Whilst Dee and Jules play videogames downstairs, I sit in a beanbag in my makerspace and contemplate the various hardware projects that I would like to complete over the next couple of years.
It’s 2016, and I’m dusting off the ‘blog again.
Sure, I might not be able to keep up with writing here, but I’ve got to try — it’s something I actually kind of enjoy, after all, and being able to go back and revisit my thoughts from a year ago (or ten!) is illuminating in the least.
This is a year for enjoyment, I think: I’ve been giving too much focus, if not time (what parent has time, after all), to my work, and feeling guilty at both ends when I don’t give enough to EITHER my projects or my family — let alone carving out that tiny bit of personal space required to recharge, reflect, write, meditate, be alone, be myself. And while I have given up the late nights and energy drinks, mostly, I’m still finding it hard to say “it can wait until Monday” … and to be happy with that decision.
So that’s it: in 2016 my primary focus will be on enjoying life, rather than being frustrated that my beautiful son (for example) wants to play, when I feel like I should be re-running some batch process or crafting a particularly hairy algorithm. To whit…
We’re going camping! Australia Day weekend, so it will probably be a busy one, but it’s the first time in possibly ten years that we’ve done it and I’m so very excited. It was sort of funny, really, but when we were prepping for our road-trip to Brisbane for Christmas I was more excited by testing out the roof-basket than, say, visiting Movieworld. (I even carried the rather heavy OzTent RV-1 downstairs and plonked it on the roof-rack, just to see how it might work … and take a photo, of course. Mental?)
We’ve invited our neighbours too, which should be fun. They’ve got a bit more (and more recent) experience of camping with a 4-year-old, so hopefully they’ll have remembered to bring anything we forget — we will muddle through, I suppose. After that, we’ll have a couple of “weekending” sessions, just the three of us (four with Lucy). Sleeping under the stars! No Internet! Cold beer and hot fire!
So that’s the first “sea-change” in our lifestyle-design. I’ve also said I want to “hit the slopes” when snow-season arrives, so provided I remember to do the research, and we can find the money, we’ll take a drive down south towards Jindabyne this winter. I’ve never snow-boarded, can you believe it? It’ll be a bit of organising, but a few lessons early on should see me shredding the white stuff in no time (ha!). Dee wants to get Jules on skis, I think, and after seeing the tiny toddlers on the slopes in the US we think he’s probably ready for it.
The third spoke in our wheel-o’-change is a physical challenge: Tough Mudder (October) and the Sydney Marathon (November) — and in fact it is Dee who wants to do Tough Mudder! And that’s despite watching me drag my sorry arse around the course in Melbourne a few years ago. Does she really know what she’s signing up for? (Do we ever?) The marathon will be my second attempt, and I feel like I know what training I need to do this time — in short, lots and lots.
They’re a way off, so not too scary right now, but we know we’ve got to get fighting fit before the event; I’m pretty sure that running won’t be anything like “fun” for me until I lose 10-15kg, so I’ve gone all low-carb/“Paleo” and have signed up at the friendly gym that gave me a 30-day Movember pass. (Even managed some cycling and weights on Friday; tomorrow it’s a “body pump” class.) I’m hoping that this, a day a week at jūjutsu, cycling when the weather is good enough) and my Garmin Forerunner marathon training plan will be enough pain for some serious gain. My abs are hurting just thinking about it.
A little hobby goes a long, long way: I’m building a valve-amp kit this year: a Bottlehead Crack OTL headphone amplifier, wired point-to-point (i.e. no circuitboard) and receiving rave reviews for the price. I think I’ll pair it with an internal Raspberry Pi and HifiBerry+ DAC, and use whichever of my existing Sennheiser headphones has the highest impedance, then maybe mod it with a Speedball kit from Bottlehead too. I guess Dad’s love of vintage radio took firm hold of me somewhere along the line.
Towards the end of the year it is my 20-year high-school reunion, and I’ve sort of mostly decided that I’m going — but that I’m going to hire (or buy) a motorcycle and take a week to road-trip down to Victoria with a swag and a GoPro camera, so I can at least pretend I’m Ewan McGregor or Charley Boorman, albeit on a shorter and much smaller scale. It’s a sabbatical, a pilgrimage, a spiritual journey — I think I’ll enjoy sleeping under the stars much, much more than the actual reunion.
And that’s enough for one year! Five spokes of adventure, built around a hub of “here and now” and recognition that life is short, with each spoke having a profound and fundamental shaping effect on both how I spend my time, and how I think about how I spend my time.