Waiheke, Aotearoa New Zealand

April 5, 2020

A Little Bit of Everything.

As the lockdown here has continued on (as a "high-risk" person, I've been inside for most of a month at this point), I've found myself doing an increasing variety of things.

Yesterday, I replaced a sink tap with an old one I found in a forgotten box, 3D-modeled a new bed frame out of scrap wood, cooked a meal, wrote some code, edited a video, and learned a few more names for the birds that surround my little cottage.

It's been fascinating to watch the sort of fractal nature of life stuck inside a house. Less physical space, equally many things to learn and do and be curious about.

My birthday - my 40th - is coming up this week, and it's turned out a bit different than I planned. At the start of the year, I'd booked a place in Kyoto, planning to walk 40 km amongst the cherry blossoms and write as I went.

Instead, I'll be here, watching the last edges of summer peel off the trees, living inside my own little bonsai.

But I'm so grateful that the closer I look, the more there is to see. Spending so much time in this little cottage, I'm peeling back its history, detail by detail. Understanding how it was built, who changed it, where, why. What parts need a little extra love, and where it knows how to bend when the storms come.

Every one of these little details asks something different of me. Making. Mending. Changing how it works to fit me. Changing how I work to fit it.

Over the years, I've always been fascinated by a particular thought experiment.

If suddenly, everyone had ten thousand years to live, would you choose to spend your time being as good as possible at one specific thing, or instead learn to be pretty good at everything?

For me, the answer's always been simple - and it's how I've chosen to spend the very much not ten thousand years I have. Do everything.

I wonder if you've thought about this question before. And if so, what did you decide?

I hope you're well, and feel free to write back. I'd love to hear from you. :)

-Steven

p.s. The best thing I saw was this local story from New Zealand's public radio. It's about how everyone there is keeping the news coming. And also their dogs.

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