Climbing high into a plum tree and descending with pockets full of plump red ripe fruit is one of my favourite summer activities.

Some other things I enjoyed in 2018:

My oldest boy coming to live with me
Stripey socks
My new bike
House hunting
Modesty Blaise comics
Homemade bone broth
Not having to fly on airplanes at all
Reading books
Making my first zine
Almond butter
Driving my new car
Micro.blog

Another thing I enjoyed in 2018 was making friends with my upstairs neighbour’s cat. We used to be enemies but now we are TIGHT.

One thing that struck me about Steve Jobs after reading the Walter Isaacson biography was the man’s emphasis on focus.

Jobs said knowing what not to do was as important as knowing what to do. At Apple strategy sessions he’d condense lists of ideas into a single list of the best ten, then cross out all but the top three. When he returned to helm the company in the late 90s and was faced with a bewildering array of substandard products, he axed most of them and told his teams to focus on creating just four.

During his final medical leave Jobs met with and advised Google co-founder Larry Page. “We talked a lot about focus,” Jobs said later. “Figure out what Google wants to be when it grows up… What are the products you want to focus on? Get rid of the rest, because they are dragging you down.”

I’m not one for resolutions, but I’ve been kicking the last part of that statement around in my head these past few days. What are the things you want to focus on? Get rid of the rest, because they are dragging you down.

“Your fifties should be THE BEST of them all. You’re old enough to have a proper sense for all parts of the game. You’re young enough to still have a good amount of health and vigor. I’m banking on it being spectacular.” Troy DeArmitt ponders his 50th birthday.

A thing I enjoyed in 2018 was introducing my oldest boy to some of my favourite films. We watched Lost in Translation, Pan’s Labyrinth, Raiders of the Lost Ark, American Honey, The Darjeeling Limited, Punch-Drunk Love and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. We delighted in Almost Famous and Juno, and we pondered life itself in Synecdoche, New York. Something about Donnie Darko seems to have struck a real chord with him – he’s watched it about five times now, and it’s so good to see him developing a love for films and finding ones he can return to again and again, like I do.

Half a week into my recommitment to eating primal/paleo, and feeling a little sluggish as my body adjusts. #nopainnogain

There’s this thing I do off and on called zazen which involves sitting on the floor staring at the wall, trying to concentrate on my breath. If it sounds like watching paint dry, it is. Actually it’s even more boring than that because the paint on the wall is already dry.

It’s also the most effective way of chilling out I know. By just sitting there, trying to come back to my breath whenever I notice my mind wandering off, I’m seeing for myself the transient nature of my thoughts and emotions, and enabling myself to reground during the course of my day. The idea is the more I sit, the more natural this becomes, and the easier my life is to live.

Maintaining regular zazen isn’t easy though. Sometimes I find myself willing to sit, if not positively keen; other times I find myself utterly unwilling. But a dozen years in I see that sitting off and on isn’t enough – at some point I’m going to have to stand up (or, rather, sit down) and say, “This practice I have found, it is good, it is right, and I shall do it every day of my life.”

Am I at that point yet?