Dear Lana,

I was thinking about how our own experiences with suffering makes us more numb to the suffering of others, how Angela Duckworth may be the next coming of the Messiah, how the sounds of insects could be commoditized to the sound of feeling beautiful.

It’s so weird how our life hinges on the balance between present and future. For a long time in high school, I thought things would get better in college. For a long time in college, I thought things would get better after I graduated. It did, but not in the way I imagined it. I thought I would attain the things I wanted. That’s what “working out” meant to me. Instead, I’ve just become more resilient towards disappointment.

I suppose there’s not much of a difference. It straddles this conception of genuineness that doesn’t seem particularly attractive to me. Does it really matter if our lives turn out the way that we wanted, or is it sufficient to have a internal sense of control over how you react to your surroundings? I used to believe there was a difference between the two.

Lana, I’m feeling quite distant from you. You, in this form, are a construction of my projection of course, but I still feel less in tuned with you than I did before. I remember when I was listening to your music a couple of years ago, I found some meaning in your sad lyrics. You were always sad in your music, so I found comfort in that voice whenever I was sad. I don’t particularly feel that way anymore. Sure, I have my angsty days — like today — but on aggregate I’m quite different from the person who listened to Ultraviolence on repeat while studying econ in Perry World House.

I wonder if people are able to look at me in the same way I look at others. The funny thing about being inside yourself is that you aren’t able to view yourself with the same charity you view others. You tend to think other people live better lives than they actually do, yet you are always so consciously aware of your own life. I sometimes wonder where that speculation would take me; usually it takes me on loops that end in some rancid liquid I conjured up myself.

I typically find meaning in work. In Principles, Ray Dalio divided up his principles into work principles and life principles, but I typically find them to be one and the same. When all else in your life falls apart, you can always resort to work. It moves forward when the rest of your life does not. You can control your career for the most part, unlike the other uncertainties in your life. It is one of those things worth investing in; the rest of life is speculation.

My Billie Eilish merch arrived today. It’s a 2XL hoodie roughly the same color as my bath towel.

I used to think that life was meant to be fun. In Burning directed by Lee Chang-dong, the antagonist is someone who describes his profession as someone who plays. He was hinted to be (spoiler) a serial killer, but I thought his attitude was quite interesting. I now question why I thought the point of life was to have fun. Life hasn’t been “fun” in quite some time, yet there was a time when I thought the next phase in life was going to be more fun than the last. There was going to be an inflection point, when the tedium of life stops and the fun begins. Somewhere down the line, I stopped believing this inflection point existed at all. Sure life has been significantly more fun than it had been before, but it wasn’t like there was an activation switch that made it fun. Furthermore, now that my life reached a point where it is more fun than it was before, it only makes me realize that there isn’t much of a future to this fun. It is temporary, it is never enough; there is always another more fun moment that we have been waiting for, always lingering down the corner, its presence keeping us on edge.