stuff.

“I didn’t really know what I was doing in college, but I got so wrapped up in the comedy scene, because it looked so fun, and it was. I had that dream for myself. Perform with my friends, put on our shows. But we had to also feed ourselves, and pay rent, and have jobs, so we grew up.”

Sunita Mani

I love that line, “perform with my friends, put on our shows.”

Our shows.

I love the sort of child-like vibe of that, “our shows.” I mean, Sunita Mani makes it sound like they really did those shows, it wasn’t just some two-bit affair, but for people who don’t put on their own shows, or book their own tours, or start their own sites, well, I guess it’s on the other side of the spectrum. You’re either doing your shows or “growing up.”

Put on your shows.