Tag: life

A Wonderful Realization

This coming spring I will turn 37 years old. Maybe it’s the age or the end of the decade, maybe it’s the splash of gray in my hair that I just noticed or recently becoming a father, but I’ve been thinking a lot about where I am in life and where I want to find myself tomorrow or next decade.


I recently had a wonderful realization, a liberating realization. I’m not going to become an astronaut. Nope, it’s never going to happen. Not only that, but I’m not going to become a star athlete, millionaire record-producer, venture-capitalist, scientist inventor of the cure for whatever, or any other dream and expectation that one has growing up. Nope, none of that is going to happen. What I am is a husband, father, brother, writer, dog-owner, and a few other mundane things that I love and enjoy.


One of the benefits of giving up on high expectations is that I can focus and enjoy life and hobbies on a micro-level. I can pick up guitar playing without hoping to become the next Jimmy Page. I can lift weights without the desire to compete and rate myself against professional bodybuilders. When I jog it’s because I enjoy it not because I’m training for the Boston Marathon.

There is a poisonous mindset in our culture that takes every hobby and activity and hyper-professionalizes it. Even video games are professional, you can’t just play a game, you have to be on-line, have to rate on seasonal ranking boards, have to compete and practice for hours, everyone has to stream. Tabletop RPGs are going the same way. You can’t just play with your friends, you have to blog about it, stream your games, monetize monetize monetize.

I fell into this mindset when I was young and gave up two activities I really enjoyed for stupid reasons. In high school and a bit after I used to play guitar. I really enjoyed being in a band, playing gigs, hanging out with friends, but most of all I enjoyed playing the guitar, writing music, learning riffs, and experimenting with equipment. For whatever reason, life, bands breaking up due to school and relationships, the usual, I gave up on playing guitar. I told myself that if I wasn’t going to make money on it I should stop wasting my time. Around that time I did the same thing with art. I used to paint, all the time, every day. Large oil and acrylic paintings. I loved art, but I knew that I would never become an artist, whatever that means, so I quit. I gave up art and music because of the sick mindset in which you don’t engage in activities for pleasure but only for professional profit.

Around the time my wife became pregnant I made a resolution to pick up cooking. Since then I’ve become a somewhat competent amateur cook. I can knock out a few dishes confidently and I’ve taken up summertime grilling where I’ve kicked up some delicious burgers, hot-dogs, chicken, and ribs. Most of all I’ve realized that one can enjoy a hobby without obsessing about being the best. I can cook and grill for myself and my own pleasure.

The realization that I’m not going to be the next top chef, that I don’t want to be discovered and open my own restaurant, that I don’t want to own a food truck and a Netflix show. I just want to cook great food for my family and friends. That’s it, nothing more nothing less. It’s a great feeling and makes the enjoyment of the activity so much more pleasant, a truly relaxing hobby.

This year I’m going to continue cooking. I’m going to up my game and have a lot of fun with it. I’m also going to apply the same mindset to other hobbies. Who knows, maybe I’ll pick up a paintbrush.

Cultural Malaise & Action

Recently during our regular grilling and drinking sessions with friends, the topic of conversation has been turning towards politics and even some religion. I’m a firm believer in the Chestertonian “I never discuss anything else except politics and religion. There is nothing else to discuss,” maxim, so I’m usually right in the middle of it.


Sadly the consensus amongst my friends and family is that everything is going south. That we as a culture are in decline, that our institutions are failing, and that the future looks dark. Violent political division, racial animosity, moral decline, mass shootings, and an overall pallor of degeneracy and unhappiness.


Last weekend, after a particularly long and dark discussion best described some other time, my wife rather demoralized asked the question that matters. What do we do about things, how do we live through times that are dark and demoralizing, what actions should we take?


Her question has been bothering me all week. I don’t have an answer. At least nothing that is concrete. I think that looking around, assessing the state of our lives, and the state of our society is the first step. So many of us live empty fast-food lives stuck in a never-ending cycle of work, consume, repeat; addicted to mind-numbing entertainment and shallow pleasures. So even seeing a problem with how we live and react is a first step in the right direction. And honestly, it’s easy sinking into despair and complacency. Becoming overwhelmed with Acedia, the defining characteristic of our modern world. Inactivity, inaction, lack of attention, dissatisfaction and slavery to anxiety. After all, we live in a sick world where we are connected digitally with thousands but can’t name the person who lives next door.


While I don’t have the answer, I do have some ideas on how we can try to combat the ills of today. I think that there needs to be a refocusing on the personal, a return to small scale intimacy and sub-creation. Not everything must be connected, displayed, and shared with the whole world. Do things for yourself and the ones you love. Create artistically, build, collect, adventure, but do it for yourself, not for Instagram.


I believe a small step towards alleviating the spiritual malaise is to revitalize the idea of crafty small scale creative hobbies. Everyone should have at least two personal hobbies. One that is physical such as weightlifting, running, surfing, hiking, or a sport, and more critically a creative hobby. I think way too many of us lack creative and intellectual outlets. Drawing, painting, cooking, baking, woodworking, gardening, photography, or any other creative outlet is critical.


As a writer I know that nothing beats the revitalizing mental high I get when I finish a story or even a section of one. But I’ve challenged myself to other hobbies such as my recent experiments with cooking and grilling, and my slow return to art. Eventually, I plan on getting into gardening, but I’m a little intimidated by the starting process.


As I said, I don’t have any concrete answers. But I do think that any change starts at home with the self, the small, and the personal. Disconnect from the mind-rot of television and get to work on a creative hobby. Learn it, master it, and share it with your friends.


It won’t change the world but it might make a small part of it a little bit better.

Two Months

My last full post was two months ago. Don’t worry, I’m still here. I’m not giving up on this space. Matter of fact I just renewed my domain name.

I’ve been terribly busy. Between being a father, husband, and a full time job, my time is overbooked. Especially these last few months due to my work sending me out of town for training. Last week I spent living out of the back of a military ambulance.

What free time I have that isn’t devoted to my family is spent writing. I’ve been consistently hitting my wordcount goals and have a lot of big projects planned. I’m giving myself a 10-year transition to full time author timeline. In order to make that goal every spare moment needs to be devoted to writing, research, craft, and marketing.

I’m not sure what I want to do with this blog space. Do I want to continue keeping it a semi-personal space used like a journal? I don’t really like reviews but I could turn it into a page devoted to indy writers I follow. Use it as a newsletter? Lots of options. For now I’m going to do what I have been doing, but that might change in the future.

In the coming months I’m going to start revealing my upcoming projects.

If you are interested in my day to day commentary please follow me on twitter by clicking on the widget below or following this link https://twitter.com/dacianwanderer

23,803 Miles, Sarawak, and Home Again

It’s exactly 6 AM and I’ve been wide awake for almost two hours. The sun isn’t up and I’m already on my second cup of coffee. Since I’ve returned I’ve been waking up earlier than usual so I might as well be productive. I’m starting to like the morning.

View from my hotel room. Kuching, Malaysia.

My last transmission was on the 4th of March. I was across the Pacific in Okinawa, Japan. I was living in a bare barracks room with horrible internet and hideous decor. I spent most of my free time smoking cigars, drinking beer, and getting reacquainted with Dostoevsky. It rained a lot. That warm, humid, Japanese rain. Miserable.

In the past three months I’ve flown 23,303 miles. First moving from Japan to California. Then being sent back to Japan for work for a few weeks. After that I spent a bit over one month in Kuching, State of Sarawak, Malaysia. Now I’m finally home.

Moving my entire life across the Pacific is a surreal experience. Leaving a place, an entire country, an entire culture, and way of life is jarring and hard to describe.

In February I flew my family to our new home in California. I only stayed with them for two weeks then back to Okinawa to catch up with my coworkers so I could go on a project in Malaysia. It’s been weird coming home because when I arrived back in California what I’m calling home is more foreign to me than Sarawak. After all I only lived in my current house for a few days but spent the better part of two months living in a hotel room in Kuching.

Land of the White Rajahs

When I was out in the jungle my coworkers would talk about back home. It was strange because I didn’t really know anything about back home except what my wife described to me.

I got back on the 14th of April. Catching up, carving out my place, getting acquainted with the furniture. I have a new desk. New couches, new bed. Bought a grill, some patio furniture, domestic stuff so we can enjoy the California summer.

The weather in California is nice. Growing up here I took it for granted until we lived in Japan. California weather is just right, a bland nice. After the 95 degree 90% humidity of Sarawak I like the niceness. But I do miss the jungle.

This past Thursday was my 36th birthday. I was born in 1983. Off the top of my head Ronald Reagan was president, David Bowie and Phil Collins ruled the radio and everyone wore hideous clothes. Of course I had no idea because I was just born and living behind the Iron Curtain. It was a good birthday.

I’m reading Barry Hanna, my coffee is cold, and my battery is low.

Final Preparations

In eight days our small family will be leaving Yokosuka, Japan, flying across the Pacific Ocean, and beginning the next phase of our lives.  Last Friday movers came to pack and pick up our furniture and personal items. This coming Friday we will turn in the keys to our house.

Mt. Fuji from the lakes.

As of now my wife and I are living in a hotel room with the baby and the dog. Quinn, the dog, fancies herself a professional guard dog and has decided to bark every time someone walks outside our room. The cramped and hectic situation is not very conductive to writing. Not to mention all of our free time is spent preparing for our flight and tying up loose ends.

Living in Japan has been a fantastic adventure and I’m thankful for the opportunity to experience such an interesting and unique culture first hand. I’m going to miss being out here. But, I’m ready to move on and make new memories and take part in new adventures.

During this chaotic time I am trying my best to stay focused on diet and exercise. I’ve been hitting the gym daily and staying on top of my calorie count. I’m checking in to a deployable command and want to hit the ground running.

I’m also catching up on reading, specifically focused on history and conservative philosophy.

Expect a lot of posts on those topics in the near future.