I’ve been following this vegan bodybuilder on Instagram – his name is Nimai Delgado, and I hope he’s as much of a sweetheart in real life as he seems to be online – and something he said is really resonating with me. Vegans get a bad rap for being preachy but he said “The world is not changed by your opinions but your example.”
So let me assure you – you won’t hear about my political opinions in this blog, though I certainly have them. (Or my dietary ones.) I do not want to condemn or bully or buffalo. (Did you know you can say “Bison from the city of Buffalo, NY, confuse and harass other bison from the city of Buffalo, NY” by saying “Buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo?” There’s a longer sentence you can make out of only the word “buffalo” but I’ll be honest, I don’t understand it. There’s also a short poem in Chinese called “The Lion-Eating Poet in the Stone Den” that can be read from varying intonations of the syllable “shi”. The Heian period scholar Ono no Takamura also figured out a way to read “子子子子子子子子子子子” as a sentence that means “the offspring of cats are kittens, and the offspring of lions are cubs.” Wikipedia!)
So in that spirit, I want to introduce a concept called “kaizen” (改善), which is literally Japanese for “improvement”, but in practice means taking tiny steps towards betterment. Declaring you’re going to cure your sedentary nature by running ten miles today, starting today, is not kaizen. Deciding you’re going to get up and take a 200-step walk around your office is. Tomorrow it can be 201 steps. And after that 202. The point is that in a tiny way, you make each day a little closer to your goal.
So kaizen today! Did you brush your teeth? What the heck, floss too! Smoke one less cigarette! Turn off the TV during the commercials and breathe deeply! Write a three-word sentence if you’re stuck. (There’s a bar in Philly called Writer’s Block Rehab. Don’t do that! Although now I’m tempted to see if they’ll host writer’s group meetings there. I made a pact with fellow SF/fantasy writers Johanna Deane and Charlie Allison that this is the year we all become eligible for SFWA membership. Even though I don’t drink (1400 days sober and counting) I’ll enjoy my celebratory seltzer and bitters.)