Leapdragon 2016 - Aron Hsiao Was Here

Last week of December stuff.  §

What has happened to my writing?

Too many words. Not enough substance.

— § —

I have switched back to a Galaxy Tab S. Best tablet yet made.

And I get to avoid the dismal iOS and the bulky and heavy iPad Mini 2.

Love the iOS apps—Ninox, Daedalus, Ulysses, etc.—but they do nobody any good if you hate actually carrying and operating the device so much that the apps never actually get used.

— § —

I was raised by multiple generations of football fans. I went to countless football games, dating back to before I can remember. There’s a part of me that measures the passing of years, and of life, using football seasons.

I’m always sad to see another one end. It’s a wistful time of year. Christmas over. Football over. Now it’s just rain and snow until the pointless lawn mowing commences.

It’s during the last week of December that I typically begin to dreamily imagine the start of fall next year. In my head, it’s always the same picture—earth tones, a slight chill on windy afternoons, the light turning from yellow to gray, and school.

— § —

“School” sounds like an abstraction, but it’s the biggest one in my life. Everything revoles around—begins and ends around—the school year. For me. For the kids. For football. I even imagine the holidays in school terms and remember them through shool projects and crafts.

School is the center of my universe—only I don’t study or work there any longer. Now, it’s the kids who are my connection to the center of the universe.

— § —

I keep thinking back to January 1st, 2000—where I was and what I was doing. It may be time to reprise that moment. Seventeen years, and I find myself in a place not unlike the place I was in then, with a path ahead of me that is not unlike the path ahead of me then.

Not a time of wonder, so much as a time of wondering, possibility balanced on a knife’s edge against risk—and me knowing that the balance itself, which is nothing other than stagnation and premature decline—is untenable and must be upset.

Once again, I’ll have to close my eyes and hold my breath to have the courage to do it.

I have about as much as I did then, which is to say not nearly enough but also probably just as much as I need.

— § —

© Aron Hsiao / 2015

Parenthood changes the way that a mind works.

You fall out of practice in a lot of areas. It’s harder to read books because there are no pictures and the text is small and the lines are close together. You use tiny words and simple sentence structures all day, meaning that your vocabulary declines. You are constantly grasping for words when speaking with adults; you know that there’s a word for this or that, and that you’ve used it many times in the past, years ago, but you can’t seem to come up with it.

Everything is measured in lifetimes, years, and individual days. Intermediate measures like decades, months, or weeks lose their meaning and disappear from the mental calendar.

Critical insight, useless with kids, wanes. Instead, you begin to approach every situation as a mediator and with a certain above-the-fray detachment.

After a few years of parenthood, you are no longer who you were. You don’t know if you can go back. You literally have no idea whether or not you want to.

— § —

I am toying with the idea of getting an MBA. I think the company would pay for it if I wanted to do one online (the only way I could practically do it at this point, though that experience would diminish many of the degree’s advantages).

Thing is, I keep having business and deal ideas these days. That’s how far I’ve veered from the academic path. I’ve never had those before, but I think working inside the corporate world does that, and having kids (and thus a lot of needs and a broader focus in life) also does that.

I could jump in with both feet and try to ramp up shoestring style, or look into getting financed or granted or something, but in a way, that’s the motivation—I don’t know enough to know how to begin, or to know—if I fly by the seat of my pants—how things are going as they play out, what might be coming up next, where exposure lies, and so on.

It would help just to have some of the general wisdom and the taken-for-granteds from that world before trying, I think.

— § —

I had a very strange day. I think it’s because I didn’t get much sleep last night.

I’m just getting to the point in life where I can clearly see the connections between things like general malaise and stress during the day and the sort of night that preceded them.

In fact, the last couple of years have pushed me to make the transition to “understanding the wisdom of the conventional wisdom” in a lot of different areas.

— § —

When you’re in your twenties and even thirties, you “play house” a lot. You don’t really feel like an adult, but you go through the motions because it would be embarrassing to admit that you haven’t got the faintest idea what you’re doing and don’t particularly even care to do much of it.

You don’t notice when you cross the threshold into real adulthood; you get busier and busier maintaining the momentum and keeping up appearances and then suddenly, there you are, an actual adult and not role-playing any longer.

I guess this is a classic symbolic interactionist trope, but it still doesn’t change how fascinating it feels to live it.

— § —

Another change that happened when I wasn’t looking: I’m now more likely to read Buckley than Marx, Francis than Adorno.

The bits did, indeed, flip.

“He who is not a républicain at twenty compels one to doubt the generosity of his heart; but he who, after thirty, persists, compels one to doubt the soundness of his mind.” (Anselme Batbie)

I am no longer bothered by a great many things that used to bother me in society. And I am very bothered by a great many things that used to seem irrelevant.

I am also reading Rod Dreher a lot. Funny, I’m not even religious, yet I suddenly find common cause with a lot of religious folk that I once would have imagined to be terrible people.

— § —

Still no idea what (much needed) project lies ahead. A return to academics? To teaching? A new degree? A new company? A new book? A new dedication to advancement in my current career? Meetups and community involvement to re-enter social life?

Could be any of them. Could be several of them. Could be none of them. I hate having to decide, but I suppose I will.

— § —

And, given all of the above, the big question for 2017, same as it was in 2000:

What now?

The answer is also the same:

Here it comes.