Thursday, September 13, 2007


So my habits of procrastination happen in spurts and droughts. Hence the two week absence. The cool thing is that I have friends that I can depend on to kick my tail in gear when I haven't been posting (thanks K!). That and karaoke both helped to unwind the soul and get me typing again.

K also asked me about the name of my blog. Viviomancy is a made up word (because the squiggly red line tells me so), that I forged from three word stems. Vivi- means lively and vivo- means life (which are not quite the same thing: robots and programs can be lively without being alive, and some living people can be downright despondent!), and if these two had a bastard child it'd be named vivio-. -mancy is a root meaning divination, which can mean fortune telling, but the definition I prefer is "successful conjecture by unusual insight or good luck". Joining these definitions together, I define viviomancy as the act of falling into a vibrant life through serendipity or action through non-traditional reasoning. I shouldn't say "happy" here: nobody can guarantee that through action. I only hope to make my life infinitely interesting and energetic.

Originally this was a blog about my new years resolutions, and for the most part I've kept up with aspiring towards some of them. I do read a lot more (especially without cable, see below). I exercise more, and hope that next year I'll get into another open water swim (too late to do one this year). Karaoke was an easy one on my list. My diet is much better since packing my lunch, and twice as good since May (a watershed month for many reasons). I have finally owned up to my finances, and am making headway towards being totally debt-free. My Japanese is getting better, but my Arabic hasn't yet taken off. I am procrastinating less (even with the lacuna of the last two weeks, this is the longest I've ever kept up this kind of website) and I do wake up in the morning to my alarm clock. However, I am missing some things: I haven't skydived, seen a shuttle launch (only a few more years left for that), am nowhere closer to getting a PHD and only minimally closer to getting that six pack. I like the fact that I have a long way yet to go and still have accomplished so much.

However, even with all those accomplishments, I realized that I was missing the point of having those goals: to make my life infinitely more interesting. This would take a lot more redefinition and focus, and a realization that happiness wasn't the target (because it's always fleeting). I had to focus on bringing up my energy, my creativity, my drive. I may not always be happy, but at least I'll be satisfiably intrigued (or intriguingly satisfied?), and that's success in my book. There's no sense in boredom, even if such ignorance is bliss.

So, what am I doing to become more vibrant? My first step was eliminating the things that dragged me down, either through their incessant grabbing of my fleeting attention with banality or through their monolithic representation of some obligation that I must complete (of which it also dares me to ignore). The highest on my list was TV. I am in fact cable-less; I gave it up entirely a couple of months ago, and it has done wonders for my soul. I do watch my two favorite shows on iTunes: Lost and South Park. The rest was easy to give up. I get my news off the net through Google Reader or by glancing at news sites like Digg or WSJ. I also get audio versions of New York Times and some sections of the New Yorker as podcasts, for my walk to and from work. I'll talk about more subtle robbers of attention in future posts.

I have a lot more to write, but I also have real housekeeping to do tonight, and some sleep to catch up on. I will post a smaller math post not connected to this one, and call it a night for now. I will be writing on subsequent days on how I'm working towards this larger, overarching goal.

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