A strategy for always maintaining space for the self

General

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by competing priorities and obligations and when we can no longer find time to reflect we can end up in a reactive mode. I have tried to counter that by creating habits and have lately ended up in a scheduling practice that looks like this:

I block out my schedule for the beginning of the day, the week, the month and the year. Creating that space helps me make sure that I’m listening to myself clearly. And it also gives me the clarity and focus to prioritize and make progress on things that are of the highest value to me.

This ensures that my actions and work come from a place of assuredness and confidence and I don’t feel like I am putting things off that need attention for too long.

E.g I spent the first day of this year alone, by myself, in the Russian Tundra, and got lucky enough to see the Northern Lights. It was a very rejuvenating and energizing experience and the perfect way to start the year!

Christmas Day in a nuclear bunker in Moscow

General

I spent Christmas Day with some friends in Moscow.

Designed and built after the first series of nuclear tests by the Soviet Union, these tests revealed that the optimum depth for the bunker’s silo must be no higher than 165 feet beneath ground in order to survive nuclear fallout intact. The task for the builders was enormous: construct a gigantic structure beneath the city streets without damaging Moscow’s existing infrastructure of streets and communication pathways. To do so would alert the public and innumerable unknown spies to the existence of the bunker, thereby rendering the entire (read: top-secret) thing useless.

Strategically located inside a hill in the Tagansky district due to its proximity to the Kremlin, allowing quick access to the bunker for Stalin and the premier tier of government officials within the USSR, Bunker-42 wasn’t completed until 1956 and was thankfully never put into use in its full capacity. Rather, it spent the subsequent three decades as an airstrike command base, communicating with aircraft transporting strategic bombers carrying nuclear weapons until the political climate began to shift in 1986.

Today, the space exists as a historical monument that is equal parts museum to what life was like on the Soviet side of the Iron Curtain during the Cold War era and tour of the previously top-secret bunker itself, bringing visitors below ground to a time when the world lived on the constant brink of nuclear annihilation. A variety of tour packages are available at all hours of the day, catering to a range of ages, some of which focus more on the historical aspects of the space, while other take a nearly comic angle on the tangible threat of nuclear annihilation for all humankind.