My Life Spendings

I’ve been thinking about where I’ve spent my time in life. It’s something I do every year during the summer. I think about recent stuff, and sometimes look further back. I had never tried to do a full accounting of where my life was spent, and still don’t have one that is 100% complete or accurate. But just looking at the numbers is kind of amazing.

I’ve been alive 8400 days, roughly. And of those days I’ve spent quite a few doing just normal daily functions.

Normal Daily Functions

  • 2450 days sleeping (~7 hours a day)
  • 600 days eating (~100 minutes a day)
  • 650 in transit (~110 minutes a day)
  • 400 in the bathroom (showering, bio, etc.)

Work & Education

  • 750 days spent in the public education system (K-6, 10-12)
  • 135 as a home-school student (7-9)
  • 25 as a college student
  • 150 days spent doing development
  • 125 working normal paying jobs

entertainment

  • 275 days playing videogames (30 days of WoW, 20 on Final Fantasy 7-10, 12 on Pokemon) Most of it came on the weekends and summers between the age of 12-15.
  • 175 watching movies that I can account for in iTunes
  • 50 days of just watching Chuck, most of which is accounted for in iTunes.
  • 40 days of poker on sites like www.partypoker.fr, I used to spend quite a long time playing multiple tables simultaneously.

Social Media Stats

  • 200 days on Friendfeed (~4hr/day over the past 3.5 years. ~15k posts, 46k comments, 46k likes)
  • 90 days reading in Google Reader (267k items @ half-minute each)
  • 70 days on StumbleUpon sites (14k thumbs, 55k sites seen. 5k+11k not accounted for from a cleanup in July ’09)
  • 45 days spent sending instant messages
  • 30 days sending/reading email.
  • 20 days on Twitter (~20 minutes / day since August 2008, 7k tweets, 1.4k faves)

That adds up to quite a large portion of my life. I’ve spent 4100 days on every day functions, nearly half my life; nearly 1200 on work and education; about 550 days wasted on entertainment — countless more dollars. And on social media and communication, a little more than 450 days. That leaves roughly 2000 days of my life unaccounted for and not all of these numbers are mutually exclusive.

I’m not sure I would like a full break-down, even if I could get it. I have a good feeling about where I’ve spent those 2000 days, and I know I wouldn’t trade them. Those things unnaccounted, a quarter of my life, are most likely the times spent with family and friends, reading books, or just embracing the stillness of my surroundings. Life is short, but I’m glad that the time I’ve spent with the people I care about is such a large portion of it.

Here’s to a future of the same, and much more.

23 Years And Some Good Will

So another year has slipped past, not so uneventfully, as other recent ones. The past year, and particularly the past six months, I have been a bit more proactive than before. I haven’t seen too much from these efforts. Still, I apparently managed to pop up on a few radars and have become involved with several people and companies. This hasn’t been that bad, at all in many ways.

Ultimately, my life has become more hectic but also somewhat more enjoyable. Not always, but often enough. From my anecdotal experience, one thing is most apparent to me, you are rewarded for the good you do, but only when you least expect it. Take everything in stride; losses and sacrifice today does not always mean more loss tomorrow. With that in mind I decided a few days ago to work on projects that foster good will.

My idea of good will projects was to create experiences, relationships, and opportunities through helping others. I have a few deep observations/recommendations that I plan on writing up for some companies that I use frequently, but are lacking in more ways than one. I also wanted to work on a few small open-source projects, and get them out.

My first act of good will, and one that will continue, is to help with the development of Geochat. I have spent quite a bit of time on the site over the past few weeks, even though the activity on it has only been in short bursts and with only a few people. Hopefully that will change as Jorge and, occasionally, I add features and fix bugs. Everyone is welcome to come check it out.

After 23 years of life, here I am, not where I thought I’d be, but also content. I will continue doing what I do, and continue to expand my experiences and horizons. I’m not the best, probably never will be, but I can try to be my best. Good will projects and more openness are my plans for now on how to do that. So to those who are reading this, have a wonderful day, it’s my, and Holden‘s, birthday. Happy Birthday, Holden!

The site may go down temporarily, as I transferred the domain, and it hasn’t fully propagated.

What Is Your Narrative

I’ve long held a set of narratives, stories that I tell. I sometimes feel bad about using specific ones, and have admitted previously to the fraud that I am. It’s by lies of omission or using a selective narrative, always honest. Here are all the major narratives that I tell regarding college.

I’ve been out of school for 4 years now, and the question that often comes up is what happened. This here is where the story starts. Depending on who it is that I am speaking, and other context. There are several reasons, each with their own story to detail. I could discuss all of them, but it’s often in idle banter, so it would be overkill. In the end, I normally resort to only one or two.

The most common story is that my back went out the night before finals. While it’s the truth, and it’s the simplest to discuss, I don’t prefer it. I don’t like it because it generates sympathy, which is nice, but it always makes me feel like I’m lying.

Another story, that is common is that I decided the system is broken. This one obviously isn’t simple to explain, but I can just spit out a line or two about the system, as almost everyone agrees it’s broken. This is also the honest truth, I had saw the precursors of the 2008 financial collapse and wanted to get a job as soon as possible to shelter myself and family.

The reason I wanted to help my family is the 3rd story, that I rarely discuss. I’ve mentioned it only once or twice. My mom had quit her job so that she could help in taking care of my great-grandparents, and after their passing at the beginning of 2006, had struggled to find another position for 2 years. This weighed on my mind heavily, and is partially the reason I had such a negative reaction to the ridiculousness of the academic system.

Another story is that I had a hard time adapting, because I was tossed into the deep end, even after trying to explain this would be negative. During course registration, they placed me in Calculus, and I had asked for remediation in Trig, as I had 0 experience with Trigonometric identities after being fucked around with in high school. Upon my asking, I was told that my standardized test scores in mathematics were too high for me to be placed in remediation. Of course, that wasn’t their last blunder, they stuck me in a general Calculus program, that moved more slowly than that of my college and with a professor outside of my college. So any discussions I had with my academic adviser resulted in confusion.

All the while I was dealing with a rather inept teacher, in a course without recitation and lacking the same pace as the engineering program. My first 4 weeks I spent 60+ hours a week trying to brute force my way through that one course. The last time I went to a scheduled course, was during the second semester, when I asked a Trig question to the professor of the remedial Calculus teacher and he responded, “You don’t know Trig, then why are you here?” I don’t blame him, and explained the registration situation, but didn’t like being attacked for something I knew was wrong but couldn’t get changed. I still respect him, and he was one of the best professors I had while in school. After that interaction I stopped attending my courses. I started dropping in freely to other courses that seemed more interesting or that my friends were attending so that we had something else to discuss outside our general topics.

Lastly, and another one that I rarely mention, definitely not outside of family and friends. I partied a bit too much to try and help cope with all the other stress I was dealing with. It helped me feel better, but it didn’t help in the long run, there was at least a few times where I was too hungover at exams in the middle of the week. There are plenty of individual stories I have that I could share, but in general this is it.

While each story is true, they also each evoke different responses. Some result in sympathy, others questions, and some with just a shrug and now you know better. It’s up to you to choose. Ultimately, I’m responsible for every choice I made, but not all of them were by choice or even mine.

Every event has more than one perspective, and sometimes an individual has more than one thread that they can weave their cloth. The narrative of our fate is presented in whatever way that we choose to narrate it. Stories abound, but it’s up to you to choose which you want to tell.

Paring Back

I’ve found that I lose focus too often over the years; actually, to say I’ve lost focus would be the wrong term, instead I should say, “I’ve misplaced my focus.” I never stopped focusing, but my focus shifted so rapidly I failed to accomplish anything. I don’t feel too bad about it, it sucks, but it has already happened and I can’t change the past.

Over the past month, or so, I’ve managed to focus on learning Ruby and Rails, but I’ve also realized that I was spending time on things that no longer mattered. I was wasting my life on things that don’t amount to much. It was inevitable, eventually something would have to give, and with waning interest the choices were made much simpler.

I’ve cut what I read daily on Google Reader by 60%, by cutting out things I should have cut much sooner like TechCrunch and Mashable; I can still do more here, but paring back things with less volume doesn’t feel like a necessity. For the past several months, I had been getting overwhelmed by the end of the week, and would spend 4-5 hours on Sunday crunching through 1000+ items.  

Also, I’ve also all but fully retracted from Friendfeed. I still post stuff via the bookmarklet and a rare sarcastic comment or two a week, but I don’t visit the site more than once or twice a week. When I visit it just reminds me that “It’s dead, Jim.” There are dozens of people I love and care about there, but I’ve lost interest in the shell of a dream we shared. Hey, we had a good solid run with it though, nearly 3 years without any active development and it’s only just beginning to collapse.

Where will I expand and go from here. I don’t really know. I guess I’ll probably start using the time to chew through my backlog of ideas. Here I am, nowhere near where I had expected 5 years ago, when I left high school. I don’t know if I’ve grown that much, since then, but my appetite surely has. It’s time for me to enjoy the journey and let go of the scars of the past.

Impact

Over the past year, I’ve noticed myself suffering from various seemingly odd emotions, the gamut between sheer joy, broodiness, to something of despair. I wasn’t sure the reason, or what set it off. The other day I came to think of where it seems to have started, but I’m still not quite sure the reason it impacted me.

A few months ago, an acquaintance passed away. We attended school together, but her and I may have spoke once over those 3 years. My only true interaction, one I don’t fully remember, was at a small Halloween party that a few of my friends threw in college. For some reason, her death has haunted me, it’s something I think about several times a week; I wish I knew why because without an real connection, only a closeness in age, it feels weird.

Obviously, she has had an impact, even on those like me. The ripples from her loss are greater than I would expect. While the full impact on my life might not have came from the events related to her; I can point to several things that have changed at least in part because of them.

One of the most notable things for me has been that I’ve felt broody. Some of it I know comes from my cousin’s pregnancy, but some of this I feel comes from facing mortality. Sitting there during the memorial service, watching snapshots of her childhood pass before me it touched me, and made me wish I was there. There not just as a form of nostalgia, but also as something I felt the need to be part of now. The happiness of childhood and innocence provides such intense joy to those around.

Another thing that’s changed, is that I have become more open to religion. Something about watching the community in and from the church during the service, changed something for me. While I am still not religious, my view has changed, and continues to change. I’ve always leaned more on an agnostic front personally, with a belief in some form of karmic justice. I know that from experience what I do always is almost always returned greater in the future. I cannot say that it is by fate, or by the hands of a deity, any more than I feel I can say it is by luck. More and more, I seek to find a shared faith, even though I don’t truly believe, and part of that is due to the warmth of the community I saw that day from our shared grief.

We will all have an impact and it cannot be measured or seen. Only once we have passed and settled will the scales truly show the difference we made. Change what you can, for you and those near, and even if the impact isn’t large or doesn’t occur swiftly; your impact will be felt. Do good.