life

Comfort

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I am approaching the time where I will start using a new journal. I somehow thought my current journal would last me four years: it will actually last me less than six months. For this I am thankful, as I really can't stand my current journal. Before I even started using it, I had 11 things I didn't like about it, which is 11 things too many for an object one uses every day, many times a day.

As part of the process of spinning up a new journal, I have previously gone, and will this time go, through my list of life goals and ask myself if each goal is still worth pursuing. My daily process means I'm looking at these goals weekly, daily during bad weeks, so I'd like them to be meaningful to me in a meaning-free world. I believe checking in frequently with one's self is important in that regard. Mom thinks I'm nuts, but what's new.

How to Ruin a Life

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My junior high school best friend has an older brother. He's maybe 8 years older than we are? I'm not sure exactly how much older he is than we, as I don't really recall him much from when we spent time at her house. Could be he was closer to our age, could be he was further from our age. Regardless of actual age, he was, around the time JHSBF and I spent a lot of time, a teenager. Which also means, as a teenage boy, he had porn magazines. In particular, he had a few Playboy magazines.

I personally find this unsurprising and without any shock. What boy of that era didn't have them? 100% sure my older brother had some.

Anyway, these magazines. He left for college, leaving JHSBF with access to a couple of them for reasons I don't know and am not interested in pondering at the moment.

MORE YELLOW

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Ennui

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I removed all of the games from my phone.

I removed them because I was wasting time playing them, time I'd rather be using on either more productive tasks or more relaxing tasks. Originally I added them for something to do while I was between tasks, waiting in line at the grocery store, waiting for a meeting to start, waiting for the doctor, waiting, waiting, waiting. I didn't mind having the mindless activities to fill the time, because I enjoyed them, they were distracting.

Which is the point of them: to be distracting.

I started playing them when I wanted a break, so I'd sit on the couch for hours playing the stupid little 10x10 or 2048 or sudoku games.

n {task} in n {time unit, plural}

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I've been contemplating my next n {tasks} in n {time unit, plural} goal. Something like "7 themes in 7 days" or "30 web applications in 30 days" or "10 tutorials in 10 days," or similar. I've mentioned this contemplation to a few people, all of whom have been confused by the idea. First question asked every time has been, "Why?"

Indeed.

Why?

Because it's a challenge. Because it's hard. Because it's outside of my comfort zone. Because it forces me to be organized and intense with my time.

I could likely come up with another 10 reasons (oooooooo! 10 reasons in 10 minutes, why this is a good idea), but it all boils down to because I want to do it.

It should be full of joy

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I dislike Quora's decision to hide answers behind a login, which makes me go to the site infrequently. That said, Robert Frost, engineer/instructor at NASA, answered this question perfectly:

Why do some intelligent people care to remember and understand a massive amount of details (characters, relations, interactions, events) of completely imaginary and excessively detailed settings?

Joy.

Life is short. It should be full of joy. Imaginary worlds are fantastical and thus more interesting than the real world. That brings joy.

O_o

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I went to Caltech for my undergraduate studies. At the time, I didn't realize how awesome the feat of being admitted into Caltech was. To me, at the time, it was more of an "of course" than a fantastic achievement.

These days, looking back, I'm stunned at the hubris of my youth. The only "of course" I see from that thinking is, "of course, you have no concept of your own limitations and failings." Four years at Caltech didn't quite fix those delusions.

They've since been removed, such that when I see things like this:

I now appropriately think, "Holy f---!" and take a moment to appreciate my fortunes. I am grateful for the opportunities I have, and for the chances others take with me when I asked to speak. I said "I have something to say!" and Fluent agreed. I greatly appreciate and thank them for selecting my talk out of the other 380+ talks they could have chosen, and for giving me that opportunity. I appreciate all of the opportunities I've had to share what I've learned. It's a great feeling.

I am blessed. I am blessed and I am grateful in ways I wasn't as a kid.

Assumptions challenged

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As a kid, I had some pretty strange notions about what being an adult was like.

When I was 11 or so, I came across my mom crying on the bottom of the staircase she had just fallen down, and asked her why she was crying. After she told me, I let her know she wasn't supposed to be crying. Surprised, she asked why not. "Adults don't cry."

Oh, little Kitty (for then, I was still Kitty and not the delightful Kitt you know and love today), if only you knew just how wrong you were by that thought.

And, yet, these days, I find myself in continual surprise at having nearly all of my assumptions about other people constantly challenged.

For some reason, I assume anyone who works in my industry knows more than I do about *pick any topic THEY KNOW MORE THAN I DO.* And this just isn't the case. That PHP developer I admire doesn't know crap about CSS or even where to begin styling a page. That Web Entrepreneur™ couldn't set up a server if his life depended on it. That project manager, oh, well, him. We all know he doesn't know shit. He demonstrates that every time he opens his mouth, just listen to him. No, not that PM. That one's good. He listens. The other one.

And I assume any woman older than I am cooks an amazing meal EACH AND EVERY TIME. I mean, come on, did my mom ever mess up a meal? Of course not. (Of course she did. She's human last I checked.) I know how to cook, I do a great job at baking. I love baking. So, of course, every other person in the world enjoys it as much as I do, and is as good at it as I am. NO, THEY ARE ALL BETTER!

Right?

Aaaaaaaaaaaand another "Of course not."

Of course not.

And yet, I am surprised when I realize this.

Every time I am surprised by this.

And delighted.

That whole impostor syndrome thing? It goes away when you objectively look at what you do. It goes away when you see what you can do. And not only in relation to how well someone else can do, but in a "You know what? I actually do this well. I enjoy doing this, and I do it well." sort of way. It goes away when you see your own accomplishments, challenge your assumptions about everything, and see the world with better clarity.

Best part of all of this?

Being able to say not only, "I don't know, and that's okay. Can you teach me?" but also, "I do know. Let me share with you."

This sums up my life right now

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This pretty much sums up my life right now:

I really like my Mom's decorating style. It's fun and quirky, yet clean and simple. I'm sure some of my style is from hers, but it's a pale comparison to the magnificence of her style.

Her bathroom has a number of eclectic items in it: small items found or rediscovered, each with a small story, none the same and all fitting together. A marble from the walk along the canal, a tiny charm found at the park, blue glass from beach in Hawaii, white glass from the beach on one of the Cook Islands, a Lego dude from one of the grandkids, and (previously) a small frog that decided to stow away in the daughter's bag for a different adventure: all of these fit together, though none of them match.

One of the items in her bathroom was a yellow and green Cotillion china dish. I don't know how old it is, but I've always loved it. Mom had her soap in it. When I mentioned that I liked it, she pulled the soap out of it, rinsed it off and handed it to me. I've had it for years. It's one of my comfort items. It reminds me of my mom every day, when I reach for the soap in the bathroom, just as my mom had it in her bathroom.

It went to the apartment with me, and has come back to the house with me. I had it on my desk, close to me, holding my cup of tea.

Today, as I lifted my cup of tea, the dish stuck to the bottom of of the cup.

When I had the cup two centimeters off the desk, the dish released and fell.

And cracked.

I sat there looking at my now broken dish from Mom and thought, "Yep, that's about right."

It sums up my life perfectly right now: been around for a while; broken and still beautiful; reparable and now a bit more fragile along that one point; never the same again.

I'm adding it to the pile of things to repair with superglue. I kinda wish my life could be repaired as easily.

Lesson finally learned (the public version)

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You have to fucking care about you.

A lesson I have finally learned.

A company won't do it, you have to do it.

Related: Hey! I'm writing a book about Drush!

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