We're Here on Earth to Fart Around

Stumbled upon a great PBS interview between David Brancaccio and Kurt Vonnegut and found a great life rule to live by:

DAVID BRANCACCIO: There’s a little sweet moment, I’ve got to say, in a very intense book– your latest– in which you’re heading out the door and your wife says what are you doing? I think you say– I’m getting– I’m going to buy an envelope.

KURT VONNEGUT: Yeah.

DAVID BRANCACCIO: What happens then?

KURT VONNEGUT: Oh, she says well, you’re not a poor man. You know, why don’t you go online and buy a hundred envelopes and put them in the closet? And so I pretend not to hear her. And go out to get an envelope because I’m going to have a hell of a good time in the process of buying one envelope. I meet a lot of people. And, see some great looking babes. And a fire engine goes by. And I give them the thumbs up. And, and ask a woman what kind of dog that is. And, and I don’t know. The moral of the story is, is we’re here on Earth to fart around. And, of course, the computers will do us out of that. And, what the computer people don’t realize, or they don’t care, is we’re dancing animals. You know, we love to move around. And, we’re not supposed to dance at all anymore.

Dealing With Injuries

Climbing and training for it have been my “mainstay” for quite some time. Naturally, when I have to stay away from it, it’ll start affecting me in one way or another. Especially these last couple of years have been relatively tough in this sense since, naturally, due to COVID: I’ve had to stay away from training, mainly due to external restrictions, closed gyms, and so on. Unfortunately, alongside this, I’ve had to live with a couple of injuries simultaneously.

First, I had a nasty fall while bouldering outside in 2019. While the fall itself was similar to many other falls that I had already had during that day, this time, I just fell a little bit awkwardly on my pads and dislocated my ankle and had two minor fractures to it at the same time. Thankfully nothing too major that a cast, rest and some rehab couldn’t fix it. But the timing of this was really unfortunate since it was very close to all this COVID non-sense, which meant that gyms in Finland started to close down, which then affected my recovery a little bit since I couldn’t get back to my regular training. Thankfully I was able to recover from my ankle issues quite nicely, albeit mobility is still a little bit worse than in my other ankle, but it is usable, at least.

During 2020 and 2021, COVID in Finland was going in waves, so we had a couple of months with no cases around, and then a couple of months later, there were hundreds of cases around. So during these “good months”, gyms were open, so I could at least train a little bit. But since COVID was still very present, and the training was quite haphazard for me. Meaning during the “busy hours”, I often didn’t want to go to the gym since there were so many people around. So there wasn’t really any regularity to my training which was a shame until around the second half of 2021.

Then, of course, I had to stumble upon a new injury around the end of 2021. This time a pulley injury on my right ring finger’s A3. So again, I had to take a couple of weeks off. Again the timing was quite unfortunate since, during the same time, COVID cases were rising in Finland and gyms had to close down again. Which again hindered my recovery.

During the first half of 2022, I also moved to Berlin, so I needed to find a new gym which basically meant finding a new “community”. Thankfully, I could get back into the groove of training in the months I’ve been living here. Unfortunately, again, after a couple weeks of training, I had a minor injury. This time a minor tear/sprain on my right knee’s LCL. Thankfully this time, it should be slightly more minor than my last two injuries so it should be healed in a couple of weeks, RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevate) and some physiotherapy/rehab.

Speaking only on my behalf (albeit I do believe that many other “athletes” feel the same), being on the disabled list definitely puts a toll on me. Mainly because while I’m injured, I can’t experience life the way I want. Why is it so? Of course, there are natural factors like pain and damage that will, of course, affect anyone experiencing those one way or another. Also, everything relating to those, like medical appointments.

But I would say climbing (alongside many other things like music) is part of my identity. So when I’m injured, I always feel that I’m losing some aspect of my whole identity. This kind of behaviour can often lead to a situation where the “athlete” tries to train through the injury, and often, making things only worse. Tied to this, being unable to do something that plays a significant part in your life can easily lead to hopelessness and loss of purpose.

Most importantly, I feel that connection plays the most prominent aspect in this. When “an athlete” is injured, they can often feel the loss of connection, especially if the community around your sport/activity is very tightly knit (like it tends to be in climbing, for example). So the fact that you need to sit out training sessions that you usually do with your “community” can significantly affect your mentality.

This one was especially crucial for me in these early months of 2022 since I had just moved to a new country, new town, without too much of connections (outside work at least). I already felt that I had become a part of the local climbing community, and after my injury, I already thought I couldn’t be a part of it. Thankfully in my case, the injury rehab and recovery time was relatively short, so I didn’t need to worry too much, but things could be worse.

But can you get away from this mindset? I think, first and foremost you need to respect your body and try to understand that even though you might not be able to take part in the activity that forms part of your identity, it doesn’t take anything away from it. Instead, try to focus your energy on healing and rehabbing so that eventually, when you’re healed, you can return even stronger. Also, when it comes to communal aspects of this, personally, I believe that isolating away from others is a big mistake. Instead you should try to champion others and give back to it as much as possible.

Now Page

My “now page” can be found here

So I decided to join the ranks of a bunch of “cool people” and create my “now page”. While my direct home page (root of this site) works as what most people could call “about” page, I feel that the “now page” reflects a little bit better on what I’m doing at this very moment. A similar effect could be achieved with random ramblings on some social media platforms, but personally I just want to stay away from those as much as possible.

That being said, most of the posts that I stumbled upon in those platforms - when I was still on those - were often related to relatively small events with a couple of big news here and there. “Now page” reflects the “big picture” a little bit better, which is why it works nicely for sharing with people I haven’t met in a long time.

With this kind of page, I believe it’ll also work to remind me of my current priorities. So if I stumble upon something new and exciting, I can reflect these on my “now page” to see if it fits there or not. Further reading:

Moving to Berlin and Hopefully More Regular Updates

Berlin graffitti
Berlin graffitti

So I found myself in Berlin after living many good years in Helsinki. Moving here has been a plan of mine for quite some time, and initially, it was a big reason why I joined my current employer. I had a plan on moving here a lot earlier, but due to all this COVID nonsense around the world, these plans were a little bit postponed. But hey, here we are finally in lovely Kreuzberg.

Time will tell how long I will enjoy my stay here, but I sold my earthly belongings before moving here, so the move was pretty painless. Also, if I don’t gather too much more material things around my life, moving somewhere else would probably be as easy!

Also, this post marks the start of my (hopefully) more frequent posting in a form of these smaller rambles. This is mainly due to the reason I try to stay “off-the-grid” from all these social platforms, and my friends and the family wanted to hear more updates from my side, so I might as well do it here!

Looking forward to my future here in Berlin!