How Long Can You Enjoy Things?
Something I’ve learned in life:
Many things we buy, possess, or experience is pure novelty. We might enjoy it once, or have fun with it for a day (or a few days), but after a week or two — we get bored with it, and we want to go ‘onto the next one’.
The point of this essay is for me to reflect:
What do we get bored of, and what don’t we get bored of?
Tools which enable us to create
One thing I don’t get bored of is my laptop (13” MacBook Pro Touchbar). Yet it isn’t something which ‘impresses’ me. The laptop certainly doesn’t bring me joy. It is just a tool. I only derive happiness when I’m doing creative work on it– whether I am writing (like I am right now in iA WRITER on my laptop), when I am using it to review my photos (Lightroom or Apple Photos), writing poetry, making beats in Garage Band etc.
Thus my first theory:
We become indifferent to our tools, but good tools empower us to do creative work which actually does bring us meaningful joy.
I will never get ‘bored’ of coffee, because I am addicted to it. Furthermore I see it as a benefit, because it is a great stimulant for me. After drinking (many) cups of coffee, I get into a zen-like zone of focus. When I get into my ZEN ZONE, it is probably the best feeling in the world. Absolute concentration. Loss of time. Out-of-body.
So perhaps we don’t get bored of things which we are dependent on?
Homes get boring
No matter how nice of a house or apartment/condo/space I’ve been in, I’ve always (sooner or later) got bored of it.
To be frank, my ideal living quarters is a (small) hotel room. Why? Fewer distractions. All the upsides of living in a hotel: getting your bed made everyday, room cleaned, bathroom cleaned, new towels (no maintenance). Also hidden benefits: you end up buying less shit, because there is no place to store it. I would say I was happiest when living in a $35-a-night hotel in Saigon, with the fewest cares and maintenance in day-to-day living.
Thus, my happiness doesn’t consist of living in a fancy home, nor owning a home.
I never will get bored of lifting weights. Why? It is so fun to me! I find it thrilling, and a challenge to push my body to new frontiers.
I never do workouts which I hate or which I find boring. I personally hate doing group-classes, because I feel like a prisoner (for an hour). I don’t do gym machines, because I find them boring. I don’t like to do many repetitions of any exercise, because I find it boring.
I generally love the ‘one rep max’ style of powerlifting, because it is like zen meditation to me. If you want to attempt a new PR [personal record] in a lift, you must focus 100% of your focus, energy, and muscle into a certain moment of pure concentration.
And considering there isn’t an upper-limit to weights, lifting weights will never become boring or tiresome to me.
I will write forever, until I die. Why? There is a billion trillion things to write about. I can even theoretically write on the same subject everyday, and never get bored. Why? There will always be a subtly different spin I put on it. Even if I wanted to imitate myself, I couldn’t!
All black everything
I really like black. Why? It never goes out of style, it is low-key, and simplifies our life.
And this is the funny thing, I don’t know if I like the color black itself– it is simply the least-offending color which exists.
I love all colors, but the thing with colors:
Sooner or later, you will get bored of a certain color.
For example let us say you have all-red sneakers. They look cool, but the look becomes kind of tiring after a while. If you have all-black shoes, they aren’t as “cool”, but you won’t really tire of it.
This is why my wardrobe is black merino wool t-shirt, black stretchy jeans (Uniqlo EZY jeans), black merino wool socks, and black Nike sneakers. Even if one day I buy a Lamborghini, I would probably prefer it to be all-black, because although lime-green is cool, you will probably get bored of the look after a while.
Classic literature and philosophy
Another lesson from Nassim Taleb:
You only really know how much you like a book, film, or something based on how many times you re-read and re-watch it.
Thus for myself it seems that my favorite films (based on how many times I re-watched it) include the original Matrix, the movie 300, and the first John Wick.
For books, my favorites (based on how many times I’ve re-read them) include the Iliad, Will to Power by Nietzsche, Antifragile by Nassim Taleb, Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, and Epistles of Seneca/On the Shortness of Life.
For music, my favorites (based on re-listens) include Kanye West (Yeezus and leaked Yandhi album) and JAY-Z (Black Album, Blueprint).
Based on traveling thus far, based on how many times we re-visited on our own free will for pure pleasure include Saigon, Kyoto, Mexico City, Marseille.
This is another pro-tip about traveling:
Once you find a place you actually really like, instead of trying to visit new places, re-visit old places you’ve already been to — and strive to get to understand it deeper!
Also another new discovery — Cindy and I really enjoy cruises (Carnival as a great value).
The eternal return
I think this is where Nietzsche’s notion of the ‘eternal return’ appeals to me:
Live your life as if you were to live the same day on repeat forever.
Only engage in activities you can imagine yourself doing for a lifetime, without fatigue or disgust, forever.
For me this would include:
- Making music
- Making photos
- Discovering new ways to re-arrange and present my artwork
- Lifting weights
- Listening to Kanye West
- Driving a matte-black Lamborghini
- Eating meat
A radical way to live life:
Only engage in activities you can imagine doing forever with delight. Never engage in activities which you would hate doing forever.