I spent the evening yesterday over beers with an old friend who I don’t get to see as often as I would like. We’ve both taken on more and more responsibilities since we first met years back, and that’s meant less time and space for these kinds of nights. As I try to piece together the conversation today, the theme I keep coming back to is that of constraints, both real and imagined.
We drank and talked a lot about our work and our families and all the other parts of life where things have changed the most. We talked a lot about our problems and what to do about them. The thing that strikes me the most about it looking back (through an admittedly hazy recollection) was how quickly possible solutions were shot down - even when they were obviously what needed to happen. It’s easy to paint yourself into a corner when every, “Well, I can’t do that,” and then we’d give a detailed, well-reasoned, sober (figuratively, at least) justification for not doing the one thing that was likely to improve or at least change the situation. Feeling powerless to change a situation is one thing, but it’s a whole new level of misery when every attempt to untangle a problem begins with a set of constraints so complicated that the only course of action left to us is to swallow hard and learn to suck it up indefinitely. The solutions are always there, but it’s pretty damn easy to talk yourself into thinking that they’re out of reach.
For me, solutions to the hardest problems have always come more easily when I feel free and in a flow doing the things that matter to me. When I’m active and moving, I think with greater clarity and positivity. When I take in new ideas, they become a part of me, and the new me comes up with solutions that the old me would never have thought of. When I make something, it comes a vessel for what’s inside me, giving it shape and dimension. Some of what’s inside is logical and lends itself to boxes and lines on a whiteboard, and some of it doesn’t come with line numbers and can’t be submitted as some kind of epic existential pull request. Some of it might be analog or real-world concrete stuff. But regardless, I’m going to put more of my time and energy into making more interesting things.
And thus, I’m resurrecting the blog. And hoping that not too many posts will be as much of a trainwreck as this one.