April 26, 2007

Bulk view

Augh, I want my life back!

I submitted the paper through the Web-based submission system and
e-mailed the person who had sent me the early review announcement in
order to find out if I needed to submit it anywhere else. She came
over, asked me a few questions, and told me that I probably didn’t
need to go through the IP review process. Augh! I want my life back! ;)

Well, no, it wasn’t entirely a bad thing. What did I give up? I gave
up DemoCamp and another tech event on blogging. I skipped krav maga
and missed opportunities to have lunch or dinner with friends. I’ve
let mail pile up in my inbox and books on the hold shelf at the
library, just waiting for pickup. This was the tuition that I paid for
these lessons: I can set deadlines that look ambitious, I can meet
them, and I can still keep sane while doing so. I can sense imminent
mental fatigue and deal with it by taking breaks before it hits
instead of trying to work through it. I can have *fun* writing.

So no, I don’t think I would have done it another way. I’m glad I
chose what I did, and I’m happy with what I did with my time. =)

Random Emacs symbol: scroll-bar-width – Variable: *Width of this buffer’s scroll bars in pixels.

Thoughts on anxiety

I need some time to think. One of the difficulties of learning so much
every day is the awareness that I have only half-learned things the
first time around. I need to process what I’ve learned. I need to
analyze and synthesize. I need to put the different pieces together
and see how they fit. I need to figure out what that means in terms of
new actions and new ways of understanding or doing things. I need to
think about what I have learned in order to ask more and better
questions.

What have I learned recently? What questions am I asking? As I still
myself and listen, I learn more about what has been troubling me
unnamed.

There is this constant tension between what I learn and what I feel I
should be learning. What kind of job am I supposed to have? How am I
supposed to live? What am I supposed to learn from my twenties?
Sometimes these questions are useful, such as when I am motivated to
learn more about personal finance. Other times, they fill me with
anxiety. “Are you living the best life you can?” the little voice in
my head asks. “You’re missing something,” it says, and weaves stories
of a million other ways I could be living. Other times, it expresses
disapproval. “What would strangers think of you?” “They’ll find out,
you know.”

I believe this to be true: If I listen to this small voice, I will
never be happy. That voice tempts me to think about other ways and
other times and other places, and it will never be quiet. If I allow
it to gain a stronger hold on my heart and mind, if the first tendrils
of anxiety that tickle the insides of my skin root themselves in my
thoughts, I will be lost.

Perhaps my task for now is to be conscious of that voice and to
examine it, to turn it over in my mouth. I will ask: Is this
really what I want, or something that I have been told to want? Can I
learn from the discomfort I feel in order to get ideas about
stretching my current life? Is this something I can ignore?

The secret of my happiness so far has been to believe that every
moment has happened in the best way possible, and that my future will
be similarly blessed. Anxiety can be a useful tool, but I will not let
it control me or undermine happiness.

Random Emacs symbol: default-right-margin-width – Variable: Default value of `right-margin-width’ for buffers that don’t override it.