DAY 31

Work in Progress

Apologies for the radio silence, my dear. This project took a backseat to others. Despite the special place 30DoS occupies in my heart, I became bored with the monotony of the Soylent lifestyle long before the 30 days ended.

So I quit. I gave up. Threw in the towel.

I could rely on excuses for the hasty ending: “Traveling with Soylent is difficult, I’m cranky from too few calories, I’m busy with real work…” But none of those matter. Plus I loathe excuses.

Usually, I rely on setting low expectations for experiences as a way to temper anticipation and manufacture pleasant surprises — Hollywood movies, in particular, come to mind. However, I reversed my usual course with 30 Days of Soylent. I hyped it up with friends and family. I got my roommate to order Soylent. I built a custom-freaking-website to record my ramblings. Perhaps it was because of this hype, not despite of it, that I failed to complete the project.

So, why did I deviate from my typical “under promise, over deliver” Jedi mind-trick?

Looking back, I can’t pinpoint one reason. In my eyes, Soylent had revolutionary potential. Not in the sense that it would solve world hunger (though if I were running the Rosa Labs, I would focus on contributing to that issue), but revolutionary in a personal habit-changing way. I wanted to assimilate Soylent into my lifestyle to save money and increase productivity. I’m kind of a process-optimization nerd.

Humans are creatures of habit, more so than we think. This is not a bad thing. I find great importance, laser productivity, and automatic creativity with a steady routine. Being able to take carve out daily rituals — prayer, painting, coffee — helps mesmerize us into productive and creative trances.

My mistake: I attempted to force Soylent into that ritual category.

Like walking the dog or meditation, preparing and eating Soylent became a daily practice. The goal? Limit a few variables to discover more about myself & unleash another wellspring of creative productivity through aestheticism. But these moments of ritual take different shapes for different people. We are individuals. No singular practice is perfect for every person. I’ve certainly tried dozens: yoga, meditation, pour-over coffee, prayer, reading, napping, insomnia, drawing, walking, loose tea… Perhaps it was foolish to lump Soylent into this category.

I’m not sure whether to call this project a failure or not. Honestly, I don’t think it particularly matters. There are no shortcuts in the process of self-discovery. No magic formulas or secret sauces. I’ve heard that it takes 21 days to form a habit, however I crumbled after day 23. Either way, the proof — and the peace — comes with process.