Thoughts on a long week + a podcast recommendation

I’m developing a bit of a reputation of being a know-it-all at work.

What is the difference between written Cantonese and Mandarin? Where is Ciudad Juárez? What does the word ‘toffee’ have to do with football?

These are apparently questions whose answers most people don’t care about. I’m constantly biting my tongue because I actually have a lot to say!

There’s probably something in the fact I spend more time wandering than tending to my LinkedIn profile.

Serena Williams earns less from endorsements than other tennis players despite being more successful; this has nothing to do with racism, she’s just less marketable! You know, not all victims of domestic violence are women! Don’t you find the whole Caitlyn Jenner thing just a bit weird?

I firmly believe that the path I’ve chosen is helping me grow as a person. Staying in the echo chamber of academia would have been a mistake for me, even though I know the decision to leave came partially out of fear of not being good enough. Learning to co-exist with people of different beliefs is important.

It’s 1am and I am in my bedroom. The others have kicked on, but I don’t feel the slightest bit of fomo. I felt most alive this week when I was chatting up a storm at the Spanish Meetup (I’ve gone three times since my last blogpost), when I found the multi-cache in Hyde Park with my new German friend, when I scored an important goal at futsal. I don’t need drugs to find my escape.

Tomorrow, I will go for a run or a swim to break the shackles and prepare for the next game.

I will continue to reach 10,000 steps a day, learn languages in my free time, and improve my goalscoring (okay, I might not succeed at that haha) simply because I’m interested.

* * *

“Because I feel that if I can help one young person even consider a life path other than the corporate gristmill, I can persuade one aspiring journalist to consider not working for BuzzFeed and refusing to feed the public’s appetite for mindlessness and mediocrity and to assure this young person to have faith in the possibility of building a life and a career based on E.B. White’s journalistic ideal of lifting people up rather than lowering them down, then it’s worth my time. It is absolutely worth my time.” – Maria Popova’s (of Brain Pickings) words are still ringing in my ears from her episode of the Tim Ferriss Show(full transcript here).

* * *


This week was inspired by Death, Sex & Money, a fantastic podcast from WNYC. It’s very much in line with my ongoing meditation on what a human life looks like.

What is it like to have an abortion before they were legal? Or to survive domestic violence before it was recognised as a crime under the law? Speak with Ellen Burstyn. How do you handle being a gay Iranian-American whose grades don’t live up to your parents expectations? Listen to Desiree Akhavan’s story. There’s also an interview with Bill Withers, of Ain’t No Sunshine and Lean On Me fame, on what it means to be a man.

In other episodes, host Anna Sale interviews her listeners. I particularly enjoyed the episodes on mental illness, siblinghood, and cheating.

The show is all about “the big questions and hard choices that are often left out of polite conversation”. It is a reflection on fear, life’s big turning points, how things sometimes fall into place, and how we hope to be remembered. The episodes are usually only about 25-30 minutes long – very manageable.

* * *

Some parting thoughts:

  1. It’s almost October and I still haven’t been able to make learning Chinese a habit. It’s still something I’d really like to do.
  2. I’d like to read more fiction again.
  3. I still need to learn how to be comfortable with doing nothing, with cutting days short and getting myself into bed.

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