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Zen

I've noticed that the older I get, the more I appreciate the simpler things in life.

A stout coffee with breakfast, loosing myself in my thoughts over a crackling back yard fire, or just simply reading outside on a nice day with a gentle breeze, are all things I enjoy more now than when I was younger. I'm sure it's largely chalked up to the impatience of youth, but it's funny how fast it creeps up. One day you trade beer for scotch, and bam, soon thereafter you'll start making old man noises when you bend down to pick things up :D

I recently, as of a few months ago, got into straight razor shaving. I got all the proper accessories to go with the razor, including a high quality shaving cream. For the record, I managed my first shave without a single cut, but it did take a significantly longer time than if I would of used a standard cartridge razor. I thought I would hate the inconvenience of the extra time added to my daily routine, but as it turned out, just the opposite happened.

While I've sped up substantially, I've really come to appreciate the experience. I've come to love the sound of the razor being stropped, the smell of the shaving cream, the sound of the blade gliding over my skin as it cuts my stubble, and then the soothing non-alcoholic aftershave cream. I really enjoy the experience. For a solid 30min every other day, I live in the moment. Oddly enough, it feels a lot like meditation.

I thought on why I'm enjoying it so much, sensations aside, and I realized that I'm sinking time into building a skill. It feels rewarding to learn how to shave the same way as my great great grandfathers would have. Since a razor will generally last a lifetime, I decided to buy some whetstones to keep the blade sharp. I thought I would hate the experience, since it's highly repetitive mindless work, but just as with shaving, I really grew to love it. I started out with some junk kitchen knives, and I was blown away by the results. Time just flew by as I worked a keen edge on my largely blunted knives. Again, it felt as if I was lost in the moment in a zen like state. Feels like I'm honing a part of myself while I hone the blades.

My next adventure will be into the world of cast iron cooking. I bought a couple pans that I will be sanding down and re-seasoning. I love to cook, but always use non-stick. Maybe this will be another similar experience. I know I'm super excited to start using the pans on a rack while I have a fire going. I can raise my level of sophistication ten fold by cooking something other than smokies/sausages and marshmallows in my fire pit.

While it's still too early to tell, I feel writing may prove to be a similar experience.

Anyone else have any Zen like activities they enjoy?

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Stygian
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