Living the Dream

I love rising at 5am.

I used to rise late and spend the rest of the day chasing all the things I knew I had to do and never quite doing the things that mattered. Rising at 5 gives you clarity. Almost nobody is awake. Almost nobody is on social media. You have as close to a clean slate as you’re ever going to get. You can shape your day, and your life is shaped by shaped days.

I used to enjoy working late at night, but the downside is that before long, you feel tired and that fatigue seeps silently into your work.

A few hours after I woke and after I had got my highest value activities out of the way, I went out for a ride on my single speed Cannondale Bad Boy, a matt black bike that I hadn’t ridden for years out of fear that in London, like the seven bicycles I had owned before, it would be stolen. I don’t live in London anymore, and I’m still getting used to the idea that not only are you unlikely to have your bike stolen, you’re also unlikely to get crushed under the wheels of a lorry.

I got to snatch a few breaks with my family too. A few weeks ago, this would have been a highly improbable pleasure. It doesn’t take much time to keep engaged with your family, but it does take frequency. Like establishing flow in coding, or writing, or public speaking, quality increases with frequency.

I’ve started to set up a Synology, set up SSH access to bitbucket for my repos, made my code better, had a TV programme from the early 1970s on in the background, vaped at my desk, had an ice cold shower in the middle of the day (this helps with mood and alertness, the former has been established in studies, the latter is obvious, especially when it’s cold out!), had some accounting training, spoken to an old friend about business in Japan for developers, done some research and study and much more. This list would have been unthinkable within an office environment.

I miss my team and my colleagues from PlayStation, but I did what I did because of all of the above. There is enormous responsibility in such freedom, and I take that all very seriously — but not that seriously; fear is a potent anaesthetic.

I love getting up early and I love seizing the day and filling it with creativity and joy. I’m blessed to have this opportunity and I hope that from this wellspring will come good things, insha’Allah


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