I am currently procrastinating my ass off. I read/learned something a long time ago, which was that if you set up your to-do list properly, you can spend your time procrastinating from the hardest things you have to do by at least taking care of the easiest things you have to do. Of course, the hardest things often are, or at least feel like they are, the most important things you have to do.
But if you’re not going to do them, you might as well spend your time doing other things that move you towards your goals, whatever they may be. So for example I just spent a while catching up on old reading; this satisfies my value and goal of learning (one of three core goals: love, learn, create). And really what I read was a bunch of stuff related to anti tech utopianism, and the Oslo Freedom Forum, and distributed governance, and I’ve basically radicalized myself as a tech anarchist focused on shifting power back from centralized institutions (power corrupts) into the self-sovereign realm.
How I’mma do that I have no idea but it’s compelling and it makes me feel alive to think about it.
Even by writing the above I’m procrastinating. There are a few things I need to address… #1, I failed to write yesterday at all for the first time since the start of this 2019 resolution to write every day (I think). What happened? Well it’s pretty easy to diagnose, I had a long ass day, I kept putting off writing, then I put my head on my bed and I fell asleep. What’s the solution? That’s obvious too, fuck it, there’s no way I can be perfect, I gave it my best shot. I keep saying I will write earlier in the day, but I always have 10,000 things to think about as soon as I wake up and honestly my mind space just feels completely jammed up and I simply don’t get to writing. I have to force it. It’s not natural. Procrastinating feels natural. At least I try to procrastinate into useful things… usually reading things or answering emails. I certainly am not working on the operational plan and model that I’m supposed to be producing for work, at least not the past couple hours… but I will. Things that have to get done, I always get done. I know that about myself. I may just do it late at night, or in the eleventh hour, but things I need to get done, get done well. That’s something I trust about myself.
Anyways the second thing I need to write about involves my Dad, and this is a much harder topic to approach, because it is scary and I really am not sure what is going to come out of my fingers and my brain as I write this next section. The urge to procrastinate is growing immensely and I think I’m going to give in. I guess I’ll be back (in reality I just have to use the bathroom).
Okay I’m back. I’m going to drop a clock on the rest of this for 25 minutes because I need to make sure I stay on target and actually address the issue I’m here to address today. Pomodoro timer here we go. I still pulled up my fantasy basketball scoring so I can follow that while I write.
So what is the issue I’m dancing around? Well what’s happening is I made a huge life decision that feels absolutely right to me, I have no uncertainty around it inside the scope of my own personal life, that my father does not approve of. He asked me not to make this decision. He did not do a good job, or at least I did not find it convincing, why I should not make this decision. He believes I should not make it fundamentally because he believes I should not make it; there has not been a more logical layer of reasoning on this topic.
The fact that I made my decision anyway, even in light of his disapproval, has shut him down. He believes that I disregarded his opinion that my decision is a poor one; he believes I don’t care about his opinion and his feelings as related to this opinion. He believes that as the father of a family, and in the framework of Chinese culture, he should have veto power over such an important decision that I’m making, which in fact will affect his life, though it primarily affects my life.
Now, I love my father and I know that he loves me. I love him to death; I would do anything for him. However, this disagreement is fundamentally about something that is for me, it is not for him. For me to choose what he would like me to choose changes the entire course of my life from every level of granularity – what I mean by that is, on a microscopic level, on the way I live my life minute-to-minute, it would change. On a daily level it would change. And over long periods of time, it would change. Whereas for him, what would change is solely the story in his head about me.
He wants to make a decision that changes the story of who I am to him; that is disconnected from the actions that he must make and take in his own life. I want to make a decision about how I live, specifically about the context and environment and life that I live.
I know that there is a huge cultural disconnect here, there is some gap here whereby he doesn’t understand by individualism and the revulsion I have to what is proposed to me in the paragraph above; and I do not understand the respect for lineage and the respect for the narrative arc of a family’s history that makes my story so important to him.
I have no sense of history; I never have. I don’t know why.
Anyway, we are now two men who love each other dearly and want each other to be happy, but with a gigantic disconnect that has resulted in butting heads on a critically important, life-changing issue. We’re not even butting heads. We’re kind of just avoiding each other; but it’s not something that can be forever avoided.
Oh my God, I just went through a few notes I had about this situation, things I wanted to address in this post while thinking through it, and I think I grasped something that is so foreign and unbelievable to me. Not that I don’t respect or understand it, but that I just never had a concept for. My dad is, I think, embarrassed, he has used this before, that he disagrees with my decision, and this disagreement is public, and yet I am publicly disregarding his opinion. It’s actually that in public, it appears he is weak, that he doesn’t have control of his son, that his son doesn’t care about his opinions, does not respect his opinions.
His displeasure is not a purely personal thing, the way my hyper-individualism means that I make decisions solely for the good and bad of me, but in fact it matters to him greatly what other people perceive about his strength or weakness.
If that is true, if that is the situation I find myself in, then I have failed to understand the situation completely. And again I would have to thank this habit of writing for helping me understand this situation from a different and new perspective. I also have to thank my Aunt, who tried to convey this thought process to me. Actually that’s probably who I have to thank more than anyone or anything else. My mistake. Though she did say that she could be wrong. I hope she is correct; at least I can chart a course of action from here.
So if my interpretation of the situation is correct, I need to work with my dad towards a path whereby he can agree with, accept, or at least tolerate my decision in public while saving face; where it looks like he has made the decision to do so. Well that’s a hell of an ask. It needs to be a way where I demonstrate very strongly that I care about his feelings, and respect his opinion; where I am essentially begging for his forgiveness and his acceptance. I have to make myself smaller so that he can be bigger in this situation. I need to give him the opportunity to make the generous, benevolent, decision that this is okay. He needs to know that I’ve been scared to talk to him about it, that I’ve never disagreed with him before so had no idea how to handle it, but that I respect his decision, I am simply trying to operate within that framework. He needs to know that I love and respect him. But this situation is not about love. It is about respect.
How do I create a situation, or at least a conversation, in which I am the smaller man, asking for the forgiveness and permission of my father, in a way that makes him feel strong, as if he is in control of the situation, as if he has decided that this is tolerable and acceptable. And I need to involve other stakeholders too; we are small, and we beg for his forgiveness, and we have no resentment, but only love and respect and admiration. And I respect and honor him forever, as much as I can, while trying only to live the best life for myself that I can while underneath this dominion. And I say that with full authenticity and hope. Because that is the situation I hope to achieve. To present ourselves as small, as having done wrong, but begging forgiveness and for a path forward where we are allowed to live as we have chosen to live.