For whatever reason my anxiety has really jumped this weekend. As a result, my hopes for a productive 3-day weekend have been dashed. Here’s to a better tomorrow.
Today marks a full week since I logged out of my Twitter account. I think it’s time to log back in but with a few changes:
- I’ll continue to use Mastodon first. I’ve seen some morons there lately as well but, with the ability to block accounts or entire instances, it isn’t nearly as toxic as Twitter.
- No apps on my phone. It’s too easy for me to get sucked into browsing Twitter during pretty much any downtime.
- No weekly Tweet purging. There are far too many conversations on there that continue beyond a week anymore, mostly due to how others use it. As a result, I’ll up the expiration time on my content there to a year, for now (while still cross-posting original content to my Mastodon account). That should help a lot with conversations.
So why go back at all if it is a toxic time suck? Because, for better or for worse, it’s still where the bulk of people I know are at, friends and coworkers alike. While I’ll continue to try to help people move to Mastodon, it’s going to be a while before it can serve as a solid replacement for Twitter.
Anxiety is not fun.
For me there are two primary sources of anxiety. The first, disease, has been with me my whole life and can often be crippling. The second, while it’s been with me off and on most of my life, has really just hit the hardest since moving to the Gulf Coast permanently five years ago, hurricane season.
We’re one week away from the start of the 2020 hurricane season, one that promises to be extra-busy and, right on schedule, the anxiety is coming on like a tidal wave.
Anxiety is not fun.
While it’s true that I’ve not taken a true vacation in 16 years, it’s also true that I rarely go more than 2-3 weeks without traveling somewhere…
…at least it was true that I rarely go more than 2-3 weeks without traveling somewhere until COVID-19.
Whether it’s a WordCamp or other conference, an onsite at one of our offices or simply a night or two at a park somewhere. It isn’t much, but it has the effect of breaking up the monotony of my daily work and I miss it.
I love the quiet I’ve been privileged to experience these last 10 weeks but these regular break-ups of the routine are things I truly miss. In 10 weeks I’ve cancelled 7 trips already with 3 more in the process of cancelling through the end of June. Maybe I don’t need to go back to that pace when it is safe to do so again but I so look forward to going back to something.
This year will mark 7 years officially as a remote employee for me. If I look back, though, on the previous 6 years since left my career as a pilot it is really a lot more. My most productive times throughout my career have been away from the official office. I build Better WP Security and all the systems for SIU Aviation while working remotely from the SIU Library or Student Center. Even repairs and other work was done best away from my official office. Looking back, I was more remote at that time than not and it is still the most productive work I think I’ve ever done.
Today seems a bit harder for me to write anything than a normal day. There’s no real reason for it, I just can’t find the inspiration to write anything. I don’t know how more creative people can do it day in and day out.
I’ve never been a keyboard snob, but I think I’m getting there. When I was a Mac user I just used whatever Apple offered me. Every couple of years I would shell out another $100 or more for a new wireless keyboard that looked nice but seemed to hurt my wrists after a while and wasn’t programmable at all (a feature which, at the time, I didn’t even know I would use).
This all changed when I bought my current machine, a System76 Oryx Pro, about 2 years ago.
When I switched from Mac to Linux I realized the Mac keyboard wasn’t going to cut it anymore so I bought a Logitech keyboard that looked nice and seemed better made than the Apple keyboards (not a hard bar to top). After a few months and after realizing the wrist pain I had was probably due to years of bad keyboards, it was time to try something else.
I went with a Microsoft ergonomic keyboard, the wireless model, and I really enjoyed it. The wrist pain went away and it was a genuine joy to type on all for less than 1/2 of what I would pay for a new Apple keyboard today. Turns out the cheaper price also meant a much lower build quality. After only a little over a year the thing was just starting to fall apart as the wrist rests disintegrated and keys started to act weird.
Enter the Kinesis Freestyle Pro.
While the MS keyboard wasn’t dead, yet, there was another need that left me shopping for a new keyboard. My work Mac, which I find myself using more and more often these days. I wanted any new keyboard I picked to be able to handle both it and my System76 machine.
Fortunately I have a Dell monitor with a built-in KVM switch. This meant that I would be able to do all this rather easily if I got a wired keyboard. Now my criteria were up to the following:
- Wired for two machines
- Long lasting (ideally I could replace parts that wore out and not have to replace the whole keyboard)
There are a few models out there that foot the bill but I chose the Kinesis due to recommendations from friends and it’s apparent ease of switching between Mac and Windows/Linux layouts.
After using it for only a couple of hours so far, I’m in love. This is going to be awesome.
It’s been almost a month now and I’m still doing #100DaysToOffload. These posts might not always be the best but, it’s my own damn journal so who cares. I’m writing something each and every day and it feels great.
I often do a mental exercise that involves a single question, “what would my perfect day look like?” I use it not only for day dreaming but as a tool to help me focus on what is really important to me. It’s a question that can often answer whether or not my current pursuit, whatever it may be, is worth it in lieu of the big picture.
While I’ve found the concept of my perfect day handy in the moment, I can’t say I’ve ever taken the time to really look at it from a bigger picture. Namely, what could I change in my life to live more in accordance with the idea of my perfect day? It isn’t, after all, just about lounging around. Instead, the more I think of my perfect day the more I realize it is a reflection not only of time and place but of many of the ideals and values that I would like to make a bigger part of my life.
For example, the exercise of imagining my perfect day is probably most often done while working on side projects or other tech. In those cases I try to envision whatever I’m working on in terms of how it relates to my perfect day involving a little bit of “should I have time for this” and “does the mean anything to me?”
It might not seem like much but thinking of my perfect day is, to me, something like others talk about as to the value of prayer or meditation in their lives. Perhaps, then, I need to do more of it.
In one month I’m taking the first no-stress week off I’ll have had since 2004. Sure, we’ve had plenty of weekends and even longer trips since but not a single trip hasn’t involved moving, work, a WordCamp, a wedding or something else super stressful. I’ve waited far too long for this and it is a mistake I do not intend to repeat.