Met up with two old friends this week; Sharon, my high school roommate, and Ashley, who I knew from elementary all the way up through middle school. We've all changed a lot; as one of my high school teachers put it, "you only become a Real Person after high school." You can see faint shadows of the adults we're becoming now, and they're getting darker and more present every day.

Among the people I knew before I turned 16, I'm probably walking the furthest out from the beaten path, and trying to wander farther still. Spending time in the suburb where I grew up reminds me of how nice things are out here, and how much I don't want to grow up to have a "nice life" like this - our house is gorgeous, but there's nothing but houses and high-priced boutiques around it. Everyone's kids are going to college in fairly lucrative careers, everyone has a nice car and does Pilates and golfs on the weekends. Lovely, high-paying, stable life. Not my kind.

I need instability. I want to have chances to fail, because I want to do new things and make new things instead of just successfully using old things. I want to bike around the city in the middle of the night, train-surf, talk to street musicians, and sing loudly in the middle of parks. I need randomness, geekiness, and less inhibition in my life, and I need it now. And it feels like I'm the only one around here that wants to do this, although I'm sure it's not true.

I'm dismayed by how soft and lax my body's gotten, but have almost no motivation to get out and run or bike - my mom won't let me out of the immediate area; even the only mall with a bookstore, 5 miles away, is too far (and once she dropped me off there, I found out the bookstore had been replaced by a seller of designer handbags). Within the vicinity that I am allowed to roam in, we have... houses. And houses, and houses. And good public schools that aren't actually open at the moment, otherwise I'd wander in there and offer to help out in the classrooms.

So here's my compromise. I'm going to bed early (~1am!) and waking up early (6?). I'm stealing my brother's bike to roam around town, probably outside the technical area-I'm-allowed-to-be-in, but as long as I'm not explicitly forbidden from it, I'm going.

I will:

  • talk to at least one random stranger per day (still need to find mine for the day)
  • read at least one nontechnical book per day (today: Linux and the Unix Philosophy, and probably The Cathedral and the Bazaar)
  • read at least one technical book per week (today: Learning Python, which I never actually read cover-to-cover. I'm picking up a lot of small useful features and notes I never realized along the way.)
  • finish at least one minor project per day. I am incredibly thankful that the things I like to do - coding and design - only need my laptop. (today: a little GUI app for the ODO.)

Basically, I'm pretending to be a very lonely and isolated freelancer right now, just one that has to listen to her mother all the time. (No, really. It's good to be home. I love my family. But I miss my fellow students and coworkers and geeks something awful; I'm going through crazy-people withdrawal.)

Right. Off to bike. Not coming back until I'm good and sweaty, and done reading this book.