William Van Hecke has an evolving article discussing their approach to productivity called Megaquest. The name may sound a little silly, but the concept is a good one. Read the article for details, but the gist is to have a large, long term goal (intentionally abstracted into a perfect moment or period of time) that informs the other work you take on. That jives with my own views on broader goals, and feels good to have some validation from others who’ve come to the same conclusion.
In particular, I really needed to hear this:
The moment can be specific or fuzzy. You might already have an idea of the details you want to realize, or you might just know the kind of things you want to have in place later in your life. The megaquest can come in and out of focus as your situation and your values shift. But it should always give you something distant and meaningful to hang quests on.
You might not get the moment. Plenty of things won’t go as expected. Plans will change. Your ideas about what you really want will change. Some variables might never fit perfectly into place. The moment is, in fact, a macguffin — a catchy plot device to keep you moving toward putting everything in its place. So the secret, which you shouldn’t think about too hard, is that it doesn’t really matter if you get it. What matters is that the more earnestly you pursue a truly perfect moment, the more you put everything in its place, the more nearly perfect moments you’ll have along the way.
I’ve been feeling kind of aimless lately, and struggling to figure out whether my idea of who and how and where I want to be is still what I want. It may be that I never actually get to that exact moment, falling into sync with myself in an Ohayō moment, and expecting to do so is unreasonable. At its core, it still feels like a good moment to strive for, but are some of the surrounding details changing? Maybe. I need to do some long thinks, I’d say. But maybe that’s okay.
While there’s no reason you couldn’t choose to reflect on the past at any point in the year (and let’s face it, we could all do with more reflection), the end of one year and the start of another is as good a time as any. Yes, that’s right, it’s time for another new year post.
I’m not going to dwell too much on the current political, economic, or social debacle we call modern society. There’s plenty of that to be had all over the internet, and I don’t have too much to say about it that hasn’t been said by people far cleverer than myself. I will say that I hope we are able to show each other a little more compassion, a little more kindness, and a little more acceptance — and not just for those like us. While we should be intolerant of intolerance, it’s easy to let that slip into intolerance of other things as well.
On a personal level, 2017 wasn’t actually a bad year. I moved into a new house (where I was finally able to get all my things out of storage), got a new job (that seems to be going well, and finally let me move out of QA), and have been (relatively) stable overall. I’ve made a few new friends, and reconnected with some old ones. I managed to knock out a few things on my to-do list (mostly administrivia-type things that have been on my list for ages but never made a priority, like getting Global Entry/Pre-check, and some banking/financial stuff). While none of this is particularly exciting or revelatory, it all adds up to a pretty positive personal 2017.
So, what does 2018 have planned for me? I’m not entirely sure. I’ve got some things that I’m not sure I’d qualify as resolutions, but are definitely some aspirational goals. A few highlights:
- Get fitter: I’ve never had a particular interest in a 6-pack or being super buff, but the years of sedentary work and hobbies are starting to catch up to me — my general fitness, energy levels, and weight could do with a tune-up.
- Travel more: I’ve had wanderlust for years, and it’s showing no signs of abating. I’d like to carve out some time and resources for some more diverse trips — while I’ve done a ton of domestic travel (3 more states to go!), I’ve done very little international travel. I’d like to correct that. I’m currently planning to try and go to Japan for my birthday in April — my current thought is to fly in to Tokyo, then take the train down to Kyoto and back, with maybe a few stops in between. If you have thoughts on things to see or do, I’d love to hear them!
- Connect with people more and try to foster stronger relationships: I’m pretty shit at keeping in touch with people at regular intervals, even people who I really care about and value. While anything social takes both parties being interested in investing some energy into it, I feel like I could be better about doing my part. I sometimes worry that I’m imposing, or that I’m coming off as network-y/reaching, and I need to get over that.
- Organize my time better: my life is relatively stable at the moment, so this feels like a good opportunity to get into some better scheduling habits. Allocating time for playing games and watching things, AND time for reading and writing and working on projects, instead of having all of it be a sort of mishmash that happens in fits and spurts (with a fair bit of sitting in analysis-paralysis pondering what to do with my evening, if I’m being honest).
- Create more: I’ve always had issues with trying to tackle large projects and aiming for a high level of quality and complexity from those projects. This leads to a lot of feeling overwhelmed or disappointed with my output, and it ending up abandoned. That’s not very useful — not everything has to be perfect or amazing, and frankly gets in the way of actually improving enough to where those big projects are actually achievable. So this year, no big “I’m going to make a game!” or “Write a novel!” stuff, just “create more, finish things.”
That’s probably enough — too much and you’re spending all your time aspiring to aspirations, and not enough movement towards achieving them. In the vein of that last goal, you might have noticed that I tweaked the site design a few weeks/months back. I didn’t bother posting about it, and it’s not done — but it’s something. I made the theme mostly to play with new CSS stuff like grid and flexbox. Expect further tweaks as I go along.