Thus far I’ve largely tried to avoid hugely introspective posts, because I know no one wants to read what amounts to a personal diary. Having said that, a lot has happened in the last 12 months, so I thought reflecting on it might be at least interesting enough to post, a pretty low bar.
As many of you whom come to us via the Moron Horde may know, this year started less than a week in with me becoming a first time dad. What an experience. About 8 weeks later I became a stay-at-home dad. (Though technically I guess that started immediately for those first 8 weeks the wife was on maternity leave.) Quite a change from my normal lay-about ways. I learned a lot about life and myself during this time such as:
- I never knew what exhausted was before. I thought I knew, I thought during those days gone by of staying up for 2 days straight with friends watching movies and playing DnD I knew. I was wrong.
- No matter how much you love your significant other, 8 weeks effectively trapped in a house together is straining on any relationship.
- If one ends up formula feeding for whatever reason, there is basically 0 support for it out there. Don’t expect help from your friends (unless you have friends in similar circumstances). Especially don’t expect help from the internet. There are millions of sites out there with breast feeding advice (which helps me 0). I found maybe one decently reliable site with information about formula. Anyone who ends up in the same situation, by choice or by happenstance, I’m more than willing to tell you what I learned. Anyone who has a google alert for “Formula” to come criticize people, brace yourself, for the echo of my ban hammer will be felt past the asteroid belt.
- Related to 3: Find a doctor you trust, so that when you need help you aren’t second guessing that person. I have friends in similar phases to me, and they sometimes seem more trusting of the web than their pediatrician. Bad spot to be in.
- Take a break early on. I’m lucky enough to have my parents in town. So 2 weeks into this, we were able to go see a movie and relax for a bit. My parents predicted we’d see the movie and immediately rush back home. Boy were they wrong. We stayed out for 5 hours, after the movie there were drinks and dinner. So cathartic.
In a similar vein, nothing focuses everything you’re not doing right like having a kid. After several massively false starts, I’m finally making significant progress on my dissertation. I’ve learned a lot there including:
- Not every problem that looks insurmountable is actually insurmountable.
- Internal psychological defense mechanisms can be counter productive.
- Just write something, you can fix it later.
I’m also slowly coming to grips with the fact that I didn’t have a well thought out career plan after the PhD. In my defense, I knew academia was 99.9% crazed leftists, but I figured that I could fill that token 0.1%. I didn’t see the purge coming with the intensity we’ve seen over the last year. In retrospect I should have seen that. I often speak about the “purge of geekdom” whereby only acceptable SJW views are permitted in geek culture. I expected academia to be better, which was my first mistake.2
As for politics, I’ve mostly given up. I’m tired already of the 2016 election. I’m taking a wait and see attitude with regards to the primaries. I’ll see who’s left by the time my state rolls around and go from there. Yes, I want to beat Hillary, but more and more I’m thinking that no amount of wins are enough. Hopefully our “new and very different St. Benedict” will arrive soon.
2015 was a crazy year of ups, downs, and sideways. 2016 is shaping up to be equally crazy, personally, locally, and nationally. I wish you all well.