a life…or something like one

One of the comments I occasionally get from readers is “why don’t you ever post about your life anymore?” You see, once upon a time, ok it was about two years ago, I posted on a very regular basis about what was going on in my life. In fact you can still dig in the archives and find out what I was doing. Truth be told it takes a lot of time to do so and time is one thing I don’t seem to have much of, but we’ll get to that later on, I also got a bit burned out talking about myself so much. Luckily for those readers I do occasionally get a hankering to write something once in a while and today is one of those days. For those readers who come for the Tech content now is a good time to either expand your horizons or use the nifty category feature on the side to filter out this mushy/philosophic stuff…without further ado on to the main event.

I often ponder where I’m at in life and why exactly I’m there. For someone who’s only 22 why is my life such a mess? Maybe a better question is why do I even care? Heck, I’ve got friends who are older than me, have good jobs, and still only think about where the party is at on Friday. As I sit here in my office/bedroom (which is it really? that should tell you enough about my life to know I’m nuts) amongst all the piles of stuff (real and virtual) to do (real and virtual) I wonder how I could let life get so complicated so quickly.

While friends go out or partake in some other social activity I’m writing articles about blogging software, scheduling a state elecrician’s exam, sorting through quotes for theater ticket printing, preping a computer from my vintage Macintosh collection (that does it, am I 22 or 62?) for shipping to another collector, editing lectures from a EdPsych class (not for myself, but for future posterity in the Internet Archive project), networking with other technologists, learning about VoIP PBXs, wondering how I’m going to get recertified as a Cisco Network and Design Professional, setting up new virtual hosts on a friend’s server and worrying about my class schedule for next semester.

It’s not that I don’t have any fun or am a total recluse. Last night I saw my ninth grade sister in a school play, next weekend I am going to a high school play and a work banquet and I often watch movies with friends on Friday nights. It just seems that I have an inordinate amount of other stuff going on and an overwhelming backlog of it. To top it off I’m a full-time plus grad student and I’m also working. I must be completely bonkers! Sometimes I wish my life could be so much simpler, even if I were just doing grad school and working that would probably be ok. So why do I have all this other stuff going on?

I think it’s because God gave me three gifts: intelligence (or so I’m told), good foresight and a strong desire to help others. Each in turn is a wonderful thing but the three together are conspiring to drive me nuts. I see so many opportunities to help, I even stay away from lots of them, and I still find myself with a million things I’ve either said I would help with, am in the midst of working on or feel some responsibility for helping with. If I neglected some of these projects it’s not just me but groups and organizations I care about who would suffer the consequences. Maybe most 22 year olds can’t say they’ve contributed to society (online and off) as much as I have but at what cost do I contribute?

Somewhere deep inside I know that this is good for me too. I know the contacts I make this early in life are likely to serve me well in the future. Those with whom I share goodwill may one day return a favor and God certainly shines down on my life. At the same time, will I be that much further ahead? Is it worth the sacrifice? the mental anguish? These are the questions I ponder late at night as I sit perched on the brink. Either I will be the better for it, or it will get the better of me. It’s an odd and lonely place.

Lonely, yet another problem. For all the friends I have and all the people I know I still feel alone. Usually it’s at night when I start feeling utterly alone and think wouldn’t it be great if I could just pick up the phone and have someone there who I could spend some time with and talk to. The need seems to consume me, and yet I feel that I would be imposing on all of the things everyone else has to do if I actually made a call. I hate imposing on others. Instead I sit alone. Perhaps filling the time working on one of my projects, once in a while loosing myself in a movie. It’s a quick fix, but it’s not real. I know people care about me, yet I’m still alone.

By now you must think I’m pretty depressed. Surprisingly, I don’t think I am. On the contrary I have a bright outlook on life, I love the things I do and the people I know, I just get so overwhelmed. I need to find some sort of release. I keep looking but I haven’t found it yet, sure lots of temporary relief, but then I come back to the real world where I have stacks of things to do. Who knows if they’ll ever shrink, of course if they did I may ahve stopped having ideas which is an even scarier thought.

Ideas, there’s another one. Do you know I’ve taken to carrying around a piece of paper and have a computer file (actually) several full of things to ponder, articles to write and projects to take on. I think I’ve already collected a lifetime’s worth and I’ve still got a long way to go.

I’m so many things to so many people: a technology educator, a graduate student, a telephone central office technician, a php developer, a system administrator, a guy you call on the phone to ask computer questions, a network engineer, a volunteer, a sound engineer, a singer, a writer, a photographer, a videographer, an archivest, a librarian, a scholar, a friend, a resource, a musician, a theater tech, a farmhand, a mechanic, an electrician, a plumber, a carpenter, a researcher, a collector, a watchdog, an activist, a baker, a chef, a technologist, a ham radio operator, a lighting designer and a servant of God. What am I to you? How can I stay on top of all of it? All I’m left with is questions. Take a walk with me and answer some.


  1. The thing most people don’t realize about a busy life whether it’s one by desire or thrust upon is that there is really no backlog of things to do. While things we want to do are easy to list; accomplishing those things take far more time. More time than writing it down or thinking of it takes the list EVER grows, becomes a monster and consumes from within. Noticing things accomplished and listing them and understanding that those are the things that matter, that list is what has weight. The other does not. Perspective is everything.

    You are at that stage we all go through and while some will pretend they can in a few words enlighten you as to being totally comfortable where you are headed down Life’s Bumpy Road(tm), let me say this: you will in time not only know to love the road but enjoy the scenery too. To look back and wonder why you didn’t notice that streaming brook, or the trees or the fact that there are far less bumps than you thought there were or see that you travelled much farther than you think you did. Some people might look like they’ve enjoyed their paths more, but this is your road theirs are poor substitutes.

    The busier you are, the longer you are, the more time passes as the pace continues the more you’ll wonder if you should slow down. You will when you have the need, until then it’s an endurance run.

    I went to college right after highschool and I really thought during the first semester I made a mistake. Other people took time off, partied more or seemed to be having much more fun. This after my senior year I had the worst case of senioritis I’ve ever heard of. I was listless, exhausted and had the energy of 300 yr old corpse all thru my senior year. Yet I still signed up for more school. The beginning of the first year there was even worse than my last yr of highschool. I doubted everything, felt alone and way too busy. Then you know what happened, as lame as it sounds?

    I relaxed. I don’t know how I did it or what sponsored the change but I saw that list of things I wanted to do was unimportant and focused on what I did, what I wanted to do one at a time and could start and did, what I was doing and the heck with everyone else and how they looked and how they partied and how they felt. I calmed down a little in some ways, decreased activities in one way and increased others; a balance was found. I no longer was stressed about not doing; but just plain loved doing whatever I was doing without the must do/ didn’t do worries. If I had 5 friends or 15 friends, if I went to the movies with 10 people, 5 ppl or no one I felt the same comfort level. I guess what it came down to is I became comfortable with myself. It usually happens at different times but it usually happens.

    The weird thing is we all can feel lonely no matter how many friends we have. Depending on how intense the feeling is thats when a phone is a wonderfully delightful thing indeed!

    I found this entry uplifting and thoughtful with intense value. I thank you for sharing it with us.

    I myself am many things. A friend, a son, a brother, a comedian, a clown, a goof, an intelligent experimenter, a semi-practicing Catholic and above all; me. All I can say at the end, for me is that I certainly hope the heck I’ve entertained my creator enough that he’ll forgive my endless offenses. Or at least chuckle as I scream in eternal hellfire…