When We Were Kings

I’m back in the home office, listening to some melancholic music as I deliver my weekly ramblings.  There seems to be fewer mosquitoes, or perhaps I’m developing resistance after being subject to daily feasts, and it’s a lot easier to sit still at home.


My girlfriend went to LA for the week, and I’ve been mostly home alone with my thoughts.  It’s always interesting for me to observe what happens when I’m left to myself for a while.  Will I be uber-productive?  Will I just lay around finding new time-wasters after my old ones get boring?  It’s strange when you go from having routine social evenings, to hours of solo free-time, with no responsibility to others.  I think I project some of the things that I know will be good for me onto my girlfriend as well, such as scheduling weekend time at the beach, but when I’m alone I often feel like I have to use the weekends to “catch up”.  


Friday night was interesting as far as observing what my rebellious side was going to do.  I do try to follow a civilian schedule, working Monday-Friday, and recharging on the weekends.  In my youth when I was a regular at nightclubs, the weekends were the worst (overcrowded and too many normal people), and the “best” nights were usually Wednesday or Thursday.  If nightlife and partying were still a priority for me, perhaps I would take advantage of my flexibility and free-up weekdays for fun, but alas I’ve embraced the proletariat work-cycle myself.


Anyways so Friday night I was alone, and feeling like I needed to do something.  I rarely go out to bars anymore, and maybe had 2 drinks total since the summer.  Kind of weird, but sometimes you get into a life routine and it doesn’t happen.  I do meditate, but perhaps I spend too many hours in overstimulating environments (doesn’t help that I watch poker videos at night after checking my numbers in trading a dozen times a day), and it’s not easy to just sit in a dark room alone on a Friday night content.  I wanted to relax my mind without any effort.  I had an urge for some type of brain-numbing effect, and considered if I could get edibles.  Marijuana is legal for medicinal usage in Puerto Rico, but even after finding out I could do a Skype session with a doctor and perhaps get my “medicine” in less than 24 hours, I lost interest.  I walked halfway to the grocery store to get a bottle of something, but started second-guessing that too, and turned back.  When I was making dinner in the evening though I discovered a quarter of a bottle of wine in the fridge, and swigged it straight from the bottle until it was gone.  I often don’t get any buzz from alcohol anymore, probably because I drink slowly, but it worked this time.  It was good as I felt a few random questions in my head got cleared up, and I also wrote out some ways to make my daily routine/life better.


I watched the movie “When We Were Kings”, the Oscar-winning documentary about the fight between Muhammed Ali and George Foreman in Africa, and relaxed for the evening.  I think I was able to get into the film more in my relaxed state, and felt a lot of sympathy for Ali, Foreman, and African Americans (the African-Africans in the film actually seemed pretty happy even though they were living in tough conditions) in general during that period.  The film made me reflect on how much of our life is about creating entertainment and games to pass the time, and also how we use stories to convince ourselves it’s important.  In the documentary, Ali enlisted the media for months saying all kinds of ridiculous and funny things about Foreman to make the fight seem special.  At the time Ali was not washed up yet, but clearly on a decline and losing, and Foreman seemed invincible.  The reason they were fighting was the $10 million that they were splitting, which I think was the highest amount for a fight at the time.  It wasn’t like it was the number 1 vs 2 fighters, undefeated, or anything historic, yet they successfully hyped it up to become one of the biggest fights of all time.  We yearn for special moments and excitement, and it made me understand a bit more why when I watch any sporting event everything is hyper analyzed statistically to highlight any fluke thing that “has never been done before”.


The backdrop of the film was the fight, but the bigger theme was about African and African-American oppression, and how to even begin to find a way out.  It looked bleak in the 1970s.  On a positive note, it was also a celebration of the cultures, both for sports, as well as music.


Other than the film and time wasters, I chugged along on trading work, reading, and a bit of writing.  I was fully intending to give up on the writing challenge, but my sister asked if I could try a little longer, so I am.


It’s really odd that writing is so difficult.  When I’ve written the hour goes by just the same as if I was doing anything else, and I’m not exhausted mentally or physically.  I guess it’s the focus that is required.  It’s very similar to meditation for me, which can also be really tough for me if I push the time to 30 minutes plus (probably why I almost never do that, and mostly stick to 10 minutes to keep it fun).  In hindsight a better challenge for me would have been something easier and consistent, like an every day 10 minutes of writing challenge.  The challenge has now morphed into a feel guilty all week for barely writing, and then cram as much writing on the weekends as I can stomach challenge.  I underestimated the mental bandwidth that my trading work takes as I mentioned before.  Nonetheless, I’m still writing and persisting.


One thing I did on a few mornings when I didn’t go to the gym was the morning routine below.  I don’t do as many reps as he does (he’s in good shape apparently), but really liking it.  I felt like I don’t need coffee in the morning afterward.


I’m reading some books that I’m into, and hopefully will finish one or two that are recommendation worthy by next week.  With that, I’m going to recharge, and get back to my story.  Leaving you with a pic of Nina, our friend Masha’s dog hanging out with us at the food trucks last week.





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