In search of Super Self

Our apartment in Tokyo has a shower room.

It’s a room with both a shower and a bath:

When I give our 18-month-old son a “bath,” what we actually do is sit on the floor of the shower room with a bunch of toys, and I wash him there.

Here’s him destroying a loofah:

This is in the evening — a good 12+ hours since I’ve woken up — after a long day of work, exercise, riding my bike across town, carrying heavy groceries, and all that other adulting.

So when I finally dry him off and send him off into the living room, the last thing I feel like doing is bending down and picking up a bunch of toys. I want to sit down, to relax for just a minute.

But if I don’t pick them up now, his mom will have to pick them up later tonight when she goes to take a shower. And she’ll be just as tired as I am right now, if not more.

I like to think of these as:

Super Self Moments
(aka Punk-Bitch Moments)

These are moments in which I’m determining what kind of person I am. And I do my best to force this harsh dichotomy onto the label I give myself

Am I being “Super Niko or Punk-Bitch Niko?”

When I put a decision in these terms, and I attach my daily activities to my personal identity, it ends up being a lot easier to do the hard thing.

The question, “Do I feel like doing X?” rarely produces desirable results.

But, “Am I the type of person who does X?” makes me happier with my decisions.


Discovering my Super Self

I first put this framing into words back in 2017, when I was living in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Normally when I look back on any personal notes or journals older than a few months, I can’t read them without cringing, but this one doesn't bother me too much:


Punk-Bitch Niko is rushed.
Super Niko lives life at his own pace.


Punk-Bitch Niko compares himself to other people.
Super Niko compares himself to who he was yesterday.


Punk-Bitch Niko has a reactive, stressful morning routine.
Super Niko has a stone-solid, impervious morning routine.


Punk-Bitch Niko lets the world make his daily schedule.
Super Niko owns his daily schedule.


Punk-Bitch Niko gets stressed when life throws his routines into disarray.
Super Niko is calm and clear-headed, even when his plans are upside down.


Punk-Bitch Niko's top priorities are other people's priorities.
Super Niko's top priorities are his own personal projects.


Punk-Bitch Niko doesn't exercise when he's busy.
Super Niko respects his body too much to neglect it for any reason.


Punk-Bitch Niko sleeps in, feels tired, and dreads the tasks ahead.
Super Niko is fucking thrilled to start every day, so he starts each day early and enthusiastic.


Punk-Bitch Niko looks at his phone in the presence of others because he's a rude, coward bitch.
Super Niko isn't afraid to traverse the awkward emotional space that must be crossed to connect with fellow humans. And he respects people enough to give them his full attention.


Punk-Bitch Niko worries about all the things he has to do later.
Super Niko calmly focuses on what he's doing right now.


Punk-Bitch Niko makes excuses.
Super Niko lets his actions speak for him.


Punk-Bitch Niko stresses about paying the bills.
Super Niko calmly does what is necessary to pay them.


Punk-Bitch Niko lives life in his head.
Super Niko lives life with loved ones.


Punk-Bitch Niko sets lots of goals, often on a whim.
Super Niko gives each of his very few goals thorough consideration, respect, focus, and time.


Punk-Bitch Niko worries that he'll never have enough free time to do things like learn other languages.
Super Niko dedicates what time he can to language-learning without worrying about possibilities, progress, or the future.


Punk-Bitch Niko will cut his morning routines short or half-ass his way through them because he is stressed about all the work he has that day.
Super Niko values his morning routine — which is the key to his long-term goals — over day-to-day bullshit, over other people's expectations.


Punk-Bitch Niko would sacrifice morning habits to end work early.
Super Niko would rather work late into the night than deprive his future self of happiness.


Punk-Bitch Niko always goes for the convenient, quick food items.
Super Niko goes for the foods that support his gut, immune system, mood, energy, and health in general.


Punk-Bitch Niko looks at his email, messaging apps, and pointless digital content when he hits a lull.
Super Niko does not waste his time. He has lulls, but he spends them thinking about interesting problems, looking at the world around him, and being mindful.


What does your Super Self do?

Maybe it’s worth setting aside time to make your own list like this.

No need to phrase things as harshly as I do here. I’m pretty hard on my Punk-Bitch Self. It also seems I was pretty concerned about my daily routine back in 2017. I feel pretty in control of it now, so maybe the list helped. ^_^

Oh, and if you didn’t already guess it, I always pick up the toys in the shower. Punk-Bitch Niko avoids doing unpleasant things, even if that means someone he loves will have to do them instead.