Thursday, October 23, 2008

Like New Years Resolutions, but earlier.

I need to change a lot of things about my life. The more I think about it, the more distinct the image of who I want to be becomes. And the more I realize how that is not like me.

The biggest difficulty with my goal is I want it to be sustainable. I've had smaller goals that I've reached, only to go back on them in the long run. Things like a target weight, an exercise regimen, cooking a real meal once a week, forcing myself to try new things, and being more social than I perceive myself to be. In my first year in Seattle, I did all of these things, and I felt good about having done them, but did not keep them up. And now I find myself doing none of these things, and I'm rather unhappy with myself about each of these things, but not so strongly as to bring about a change of habits.

I'm in a rut.

A look back on situations I'm doing differently now:

  • Work. Then: In around 10, leave by 5:30. My working hours revolved around my life and whatever activities I did outside of work. Now: I'm in earlier, I go home later. I'm focused more on what work I've finished than how much work I've done. 
  • Ultimate. Then: I played 2 or 3 times a week, mostly pickup, but always regular. Now: I have a team, but we don't practice. I don't make it out to lunch games anymore. I play once a week, at best.
  • Weeknights. Then: Freakin busy. Dancing Mondays, Thai Tuesdays, Puzzle Wednesdays, Cooking Thursdays, and Drinking Fridays. Now: Just the Fridays. The rest of my weeknights are TV shows or video games.
  • Weather. Then: The weather didn't phase me. It was even a bit exciting when the rain began, because it's really not something I'm used to. Now: I'm distrustful of sunny days, as they seem to tease me of what it could be like all the time, but isn't.
I don't think these are all unrelated changes, but they all stem from a common cause. I wanted the real world to be a better version of college. My first reaction when the real world met my idea of what the real world should be was to change the real world. A rare few of these changes have held (Friday drinking and a general atmosphere of socialness amongst my coworkers being the only one that comes to mind). 

And then, after a while, it's hard to keep the momentum going. Especially when there's such little positive reinforcement for my efforts. I stop trying as hard. And as a result, I see what was likely to be the outcome anyway, for much less effort. And the cycle repeats. I'm not getting any better at Ultimate, why keep playing. I'm not accruing a posse of friends that I feel comfortable with asking to hang out with at the drop of a hat, nevermind finding a handful of people I could genuinely trust. I'm not getting used to crap for weather.

And so I sit. Locally trying to optimize my reward per effort has gone from an active social life to me & an Xbox. And I'm genuinely unhappy about it.

That is who I am right now. The uphill climb to who I want to be has had a bit of a landslide and brought me back down here. And while there's a chance that route would work if I simply dug deep and gave it another go, I'm thinking I'll try a different route this time.

If I don't like reality as I perceive it, and changing reality has failed, all that's left is to change my perception of that reality. Then the only thing that can stop me from creating that change is myself. I'm hoping I'll be easier to change than the rest of the world has proven to be. 

I haven't quite figured out what I want to change, but I've gotten a timeline. By the end of next week I'll have a list of things to do different, of better ways to spend my time than I'm spending them now. And then November will be when it kicks in. All the changes, all at once, for one month. 

Wish me luck.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Trust My Decisions

So I think I am holding out on writing on all my other topics until it's NaNoWriMo . But Political stuff is neither fiction, nor will it be as relevant for the majority of November. So here it is.

All the issues in the current presidential election can be narrowed down to one question: Who do you trust to make a decision on the right thing to do in a given situation? While quite vague, these concepts of trust and decision making are a deep part of our government and show themselves across the entire spectrum of experiences in our society.

Let's take an obvious example. You find a lost puppy. It happens to be found beneath a sign telling you who to call if you find this puppy. The Right Thing to do here is relatively obvious. Call the number, give the puppy back, everybody is happy. No laws exist to tell you what to do in this situation, because the government trusts that you'll do the Right Thing so much, that it's not even worth their effort to punish you if you don't. Here the answers are easy, the solutions simple, and each individual is trusted with the decision.

Now for a greyer and more touchy example: abortion. Regardless of its legality, trying to determine what the Right Thing to do is in this situation is one that's hotly debated. Somehow, a woman who does not wish to have a child finds herself pregnant. Whether it be from a failed contraceptive or from, heaven forbid, something as grim as sexual assault. Whichever path got her here, she's now in an ugly situation, and she will do whatever she thinks is the Right Thing.

That is, if we trust her to. Pro-Life supporters don't think that this is a decision that she can handle on her own, so they want laws that explicitly say what the Right Thing is (in their case, that she must carry the baby to term) and force her to do that Right Thing. Pro-Choice advocates do trust the woman to consider what's best for her and her child, and let her choose what she believes to be the Right Thing to do.

On a bigger scale, we have things like our current electoral college process for elections. There are really only 538 votes cast in an American election that hold any weight at all on who becomes president. The popular vote, the ideological one vote per person is tallied, but each state decides how the popular vote will influence the electoral vote. Some states have it all for the most popular, some have it split proportionally, and some electoral votes are completely independent of their popular counterpart. This was designed so that, if the populous didn't vote for the Right Thing on election day, the electoral votes could fix it so that the Right Thing did happen and the right candidate was elected.

This is what happened in 2000. The popular vote determined Al Gore to be the best man for the job, but apparently everyone who thought that was the Right Thing was wrong. Phew. That was a close one.

And with another election in front of us, every issue is another version of this question of trust. Do you trust the banks to regulate themselves and only give loans to folks who can pay them back? Do you trust agencies & corporations to provide equal treatment to same-sex couples as they do heterosexual couples?  Do you trust employers to give equal opportunity and equal pay to women as they do men?

Whoever we elect this year will be in the position to make these decisions. I think Obama will choose what I view to be the Right Thing in these situations. Substantially moreso than McCain. I can only hope that as a nation, we decide this strong enough to make sure the electoral votes agree that this is the Right Thing to do.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

More time, less time.

I'm definitely not doing as much after work nowadays. It used to be I
had a crazy social schedule. Mon night salsa, Tues night Thai food,
wed night puzzle, thur night baking, Friday night unwinding. And amid
all that I had energy and focus to work on my website.

But I don't have most of that to do after work anymore. In fact, I
really just en up working a bit more because of it. So when I get home
it's hard to work on the stuff that I've already spent all day working
on. And fir some reason blogging doesn't have the same expressive
relief it once did, so that fallen by the wayside as well.

Which is sad. I really do have some great ideas of things I want to
write and things for my website.

Maybe I'm just saving it all up for NaNoWriMo.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Idea seeds

There are a couple of things that ive wanted to write about, but the
time has escaped me. When there is time, hopefully I can flesh out my
views on:

Gender and minority issues.
Things I unequivocally enjoy.
Trust: personally and in the media.
Family: birthright or social function?
The future of the Internet.

I'm sure there are more, but those are the ones I can remember of the
top of my head. I'll refer back to this list when I want to write
about something but need an idea seed.