2019: Musings of a 26 Year Old
October 25, 2019
I turned 26 today. It’s been a while since I sat down to reflect on my life, so I guess this is a good way of doing that and holding myself accountable of whatever promises I end up making.
Every year on my birthday, I pull out my trusty journal and flip over the front cover to look at this chart. It’s a deathclock — a hypothetical counter of each week of my entire life, predicting that I’ll live for 80 years. I take a moment to fill out an entire row, which represents the 52 weeks that just elapsed in front of my eyes.
Reflecting on my own mortality every so often has been a healthy exercise. It’s good to remind yourself of the limited time you have here on Earth. And while sleep is amazing and necessary, it takes up 1/3 of the average person’s life. Realistically, we’re only looking at 2/3rds of this chart as our conscious life. That is, if I even survive to 80 — I’m banking on that being my lower bound.
It’s kind of crazy to think that this is it right here. Time, the very substance that life is made up of, laid out in front of me in week-sized rations. It may seem morbid, but contemplating on the transience of life—everything good, bad, and anything else in between comes to an end—has never really felt depressing to me. If anything, it is the true nature of everything. Nothing lasts, and nothing is forever, so it’s best to enjoy it all for what it is in the moment. That is easier said than done, which is why I find this exercise to be so helpful. Cultivating a mindset that is less attached to the crests and troughs of human experience and striving for equanimity has never served me wrong.
I’m definitely not happy with everything I’ve achieved (or lack thereof) so far. I think the problem is that when an individual knows they aren’t working on fully realizing their potential, or aren’t make progress towards self-actualization, there’s this weird feeling of dissatisfcation with everything. Maybe I’m being too hard on myself. That I should sit down and set up camp—stare at the stars for a bit, relax, then move at my own pace. Celebrate my wins once in a while. But looking at a chart like the one above, it almost makes me feel a sense of hurry. Is that a bad thing? It kinda seems like it. I’ve always felt myself leaning on other hobbies, work and relationships to justify not pursuing my goals more aggresively. Why push yourself into the unknown when you can always fall back into a warm cradle of complacency?
The past few months haven’t been easy. It’s felt like one of the darkest passages of my life. I’ll spare you the details, but I like to think of it as a formidable challenge presented by the Universe. It’s been a while since I’ve had one of these. A lot of pain (the emotional kind) is self-manufactured, so I really don’t have anyone to blame but myself. Regardless, it’s teaching me a ton and has drawn my focus inward, which is probably something I’ve needed for a while. There are some very good things coming out of this, and it feels like channeling these experiences into music is about the only thing I can actually do to process it.
Speaking of music, that’s one thing I’m really excited about. I picked up a student violin a few months ago, because why not? To be honest, I’ve always been envious of people that could play the violin. It’s an incredibly beautiful sounding instrument, and every time I hear it, it tugs at my heart strings in the most delicate way. It’s been really challenging so far, but I’m having a lot of fun incorporating it into my own compositions. You can hear some of those over at my Instagram page.
I also bought myself a beautiful acoustic guitar, handmade by a wonderful Czech company called Furch Guitars. It’s mindblowing how much of a difference a high quality instrument can make in a musician’s daily practice. Even playing wrong notes sounds good on this thing. What’s even more mind boggling is the sustain and the general timbre of the instrument. I could ramble on forever about it, but seriously — it’s probably my favorite object in the Universe.
Work wise, I’ve been at Viget for the past 2.5 years and it’s been a fun ride. Such a wide variety of experiences, and so much breadth in the work. I’ve really gotten to push myself as a software engineer here, but I can’t help but wonder if there’s something else out there that could take me closer to where I really want to be. Not really in the best headspace to be thinking about my career at the moment, though.
With that said, this is pretty much my year in review. Not sure if the upcoming months will be all that exciting. I just hope that wherever you are, and whatever you’re feeling, let yourself do so with an open heart.
Written by Prayash Thapa who lives and works in Boulder, CO making things. You should follow him on Instagram.