It’s weird. Right now I don’t feel much like programming in my free time. None of my projects feel too exciting, nothing seems to need my immediate attention. I don’t feel like working on C code because it’s hard. I don’t feel like working on Perl code for my wikis (Oddmuse and Phoebe) because there are no feature I feel I need right now. I don’t feel like writing random tables for my Hex Decribe random generator, and I don’t feel like tinkering with the map generation algorithms of Text Mapper. My heart’s not into drawing more elements for the Face Generator.
Today we tried to make a backup and pluged the laptop power supply (19V, 3.42A) into the external backup disk (12V, 2A), and now it no longer works. I took it out of the enclosure but I have no other enclosure, so I can’t tell if there’s a way to keep using it. I tried an old disc I still have with the enclosure and that didn’t work so perhaps it’s just the enclosure that’s fried. The drive in question is a Samsung HD154UI disk (1.5TB), apparently from 2010. When I got new backup disks for my wife, I kept these for myself, as a replacement for the old pair of Western Digital MyBook Essential disks (1TB), apparently from 2009. Well, so what was I going to do? I dug up one of those old WD disks and used it instead. After a few hours the backup was made and both my external backup and my wife’s external backup are ready to be taken to the office, where we’ll pick up the other set of external backups to bring back home. That felt like enough computering for the whole weekend, to be honest.
I’m not sure why I’m somewhat disinterested in programming right now. My hands need more rest, I think. Less typing. When I get up in the morning, I often feel like somebody stepped on them. It takes a minute or two for me to get full motor control back. That’s not good. It’s also why I’m going to keep the update short.
We recently went out and bought a jō staff and now I’m teaching her the “20 Jo Suburi by Morihiro Saito Sensei” (you’ll find them on YouTube and elsewhere, I’m sure). And we’re also practicing the “Tada Sensei jo exercises”, a video by Video Aikikai Italia (La Spezia 2006). I’m trying hard to spend a few minutes doing them every day, believing that if you do something every day (or at least: very often!), no matter for how much time you spend on it, a habit starts forming.
This is how I learned to run. Start running, for ten minutes, a quarter of an hour, twenty minutes, half an hour, keep at it. Go even if the weather is a bit colder than you’d like, or a bit windier than you’d like, or a bit rainier than you’d like. Just focus on “I have to run every opportunity I get”. Do it two or three times a week. And in a year, you’ll get nervous when the sun is shining and you’re sitting inside, thinking: I was born to run – I really need to get out, right now! And when you do, it’s a glorious thing.
In that year, your body will have changed. There are now muscles, and tendons, and lung volume, and reserves, that you did not have when you started. Slowly, bit by bit, you rebuilt your body. It is now fit for what you are doing.
Sure, you probably won’t be running a marathon. But when my wife started running, she could barely go those 10 minutes around the block, huffing and puffing, red in the face. And two years later she was going to races for 10km, and a year or two later, she was going for the half-marathon. It takes time, and dedication, no doubt. But it also starts in very small steps. Steps that are easy to do. Steps that help you build a habit. Steps that allow you to change yourself. Bit by bit.
Anyway, we also got our first COVID-19 shots yesterday (Moderna) and now our left shoulders hurt and we can’t run and we can’t lift the jō above our heads, and that already makes us sad. But I still take the staff every day and practice just a few swings, and I’m telling myself: it doesn’t matter if my training looks like I’m 80 years old. If I’m lucky I will be doing this when I’m 80 years old! You can do this, even if you’re 80 years old. And thus, you can do it now, even if you feel like your left arm is 80 years old.
And with that, I have to go. My hands hurt.