Posts tagged life

Aug 21, 2009

Five years old

consumption creativity work life balance | comments

This blog turns five today. Over the past year the blog has been relatively quiet, though I’ve put in a lot of time on a specific series of posts. I’m a little disheartened to see that the most frequently visited blog posts for the past year were all written in 2008 or 2007.

It appears most traffic to this little blog is through Google searches about specific programming problems. Other topics I write on are just not compelling enough to be passed around like a virus. That’s OK.

Do not let what you consume define you.
Rather, let what you create speak to your worth.

For the past few weeks I’ve been in a creative funk. Whenever I actively try to avoid working too much, it leads to over consumption of media. Not inspiring media like great books, great movies, or great photographs. I get stuck churning on RSS feeds I tried to bury long ago and checking Twitter and email. I’ve even picked up an addictive Scrabble game on my iPhone to while away the hours.

When it comes down to it, my creative outlets are my code and this blog. My code has led to some pretty fun projects, and a pretty fulfilling career. This blog has resulted in some nice compliments and introspective writing is not a waste even if it is not shared. It’s not a shame to keep investing time in code and this blog.

I’m not a workaholic. I don’t fear I’ll overreact to this funk by working all hours of the day. An alternative is to recognize other creative opportunities. There’s a kick-ass little camera sitting on my desk. There are some amazing slide photos from the 50‘s sitting on this computer, waiting to be cleaned up and shared. There is a nice kitchen in my home, and I enjoy cooking.

Spending most of the day creating sounds very tiring on its surface. But I know staying up until midnight diddling on an iPhone is tiring. Perhaps hitting the bed weary from activity and falling asleep quickly will be less taxing than nights of deafening insomnia. It’s worth a try.

Jul 23, 2009

Security of dreams

career dreams work life | comments

Dreaming Girls Head
Photo by Elfleda

As a child I carried with me a host of dreams. My dreams ranged from the fantastical to the remotely possible. While I was quite pleased with my childhood, these dreams kept me at least intrigued that the future could somehow be even better. Early on I realized human teleportation was not something I would likely see. But perhaps with a successful career I could become rich enough to build the mazed tree house I seemed to see every time I closed my eyes.

These childhood dreams were never goals to be reached. Yet they did contribute to the hopefulness that makes me human. Everyone needs a measure of hope for the future in order to maintain sanity in the slightly-less-amazing present. It is a necessary aspect of being human to convince oneself that even though now is pretty good, or perhaps very bad, there is a point in the future where life will be better.

Dreams are an excellent container for hope. Even as an adult, one can maintain a set of theoretically possible, but rather unlikely dreams. For some, these dreams drive them to greater and greater success throughout their careers, whether or not they reach the ultimate goal of the vision. For the vast majority of us, these dreams are used to forgo ever starting down that road toward the infeasible goal. Our adult minds convince us that the ultimate dream is unattainable and keep us from ever analyzing whether the stops along the road are in themselves destinations that are preferable to our current location.

My eyes were opening a few years ago, as I realized not only was my list of attainable goals blank, but my cache of dreams sat empty. Shortly after this recognition, the “dream bag” was filled with multiplicities of Idea > ??? > Profit. I started talking to other colleagues and their store of career fantasies began growing. Soon these colleagues and I thought a lot about dreams while doing very little to make them a reality. We talked about the Idea and the Profit, but never did anything about the ???. We had a shared dream and we were stuck in it.

Our group eventually chose to release itself from the dream’s grip. The dream never left us, but our rational adult minds told us the dream was a delusion; we’d have to give up too much to make it even possible. The dream continued to provide hope, but created no positive change.

This path was not for me. Instead of using the extreme nature of a dream to dismiss the journey to the dream, I began investigating some of the stops along the road. I realized that these practical stopping points, and indeed the journey itself, was greatly preferable to the space I already occupied.

I still fantasize about a future with unbridled travel and labyrinths in the backyard woods. These dreams do not numb me to the wonderful futures I can conjure and achieve. Let dreams enhance your journey through life.