When I think about my life as an object, one image seems to come to mind – a wobbly tower held together with glue and rudimentary building materials like mortar and sticks. On this tower, I see some parts built using better materials, mostly towards the bottom, some foundations of solid wood, but there is a lot of glue and thatch and sticks as I move up. In this image, I see forces acting on the tower to destabilize it, which I think of as the general disorder and chaos of the world around me. As the only one laboring on my wobbly tower, I need to pay attention to various parts from time to time, and apply glue in places that need it. Some of you may relate to this, come with me as I explore this a bit more.
Each part on this tower is built with effort. Nothing grows on its own like a plant where you “just add water”. The bottom of this tower is made of foundations that can be equated to daily habits. My specific tower at this point in time is entirely supported by current habits – good and bad. When a certain habit starts to change, I see parts of the tower shaking with it. Most of the structure on top of the good habit foundation are things I value. The bad habits are baggage, weights at work to destabilize the tower, counter balanced with effortful, good ones.
Each time I engage in a routine, I’m adding glue to my tower. So far, habits are the only source of glue I have found. This glue makes the tower a small amount stronger. Over time, this glue hardens, and forms a rock. These rocks are strong, and are able to support structures on tip as time passes. But this takes time, and a lot of glue.
Sometimes, I need to build in a new spire on the tower, to create something where there is currently nothing. A good example of this, is my ability to write. My writing is currently all sticks and thatch held together with glue that’s still wet. It’s going to take a lot of practice, feedback and iteration to get to writing that resembles a more permanent structure, a structure that can support a moderately high outgrowth. In this process, I’ve had to borrow glue from other people, glue that they don’t have use for at the moment. Some people are able to supply me the glue, but I’m the only one who can apply it and build. These are wonderful people who are essentially helping me prop up this writing spire on my tower. This all started with some glue, thatch and sticks. I believe that this is how anything that I value was created.
My tower does not stand in a vacuum. The general chaos of the real world chips away at it, chopping off some of its parts. I think this is a good thing. I rebuild parts of It that I still value with glue, and don’t bother with parts that fell away that I no longer need. Over the years, this has simplified my tower, cutting off excess complexity. The parts that stand the test of time are parts that I care about at any point. Sometimes I see myself rely on wobbly parts, but the passage of time forces me to re-evaluate and put effort into either strengthening them or letting them go.