happy new years! here’s to 2024

off to a good start !

(first night boston — fireworks at 7pm i actually made it to, and an ice skating event at 6pm. well technically this was a good end of 2023 rather than the happy start of 2024, but it’s a good celebratory picture)

some misc. thoughts in my head:

when i was 20 i thought i would be too depressed to live to 30

now that i’m 30 i’m worrying about: what if i become deaf and blind at 90, should I start taking braille classes just in case

in any case, listening to being mortal on audiobook — good book. like it a lot. feel optimistic about the future of nursing homes. easy read since i’m pretty young (compared to 90 or 110). liked the ideas about having pets and children to bring a sense of life, having lockable doors and suites of 16 rather than floors of 60 people, to make nursing homes into actual homes. instead of penitentiaries with institutional schedules. integrating the elders with the education of the kids (learning history from the people who went through it). the philosophy about what gives life meaning, the psychology between our desires (for growth and ideas) when we think we have many decades vs. when our perspective is shorter (for family and connection). chapter 6 started getting depressing because it’s about people my age so i’m stopped there for now.

This was in part inspired by listening to a podcast episode featuring dr. blaire bigham, talking about how he went through the same denial he was advocating against years earlier. https://www.radiolab.org/podcast/death-interrupted “He wrote a book arguing that a too-late death is just as bad as a too-early one, and that physicians and the public alike need to get better at accepting the inevitability of death sooner.  As the book hit the bestseller list, Blair’s own father got diagnosed with a deadly case of pancreatic cancer”

other life: i started a weekly cooking+dinner+video games with local friends. animal crossing really sparked it, then the momentum for this has continued (the psychologists would call this a “ritual”).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xDY5w8-fPeE Mangú Con Los Tres Golpes (Plantains with Salami & Eggs) Recipe https://www.kroger.com/r/mangu-con-los-tres-golpes-recipe/5d6eafa99da07c1c829ddb07 Using an instant pot 😀

i visited china for a month and paid respects to my relatives. i reflected on my implicit belief in an afterlife as a result of the rituals around paying respect to my ancestors (my grandparents).

(this image isn’t part of the ancestors part. but this npr life kit podcast episode is relevant)

on the top of my mind: actually applying to jobs, enjoying coding (for the first time? vs. being excited about what coding enables me to do), finishing my research (organizing a hackathon, releasing datasets and code, writing up paper). getting my room to a cleanly state. doing 20 situps a day (?).

i think often about this group of 80 year old folks who got together and started knitting fake breasts for people who got mastectomies, and how this gave them a sense of purpose and success. entrepreneurship!

i also feel like my life has gone through several stages now, that the people in my life really only see one stage or another. the high school, swim team, dance performance, violin and piano person. the mit, miters and robotics, hardware startup and hackerspaces me. the sailboat and genomics me. the mental health me, the graduate school fighting to survive me, the sailing and car trip adventures me, the covid at home in georgia adopting a cat and feedings birds me,

the and finally that brings the me of today. currently appears to be focused on relationships, video games, trader joes plants, reflecting on friendship and family networks,

and figuring out savings for expenses that suddenly seem very soon and very large.

i guess we can go in-and-out of phases of having the ambition to change the world. i have not done any volunteering in a long time, for the most part solely focused on my own career and struggles and goals due to a perpetual feeling of “being behind” and “fighting to stay in grad school” rather than on the journey of others, and i think that has drifted me away from feeling purposeful.

if only i could convince myself i really really enjoyed striving to be on top and rich. half my thoughts are meta thoughts like that. i shouldn’t be focusing on saving a dollar here and there, but rather on applying to jobs and how much money I could make.

i think i felt a bit adrift from that. but some stability in my chaotic feelings will hopefully allow me to refocus on my career