Constant Curiosity | #19
Journaling, Happiness & Japan
I’ve recently made the move from Austin, Texas back to my original hometown of Wabasha, Minnesota.
The cold and snowy Minnesota weather is a nice change of pace. Lots of time indoors to catch up on reading and movies.
📔 On Journaling
Time and time again, I find myself returning to writing in a physical paper journal. I started the habit when I was 14, and have been an avid journaler every since.
However, I often find myself switching from paper to digital journaling. “Typing is faster,” I tell myself. “I can access it from anywhere.” But every time I make this switch to digital, I realize that speed and access are not the point.
My purpose for journaling is to spend deliberate “unplugged” time by myself putting down my thoughts in an intentional and linear way.
I occasionally re-visit old entries, but the main purpose is that I took the time to make them in the first place.
🏔 The Pursuit of Happiness
With each new year comes the chance to assess where I’m at in life, and how I’ve made progress on any goals I’ve set.
In the past, I’ve set ambitious goals related to business, travel, and health. Yet none of these goals brought the specific fulfillment I’ve been looking for.
I’ve now realized that my goals weren’t ambitious enough. Now, my only goal is to achieve total peace and happiness. Anything else I do is just incidental.
So what in the heck do I mean by “peace and happiness?” I mean that I live each day completely in the moment, not wrapped up in the past, or in some dream of the future. That when my head hits the pillow each night I can exhale, and happily go to sleep knowing that if today was my last day on earth, there is nothing that I would change about it.
🗾 Longing for Japan
I’ve been waiting to return to Japan for the past 2 years. Due to the country’s strict lockdown, it may be months or more before I have the chance to visit again.
The first time I visited Japan, it was like experiencing a whole new world that was designed exactly for my interests.
Throughout the pandemic, I’ve daydreamed of going back to my favorite park in Tokyo and enjoying a hot coffee while reading a book on a bench on a sunny afternoon.
And yet I cannot go there.
This desire to return to my favorite place in the world has been an interesting meditative exercise. I’ve started to ask myself hypothetical questions like “What if I can never return?” This mental exercise brings me great sadness, but it is a useful one.
I’ve spent almost two years studying Japanese so that when I return, I can better understand the people and the culture. But even if I never return, it will not have been a waste. Learning Japanese, one of the most challenging languages in the world, has been an intensely challenging and rewarding experience. Sentences that once looked like nothing more than a collection of alien symbols have started to become intelligible. Watching anime (Japanese cartoons) without subtitles is becoming more and more understandable.
I’ve shown myself that I am capable of learning something new that seemed insurmountably difficult, and that alone is a valuable lesson.
I dearly hope that when Japan re-opens, I’m on the first flight to Tokyo. But even if that future is months or years away, I’ll be happy for the way Japan has inspired me to dedicate time to improving myself.
Thanks for reading and talk to you next time.