i have not blogged in some time, i feel like there are many things i wish to talk about but they can be quite heavy
so to re-start the process, i will instead start with an easier topic
cute pictures of my cat
these have both been cleaned up using the unblur and camoflauge features on the pixel phone, so as to remove some of the distracting background clutter (eheh). the ML models really couldn’t handle removing the purses on the first photo above, which, valid lol.
on the latter photo there was also a portrait blur effect applied. i find it pretty interesting — i’m fairly certain that machine learning models are being used to infer a. what to segment out and remove (this is directly shown to the user as a confirmation of sorts) b. what to fill in.
my cat rosie is now 11 years old, i adopted her during the pandemic when she was 8.
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”).
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).
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
around the end of the china trip i really stopped wearing masks for the most part, if i forgot my mask i wouldn’t make any effort to get one / go back. now in the US the last time i wore a mask was when i thought i had a sore throat.
i’ve been in a weird mood all year. it’s weird that many of my peers are graduating after me, weird that some friends have drifted out and others have drifted in, weird to not be working on something i care about or being bitter about life or mired in a sense of how i could’ve and should’ve done better and forgiven more and worked harder
it’s sometimes difficult to cleanse the mindset instilled in me with every day of grad school, that hard work doesn’t pay off and matters little in the end
i just feel like my understanding of the world has really narrowed in scope. but maybe it’s okay to have seasons of ambition and seasons of recovery. i’m not sure. in some sense i have a much better sense of self-worth and who i am than as a 20 year old. but in other ways, i’m not even sure of my name.
i am hopeful though
mostly, i miss my cat
blog posts coming up shortly hopefully about graduation, thesis writing, china, and the job application (and life) process. maybe cat budgets, ogame, weekly get-togethers and cooking, and animal crossing, who knows.