As I’ve written before, it’s a busy time at work. I feel sheepish complaining, given how many friends I have who’ve had much tougher periods at their tech jobs. But my crunch time has been just enough to keep me off-balance. As inadvertent demonstration, I started writing this on Thursday at lunch and didn’t get back to it until Sunday afternoon. The product I’m working on had its internal demo on Friday, which was an important milestone, but there’s still a small flotilla of bugs and feature requests, and at the moment my best bug tracker is my personal copy of OmniOutliner.
On Thursday I wrote that I think I’m missing “chill time,” time to just sit around without any expectations. When I used to go out driving long distances for trivial reasons, engage in what I called (without as much facetiousness as you might think) driving Zen, that was a way to get chill time; I didn’t see any reason why I’d give that up, but I didn’t see $4.50/gallon gas getting here quite as soon as it did, either. Yesterday I set out on BART to Richmond, with the expectation of catching the Capitol Corridor train to Sacramento, but that didn’t happen; instead I ended up in Berkeley, meeting a friend who lives and works in the East Bay who I should probably see at least marginally more often.
I’ve written recently that I need to see friends more often in general; in a way this is unusual for me. I’ve never considered myself antisocial but I’ve never had a real desire to go out and connect. But over the last couple of months, that desire’s been strong. One might even say desperate. I hate the thought that I’m having a weirdly inverted midlife crisis, but it’s hard to escape: if my path had gone more conventionally, then about now—give or take a year—my child would be preparing to go off to college. Instead of getting a divorce and a red BMW, I’m suddenly pining for a marriage and a minivan.
Of course, as I’m writing this, I’m acutely aware that I’m also behind on personal projects, and that calls for staying at home and, well, being antisocial. That’s an interesting Catch-22, isn’t it? Recently I learned of another Quasi-Secret Project™ to make a writing archive site that sounds… well, not too far off from what I was thinking of with Claw & Quill. While part of me has a predictable competition! I must drop everything and get going on mine! reaction, the truth is that I want to do C&Q because I want a site like it myself and I just don’t think anyone else has done it right. I know other work these folks have done, though, and give them a very high Getting It Right chance. Does it make more sense for me to
give them a list of demands see if I can work with them in some fashion, even if only to say, “Well, here’s what I was thinking, see if you think it makes any sense?” My gut feeling is yes; I’ll see if anything develops.
This doesn’t mean I’m out of personal projects to work on, of course, not by any stretch. I have reading to do for my writing group, writing to do for my writing group, and a couple other ideas I’m kicking around which I could actually bump up in the stack if I’m able to push C&Q off.
One minor downside if I start resuming personal projects: I’m realizing that the chair that I’m sitting in now sort of hurts. I’m going to fiddle around with the adjustments yet again, but I may end up breaking down and finally getting a Herman Miller chair. For now, though, I think my ambition’s a little more modest: an afternoon drink and a push to actually move forward on some stories again, or plot out a little more of one of those programming projects, or… something.