Suddenly we have been together for 12 years and on alternate Sunday mornings, we put our night guards together, in a bowl of water, and use Brite on them.

Lately, aka perhaps a short summary of my early 40s

I got myself a pair of glasses with progressive lenses. I wear full-strength contact lens to correct the near-sightedness in my dominant eye, and on the other eye, I wear a multi-focal lens that is powered down for my near-sightedness and has provision for my new-found far-sightedness. There are quite a number of options these days for people with both myopia and presbyopia and none are perfect apparently.

Listening to a bunch of new-to-me music: Bluetech, into.cassette, florist, caroline. Oh I love Bluetech. Especially when your audio equipment is capable of rendering some form of soundstage. I also made a playlist of ambient electronica from the 90s after I watched John Darko’s videos on how he got into electronic music.

I sought out old comforts – film cameras, the Ricoh Digital IV, keeping a blog. I obviously cannot find that version of myself anymore, but living is searching, refining, and hopefully finding some equanimity.

Relatedly, caring a little more about meditation, taking walks, and sleeping better.

I started running in my late 30s, and last year, my running volume halved. Covid undid my efforts at building my running self, and it has been tough trying to get back to the same speed/ volume. I keep things fresh by going to different places but with the world moving on from the pandemic, I find more places more crowded these days, which adds friction to my going for a run. Ah well, I will figure something out.

I read “big” books like The Third Reich, Lord of The Rings, The Complete Works of Plato … and added War and Peace and The Art of War to my list. Even though I once said I decided to not read W&P. Ha. Perhaps someone in her 20s might have wanted to read such books, youth affording the time and headspace but life moved along quickly. Perhaps someone in her 40s might find joy in the labours of reading such fat tomes, so that she does not reach her retirement, thinking, “Oh maybe I really should read these books now, before I die.”

Links from the past weeks

🎥 Everything Everywhere All At Once

The movie looks very madly paced, and I forgot about it for a while. One day, in between reading books, and wondering why it gets such great reviews, I rented the movie from Apple TV.

I really, really enjoyed the movie. I know it is unnecessarily messy and one wonders if there is anything new, but I appreciate that it entertains and also goes, without being too soppy, into poignant themes and meaning. It is a deep breath and a fresh breath of air at the same time. I hope it brings some calm and perspective for the young ones, and also the middle-aged ones like myself, trying to not lapse into a mid-life crisis. There are so many possible lives, but let’s live this one well.

Some notes from Japan 🇯🇵 ✈️

  • Topping up our Suica card (which we added to our phones’ Wallet app on a previous trip) has become more arduous. Of the various credit cards, only the Amex was able to complete the top-up in the iOS wallet app. I had to add my Amex card to my partner’s phone so that both of us can continue to use our Suica cards.

  • Japanese merchants still aren’t that cashless. Trying to wave our cards didn’t work- we are generally invited to plug our card into the machine and sign. I used Apple Pay once. If they allow payment by IC card (a reference to the transport cards), you can use your Suica, which makes things faster. Most payment machines can take payment from your Suica (loaded onto the iPhone’s wallet) without you have to press twice on the lock button to activate payment.

  • Prices are as if there had been no inflation over the recent years. On top of that, the exchange rate had gone in our favour and so, things felt more affordable than usual.

  • I used to buy my contact lens solution after I landed in Japan. This time, there was more difficulty in finding a 100 ml bottle of solution + case. The Japanese are now selling single-use solution + case. It is quite a thing to marvel – the single-use product is quite well made!