Reclaiming Urban Spaces: The Critical Link Between City Design and Lifestyle

It was a rainy, windy evening as I was walking through the streets of Rotterdam. Feeling chilled by the strong wind, I decided to run slowly instead of walking to raise my body temperature and better withstand the weather. In doing so, I realized how much I actually enjoyed it and wondered why I hadn't taken up casual running in a long time.

I think the reason is I probably wouldn't have enjoyed it as much as I used to in my hometown, and this is because of Yerevan's bad city design. While it's in a much better position than many other cities, it still is a city built with cars in mind instead of people.

Many firmly believe that owning a car is about freedom or independence. Some also strongly fight the idea that we should reduce the number of cars in cities. They propose fixing severe and counterproductive traffic jams by adding more car lanes, inadvertently incentivizing even more cars and thus worsening the congestion. Isn't that ironic?

I feel the opposite - a car is an extremely limiting transportation method with many laws telling you what you can and cannot do (you are also stuck in four walls and depend on oil or electricity, whereas a bike is self-sustained). The laws exist for an obvious reason: cars are hazardous, and they kill people; reduce the number of cars, and the number of deaths from car accidents will decrease (sometimes significantly). The Dutch figured this out some time ago and have been diligently working to reverse the damage caused by designing cities under the assumption that everyone must own a car.

It also finally clicked: I now knew why many people could theoretically find a treadmill more attractive than running outside. I never really thought treadmill made sense and never understood why people like them. Turns out, part of it is being born in a city that incentivizes running by being chill, well-integrated with the nature, and overall great to live in. The reason could be the same as why I didn't run in Yerevan - cities that do not incentivize casual running. The lack of safe, accessible routes for running (narrow streets are great!) and the absence of "integrated" nature doesn't really help here.

Just as detrimental environments foster bad habits, poor city design promotes unhealthy lifestyles. Since I now live in a city with good design, built with people in mind, it just feels right to start casually running again; it will be an enjoyable activity that will benefit both my creativity & reflection and health greatly.

I reached out about this to P., who runs regularly and participates in marathons and expressed my interest in joining him for a run if he didn't mind since I enjoyed runs with friends & intellectually stimulating companions. I'm looking forward to the possibility of joining him next week!

These were my thoughts about how cities affect your lifestyle for today. They change you. It takes a while for the lifestyle changes to occur. It didn't take Yerevan too long to do it and essentially kill a lot of good habits I had from my hometown. However, I'm happy to share that it seems the Netherlands is swiftly acting to undo the damage, reverse the course, and reintroduce the positive lifestyle aspects I once enjoyed, much like they did with the bikes.

Doei <3

Final edit done while listening to Dogs on Prozac by Yaleesa Hall from Amsterdam :)

Trying to deal with wanting to do too many things

It's been a while since I wrote anything here. My fluctuating interests, often intense, are one of the many reasons for my absence. I was into so many things at different points in life that sometimes I think I don't even know what I'm into anymore :). The total time of being interested in stuff varies. Photography, for instance, once held my attention the longest in both its digital (earlier in life) and film (most interested) forms. However, I've since moved away from this hobby, finding that my passion for it has faded. I just don't care about taking or looking at photos anymore. It's just a thing that some people enjoy, but I'm not one of them anymore.

Apart from that, I started working at Breeze a couple of months ago, which has been my only creative focus since then. The company & the product are great so far; hopefully, I'll write something about it at some point. I plan to return to my other creative activities eventually, but I need to maximize my outputs for Breeze first to work on my stuff guilt-free.

The full unlocking of maximizing outputs will happen pretty soon since I'm already progressing in figuring out the best way to work with this team, product & code base. Moving to the Netherlands (I'm moving in less than a month; I'll write about this, too) will also positively impact my goal. At this point, I miss offices, and I think they are great, but there are no Armenian companies/products I really want to work for. 

Apart from work, my subconscious thoughts mainly go into my apps, live-coding music, and reflection (on myself & life). However, I was having an evening walk with A yesterday, and we talked about a lot of stuff; we had a great time. A topic that came up was my plan & desire to write a fiction book about (the idea of) software. This came back to me today. I realized I wanted to start working on it once I managed to have spare time. So, cool, that's one more thing to really want to be doing while not really being able to.
It's a familiar dance, isn't it? :)

At this point, I should probably spend a weekend building my "what project to work on" prioritization tool that I've been thinking about. It could, perhaps, help.

My passion & fascination with software, however, beyond just the engineering aspect, has been a consistent thread in my life, never dimming for more than a few months at a stretch, so I figured I might as well dedicate my life to it. I'm pretty determined in that sense, and it helps me enjoy life & know where I want to go in the near future.


Anyways, thanks for reading this, and
Peace <3

Modern and Contemporary Operating Systems

I started waking up really early. I was enjoying my morning coffee, while injecting nicotine and listening to birds' sounds, when suddenly the thought came to me: "contemporary programming... [something I don't remember anymore]". And that was quite interesting because most of what we do isn't really modern nowadays.

This is what N told us about operating systems in the "Computer Organization" class. The operating systems we usually refer to as "modern", in fact, aren't modern; they are contemporary. They aren't innovative; they're just new.

I know this because, during the summer, I asked N if I could attend his lectures at a university without enrolling/becoming a student. After some chats with university employees, I found the way to the people who helped me settle this question and granted me the right to attend the classes as an auditor.

I have attended four lectures so far and am enjoying my time. I also took his "Compiler Design" class, and it's really fun! I think I'm enjoying it even more than computer organization. I suggested N we build a BrainFuck compiler sometime during the class and dedicate some time to esoteric programming languages.

I keep meeting folks I know at college, which is pleasantly weird. I also like the vibes sometimes; I'm not entirely sure what's happening. I even considered enrolling at one point but quickly dropped the idea.

It's Amazing How Our Bodies Function

I was meditating for a few minutes. I thought about some stuff. I thought about the idea of potential. I thought about my "Notespaces" project and what would happen if it failed. I thought about my dreams, my motivation, my determination.

I dropped a tear. Then another one. I cried weirdly and couldn't make anything of it until I reached for a napkin with my hand to clean the tears. I was amazed! My hand is taking care of me; my hand is helping me; it's got good intentions! It wasn't sad; it wasn't anything; it just did what was right for me at the moment.

I'm still amazed at this! So weird, so beautiful!

A "Thank You Letter" to N.

Every year, or perhaps even more frequently, I find myself composing a thank-you message to a dear friend N. Sometimes, the gratitude is tied to a specific event or shared experience; other times, it's a simple, encompassing "thanks for existing". Initially, these messages felt a little odd to write, a departure from my usual mode of expression. But as the years passed, I've grown comfortable with these spontaneous outpourings of gratitude. I've come to understand that expressing appreciation is important—not just for me, but for those who have touched my life in significant ways. They deserve to know and hear they're valued.

This post is dedicated to my friend N., who has profoundly influenced who I am today. I'm not suggesting that my life would be unbearable without our friendship—life, after all, is a series of ifs and maybes. Yet, I am content with who I am, and I attribute a large part of that to the experiences and people that have shaped me, N. being a pivotal one. This isn't about predestination or fate; it's about the choices we make and the relationships we cultivate.

Our first in-person encounter happened at BarCamp in 2019. It was an important event for me back then; I came to Yerevan for about 3-4 days to attend the conference and finally meet my internet friends for the first time. My friend K. introduced us to each other; it was a weird handshake; I hated handshakes back then; he said he used to feel the same but had grown to appreciate this formal greeting. Although I now prefer hugs, I've come to accept handshakes as a part of social interaction.

I was sitting with K. in a park next to the university where the conference was taking place in. She showed me a message from N. saying something like, "I'm looking at fperson's GitHub at the moment; this boy is [something nice]". It was great to hear that. And his message meant a lot; I felt like it indicated that someone I respect as a person and as a professional thinks that I'm moving in the right direction with my life. I wasn't doing anything super-fancy back then, but I was passionate.

He was some kind of a role model for me back then. The "I wanna be like this guy" way. Things have changed since then; I don't look up to people anymore the same way I used to; I have become "my own thing". However, I still love, respect, and appreciate him; that hasn't changed, and I hope it never will.

I recall a particularly impactful conversation with N. one day. We were chatting about various topics when he shared something of a personal nature. I didn't respond because I felt I had nothing to contribute to the conversation. N. pointed out that my silence wasn't the best way to communicate, a critique that initially stung but ultimately proved to be a valuable lesson. It was a pivotal moment that significantly improved my communication skills. And I'm happy he was direct about this. Nowadays, I'm pro-directness. Always.

There's so much more I could say about N., but I'll reserve those stories for another day. What's important is that I'm deeply grateful for his presence in my life.

Peace <3

How to keep faith in humanity

Alternative title: Prioritizing alone time

I have always struggled with maintaining friendships for extended periods of time. While I don't completely understand the reasons for this behavior, I believe it's primarily due to how I have always approached relationships. I firmly believe in not needing someone else for my happiness. Looking back, most of the best things that began in my life occurred during periods when I was almost lonely, but in a positive way. As an introvert, I truly cherish and appreciate certain people, and after years of failing to sustain relationships, I think I have finally figured out the right approach for me. My solution lies in being as honest as possible with myself and acknowledging that this is how I function and exactly how I want to live. Moreover, I have a strong need for this lifestyle to foster creativity, which is an essential part of my fulfillment in life.

I have realized that it's okay to prioritize my personal needs and preferences, and I even believe it's the best approach for me. Once I stopped feeling guilty about prioritizing my alone time, everything seemed to fall into place. Obviously, not every aspect of my life has been resolved, but I have become quite determined in my philosophy regarding interpersonal relationships.

Now, I appreciate people more than ever. I love and respect many individuals for a variety of reasons, and I feel that I no longer have friends I don't genuinely want in my life. Each person I interact with is someone I truly value, and that feels great.

I have friends with whom I occasionally talk and try to help when necessary. Nowadays, I avoid forcing people to do stuff, even though it can sometimes feel odd when I have the urge to get what I want, even if it means doing the wrong thing. Regardless, I am a massive fan of these people and always wish the best for them. Even if we don't interact often, I am truly grateful they exist.

Connect with people who appreciate you for who you are, and try to appreciate them as well. Life is a heck of a weird thingy, and it's super cool to be a part of it.

Last but not least, kudos to A. for inspiring me to organize my thoughts around this topic and write this post (and, of course, for existing) <3

P.S. I understand that the title may not perfectly align with the theme, but that's what I felt like naming it :)

Peace <3

The Struggle to Be Honest with Yourself

Have you ever had that moment of self-awareness when you realize you've been lying to yourself? It's a feeling that hits you like a gut punch, a sudden realization that you're living a lie in the current moment.

Everyone should be honest with themselves, and yet, sometimes, it's too hard. While I believe I'm doing a pretty good job at being honest with myself, I still find myself struggling at times. Whenever this realization comes to me, I think it's not necessarily what I want to do in that particular case.

This is one of the issues with the whole "awareness" thingy. The more aware I become, the more I realize that there are things that utterly suck, and there's little I can do to change that. All of this sounds like a fear of going into places that are hard to exit once you're in. Even though I think of my life as happy and fulfilling, sometimes this weird thing strikes so much that I lose all of my motivation to do anything. Hopefully, I will learn to deal with it better as I experience this state of mind more.

After all, emotional growth for me is about recognizing how my mind works when some shit happens and finding out how to deal with it that works best for me. The problem is it hurts. And it's not really enjoyable in any way :).

Alright, time for some more positive vibes :). Something I like about how I deal with "ideology wars inside my mind" is that everything becomes normal again soon-ish (sleep over it, right?). And I'm already familiar with many destructive patterns that I have gone through during my life. There's lots of room for improvement, though; I'd love to understand what makes me most driven to build stuff and incorporate that more.

Writing blog posts helps, BTW. While I used to recommend journaling as a way to process difficult experiences, I prefer the idea of creating content that can potentially resonate with and help others going through similar struggles. So I blog about stuff that's probably hard to make sense of. I'm trying to do a better job at communicating my thoughts and feelings with each new blog post, but the truth is, I don't fully understand myself either :).

So, if you're struggling with your own stuff, consider starting a blog or a journal. It may not be easy, but it could be a step towards greater self-awareness and a more fulfilling life.

Thanks for reading, and
Take care <3

Thoughts on Missing People, Cherishing Friendships and Tea

Yesterday, a friend asked if I wanted to attend today’s drink and draw event. I kind of suck at drawing (I still do it, though), so I treat it as a social synchronization event because the people there are usually pleasant. I deleted the Instagram app, so kudos to H. for pinging me <3. 

A good friend of mine happened to be in the building as well, browsing the exhibition materials. There were lots of fantastic art-related books and comics, and I thoroughly enjoyed a few of them. It was great to see her.

I also encountered someone I know from my past "depressed party life." It was nice to see her too, but she told me they miss me in the social circle from which we know each other. It was a bit weird because I never really miss people. Whenever someone tells me they miss me, it becomes pretty awkward since I can't reciprocate the sentiment. I rarely miss people, and I don't particularly appreciate lying. I'm unsure why I feel this way, but I believe it's for the best. In my experience, whenever I start missing someone for more than a few moments, something is likely off in my life.

Upon reflection, the only person I genuinely miss from time to time is my grandfather, who passed away just before I returned from the Wikipedia camp. He was an incredible grandfather and an extraordinary individual; I deeply respect and love him. He was one of the best people I've ever known!

I’m now in a tea party my friend L organized for (finally!) opening his teahouse. Some people I didn’t expect to see are here too, and I’m glad they are. Before arriving, R and I shared a lovely lunch, discussing projects we wanted to work on together, crypto, and other life matters.

I genuinely appreciate many people I know, even if we rarely meet or talk. I am grateful for getting to know them.

I finally had some cherry pu-erh from L here! The best drink I have ever had; I’ve been drinking 4-5 cups of it a day during summer. 

In any case, drink some tea, cherish the people around you, enjoy life while it lasts, and stay curious.

Peace <3


Photos:

There's a difference between liking and loving someone

This may sound weird, but liking someone is not the same as loving them and vice versa. In my experience, liking someone is the will to have conversations with them, hang out, and do random stuff, idk. However, loving someone is more about caring, supporting, and other stuff.

If I love someone, I do not necessarily like them because it takes time to love someone. I can't say I love someone I have known for a week. I can like a person the first time I meet them, though. Also, you can love people for what they've done for you and be forever grateful to them. That doesn't make you want to spend a week with them, though.

That said, there are lots of people I like, and there are some people I love. And I was lucky enough to have people who I like and love. And I'm grateful to lots of people.

Peace and
Lovelovelove <3