With the notable exception of my books in paperback format, the practical entirety of my professional output is digital in nature. When I write an online article or publish a YouTube video, there’s no physical manifestation. Aside from the bits and bytes on some server somewhere, of course. When I pour in hours upon hours into editing or content creation, there’s no tangible thing I can hold in my hands. And likely because of all that, the analog continues to entice me.
I know it sounds crazy. And no, I’m not volunteering to go over to your house to do it. But I enjoy a quiet satisfaction in otherwise mundane, ordinary household chores. Folding laundry. Washing dishes. Shoveling snow. While I’m not at all interested in performing these tasks a lot, they offer a strange reprieve from my otherwise digital existence. A pile of folded laundry provides a sense of mild accomplishment. I can bask in the glory of a freshly mowed lawn.
True. Jokes aside, given my line of work, I'm missing that satisfaction of making an actual physical thing that I can hold on my hands and say, "I made that."
— Michael Kwan (@michaelkwan) January 10, 2019
The Twitter thread above started because I commented on how my life has changed. In the original tweet, I mentioned that I was sipping on herbal tea while listening to instrumental jazz, “pouring my heart out in a blog post.” Aside from the blog post part, this depiction is a far cry from the man I used to be. Maybe I’m getting older. Maybe I’m turning into a granny.
This is both in line with and completely counter to the appeal of the Buddha Board. Sure, I could play around in Photoshop or draw something on a tablet with a stylus, but that’s still digital. It’s not tangible. The analog experience of picking up a real brush, even if I’m only painting with water, is therapeutic. And rewarding. And yet the inherently fleeting nature of the Buddha Board means I need to let go of this physical manifestation of my creativity.
YouTuber Peter McKinnon recently stated something I thought was rather poignant. You should do something that has nothing to do with what you do. Even if you are fortunate enough to “do what you love” for a living, you need a hobby or an interest that is completely unrelated. It’s one way to battle burnout and promote a greater sense of overall well-being.
So, long story long, maybe I should make something analog. It just probably won’t be crochet. I just want to get my hands on something other than a keyboard and mouse, you know?