searching

For the first time in a very long time — I am free. Free in the capacity that I have very little ongoing responsibility on my plate. Well, I still have the underlying responsibility to myself. To be me. But I have not signed up for any obligations to other people. That — the obligations to other people part, or lack thereof rather, is where I am experiencing a rather unique sensation of weightlessness/free-ness. I have literally no obligations. It is a really surreal feeling. A feeling I did not anticipate having this year — and a feeling I have not really felt in…years? If, ever, really.

For so long, I have been playing a game of identity. At least a game where identity was defined by my days. Attached to work, really, or whatever the version of work was in the moment. Whether it was high school (AP tests!) or college (more tests!) or internships or starting my own company — I have long had an affinity towards climbing ladders (and trying to figure out how high I can climb until I end up searching for the next ladder to rise up on).

But now…now I am searching…searching again for what to latch onto (or rather what to avoid). So this essay — this short exploration of sorts, is more or less an exploration of the meta: how should I go about searching? How should I search? Should I…like…use a framework of sorts? How intentional should I be? I feel almost stupid writing out things like this. Like I have become the meme I have always wanted to avoid becoming…the person who uses the word framework to orient how they spend their time.

But genuinely…if you were me…how would you think about THINKING ABOUT things?

I have asked this question to myself before in the abstract…but now…now it is in a real, applied sense. Now it is not an academic question — it is a question that will help me determine how I spend my days (and weeks and months and years).

And it’s not meant to be a meme. It’s not meant to be something you roll your eyes at. It is meant to be “real” and applied.

A part of me — and perhaps this is also your inner monologue coming out — is to tell myself to calm the fuck down. Relax. Take it easy. A part of me is telling myself that overthinking this and analyzing this is default ridiculous behavior and will get me into many of the same challenging situations that I found myself in in the past.

But another piece of me is saying that type of conclusion is motivated by insecurity and is not indicative of what is actually going to drive “good results” (whatever good actually looks like I am not quite clear).

So this post does not really have any interesting conclusions. And perhaps that is the interesting conclusion. The idea that I have sit down for 30 minutes or so (nearly) and thought about the meta of how I should think about “searching” and not really gotten anywhere, that is saying something.

To me it’s saying that…well at least implicitly…that there is a non-zero amount of fear perhaps underlying a lot of my thinking that makes me nervous to put my name or even the etching beside my name next to any particular topic or strategy. Afraid of commitment. Why? Well, because I have a taste on whatever is on the other side. I now know a whole bunch of things that I once before did not know I did not know. So now I can see the other side and I am grounding myself to some degree.

Losing your naivete has pros and cons. It makes you less likely to do stupid things.

But sometimes…well every so often…doing the stupid things is actually the right thing to be doing. So a big failure mode for me — in addition to committing to the wrong thing, is not committing to anything at all. Or perhaps spreading myself too thin (most likely). I am not in a rush to get to focusing…but I am not not…slowly it will happen, and then all at once.

Practical questions I think about right now include thinking about whether or not I should be applying a breadth first or depth first search. Should I try lots of things or one thing or go deep in particular areas or how should I square all of it? How should I balance all of these potential avenues? SEARCHING :).


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