It’s been almost a year since I decided to seriously pursue a career in technology. One year ago, I was working in admissions, a job that I objectively knew was interesting, but which I did not enjoy. Then, I was also looking back on the previous year, gauging where I’d gone and from where I’d come. I know that young people always have several careers, especially my generation, the latest to come of age in a pretty wonky world—yet it’s still odd to me, odd in a disassociative sort of way, that I graduated from college only 2 years ago and have had as many careers as years, neither of which align with the 2 subjects I spent 4 years studying. I attribute much of this drift to the invisibility of incremental change—the admissions job was always something new to do as I bided my time for graduate school a couple years later, and then with tech and coding: time to get back after a year in admissions, think of all the art I can create with these new tools! But, I think, rather than properly recalibrating after each new job, taking the drift from where I originally thought I’d be at this point and subtracting that from my new path forward, I’ve just drifted.
I haven’t made any art. I haven’t written anything of substance for probably two years, since college. Unless I change something in my habits, I can no longer in good faith consider myself a writer, which I know, and yet still do when I think about who and what I am at my core.
Priorities can change, and that’s good. It’s adaptation, evolution. Change often is very good. But while my new interests in technology and labor organizing and civil liberties are big and profound, and have had stark effects on my day-to-day life, I also know I miss writing. And writing is not in conflict with any of those interests. When I was in admissions, trying to help as many underprivileged kids as I could with my limited abilities as a novice admissions rep, I folded those experiences into my writing, and for a time I did write. I could’ve (should’ve) kept doing so, and I could be doing that now in my technology work. I’ll write here, now, as a small act of accountability that I will do that, start writing again. That’s the entire hope behind this blog post, anyway. But if I’m being super honest, I need more than a small act of accountability. I need a gameplan.
I’ve now been 7 days without any caffeine, which I find pretty incredible. This took no big plan, or act of faith, or anything like that. Even though it was just a week ago, I really don’t even remember the specifics of how my fiancee and I decided I should cut out coffee, but here I am. I was getting headaches at night before bed, and my neck and shoulders were always tight and seized up when I’d get home from work. Those issues have gotten much better. All it took was doing the thing, which in this case was replacing coffee with tea and forcing myself to accomplish this goal. It also took a mindframe reset—I thought small, days rather than years (which was, admittedly easy since I plan on drinking coffee again, albeit in moderation). As I come up on day 8 tomorrow, with no planned end in sight—could be tomorrow, could be in another year—I think I’ve already learned some important lessons about myself and how to actually, for real, get myself to change things.
As I resolve to write more (write again!) and read more, I necessarily also resolve to dawdle less, creating the requisite time for reading and writing. Less television, less zombified evenings after work, less repeat viewings of shows I’ve already repeat viewed. No more leaning on Reddit as a salve for boredom—it’s just a different type of boredom, after all. More committing plans, sketching details. More discomfort and following through on projects to completion. No more thoughtless spending, more wedding planning.
In the spirit of small changes, I’m now, just now, creating a repeating calendar event to write a new blog post every Monday on my day off—a non-negotiable personal duty to write at least that much every week.
Quote of the week
What we must understand is that the industries, processes, and inventions created by modern science can be used either to subjugate or liberate. The choice is up to us.
— Henry A. Wallace, 33rd Vice President of the United States