Mario Villalobos

Focus on the Now

I don’t think digital permanence mattered to me as much as I thought it did. What I’m most concerned about is getting things done today. When I’m writing stuff down, whether it’s in Vesper, in a notebook, or somewhere else, I’m writing it down to remember it now. I won’t care about it ten years from having written that note. I just won’t, and I really shouldn’t concern myself with trying to safeguard this data. If we go back through history, how many notes do we actually possess? There have been millions and millions of people who have lived and died that we don’t know about. But they lived. They were people. They lived their lives day by day like us; they loved, and cried, and had fun, and experienced great tragedy, and we don’t know their stories. So many of their stories have been lost through time, and so many more will be lost, too, even if we are living in the digital age.

Why do I want my data to last? What I want is practically what I’ve been doing in my paper journals, which is a record of my thoughts that I can revisit at a later day for nostalgia reasons. Nothing more, nothing less. I don’t really care, nor should I care, to revisit random notes I took on some random day. Either I did something with it or I didn’t. If I did, then hopefully it led toward something memorable. If I didn’t, then it didn’t. How many thoughts cross my mind on a daily basis that don’t result in anything? Why should these notes be treated any differently? Like I said in the beginning, I’m writing this stuff to remember now, not later. The tools I’m using today won’t be around forever. Apple will probably stop making iPhones at some point in the future, and even if they don’t, will I still be using them a decade from now? If so, great. My workflows probably won’t change, and I’ll still be hopefully producing great work. If not, then I’m sure I’ll be using the next great device that’ll help me get my work done. But that’s a path I hopefully won’t embark on anytime soon. What I’m concerned about is the now.

I’m reading Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn. It’s a book about meditation, and I love it. I just finished reading Part 1 today, and I swear I highlighted maybe half of that section. Everything is so well-written and applicable to my life right now. Meditation concerns itself with the now, the present moment. We live through an infinite number of present moments, and that’s what we should be focusing our attention on. To stop, breathe, and take joy in the simple act of being. It’s hard, and I’m nowhere near close to understanding even a fraction of how to meditate well, but I think we can all appreciate the simple act of focusing on breathing, even for just a moment.

This book has shaped my view on a few things that have taken over my thoughts recently, if you can’t tell. I have all these tools available to me right now, and I know how to use them, and I want to use them, and I don’t want to concern myself with data portability. I want to dump all my past journal entries into Day One and backdate them appropriately because I want to experience my personal journey in a beautifully designed app. It gives me an interface that provides little friction from jumping from today to the same day five years ago. That simple contrast can teach me a lot about myself that I may not have experienced elsewhere. That stuff matters to me now, and that’s the stuff that can influence my thoughts now in a very profound way. Day One could be shut down tomorrow, or next year, or five years from now. That’s okay. That’s the way the world works right now. Pen and paper has had centuries to validate itself; we’re only a few decades into the digital world, and we’re all still learning.

All I care about is the present moment and how I can use the right tools to make me better, both personally and in the work I produce.