Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Recovered at last.

[This is a backdated post, one I never got around to publishing.]

Two weeks ago, I finished Hack Reactor. Six days a week, 14 hrs a day, I lived and breathed code for a long, long time. I did little else -- feel behind on emails, on exercise, on reading, on journaling, on spending time with lovely people. I chose willingly to live out of balance for a period of time in order to grow immensely as a software engineer.

I'd say the gamble paid off. I'm able to build real stuff now. My job search starts in a month, but recruiters and contacts are already bookmarking the opportunity to interview. It's humbling and I'm deeply grateful for the positive job market -- such a shocking difference from my search as a construction engineer. I feel confident in my talents and ability, while equally excited for all the things I have yet to learn, the vast ways in which I can grow. 

Immediately after graduation, I departed to Europe for another teaching tour. But before hitting the road in earnest, I spent a relaxing two weeks in Scotland with a dear partner. The time was exactly what I needed -- respite from my breakneck pace of life.

Even before HR, I was on the move constantly. I had been on a six-week tour of Europe right before heading to HR. The tour came on the coattails of a particularly inspiring (and consuming) internship with Carbon Lighthouse. Immediately before that, I had been on a three-month tour of Europe. My transitions from one life phase to another, as you can see, are generally non-existent. 

While grateful for the fullness of my life, it does wear me down, particularly these past 6 months. Just no time to relax, to read a book, to have an entirely open schedule. This is mostly by design -- too much of the above makes me feel uninspired, even depressed. Like a shark, I have to keep swimming, even when asleep. 

Happily, I got the perfect dose of rest in the past couple weeks. I read books, ate nothing but home-cooked meals (after three months of eating out twice a day), played badminton (a surprisingly popular sport in the UK), slept a lot, practiced yoga, did programming when I felt like it, cleaned out my inbox, and completed a slew of tasks that had been neglected for a long while. 

I feel restored, reset, grounded once more. Clean and refreshed, I'm ready to take on the world. Good thing, too, because life is about to resume its usual intensity. 

There was one tragic casualty during my time in Aberdeen. My travel mug broke from thermal shock (despite never having trouble before), the bottom popping cleanly off as I poured in boiling water. 


My mug, a memento from a particularly meaningful event called the Chautauqua Retreat, has been with me on my adventures around the world. It has seen me become a full-time international dance instructor, caffeinated me through late nights of dancing and programming. It has been my wake-me-up black tea mug, my breathe-deeply jasmine green mug, my lets-get-silly whisky mug, my all-purpose water mug. But most importantly, it was a mug that reminded me of home, the home created by me existing in the hearts of wonderful people, my family, my tribe. 

It is merely a Thing, and I've grown quite good at letting go of Things -- a necessity when you live in a suitcase -- but the few Things you always have with you gain even greater significance. They go with you through a lot. So the death of my mug was sad, even heart-breaking. 

Happily, I can still carry Home with me, even without a focus symbol. So I move forward, on in my journey in life, walking along a path not frequented, designing my own life and loving the adventures I find myself on. And now, with my spirit fully restored and my body on the recovery, I am ready.