I might always want the opposite of what I have

This job is getting me a bit down. It doesn’t make any sense: it’s exactly what I feel like I want to be doing. Computer science plus AI plus teaching is great, right? Maybe it’s because I’m not doing much AI/teaching yet. It’s been a lot of code hacking. It’s tough for me to dig in to a project that exists (hundreds of thousands of lines of code) and do anything. The more I learn, the better it will get. And sooner or later, I’ll do something actually neat.

Today I walked outside after work, felt and saw the setting sun, and thought, good God, how I’d like to be climbing a mountain right now. I’ve done this once in my life, and by “climb a mountain” I mean “do some basic climbing on the side of a mountain.” I can’t say I feel some particular great holy closeness to nature. It’s very pretty, to be sure, and runner’s high combined with the feeling of having climbed a mountain make it nice, even as heat/cold/bugs/etc make it bad.

(sidebar: that doesn’t explain why I then went inside to lift weights, and am now sitting in WRCT, in the basement, ripping CDs)

Point is, climbing a mountain is a lovely “life resume” piece. Like the other day, we were going around the table at this reception for the interns where I’m working, and we had to say one interesting things about ourselves, and this one professor said that he’d hiked the entire Appalachian trail. How cool is that? If I could say, for example, that I’d climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, that’d be pretty neat. But who am I trying to impress? Good question. Maybe myself? You’re always your own worst critic.

Also, yesterday, I was in a bookstore, and I saw a book about “how to plan your bike trip from Pittsburgh to DC”- that’s cool too! And I heard about a challenge to hike the 34-mile Rachel Carson trail (north of Pgh) in one day, sunup to sundown, and I thought how cool that would be too! I just want to do all these sweet physically challenging things. While I’m young. While I can do these things. So that, when I’m 70, or even when I’m 50 and have failing joints, or when I’m 30 and have cancer, I won’t have to say “I wish that I’d climbed a mountain.” or “I wish I’d biked more than 30 miles in a day” (for all my biking, I still haven’t done that, I think. That’s small change to bikers, right? See, I have to get my act together!)

Meanwhile, I’m stuck in a job sitting at a computer all day. Of course, if I had a job planting trees, I’d want to be in an office. See the title of this post: if I go on this way, I might never be content. I’m trying to get myself to live with minimal worldly attachment. But I still want to do all this sweet stuff. This is quite the trite internal debate, isn’t it? Maybe I’ll just live minimally AND do all this great stuff.

Aiii… there aren’t enough hours in a day, or a life.

More posts to come, intermittently, whenever I have my computer and am not on the clock. Look, I’m not going to blog at work. And part of living minimally is living without a friggin computer sometimes. So there you go!


~ash -

Question: What is driving your desire to have minimal worldly attachment?

Anonymous -

how far away is that rachel carson trail (or whatever it was)? that all-day hiking challenge sounds awesome. plus, it’s summer and, hey, you only need one day.

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