Leapdragon 2016 - Aron Hsiao Was Here

Exhaustion Thursdays  §

© 2011 Aron Hsiao

The kids spent most of last night awake. Sibling jealousy, teething, digestion, whatever. And they slept minimally today. Four hours of sleep at night followed by no nap during the day for the toddler.

Guess who else isn’t getting any sleep?

— § —

Lost a relative today.

Or, I suppose it’s a relative. Relative by marriage? Someone dear to and admired greatly by the family.

This on the heels of someone related not by marriage dying just a couple of months ago.

The older generation is beginning to disappear on us. We are, of course, destined to be the oldest generation before we understand what has happened to us.

— § —

Imagining my children as adults at this point fills me with such conflicting emotions that I can’t bear to do it.

— § —

I’ve embarked on a project to watch the entire Northern Exposure over the coming months.

I started two nights ago with the first episode (on iPad in the middle of the night).

I haven’t yet figured out my schedule. One a week seems to make the event too diffuse, more a habit than an experience. But with each additional episode added every week, the length of the experience in calendrical time dwindles, something that I also don’t want.

Choices, choices.

— § —

For the first time in my life, in recent memory I’m really trying to take all of my non-academic work seriously.

The opposite has been true for most of my life. I always knew that the academic world was my priority and goal, which meant that any job I held in the meantime was temporary and not a career.

— § —

Of course, I always lied at interviews. Naturally I want a career. No, I don’t really plan to stick to academics. Yes, in five years I’ll be here and I plan to be one of your VPs because I’m a very ambitious person and I like to set goals for myself that go above and beyond position requirements.

— § —

Everyone lies at interviews. It’s a secret game that we play with each other.

I’ll pretend that this is the one job, career, and employer I’ve wanted all my life and that I’m going to be the dedicated catalyst that takes your company to where I’ve always thought you could be.

You’ll pretend that you’ve interviewed lots of closely matching candidates for your overwrought, overspecified listing, and if you offer me, that I’m exactly the kind of employee you were looking for.

Then we’ll settle into the grind (a productive grind, but a grind nonetheless) full of familiarity, cardboard-flavored office jokes, and targets, benchmarks, and meetings, which (aside from an ontological fabric of computer time) are the stuff of all jobs—even blue-collar jobs, increasingly.

— § —

Always before I could afford to take these things unseriously, since I was a young hotshot student working toward a Ph.D.

— § —

Now I’m a Ph.D. candidate that’s got a family to feed and a world of other Ph.D. grads to compete against for any academic position with middle-class income and benefits potential.

Means I’d better start thinking about a backup career.

— § —

Of course, when you’re young and full of dreams, your parents always emphasize the importance of a college or university education as the key to a sound backup career.

My generation took that advice only to realize that it’s the white-collar educated jobs that one needs a backup plan for, not the other way around.

— § —

Exception: finance. In this epoch, in this place, everyone that moves to a coastal metropolitan area and majors in finance—everyone, that is, that looks sharp in a suit—will become a multimillionaire by 26.

An unsustainable state of affairs, but then, so are individual life arcs.

— § —

Garden is full of weeds. But I think we’ll have a pumpkin or two in autumn.

That is all that fucking matters.

All . that . fucking . matters .


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