I Am Pilgrim — Terry Hayes

I was at the airport with a friend when I asked them what their favourite book was. You have to read I Am Pilgrim right now, it’s so good”, was the answer. And so I hopped on my Kindle and downloaded it in time for our upcoming flight.

Thrillers aren’t usually my type of book, but this one hits different. It is a page-turner for sure and once I started it was very hard to put down. The story reminds me of a James Bond movie where the main character is badass and very resourceful during his investigation. What I didn’t enjoy as much was the fact that he kept reminding the reader of those things throughout the book.

If you’re looking for an entertaining page-turner that will keep you on the edge of your seat and maybe keep you up all night, definitely check this one out. I can’t wait for the sequel which is supposed to be released sometime next year.


An extension of the real world

I grew up with video games. It’s been one of my favourite hobbies ver since my dad let me play on the Atari 7800. Soon after we got the Playstation and I was hooked. Later my mind was blown when I played online for the first time with other people on the Dreamcast.

During my teenage years and beyond I’d play almost anything from role playing games to first-person shooters. In the past couple years however I noticed a shift in my gaming habits.

I buy less games and I spend less time on them individually. I can’t even remember the last game I completed from start to finish. I mean I love Final Fantasy 7 but didn’t even make it halfway through in the remake.

Maybe my short attention span is to blame. I’d like to think I became more intentional. Even though I probably purchased hundreds of games over the years, these days it’s more about quality than quantity for me. There’s actually only three that I play regularly:

The first and most played is Magic: The Gathering Arena. I was introduced to Magic by my childhood friend ages ago and it’s been nice to get back into it digitally.

After that comes NBA 2K. I love basketball and I haven’t missed a single copy since 2005 which is kind of crazy to think about.

Last but not least is Rocksmith 2014, which has been a lot of fun to improve my guitar playing.

I only noticed recently why I’m drawn back to these titles in particular without a need for new ones.

All of the above games relate directly to an interest outside of video games. They’re essentially a digital version that allows me to experience something I already enjoy in the real world. Just in a slightly different way.

A Short History of Nearly Everything — Bill Bryson

I’ve always been fascinated by the origin of humankind. How did we go from cavemen trying to figure out fire to being able to fly huge airplanes through the sky? I’m deeply interested in the many steps that led not only to our present day progress but also to our very existence in the first place. This was my first book by Bill Bryson and I went in with high expectations based on his track record.

But then I read through the first few chapters focused on the big bang and the origins of the universe and decided to take a break. I’ll admit that it didn’t meet my expectations at first because I was focused on a very specific part in the universe’s timeline. Not being one to give up and having run out of books in my backlog I gave it another chance. And I’m glad I did.

It’s such an entertaining read and Bill knows how to turn his well researched content into page-turners. I don’t think I’ll remember most (if any) names of the people mentioned but it gave me a really good overview on many topics that relate to my main interest at the moment–how humans evolved over time.

With that being said, the chapter I enjoyed the most was the obviously the one describing what little is known about our many Sapiens ancestors. This led me down a rabbit hole and I’ve found a few promising resources on the topic such as The Ascent of Man, Prehistory, Guns, Germs and Steel and Sapiens which I’m currently reading.


Mindful habits

I started my mindfulness journey a few years ago when I was looking into ways to look after my mental health. I had made sure to take care of my body through exercise but hadn’t paid too much attention to my mind. I figured having a busy mind with lots thoughts was probably the same for everyone else. I guess not.

A particularly stressful situation in my personal life was the trigger that made me look for solutions and answers. This led me to books as well as teachers about meditation and stoicism which resonated with me a lot.

I turned to practice what I’d learned and have been meditating almost every day for about five years now. I’m actively trying to apply mindfulness to various parts of my life.

For example, before I make breakfast I read a page out of The Daily Stoic to start my day which gives me something to look forward to.

The shower used to be the place where I think about stuff the most, heck there’s even an entire subreddit dedicated to this which proves I can’t be the only one. But now when I take a shower I’m simply in the moment and focus on the various sensations. The smells. The water hitting my body and flowing continuously. It’s quite a different experience and I urge you to try it at least once.

Throughout the day I try to practice mindfulness as much as possible by being present instead of lost in thoughts. Even if my mind ends up wandering, which is still fairly often, I remember to be kind with myself and bring it back to the present moment.

Every night before going to bed I take some time to meditate. This helps me win down for the day and prepares my body for a good night’s sleep.

As is the case with any skill you only start to see the benefits over the long term by showing up for practice every day. Don’t neglect your mind–it needs training too.