I realized earlier tonight that I just played badminton for close to the last time.

Earlier tonight I’d organized an expedition with a few coworkers, and after hitting a birdie around and giving some pointers for 30 min or so, I excused myself to do more stretching and find some others to play with. I ended up playing 4 badminton games — men’s doubles, decently matched, neither side completely overpowering the other. It had been a few months if not more since the last time I’d been on the courts or playing badminton at all.

Being on the courts, racquet in hand, bursts of coolness tied with flowing motion, felt good.

There was some chatter in my head — mostly questions wondering what I could learn from seeing someone better, or commentary on . Every now and then I would snap back to attention, acutely feeling my body, the racquet, feet, breathing, the court around me.

The scene was familiar and foreign, kinda like when you go back to a place you’ve known for a while but you’ve changed.

What dawned on me was that this wasn’t right for me any more.

On the drive home, I thought more about it. Playing badminton doesn’t bring me any feeling of fulfillment anymore, if it ever did. Yes, the rush of play and the peaceful feeling of laser focus is still something I like to feel. But today showed me that it was time to really move on and spend my time with the current things that bring me joy.

It dawned on me too that this was the same with Magic, with board games, with ANYTHING that no longer feels like it brings me fulfillment or that expansive sense of happy-feeling called joy.

Even certain books or courses that I’ve invested in. I’m realizing that sometimes the things I choose to spend my attention on end up being intellectual masturbation: feel-good ideas for the mind that cost valuable energy that could be better spent in the pursuit of things that, well, still feel great but ALSO serve more than just my own pleasure. Basically If I’m going to spend the same energy anyway…why would I intellectually masturbate if I could intellectually sex instead?

In other words, sometimes I do things alone and in isolation (and sometimes this is right and good). But in my own life right now, what I need is to engage with the real world more, so that both the world and I benefit.

I don’t know if there’s any resulting change of behavior from these thoughts yet. I’m just glad to notice that my trajectory has been a slow but steady arc away from the things I truly don’t care about and towards those areas of my life that make me vibrate with life.

Areas like self-responsibility; self-understanding honest living, honest action, honest communication; confidence, authenticity, vulnerability; fear, courage; love, passion; growth.

I can’t yet say what I’m meant for, or what I was born for, or even what I really, REALLY want to do.

I know I want to be on the face of the proverbial mountain, climbing; where the action is, where the fear and risk are, where life is lived.

No, I don’t know what the future will bring. I DO know that I’d much rather contribute towards it rather than letting it just happen.

Risk. Failure. Aggravation. Irritation. The possibility that I could be WRONG. The possibility that I could make a wrong choice. I accept them, and trust myself to grow from wherever I go.