From Lockdown, with Love
Like money, crises don't create trends, they accelerate what's already there. Good thing is, we've already got the cure.
Hey there, Daniel Bourke here.
You’re reading the May 2020 edition of Eat, Move, Learn, Make: A letter for hungry, active, curious creators. If these words don’t describe you, feel free to unsubscribe at any time.
Dad and I go for walks every morning we can. 6:00 AM is our go time because the sun is getting up later. Any earlier and it'd be pitch black. More and more people are out walking because what else are they going to do? Everything is locked down. Not completely, but enough.
This is a silver lining though. Things being locked down mean people have more time to do nothing. More empty space, more time to get out into nature, to get moving, to say hello to those experiencing what they are.
The curse of the modern individual is doing more but feeling less. Substitute doing for buying and the saying holds true.
When I close my eyes and replay the highlight reel of my life, not a single scene is filled with items or a full calendar.
There are two bottles of Japanese whisky in a draw downstairs, gifts from one of my best friends. I forget about them for months at a time unless I open the draw. But the memories we've shared? They'll come to mind almost daily.
I went to university for 5-years. For the first 2-years, I had a timetable with 28-hours worth of classes and I went to every single one of them (rookie). I can recall about four of them. But the time my girlfriend and I laid on the grass, stared at the leaves turning purple, took turns laying on each other’s stomachs and did nothing for a while? Crystal clear.
I'm noticing a trend here. The moments which have bought me the most joy in life have come from being motionless (doing nothing) or in motion, immersed in doing something, forgetting I'm alive. Balance at the extremes, not at the staggered halfway points technology offers. Social distancing isn't a new thing, it's just enforced now.
On our walks, Dad and I run into the same characters often. The regulars, the ones brave enough to battle the cold with us. The old lady with the reindeer shirt who always stops and says hello to our dogs. Ask her how she's going and she'll reply, "Great! I woke up today."
The girl with the blonde hair and the cowboy hat who walks with her parents and three dogs and has a smile which could escape from a black hole. "Morning," I'd say as we walked past. This kept going for a few weeks until I decided, tomorrow morning I'm going to ask her out.
The next morning, we pulled over on the grass to let the dogs do their thing whilst we spoke with Terry (another regular). I turned around and saw locks of blonde hair bouncing past.
"Morning," I called out and waved.
She kept going along the path while I cursed myself inside for not acting on what I'd promised to do. I couldn't let it win. Not this time.
"Hold the dogs," I said, "I'm going to ask this girl out."
I ran after the girl and her family. Felt my heart pump warmth around my body whilst all notions of being alive exited the building.
"Excuse me, excuse me," I called out.
They turned around.
"Hello, sorry to interrupt," I said, "this may seem strange, but I don't do this often." I stopped and inhaled.
"Anyway, I've seen you walking along here the past few mornings, and I think you're beautiful," I said.
Staring into her eyes.
"Would you like to go on a date sometime?" I asked.
Turns out she's married. But would've said yes if she wasn't. The mother loved it.
"Daniel, you're beautiful, what you just did took a lot of a bollocks," she said in a thick Manchester accent.
Since then, we've seen each other several more times. Saying hello, stopping to let our dogs smell each other. Offering tips on local nature stops worth visiting.
"It's a real good steer, this one," her mother says.
Despite her being married and my dreams being shattered (not really, that's life) the event gave me energy for the whole month.
Even if they don't come off, acting upon your true desires feels like a win. Why? Because honesty requires a certain level of love for yourself. And loving yourself is always a good thing.
I want to approach every day with the feeling I had approaching the girl with the blonde locks and beautiful smile.
Sometimes Dad and I don't speak. We just walk with each other, enjoy each others company. Doing nothing except walking. Who knows how many more walks we'll get to take together. One thing's for sure though, I won't forget them.
Restrictions are easing. We're allowed up to 10 people in a house now. Last night, I visited my friend and his two kids, a 2-year-old boy and a 6-week-old girl. The 2-year-old showed me 45 out of the 47 toy cars he owns whilst force-feeding me the spare cookies he had. You better believe I made the car noises and ate the cookies.
When I was younger, I thought the old took care of the young.
Now the roles have reversed, I realise how much it goes both ways.
Laying across the ground together, he handed me one of his pencils, prompting me to contribute to his drawing. We took turns at scribbling. I knew it was my turn because he'd smack the paper with his index finger. He made sure I had a role to play. Made sure I felt important.
How good does it feel, I thought, how good does it feel to be taken care of? To feel important. And to know you've got the power to do the same for others. Saying hello to a neighbour, offering a compliment, saying thank you, making a joke, telling someone to join in.
Or even better, giving the feeling of importance to yourself. Picking up a piece of trash, making your Mum tea, taking responsibility, looking in the mirror and saying I love you.
There's another trend here. Love is given, not received.
I feel lucky when I remember: If there's anything you should be for anyone. It's there. Not to take on their tasks, that's their job but to just be there, offering what you can, offering love.
Here's a challenge. Ask yourself, who in my life could use a little more love? Answer it but don't tell anyone. Give it to them instead.
I love you all.
Keep learning, creating, moving, loving.
Big dogs gotta eat,
PS how are things going on your end? What are you working on? I’d love to know.
PPS I've spent most of May offline, doing an experiment, 30-days with 0 social media (except sharing other works). It's going good. Every 6-months I think. I'm in deep study mode for the next batch of creations. And just hit a big milestone in a long-term project I've been working on, more on that later.
Otherwise, here's some of my work from the past month:
[Article] Building a business from a bedroom, $98,130 and 11-months in — I left my job on June 21st 2019 and since then I’ve been working for myself. This article shares some insights on what I’ve learned, how I make money and what I plan to do moving forward (hint: mastery > money).
[Article] Getting TensorFlow Developer Certified: My May Machine Learning Curriculum — Part of the reason I’ve been offline for May is I’ve been in deep learning mode (pun intended). I’m studying for the next series of creations I’m going to put out. You can guess what they’ll be about.
[Article] Excuse me, but I think you're beautiful — Another version of the story above. The trick? If you’ve got something you’re after, just ask.
[Video] A balance you need to fix: Consumption vs. Creating — In 2016, during and after a relationship ending, I switched. Started creating more than I consumed. And it’s the best thing I ever did.
[Video] Four boxes to help you make better decisions — A very simple way to know if you should do something or not is to ask yourself, whether it’s important or not. Then whether it’s urgent or not. Almost everything gets erased except what matters.