Leapdragon 2016 - Aron Hsiao Was Here

Tomorrows.  §

And now the question. The million-billion dollar question, now that my night and my psyche have settled down and I have enjoyed a few minutes’ peace:

What are you going to do next, Aron Hsiao?

— § —

There’s a cultural trope about serial starters. People that begin project after project, full of enthusiasm in each case, yet never manage to carry them to completion. It’s almost an archetype, a part of the collective unconscious.

That’s not me.

Instead, I’ve always been more of a finisher. Once something has begun, I generally carry it through to completion, no matter the obstacles in my way, no matter the extent to which others see it to be folly. Cases in point: double-major, graduate school, Ph.D., mutiple books that didn’t have much of a market to begin with and didn’t end up selling very well, etc.

No, I don’t have much trouble finishing things. Instead, I have trouble starting them.

— § —

In many ways in life, I’m a very liberal person, but in this one way, I’m extremely conservative. It’s hard for me to take the initiative, to put something at risk. Once I do, I have to see my investment through to maturity. I am wary of commitment because, unlike many others these days, once I commit I am committed. I like to think of this as admirable, but it has its costs, and my hesitation in this regard is one of them.

Initial investments and commitments are hard. Hard enough that I have never managed to make a habit of making them. Or even of regularly evaluating and considering them, as most people do on a more or less continuous basis.

Left to my own devices, my natural tendency is to continue in a kind of routinized statis, day after day, plugging along. Carrying water, as it were.

But sometimes that’s not a viable option. Not if a person wants to remain healthy. Not if a person wants to be a person, to have a self and a life.

— § —

And so it is that every now and then, I’ve learned to remember to ask myself:

What are you going to do next, Aron Hsiao?

For me, it’s a scary question. When I answer it, it leads me to do things like leave for graduate school, take out large loans, switch careers, change relationships. Things that are hard, and tiring, and life-changing. It’s a heavy question for me, and so I tend to retreat from it, to put it off, to try to extend the list of options I’m evaluating indefinitely, anything to avoid having to commit to, or even to consider, new courses of action.

The devil you know, after all, and that is already here, next to you, ready-to-hand, vs. the devil you don’t know, and that is probably far away, or very expensive, or incompatible with half of your life that will then have to be discarded or rethought.

But now, now it’s time again. I know that I have to challenge myself, to confront myself, to play my own therapist. To ask the question and demand an answer and an action to follow it:

What are you going to do next, Aron Hsiao?

I will likely forget this once or twice more over the coming weeks or even months. But the insistent feeling that I have is becoming more insistent by the day. Despite every bone in my body wanting to put it off, I know that nothing good will happen for me again until I ask, and answer, this question.

— § —

So hop to it, me. Tonight my mode of procrastination is to write about the fact that I am procrastinating and avoiding on this point. It’s all very meta.

But I can’t keep it up.

The time has come.

Decide, soon, and act. Cover your eyes and plug your ears if you have to, me.

But make it happen. The clock is ticking.

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