Friday, November 14
So I put together a résumé.
I think I’m trying to find either:
- Something pretty local to Boulder County.
- Something remote that doesn’t involve soul-crushing amounts of travel to major coastal cities.
I’d also like to avoid things that leave me feeling like I’m working against the better world I keep claiming that professional nerds should be trying to build.
To state that in positive terms, I would like to work on something that feels like it is making things better, or at least not actively making them worse. I had that for a long time. It seems possible, if you get lucky.
My friends and family and all of the wise people in my life keep telling me that the thing to do is to have a job that is just a job, to enjoy your work on a technical level if you can, as a challenge to be met well, but fundamentally to live your real, human life outside the space of the hours you sell, and to invest nothing emotional or personal, nothing that involves your sense of yourself (beyond an aspiration to competence) in systems at the mercy of an employer’s interests and follies.
They’re so very right. Of course they’re right. Still and all, I’m going to take a little time looking, since right now I can afford to take a little time looking. I don’t think I actually regret how much of myself I put into the last thing. It’s not like it was actually destructive. It’s just always more fragile and contingent than you want it to be.
Learning to let shit go. That’s the hardest thing for people like me, predisposed to nostalgia and obsessed with memory. We’re good at the timebinding thing, good at the accumulation of certain kinds of knowledge. We’re just not as good as we should be at coping with the ground truth that everything dies. Not quite as ruthless with the past as lets you go through events without periodically getting cut to pieces by all the things you lose in even a very charmed life.
I’m picking this up as I go along, I guess. You don’t have much option.
Speaking, though of memory: I think I’m shading into a new relationship with the materials of history. Once you shed nostalgia, or at least grind it down to an occasional experience, best brought out only for a few minutes at family gatherings and while re-reading certain important childhood novels — well, maybe then you can recognize the structure of the past as a part of the space you inhabit now. Once you know that everything dies, maybe you can learn to have the kind of thoughts that take years or decades or centuries. Maybe you can learn to play the long game.