Whatever I’m currently doing, I cannot help but notice that it all comes down to resources in the end: Things like time, personal energy, money, etc. And what all of these different resources tend to have in common is that they are limited – very limited in fact.
I have been reminded of that rather harshly a few times this week, in two different contexts. A person that I knew and liked, even though we did not speak the same language, passed away. Then the brother of a very good friend was diagnosed with a potentially terminal illness (still keeping fingers crossed). In both instances, it is pretty obvious what the limited resource was, or still is: Time.
I’m a very orderly person, to the point of being an anal stickler for details. I like to pre-structure my days as much as possible, following a number of habits that are set in stone. This might seem boring to most people – it often does to me as well – but I also get certain sense of security from it. I know what to do, I know when to do it, and I know it will get me the results I want in the long run.
There are few things that I love like the idea of personal development. Even before I learned about the whole movement that goes with it, it was a thing constantly on my mind. How to get better at skillset XY? How to manage your time most effectively? How to prioritize well? How to improve relationships? How to make a living from what you love?
I keep coming back to these questions and I find that effort spent answering them is effort well spent indeed. Just the attempt makes me feel more content.
Having acknowledged that, there is a very weird tendency of the personal development crowd to act like a bunch of stoned hippies. Yes, I’m very excited about actively tackling the big questions in my life too, and yes, that is a very proactive and positive approach to life – but that does not necessarily mean everything is suddenly all rainbows and unicorns.
Back when I was in high school, I met a teacher in training who would eventually become one of the most important people in my life. At first, he just assisted our regular teacher in explaining the inflected forms of Greek verbs to us (yes, I studied classical Greek, and yes, it was quite the torture). But eventually they let him teach his own classes and this is really where his star started to shine – because not only would he teach us this dusty language, but also the very exciting basics of classical philosophy.
It was not just that I was fascinated by philosophy in itself – it was also the personality of my teacher that got me so fired up. Here was a man who truly thought things through, who held himself accountable for everything he thought and said. But that was only half of it: My teacher M. also LIVED according to his own philosophical maxims, not just indulging in mind games like so many other academics. He would adapt a lifestyle and daily routine that was in sync with his preferred philosophical teachings – Platonism and its offshoots – while rejecting most of the values and “achievements” of modern life.
It sounds a little bit dramatic, but I’m pretty sure I just had the first lucid dream of my life. I purposefully didn’t look up any definitions yet, so as to not affect what I’m about to write; but in any case, it was unlike anything else I have ever experienced while dreaming.
I’m flying to NYC in a few hours to spend most of December there, continuing my ongoing love affair with the city. As much as the prospect excites me, I’m also a nervous wreck. I’m scared of flying, always have been, and, when I’m honest with myself, I’m also slightly uncomfortable leaving my steady and well-known surroundings here in Munich behind. Mind you: This is coming from someone who has spent most of last year on the road, constantly changing countries, cities and airbnbs. You would think I am accustomed to this by now, but no: Not even two months back at your old waterhole, and the oh so familiar fear of change starts to creep back in.
I sometimes look through older blog posts of mine – not so much from this blog, as it is still relatively young, but from my previous blogs. It’s funny to see how you thought and felt about a certain issue at a certain point in time and how your views have changed in the meantime. Quite often, I feel pretty embarrassed. I look at some of the claims I made in the past and cringe at the sloppy development of my argument or their sheer naivety.
If I had to summarize my struggles over the last couple of years under one label, I would probably choose the term “freedom.” Everything I do seems to come back to that one single notion: Striving to attain more personal freedom. At times when I was making progress with that, I usually felt happy; and when it wasn’t happening for me, I tended to be on the miserable side of things.
I’m one of the biggest nerds you’ll ever meet. I could make many claims to prove that epic statement, but the most convincing one is probably the story about how I got into fantasy role playing games. I’m not taking about computer role playing games, oh no… I’m talking about sitting around a table with a sheet of paper in front of you, with a bunch of other nerds, listening to the “dungeon master” tell a story of how your group of characters just met up in a tavern. Every now and then, you roll a couple of die to determine if you successufully slayed the dragon or found the secret trapdoor. That type of thing.
The topic has been on my mind for a while, although I’ve been dreading it. There are several reasons for that, but mostly I fear that turning the issue into an article will fail to do the people I’m going to write about justice.
Let’s start at the beginning. I only fairly recently learned that two people who used to be important to me — in very different ways — are no longer with us. One of them was my literature teacher of many years, and the other a girl I secretly had a crush on, without ever being close to her.