Turning 34

January 2022

Notable from 2021:

  • Leaving Alo Moves
  • Road trip to Utah
  • Solo trip
  • Moving to Tulsa with Ariel
  • Pershing roll

I earnestly hope with a cautious optimism that the next year will have a bit more ease. — 1/1

As I look back on the year, and even what I wrote in Turning 33, I feel subtly overwhelmed at how much more aligned I feel with myself. In reviewing my notes, I’m not finding seemingly disparate themes, but instead a chain of connected observations that represents a path I’ve long desired to walk.

I’ve spent so much time thinking about what I want, often thinking I didn’t know what I want, but in retrospect I think I knew all along. It has just taken some work to actually let myself want it. One aspect of this was admitting I really don’t want much and being at peace with that. Another aspect was letting go of something good to take hold of something better.

Spending over three years in Seattle has felt somewhat like a cocoon. In many ways I am the same person I was years ago, and yet I’ve changed. I believe this will continue to be true, which I find to be beautiful, but this specific moment in my life feels like some sort of metamorphosis of deep alignment.

What I wrote in Turning 32 is still all too applicable, and yet my relationship to all those themes keeps changing. So much desire for control and organization. So much desperation to find the discernment between escapist isolation and true solitude. And that’s the work—continually refining your superpowers. Your addictions are not demons, they are just old friends.

It feels like I’m changing and also nothing is changing at all. Perhaps this is what spring feels like—waiting to bloom, but nothing is happening yet. — 3/7

Unattached desire

I can’t hold on to everything good. You must let go of something good to take hold of something new. Unattached desire, but desire nonetheless. — 10/31

I admire minds that are able to articulate convoluted topics in such a clear way, like painting a scene with language. I’m still digesting the concept of desire, or rather attachment to desire, but here’s what I believe. Desire itself is a lovely thing. It’s a reminder of the inevitable change always happening and a hope for something new, something we might call better.

The trick is to let that desire sit in your open hand without grasping for it. It’s that ephemeral space between not enough and too much, where balance is kept by not being too loose and not being too tight.

I feel this in many ways, one of which is a desire for control of my life—to have my to-dos in order, to have my environment in order, to depend on myself, to eliminate chaos. I needed a release from this, as the suffering it created was evident. If I’m holding too tightly to what I’m already familiar with, how will I grow? How will I find something new? The more I sit with this, the deeper I go into the phrase “Trust the process.”

Grounded presence

I became very aware of my proclivity to run away, escape, or “fight” the experience of being a human. — 6/12

It’s wild and quite unfortunate how out of tune many of us are with our intuition. It’s also wild how fantastic it feels when you are aligned with yourself, i.e. following your intuition. But what does the voice of intuition sound like? How do we become aware of what part of us already knows? That requires the practice of presence.

There are two areas I’ve become more attuned to over the past couple of years: my need for solitude and my sensitivity to environment. The solitude piece has been a challenge, as discerning when some solitude is needed before it’s too late is often tricky. The environment piece is more fun with room to explore, but the effort for me is centered around that desire for control and knowing when to let go. I’ve also been sensing, for a few years now, a desire to move on from the world of programming. I plan to do something about that by the end of the year.

Now, being present to intuition is a subset of the practice of presence. Presence, in a traditional sense, is about the here and now. I see it as an inflection point between the internal and external. Grounded presence is aligning your internal world with the experience of the external. To let yourself feel sadness and not dissociate. To let yourself feel pride and not judge others. For me, the practice is to sit with the discomfort and direct my energy with intent.

Transcend and include

To love people and help them thrive is the most kingly thing I can think of. — 7/5

Kingly is a word that came to me in a visceral way last year. It’s my personal expression of and desire for equanimity. It’s obvious to me when I’m operating from this space and it’s obvious when I’m not. It’s pure grounded presence—a combination of gratitude, kindness, generosity, and strength. And it feels like a responsibility I’ve been graciously given.

The pursuit of it is not a goal, but a lifelong direction. It’s a continual process of what Ken Wilber calls transcend and include. It looks like growing into maturity while maintaining your sense of play, or learning to admire and adopt certain traits you perhaps once despised.

I’m seeing this play out in my seemingly dominant analytical side. For some time now, Ariel has talked about the concept of emotional boundaries wherein she gets to decide (with practice) when and how she deploys her superpower of feeling what other people are feeling. In December I realized my version of this is setting analytical boundaries with myself. I’m grateful for my inherited trait of analysis, but always operating from that lens is incomplete and can at times be unloving.

It’s hard to switch it off though when I’ve been in it. I struggle to effortlessly transition from one mode to another, but I believe that with awareness, plus practice and patience from all affected, I can wield the blade of analysis with grace.


A good friend of mine said he’d rather ask “Who do you want to be?” than “What do you want to be?” in the context of growing up. What kind of person do you want to be in the world? How do you want to show up? In reflecting on this, that kingly energy I felt is what I desire to share—to emanate—wherever I go. It’s the confluence of everything previously mentioned: unattached desire, grounded presence, and continual growth.

This is my North Star for the year. There is no goal, no failure, no shame to be had in the pursuit of it. It’s simply a reminder of the times I've felt at home with the person I want to keep becoming—myself.

I’m not sure we will ever fully know the depths of the beauty of life, but I know that diving deeper into it is continually rewarding, however challenging it may be. — 10/9