I’m now in what most people would consider an enviable position. Materially, my family has everything we need, and I’ve accomplished my big dreams. We’ve achieved comfort and a measure of security. So, what do I do now?
It’s not like I haven’t been here before. When I was 25, I was getting paid to be a computer programmer. Aside from being a fireman (pre-kindergarten dream) or an asteroid miner (you may laugh, but acknowledge that the SF geeks from high school are the nerds who made bank in the 90s), computer programmer was my dream. It was what I wanted to be when I grew up, and I’d accomplished that by twenty five. I figured I was on extra guys at that point, and sort of wandered. After a few years, I figured out that I wanted to have a family and that I wanted to work on something that made an actual difference.
Okay, so now I’ve done that. And, in case anyone is wondering, that feels great. Wonderful. I can’t recommend it enough. If you’re not working on making something that you think ought to exist in the world, then quit. Now. Don’t spend any more of your life than you absolutely have to in making the world a worse place. Be a good scout and make the world better.
But, now what? I’ve taken up the bagpipes, and that’s personally very rewarding. I’m practicing and I’m trying to get good enough to play with the band. It’ll happen, I’m sure, and fairly soon. At the very least, I’m not making the world a worse place, but I have a hard time thinking that my piping is going to do anything beyond making me and, indirectly through getting me out of the house, my family happy.
Since I left my last job, I’ve received a lot of pings from recruiters. There are lots of companies in the Bay Area who want me to come work for them. But honestly, every time I look at what these guys are doing I just feel tired. I don’t feel excited about the products they’re making. At best, I think they’re okay for some people and probably won’t be the direct cause of Satan’s triumph over humankind. Mostly, though, they just seem like the kind of soul-sucking misery that is the epitome of evil. Businesses whose whole model is based on exploiting human weakness, whose success depends on the customers’ giving in to one of the seven deadly sins, I’m not interested in working for them.
So right now, what do I want? I want to be a good piper, I want to be a good husband, I want to be a good father, and I want to put good into the world. I’m still working on the actual implementation. I guess I need to come up with a new dream. I’m not that good at dreams; I’m better at nightmares. But I refuse to work on my nightmares. I’m just going to have to get better at dreaming.