Headlines for Thursday:

  1. Thoughts on anxiety (434 words)
  2. Augh, I want my life back! (224 words)


Thursday Explore tools for usability tests, set them up on my computer, think about what measures I want to collect
Friday Schedule four people for usability tests next week
Saturday Visit Andrew Burke, plan week of cooking



1. Thoughts on anxiety: 14:21

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.

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2. Augh, I want my life back!: 23:36

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. =)

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