Notes to Self — Episode 16

As a year of lockdown approaches. A year where we didn’t eat out to help out, a year we didn’t see family even when the law said we could, a year when school, home and work became so intertwined as to be completely indistinguishable.

As that year comes ever closer to its close, I am not heartened by its ending, but instead, am just drained and unable to see straight. I am tired and stressed, fatigued and just void of energy in a way that I cannot even begin to describe anymore.

And I don’t know if I can get…

Perfection is the enemy of good

This phrase has been squirreling around my head for a couple of weeks now.

I’m a bit of a procrastinator. Sometimes I procrastinate because I’m not interested in whatever it is that needs doing — think filing and admin — other times because it’s not urgent and I can hold off for a while.

But mainly I procrastinate because knowing how to start is very different from knowing how to finish.

Making sure that it is the best it possibly can be, that I have covered all the angles, understood every single potential flaw, every potential gap and closing them…

Treasure Troves

I was recently rummaging around in some old stuff, my wife and I were feeling nostalgic and wanted to watch some old videos of the kids (and to torture ourselves over how young we used to be), and happened upon a bunch of poetry I had written at various points of my life — including as far back as 1986.

I am still going through them and want to savour each piece, however good, bad or ugly they are, because they were my words from other times, when I may have been carefree, or struggling with something momentous. …

Numbers, numbers, numbers

So I’m a startup CFO.

Like, I spend my time telling young businesses how to raise money, how to spend it, where to ‘invest’ it and how to make more of it (to varying degrees of success — there’s no magic wand and if the business or its underlying proposition is deemed as being interesting enough, scalable enough, valuable enough).

What’s interesting is that I’ve been a story teller most of my life.

English was my first love, swiftly followed by Spanish and Italian. …

What memories are made of

Memories have been hard to create this last year. Pretty much everything has been the antithesis of the right environment to build incredible moments to reflect back on.

Nothing stands out when everything is the same.

And let’s face it, almost all of the scenery of this year have just flowed one into the other.

Whether it’s the world map screen divider that backdrops my zoom calls, the view from the flat, the same route I’ve taken for my run and let’s not forget the never ending greyness that is the London skyline — it’s all just blended into a…

The never ending week

I have no doubt that many others have been finding this since the world went into lockdown some 12 odd months ago but the week has become the temporal equivalent of the endless belt.

I mean I’m hard pressed, on any given day, to tell you what the actual day is, if it weren’t for Google Calendar’s desperate grip on my life, I’d struggle to distinguish my Monday from my Wednesday.

I mean hump day doesn’t even exist anymore because it’s just a rolling hump, one that we never ever manage to traverse.

Nowadays, what used to be the weekend…

Learning. To let go…

I’m very opinionated about education, though as the late Sir Ken Robinson said, maybe we all are, it seems to be one thing that we all have some kind of point to raise or method to promote.

But that’s not what I wanted to write about today, so sorry for that slight head fake.

I did want to talk about a few of the things I am currently learning (or at least learning intentionally), as well as the why and the how.

First off the bat there’s Mandarin Chinese.

I’ve been obsessed with East Asian culture for a long time…

Who the hell am I?

I’ve always found it interesting how people choose to define themselves.

Nowadays, it’s often based on their job — I’m a banker, a doctor, a lawyer, I work in startups, I’m an engineer, I work in a care home, I deliver for Amazon, I’m an investor , I ‘m a cashier at McDonalds — the list is, of course, endless.

And if not by the job, then maybe it’s by where you’re from, I’m an East African Asian, I’m English (lot of that going on at the moment), I’m from China, I’m Texican, I’m Italian, I’m second generation Greek Australian…

Running hard, just to stand still

It would be so easy to say this year has been tough. That I have had no agency in its impact on me, my family.

So easy to blame it on covid, on clients, on Brexit, on any manner of external shit that has hit all of us and none of us at the same time.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that these things haven’t had devastating impacts on many; but the reality, as of right now, I’d be hard pressed to say that these events have directly affected my reality other than in fairly superficial ways.


Aarish Shah

Generalist | Thinker | Life Long Learner | Writer | Photographer

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store