Weekly Head Voices #231: Two thousand four hundred fourty-four

Figure 1: View from Watsonia (Helderberg) “run” with bestie DW

Figure 1: View from Watsonia (Helderberg) “run” with bestie DW

This edition of the WHV looks back at the two weeks from Monday August 16 to Sunday August 29, 2021.

Orbital mechanics that are important to me

Sowehere during this period, I completed yet another full orbit around the sun.

That’s quite a bit more egocentric than I intended.

Let me try again:

Thanks to family and friends and good fortune, my existence continued for another complete revolution of the planet Earth around the star Sol.

As is our custom here, I get to increase the mathematical encoding (this is a fantastically consistent and useful approach to the structured modelling of reality) of my time as an alive unit by one.

When I was younger, it was possible to use this number to impress one’s friends. Sometimes, the number of an older sibling or even a parent could also be used to increase social standing, if one’s own number was still quite small.

Ironically, as the number gets bigger, we prefer not to talk or even think about it too much.

Thanks to math, the number could in theory be transformed into “number of revolutions remaining”, but fortunately our complex physiologies and environments greatly complicate the estimation of the required term for that transformation, in this case greatly comforting us with uncertainty.


I had an amazing birthday.

From morning video chats with homies, to working lunches that turned into superbly relaxed lunches with old friends, surprise visits by far-off friends the day before, birthday mountain runs with a bestie, and so many (voice) messages on various platforms from friends everywhere, my birthday was a friendship-and-life-affirming business.

Friends, thank you for working together like that. You are all breath-taking!

P.S. Experiencing this acted as a beautiful reminder to send that message, write that email or make that call whenever you can find an excuse!

How I’m putting down my work

In the previous edition of the WHV, I talked about the important skill of being able to put down one’s work.

Here I would just like to mention how I’ve been trying to practise this in my life, especially because it really seems to have helped me since we last spoke.

Ok, get ready!

You Won’t Believe This One Trick…

At 17:00, 17:30 at the latest, I explicitly switch off any tools that I use for work, and disconnect from all dayjob-related systems.

Work email closed, development enviroments exited, docker containers all stopped.

For good measure, I roll a tumbleweed or two across my office floor, blowing air out through my pursed lips.

The thing is, my brain has the tendency to continue cogitating on the last thing I kept it busy with.

Furthermore, I used to have the tendency to still try and solve that problem before bed, only resulting in me later lying in said bed, unable to get my brain to stop cogitating, leading to bad sleep, contributing to subpar performance the next day.

I have to qualify here that putting down work tools does not exclude me from picking up hobby programming projects later in the evening, after “The Making of The Dinner, With Wine” and “The Chilling With The Family” stages.

Although programming plays a substantial part of dayjob, I have never stopped enjoying and being relaxed by this activity in the recreational setting.

Whatever the case may be, making a point of putting down work on time, starting the gradual wind-down, has drastically reduced the number and severity of Trying Unsuccessfully to Solve All Work Problems In The Dark, From One’s Bed for me.

P.S. Oliver Burkeman, author of the putting-down-your-work post, also wrote a book titled Four Thousand Weeks: Time and How to Use It, which my mom got me for my birthday (THANKS MOM!).

As soon as I’m done with Seligman’s book flourish, I’ll start with this book, which will hopefully filter through to this blog.

In the meantime, here’s the blurb which is already food for thought:

The average human lifespan is absurdly, insultingly brief.

If you live to be 80, you’ll have had about 4,000 weeks. But that’s no reason for despair.

Confronting our radical finitude and how little control we really have is the key to a fulfilling and meaningfully productive life.

Figure 2: View from a family walk in the Helderberg reserve, where you can hopefully see some of the snowy peaks we’ve been treated with.

Figure 2: View from a family walk in the Helderberg reserve, where you can hopefully see some of the snowy peaks we’ve been treated with.