Where I don't care what others think


November 28th, 2014 Posted in College, Life | No Comments »

When I return home to my parents house, often for holiday festivities and gatherings, I’m always a bit unbalanced by the amount of sentimental items I encounter.  Specifically, I tend to encounter a collection of college related items which seem to trigger a deeper connection in me than I’m expected or quite frankly comfortable with.  I’ve tried very hard to avoid the attachment to physical things that seems to weigh so many people down in life, but I haven’t done a good job casting off some of these dusty collegiate anchors.

Pulling out my college laptop, because my current laptop is too cool for a DVD drive, brings me back to my dorm typing out posts on this very blog or chatting online with AIM or gChat and having some of the more memorable conversations of my time at college.  I suspect most people remember specific parties, places, and events they attended with friends, lacking those experiences I’ve held on to the memory and feeling of online chats and conversations embodied in this laptop which struggles to stay functioning after booting up.

My parents moved the bed I had in my college apartment back to their house to serve as my sleeping arrangements when I’m home.  Statically speaking, it’s the location I spent most of my time while I was in my apartment (aka sleeping) and it adequately reminds me of that year.  I should have been smarter and associated memories of my apartment with a slightly more portable and less obnoxiously sized object.

I very well may have such an object packed somewhere away in the boxes labeled as my college and non-college archival material.  When I concluded my time as a graduate student I was on a plane literally the next day flying across the country to find a place to live and join the workforce.  It was a very busy time, and as a result I didn’t have time to go through and digest the result of my time at school at all.  I quickly archived it all in boxes under the false premise that I would sort through them “soon”.  Now that I’m back on the East Coast it’s slightly more plausible that I’ll have time to process all the raw material into what’s worth keeping, but I’m terrible at not doing work. Knowing what I know now I should have pushed back a bit more on my relocation timeline.

I’m a big fan of the idea that making progress in any direction is better than sitting around making progress in no directions, but I need to remember that work or projects aren’t the only direction I should make some progress in.

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Identical Errors

January 18th, 2014 Posted in Life | No Comments »

I am guilty of making the same mistakes everyone else has.  My attempts at being ‘better’ or not dragged down into the run of the mill state that the majority of us live in seem to have failed, at best I’ve managed to do it slightly better than others.  I think I find the most fault in myself, though I have trouble identifying a specific action or course of actions to blame.  Its always the gradual failures that creep up on you.

When you’re failing or going down spectacularly that’s easy to spot.  The flight attendants are shouting brace and everyone is buckled in tightly with their heads as close to their knees as their slightly larger stomachs permit.  When you creep towards it, maybe taking one step forward and two steps Back, you don’t notice nearly as quickly that your slowly moving further and further away from progress.  Spectacular failure provides great opportunity and motivation for success and reactive counter measures.  Smaller incremental errors aren’t particularly motivating, more likely to produce a simple “let’s not let that happen again, eh” than any actionable plan.

I don’t think failure itself is what worries me, it’s the fact that others become comfortable with this state.  An error state can turn into a building block others can come to rely on or assume is actually your desired state.  Furthernore, errors beget errors; breaking a pattern habituated by others around harder than breaking it alone.

What worries me most is that the status quo stays defined as this suboptimal but functional place.  It works, and isn’t half bad compared to the alternatives, but its far from the end goal.  That famous poet guy had miles to go before he slept, I wonder if he ever got there or ended up falling asleep on the trail.

Good night moon.

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August 24th, 2013 Posted in Stupid People | No Comments »

Little good comes when I stew in misery and despair.  I try very hard to remain as optimistic as possible, having some hope that the collective set of “things” will work out in good time.  As of late I’ve found myself falling off the less travelled path, presenting less optimism than I should and, more worrying, doing less to try and make what sometimes appears to be blind faith a reality.

I’m hesitant to conclude that this is because of any singular factor in my life.  Many things have changed over the past few weeks, months, and years but I can’t find a defining moment, or really any moments that stand out for that matter.  I think a younger person (I know, look who’s talking), it’s much more socially acceptable to deviate from the norm.  People call it “growing up” where you’re allowed, and in many cases expected, to do things that society doesn’t quite accept in order to learn new thing and gain new experiences.  My limited impression has been that as time goes on those things become less OK and, in turn, require more effort to do.

As an example, after graduating college and getting my own apartment I now have a proper kitchen that I’m suppose to stock with foodstuffs, cooking supplies, and other edible items.  I’m not interested in cooking most evenings, but I’m also not interested in sitting down for a large dinner at a restaurant.  By-the-slice pizza places accommodate this quite nicely,   but there’s no where I could go to grab a slice or two of chicken breast without having to cook a substantially larger portion.  Nevermind sandwiches, whose ingredients are sold in quantities that really should belong in the bulk food stores.  To me, a standard loaf of bread is really a family sized loaf that would last me until it’s moldy all over.  Some nights I would like to use 2 slices to make a sandwich but to accommodate that I need to have a whole loaf standing by plus the ingredients to put on the slices.

Grocery stores and big box stores are another waste of time that I’ve found play a bigger part in my post-collegial life.  There is no legitimate reason for me to stand in line to buy soda and paper towels, both of which I’d much rather order online and have delivered in a few hours without the hassle.  I understand there are services that exist to do this for me, but they exist with a fee orders of magnitude higher than the cost of fuel to the store.

Professionally I find people have very standard definitions of the work day.  There’s this shared expectation that you first need to go to some office location, you need to show up with 2 hours of 9AM and leave within 5 hours of 5PM.  You’re not suppose to show up to this location on weekends, holidays, or evenings unless something is wrong.  Personally, I prefer not joining in the commute traffic as much as possible and are happy to stay at the work location on evenings.  I’d probably show up on weekends if it wasn’t so taboo just to get out of the apartment a bit and perhaps cross paths with people (though that’s unlikely).

I think back to my college days and often come to the conclusion I was more productive then than I am now.  I didn’t have to stock my refrigerator fully since I could eat on campus daily.  When I did have to shop, I could do it at midnight without having to worry about being up early the next day to get in the office.  There was also, at least amongst the people I frequently crossed paths with, a general expectation of working approximately all the time.  Not working was really the exception, not the norm.

If I had to guess, I’d say that people work the hours they do either because they have better things to do in the off time (raising a family is probably on that list) or that they don’t feel compensated for working off hours.  I make a point of not thinking about compensation much at all, but I suspect the same philosophy isn’t shared by most people because society places a large interest in the amount of financial resources you have.  Does that mean I’m clearly rolling in the dough because of my place of employment?  Hardly.  I just don’t see an entirely logical correlation between work performed and dollars earned so I treat that as two separate issues.

It is really popular for people at work to say (or perhaps guess) what it was like in Ye Olde Days.  My guess is that things were a lot closer to the college experience I’m familiar with.  As people got older many adapted to what society suggested: stopping work at dinner time to raise a family, not coming to the office on weekends, establishing a separate social circle where you could go out and escape the mess of work.  The effects of those changes mean that if I’m hungry for dinner at 5:15PM I’m out of luck, my emails on the weekend will often go unread, and social activities are heavily planned and infrequent.

My attempts to restore an environment I’m interested in haven’t had much success, perhaps because everyone else is comfortable in the lives their accustom to.

Good night moon.

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