Matt Marshall

69 Posts with Tag life (All tags)

Just been informed that my laptop order will be delayed as the chassis won't be delivered to the manufactrer until ~20th Jul.

Current laptop currently requires blood sacrifices to charge properly. I feel that I'm about to take a break from digital media at home :-P

life laptop tools delays

Benefits of doing my thesis and #chi2019 paper from home:

  • Wide array of tea options
  • Less distractions, nicer environment than the lab
  • Chippy around the corner

Drawbacks:

  • also the chippy. I buy way too much chippy.

food life phd chi2019 writing

Feature Creep, and Doing.

I have always had a problem with the dreaded Feature Creep. Not only with software development, but in life generally. I take a lot of pleasure in the doing of something, and when I stumble across something that I feel I may enjoy doing I get incredibly excited at the prospect of its doing. If that made sense :-/

I experienced this quite early on in my strength training journey -- attempting to integrate a full Calisthenics system with a Power Lifting one. When I finally dropped my Power Lifts to focus on Calisthenics, instead of relishing the extra time and simplicity I instantly started trying to do various different forms of calisthenics training (my foundation was always Convict Conditioning, but I was attempting to Grease the Groove on quite a lot of things too, and was rushing the addition of extra exercise progressions).

I've most recently experienced this with Brimstone, my little indie blog project. I've only recently gotten around to actually fixing the main feed, and integrating everything together. Mainly, features creep in and keep me awake via RSS feeds (it's getting shinier back here, btw). The same can be said with my PhD. People keep trying to introduce 'features', or aspects of the research. For the most part I welcome it, and their interest in it is exciting (if pressuring). But there's only so much I can do.

The most dangerous feature creep I've experienced is that which I indicated right at the start of this post. The doing features of my life. I take a real, carnal, pleasure in doing things, taking things in, and being part of things. Throughout high school and 6th Form (college) I was involved in a local theatre group. When I got a job making pizzas, I found it difficult to manage acting alongside 6th Form, the job, and a new girlfriend (oh myyy). So acting was dropped. I managed to get by in 6th Form without too much feature creep. My Open-Sourceness became more pronounced, so I suppose that was one thing I was doing, but otherwise I was pretty simple. I watched a lot of TV shows.

When I came to Uni, the acting came back in and I am ashamed to say that I let some good friends (and splendid talent) down by dropping out in the most heinous way possibe: ceasing to show up. I was busy being a Computer Science student, an active Satanist, a fledgling executive member of Rocksoc, and I had a new girlfriend (this one was a model! ohhh errr). I also still had my job slinging pizzas (in a different shop), and my social life was abuzz with clubbing and friends. Also now I had to cook for myself!

Years later, things are looking tamer; but I worry about feature creep still. The things I like to do keep growing. Every time I enjoy cooking something, especially if it takes effort, I long for a ritual of doing it daily or weekly. My Strength Training is so ingrained in me now that I can't help but do it -- but it remains something that I do so it affects my day significantly. I enjoy doing maintenance on clothes and boots. I enjoy doing reading, and writing. I enjoy doing development, especially adding new features to software. I've recently took up a light practice of making, which is absolutely rife with doing things -- lots of things! Also carving, if there ever was something that was doing; carving is it. Since developing an interest in Politcal Economy, and being awakened as a Feminist (or ally) I've being doing those things. Oh, and after a nice long spell of being out of the habit of doing being a Satanist; I'm being enticed back in by a new and sexy UK community.

I don't know what to make of all this. Juxtaposing the desire to experience rich variety against the desire to not feel bad for not doing something is becoming tougher every day. Is it wrong to love drowning in it?

calisthenics diary development reflections brimstone life

After spending years on a media diet of grand-scale TV shows and serialised MCU-style episodic-films, it's really really nice to watch a self-contained story which is artfully crafted. As a result I've found myself getting into cinematography and story-structure more and more.

I hope Netflix and the MCU won't be the death of cinema.

life cinema movies cinematography mcu marvel netflix episodic movies

Ok so I've just watched Snowpiercer for the first time ever and I'm convinced that it's a masterpiece that conveyed a message in two hours that latter parts of The Matrix Trilogy failed to convey in two films. Even based itself in Class Warfare.

life class cinema movies revolution

My resolution for this coming Equinox is to remember the restorative effects of my "foundational rituals" (stuff that makes me, me). I've been feeling thoroughly crappy lately and stuff like my Strength Training has suffered, and haven't been up to performing them much leading to feeling crappier.

I managed to start breaking out of this cycle last week through heavy focus on exercise (my bedrock) and I've never felt this good in a while. Still a ways to go, but upwards.

calisthenics life strength training feels sad rituals cycles restoration

Benefits of drinking around a litre of tea and a litre water in the mornings: super hydrated, feel great, healthy kidneys.

Drawbacks: needing the loo constantly between 1030 and 1400 :-/

life tea water

"Belly Full of Veg" is an accurate description of my current state, driving goals, and potentially what I'd name my Hybrid Black Metal-Gabber EP if I ever miraculously learned to do music.

life vegetables lunch

Me: "Oh no my potted oak tree is shedding its leaves it must be getting ill I am a terrible plant person"

Also me, outside: "Oooh all the leaves are falling I love this time of year aren't trees clever shedding leaves like that"

life plants trees silly

A good 60-80% of my ebook library (via Calibre) seems to have become corrupted magically :-/ Using it as an opportunity to pare down my digital clutter and sort out what I'll actually want to replace from my backups vs what I can forget about

life ebooks digital backups

The upstairs students are gorram psychically attuned to annoy me. I exercise on Thursday mornings for years and they party on Wednesday nights robbing me of sleep. "No problem, I'll train on Wednesday mornings". They've shifted their partying to Tuesday nights.

WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME

life sleep students flats

I usually spend the first hour of my Saturdays reading some Stoicism. The advice on dealing with insults from supposed friends always strikes me because I am so lucky to be surrounded by people who never offer backhanded compliments or genuinely mock me.

This wasn't always the case, obviously. But I enjoy the little family I've curated.

life Stoicism friends family

Gratitude List Autumn 2018

Every three months or so I do a gratitude list in order to try and cultivate gratitude, stem my desire for novelty, and seek tranquility by training myself to want what I already have. I usually write these in a notebook, but I am of the web and thought it would be cute to publish it as a blog post that I update every day.

  • A is for Autumn. Crisp outside, the right levels of light, and a favourite season of mine
  • B is for Bees. I hope we can save them, as they give us honey and mead.
  • C is for Chickpeas. Delicious, nutritious, and straight from the Earth
  • D is for Dogs. They are all good boys, and I'm glad we evolved together.
  • E is for Eggs. For me, they're pretty much the perfect food
  • F is for Fruit. Ensuring I get nutrients along with my sweet fix
  • G is for Games, as ways of bringing play into my life
  • H is for Houseplants. Givers of oxygen, calmers of my mind.
  • I is for International Worker Cooperation. The solution to global capitalism.
  • J is for Jars. Allowing me to reuse them and store things in style.
  • K is for Kin. Through experience, I am glad of my friends and kin for making possible all I have achieved.
  • L is for LineageOS. You help me run a phone free from Google.
  • M is for Mentors. Teaching and guiding me.
  • N is for Novels. One of my favourite mediums for stories.
  • O is for Oranges and their variants. Always delicious and about as sweet as I'll go.
  • P is for (my) Pull-up bar. Temple and teacher, it forges me anew constantly.
  • Q is for Quiet, and for the ability to find moments of it everyday.
  • R is for (the) Red Flag. The People's Flag. The Workers' Flag. Uniting us in struggle.
  • S is for Stories. The building block of society, I adore stories of all kind.
  • T is for Tea. Like a blankie for your insides, it solves all problems.
  • U is for Unity. Together we may move mountains.
  • V is for Vegetables. Like, they're literally free food from the ground.
  • W is for Water Bottles. Specifically the steel ones; helping me stay hydrated without waste.
  • X is a tough one. Not much I know begins with X. I guess I'm thankful for X-Rays in Medicine. I'm thankful that I'm well but if I ever get sick, I'm sure they'll help.
  • Y is for (my) yacht. A gorgeous little thing that I hope to give proper attention to soon.
  • Z is for Zotero. You're open source, flexible with me, and do your job well.

life reflection minimalism Stoicism gratitude lists

Dear Seneca, Marcus, etc. I have learned a lot from you. You have brought me tranquillity and joy.

But I bet you never had to deal with students who have a proper sound system

life Stoicism noise

I hate London. Every time I'm here something goes wrong. It's smelly, the tubes are overcrowded and constantly break, and everything is an hour away from everything else.

Just had to walk 3.5 miles to my accommodation because tube failure and no buses available

life london travel

This fortnight had been super intense with traveling for work, spent way more time in London than I'm comfortable with. I am looking forward to a massive plate of vegetables and a snooze when I get back

life work london travel

So this morning I

  • Woke up 0530, trained outside in the park
  • Wrote some thesis before 0800 along with lots of tea
  • bought my reader-owned paper from a consumer-owned local coop.
  • Cleaned my bike ahead of cycling to work for my Worker coop remote-working job.

I have become very irritating on paper :-P

life work phd cooperatives

I never thought my bar for a "good week" at work would be so low as "not having to be in London" but here we are :-p

(PS I love my job but this month has been mega intense and London is crap)

life work london travel

Goodbye Twitter

"When it comes to the overwhelm; the easiest way to solve that is to turn it off. Really just turn it off" - Patrick Rhone in Minimalism: A Documentary About The Important Things

Since around a month ago on the 5th of October I've had myself locked out of Twitter. I achieved this by ensuring that two-factor authentication was turned on, and by asking my friend S to change my password (I actually did the same for her). This way I couldn't log in because I didn't know the password, and if she proved untrustworthy she couldn't log in without access to my phone or email.

I thought my motivations for this were pretty straightforward; less distractions. I'd developed a bit of a Twitter 'twitch', and endlessly scrolling the site or flicking between it and Mastodon was dramatically affecting how much I'd been able to achieve in recent months. I did the same thing when I staged my withdrawal of Facebook I didn't think it was too much of an issue; since I don't have any social media apps on my phone, I can't receive the summons of notifications. Turns out it had permeated my life in a few other ways.

My desire for input and entertainment have decreased

I thought I had a pretty good handle on curating my input. I only subscribe to a few YouTube channels and Podcasts at a time, which I've arrived at from years of striving to understand the form and topics of media that I like to consume. What I hadn't quite landed on was the connection between Twitter / microblogging's rapid-fire, consumable, format and its ability to increase my overall desire for just… input. It's like how my stomach expands whenever I often have too-large portions. The pace and overall serving size of reading Twitter or other microblogging sites just increases my appetite for mindlessly consuming more entertainment.

Really, that's what concerns me the most. I do believe that humans deserve to have a good time, and relish the playfulness that comes with our existence on this planet. Not everything has to be work. I just think that there exists a semantic difference between enjoyment of a playful activity and entertainment. As a phenomenologist at heart, I think that there just might be a difference between an activity being entertaining and the phenomena of entertainment. One is an attribute, that tells us and others that this activity, work, or interaction holds our attention and brings something into our lives. One is its own phenomena; that says we've extrapolated the attribute of being entertaining into its own noun and created this Thing which we seek out instead of thinking about the material thing that we're actually doing or watching or reading. For me, entertainment amounts to what I do in order to distract myself from what matters. I'm fine with something being entertaining, or sitting there being entertained while doing or experiencing something, but I'm very cautious about something that exists almost purely in my mind to distract me or hold my attention. This is not to say that Twitter or Mastodon are products of pure entertainment; they're very valuable communications tools. For me, the phenomena was that they were entertainment and they served that purpose of distraction.

I'm not sure about you, but I don't want to turn around in a few years, reflect on what I did with my time and come up with the answer of "Oh, I consumed entertainment".

Quietness is my new favourite thing

Linked to the above, I spend a lot more of my time in quiet these days. Previously I used to consume podcasts in the evening, and have a selection of YouTube channells I would enjoy checking up on. I still do, but now my actual hunger for these things has decreased significantly. I don't feel the urge to consume content as I get the opportunity these days, and while I definitely still enjoy listening to podcasts about various topics or watching YouTube videos or reading satire on the web; these things have fallen into a "natural" rhythm rather than being a relatively constant demand or hunger in my mind.

Since locking myself out of Twitter, I've not logged into Mastodon either (sorry fediverse! You're still my favourite), only visited YouTube once a day and usually to retrieve some specific information (usually around propagating a plant cutting), and barely read any web articles during the work day. It's almost like what happened when I started fasting in the mornings, and my body just started telling me what its actual needs and desires were rather than the holding pattern firing constantly.

I've still got a way to go with curating my input and determining what I'm doing purely to entertain myself rather than fulfill myself. But I'm a lot happier in the quiet now.

I think I'm done with reading Twitter

I… I don't think I'll go back. One thing Twitter was useful for was keeping up with world events because of the trending hashtag system. I'm pretty sure I can find a workaround for that somewhere. I will maintain my Twitter account but treat it as a bot (I may actually rename it to Marshallbot) which just posts my content from Brimstone.

I was using the direct messaging feature in Twitter somewhat at the end, so I think I'll use the api to wire them into Brimstone's inbox (which I promise I will finish at some point!) and outbox so that people can actually get in touch with me if they need to.

Anyway, catch you later Twitter. Maybe. Probably not.

life habits twitter web internet social media entertainment tranquility

2018 was a Long Year

2018 was a long year.

I've put off writing a little reflection on 2018 for a while now. Part of that has been due to how tired I am. Part of that will be simply due to my priorities not laying with updating a blog. Part of that will be me not wanting to sit down and take account of everything that happened.

I hit burnout this year. It had been building for a while. You know the kind of burnout? The kind where you can spend every week day exercising and doing fieldwork and analysing data intensley and then can't summon the emotional fortitude to pick up the phone to make a GP appointment, or speak to a supervisor. Unfortunately I think it was a pretty typical progression; supervision for my Phd has been problematic for a while. I've had five named supervisors for a while, and no real supervision. I'd not see a supervisor for months at a time, and when I did see them I felt obliged to tell them everything was ok. To essentially lie to them about how I was feeling about my PhD. That's its own problem really -- eventually I want to write a piece about life at Open Lab and the issues around supervision there, and how I never felt that it was possible to approach or speak to anyone. To sum up my experience; for the latter half of my PhD (around halfway through Stage 2) nobody ever asked to actually see my thesis. Not once. I had to attach it in its current state to my annual progression panel. That caused me a lot of anxiety. The progression panel were fine with the state of the thesis -- I had publications. My supervisors were usually attentive to my work when it was CHI time.

The environment in Open Lab turned actively toxic. Patrick Olivier's abusive management style was beginning to be reproduced by some of the academics in the lab. The other professor in the lab, Pete, sat back and claimed ignorance when confronted with the reality. I know this was not a genuine claim. The emotional support I was giving others was necessary but also taxing. Partially due to the specific way I was suffering under Open Lab made me feel I couldn't speak up and thus others kind of presumed I was fine. Nothing was put back in my tank. As much as I love my friends and colleagues at Open Lab, I am upset they never really made efforts to ask how I actually was (with a few notable exceptions).

At the same time, my relationship with B was growing steadily worse. Not due to her, but because of my ignorance and self-absorption in my own mental health issues. I'm so sorry for everything. I can explain it. I did genuinely have mental health problems, and probably have for a while. Probably will continue to have for a while. I can't excuse it. My relationship to Helmsley Road (my home of seven years) was also deterioating. The walls that had once acted as shelter and opportunity, and an incubator for my growth started to steadily warp into something else. It had been building for a while. I couldn't leave because of the financial uncertainty that came from my funding running out and my perceived dependance on my pull-up bar and the "flexibility" of the landlord. I would sit there, being the only one who ever did any cleaning for years, feeling trapped.

It came to a head in August. I couldn't take any more. I sent a 'state of the union' style email to all five of my named supervisors. I received a mixed set of responses from ones that actively blamed me to ones that took responsibility for their failure. I also spotted my dream job, and in September I was offered a role at the Open Data Services Co-Operative. I also moved flat and broke up with B. All of these rapid changes across the last quarter of 2018 also took their toll. It was really tough, and those decisions each have had their lingering negative effects. But they've given me the chance to start the next stage of growth. There's been a few false positives with the mental health. I was feeling better and then took on too much again, and once again it came to a head recently where I was socially exhausted and nothing was putting back into the tank.

Right now, I'm fairly positive I'm on a better trajectory. I've got steady employment, meaning my anxiety over money is a lot less. I'm in a lovely new flat with an amazing new flatmate and the place is very much what I need in a home. It has a central hub around the kitchen table where I spend time alone and time with my flatmate. I'm still writing my thesis. I still miss B, but I need to be alone to recuperate and reflect to rebuild my foundations. I watched the sunrise over the beach today; an annual ritual of mine. The solitude and headspace felt right. I'm ready to put in the work to make myself happy again.

I think 2019 is going to be a long year too.

life reflection work academia phd 2018 mental health

Hi Twitter, please be informed that I am no longer logging in so I will not see replies or messages, and haven't for some time. All my tweets are automatically posted via my blog. I'm basically a bot now.

life twitter social media

(Almost) Off into the sunset; what I've been up to for the last six months

I last wrote something longform in this blog in February, about how 2018 was a long and brutal year for me. The post reflected on 2018 and low-key announced that I'd landed myself a new opportunity. I wanted to give a sort of update, sort of belated announcement of what I've been up to for the last six months since October.

On October 8th, 2018 (2018-10-08T09:30:00+01 for all you ISO 8601 fans) I started my first day of work at the Open Data Services Co-operative (ODSC); my dream job. Why my dream job? Well:

  • the work follows naturally from where my PhD will leave off (status update on that later) in the open data world. ODSC support many amazing open data standards such as Open Contracting (OCDS, not to be confused with ODSC), 360Giving, and International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) among others. It's meaningful work, that I adore doing even in the midst of "the daily grind"
  • it's remote work. I've been looking to transition to remote work for a while; partially to escape the UK if the far-right rise up, but also partially to experience a bit more of the world. This is a relatively low-key requirement for me but the fact I've managed to find work that ticks this box so early in my post-academic career has been mindblowing for me.
  • and most importantly -- it's only a bloody worker co-operative! Many know I lean quite far to the left and that democratic worker control is a really important thing for me. Worker co-operatives are pretty much the best a worker can get under capitalism and ODSC have proven time and again that they (we!) value each of the workers and strive to provide an environment that grows each individual in a way that means we strengthen the group. I'll add an obligatory footnote that we don't really discuss politics much at ODSC (besides Brexit) and that, unless someone's really good at hiding it, I'm the only commie there. There are many political stances that advocate for the worker co-operative model and I believe that ODSC nurtures members with a wide variety of political views. As a group we are by no means a-political but we're certainly not positioning ourselves as a leftist organisation.

I've by no means hidden my new job from anyone, but I've held off of making a proper "announcement" online for these last six months. That's because the probationary period at ODSC is six months. So… I am ecstatic to announce that as of Monday 08th of April I am a full worker-member of Open Data Services Co-operative!! I have never been more proud to contribute to an organisation as I have ODSC. During my time there I have been moved to tears on more than one occasion due to the genuine passion and care that these people have for each other and their work. Whether it's writing a policy to give workers generous parental or sick leave, the daily act of reminding you that you're working too much and to take some time for yourself, or the systematic way they've incorporated expressing gratitude to others as part of the culture there via a dedicated IRC channel -- I leap out of bed every morning to go to work and return to bed grinning after the day's done. As a full member now, I am expected (and keen) to become more involved in working directly on the co-operative itself. For now I've elected to join the Staff Welfare group (to scratch my Shop Steward itch) and Finance (to actually learn about the financial processes of running a business). I've participated in three quarterly Ordinary General Meetings (although my first one was on my third day and I didn't contribute much!) where there is always a rollercoaster of emotions as we discuss the future of the co-op. I am under no illusion that being a member in a worker co-op is (shock-horror); work. This is work that I'm looking forward to. I'm more than happy to trade the false stability of market-salaries and keeping my head down being told what to do for control over my destiny and furthering the cause of worker control. I was braced for a future filled with workplace struggle through union battles and, for a while at least, I get to redirect that potential energy into the co-op.

This has been a far-cry from the late days of my PhD; where I was experiencing a lot of depression and anxiety and would outright not feel up for making it into the lab some days. It's safe to say that the environment ODSC have created for me to visit every working day has been the major contributor in my recovery re my mental health. There have been other factors, too. A massive shoutout goes to my new flatmate Rosie who has provided a wonderful environment to grow in. Seriously, thank you. Another focus of my gratitude is my lover V who has been a bulwark of support and patience these last six months and who provided an amazing rest period over the Winter Solstice for me in Madrid.

The journey of my PhD is not yet over. I've still got a thesis to write. My writing has been... slow. Part of that is due to fear of the thesis, some of that has been lingering anxiety reactions from the trauma of my Phd, and some of that has due to being plain tired at the end of a fulfilling-but-long working week. My supervision is slightly better now, but still not ideal. I'm debating playing with my options for extending the write-up through looking at extensions or dropping to 0.5 for the writing year (if that's even possible!). At the moment, though, I want it done. It rattles around my brain at night (though I've actually been able to rest). I'm ready to write it but we'll see what's a healthy rate for me. The lessons I'm taking forward into the next six months are that I need to be better at getting what's owed me from my supervision, and that integrating writing into my new life is key. I owe it to my participants and myself after last year.

I'm not sure when I'll next write something that isn't a response to evaluating some open data, or some thesis. My priorities aren't with a blog until my thesis is done. I can't say that I've left my old life behind but it's certainly fading to nostalgic sepia tones; a series of loose ends that just need a few knots tying off before the sails are rigged and I can cast off.

life work recovery phd writing open data mental health co-ops odsc

After nearly a year of an ethnographic study of work practice I have come to the conclusion that the only thing more painful than needing the toilet in a meeting is needing the toilet in a remote meeting.

life work remote work

I own less than 200 items. They all fit into a 1/3 wardrobe. My bedroom is pretty much just empty space. Yet I have managed to lose my smartphone somewhere in my flat. In do-not-disturb mode.

life phone silly-matt

Idea for a start-up: alternative to TripAdvisor where hotels are rated solely on the quality of their toilet paper. Cashflow is generated by ads from companies selling travel bidets.

life travel

Me at 16: Uses dark mode on everything because am an edgy boi
Me at 19: Doesn't use dark mode because slightly less edgy
Me at 28: Dark mode on everything because I'm old and my eyes hurt

life age edgy dark mode

Continuing on the theme of dark mode everywhere, I have installed a Dark Reader for Firefox and learned two things:

  • You get used to it scarily quickly. The CSS is really nice, and most websites are compatible. It feels really natural.
  • Brimstone's CSS is so simple it looks really good in Dark Mode. That's kinda neat.

brimstone life health web dark mode eyesight

I wear an oversized hoodie around the house in the evenings. It's thick enough to feel cosy and large enough to trap air between my body and the rest of the air in the room. This means it feels cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

There's a moment when I slip it on and I feel the fabric on my skin (for why would I sully the hoodie by wearing a layer underneath? It is the cosy hoodie) and I raise the hood. The hood temporarily blocks my peripheral vision until I adjust it. I can feel the hood against my scalp. I smell the hoodie; it only smells of home. Of tea and the spices of last night's meal. I hear that weird woosh of fabric moving over your head and I feel the coolness of the cotton on my shoulders and chest.

I like that moment.

life home

Essentialism

Last night I just finished a book on 'Essentialism'. I came across it throughout my travels on the net, as it came up in comments sections of a lot of Minimalism stuff I've been reading. Essentialism basically sells itself as the work-life balance counterpart to Minimalism. That is, where Minimalism is concerned with the cognitive and emotional drain caused by physical clutter; Essentialism is concerned with the job or todo list clutter that permeates your work, and can creep into your personal life. The basic mantras of Essentialism are: "Do one thing, well"; and, perhaps more pertinently "If you don't priotise your life, someone else will".

To be honest, there was nothing particularly groundbreaking in the book for me. I've done a lot of reading around lifestyle and happiness things and they all basically boil down to one thing, which is balancing hedonistic pleasure with purposeful and mindful activities. Essentialism did reinforce my personal work practice of not half-arseing two things but whole-arseing one thing, and why it's a lot more productive to work this way in both employed labour and personal activities. The only thing which stood out to me really was the explanation of the word Priority and its place in everyday parlance.

According to the book (and I didn't check its sources yet; though it did list them), the word Priority entered the English language in the 16th century and means literally "the thing that comes first". Pretty straightforward. The interesting thing is that it didn't have a plural form until the turn of the 20th century, when the Industrial Revolution had propelled modern Capitalism to grand heights. I realised then that I've only ever really heard people ask me what my "Priorities" are, never the one thing that's most important to me. So I guess I want to talk about that.

I could list the things most important to me, and they'd sound a lot like the list everyone else would give: enough money so that I can not worry about a roof and food, plus a little extra for treats now and then; the flexibility to make sure that I can enjoy my training regularly; keeping good company, both romantic, sexual, and friendly; access to good food and water.

They're all way too generic really, but I think they all boil down to one simple theme which I will be taking up as my single priority from now on: Strength. All of the above listed things make me a stronger human being in some way shape or form; they provide means to strengthen my body, mind, and emotional core (spirit?). I guess that means I could theoretically fit everything into that mould, but what I really want is to start asking myself "How does this make me stronger?" for everything I do. It'll help me discern what play-time is required for recharging batteries and stimulating creativity vs what is a habit formed by addiction (ie Netflix). It'll make me reflect on how and when I 'treat' myself to snack food, when actually I need to balance the emotional gratification with the nutrients my body needs to thrive.

Anyway, it was nice to know that other people have the practice of shutting out the clutter, and it reinforced my fortitude for continuing to do so.

life reflection essentialism priority clutter simplicity