I hope this finds you well.
It's been a strange sort of a week, the weather has been atrocious limiting the opportunity to get out but then I've also been on the late shift for work so the day falls into a cycle dictated by this 8 hour block of time that I have no control over.
After getting up I'll make a cup of tea and perhaps some breakfast then do the daily search for a new job. There's a lot out there but not in my area of expertise; if you're a developer seeking work things are looking good right now. And I suppose that's the way it's heading; a lot of the more traditional jobs are going away and everyone needs to learn how to code. It's eventually going to leave a section of the populace virtually unemployable.
I wanted to be a developer when I was a kid. Well, the word "developer" didn't exist, it was "computer programmer" back then.
I vividly recall being summoned to the headmaster's office at Options time (when you selected what subjects you were going to study for O-Levels - remember them?) thinking I was in trouble. The head invited me to sit down then just lead with "I see you're not taking French" - I was good at it and schools like you to take subjects you're good at, it keeps the pass rates high and makes them look better.
Somewhat surprised at his opening I blurted out that I was taking Computer Studies instead to which his response was "And what do you want to be when you leave school?" "A computer programmer" I replied, not sure of what to expect. His next response surprised me even more; I was envisaging an impassioned plea for me to reconsider but all I got was "Fair enough." And that was it, I was dismissed and left the room in a bit of a daze.
Still, it didn't last. I dropped Computer Science at A-Level after a term as I wasn't learning anything and didnt expect to for the remainder of the course. We had studied Pascal for two years at O-Level and after a bit of Z80 assembly language were informed that the remainder of the A-level syllabus was... Pascal.
I had taught myself a lot of BASIC at home from 11 years old so learning Pascal (this was vanilla Pascal coded by hand, we weren't even using Turbo Pascal) had been more a case of transposing code. In fact, my O-Level project was literally a program I had already written at home in BASIC just converted to Pascal. In case you're interested, it was a random dungeon generator for Dungeons and Dragons that provided the basic room size, the number and direction of exits, and what creatures might be found in those rooms.
Anyway, I digress.
I was going to write about routines.
After we first moved things were new and fresh and exciting. Everything was different, every trip to a shop was an exploration, and every exploration an adventure.
Here we are, almost seven weeks in, and it's scary how easy it has been to fall into a routine. Roads are now familiar so getting to certain places has become almost second nature. There are still things to do round the house but that initial fervour has subsided as the reality of daily living has returned.
Routines can be good, they help give some structure to our day, but when they become a rut they can be dangerous, when they suck you in and and you lose the fun, spontaneity and adventure.
The saying goes that insanity is doing the same things but expecting different results; well that sounds a lot like getting stuck in a routine to me, daydreaming your way through allowing it to carry you along rather than finding your own path.
I need to do more of the latter before it's too late.
I finished Hell Yeah or No not long after the last letter and thoroughly enjoyed it. It's hard to pin down exactly what type of book it is. It's not exactly a self-help book in the usual parlance, more a series of observations and common sense. You can, however, take a lot from it.
The below resonates with me on such a deep level:
If you think you haven't found your passion yet, you're probably expecting it to be overwhelming.
Instead, just notice what excites you and what scares you on a small moment-to-moment level.
If you keep thinking about doing something big, and you find that the idea both terrifies and intrigues you, it's probably a worthy endeavor for you.
I have written so many times about my mental block on doing big things, but big things are just the sum of a number of small things, things that are moment-to-moment. This ties in perfectly with my future plans for these letters, plans I am still working on and will be having a Zoom call about next week to give me the virtual kick up the backside I so badly need.
I can't recommend HYON highly enough.
With that book finished I felt I needed a break from non-fiction and bought the first two volumes of The House of Whispers, part of the Sandman Universe collection.
Anyone who knows me knows that I am a massive fan of Neil Gaiman's Sandman series, one of the best ever works of fiction period, not just one of the best comics. Yet, for some reason I haven't been able to get into it, reading the same few pages again and again in the hope that something will just click.
Maybe it's been the rut I mentioned above or something on a deeper psychological level where I know that it's not actually about Lord Morpheus himself and it's holding me back. Whatever it is I need to get past it, just like my fear of bigs things.
And that's it...
Alongside the plans for the letter I have been thinking about what I want to achieve with the blog and feel that things are due a bit of a shake-up. I don't write as much as I'd like but won't force myself into any kind of schedule - that just invites failure and the self-reproach that comes with it.
Whatever happens will happen, organically and on its own terms. I'm nervous and excited. As Derek Sivers says it "both terrifies and intrigues" me.
Take care and stay safe,