Yep. This is still what I want to do when I grow up. Maybe not the exact picture, but the general idea - for instance, I could see myself being happy working on engineering education from the "industry" side of the 3-way academia-opensource-industry bridge rather than purely the academic side alone. And chickens in the backyard (though someone else will have to take care of them) would not be a bad addition, given how much I love doing random things with eggs in the morning and how awesome fresh eggs are (seriously, I can't get over how good they are; Karsten and Karlie have spoiled me for life).
It's less about the house (for instance, I don't need a machine shop in the basement - ready 24/7 access to one somewhere else would do) and more about the way I'm living and thinking there - free to run around, not tied to any worries or obligations like a mortgage to stress out about (I realize that "pay for house in cash" is an audacious goal, but... we'll see) or debts to pay or people yelling at me to do things I don't want to do. Freedom, and the ability to share that freedom. Note how other people stay in the house while I'm out and maintain it and live in it and keep it buzzing and all the normal things that people tend to do when they actually live somewhere. It's something that I can come home to, but which I'm not obligated to come home to at any particular point in time, somewhere I can go "oh hey, jazz band is playing in Connecticut!" and 5 minutes later be out the door and on the road without a second thought, because everything else is already taken care of.
Since writing that post about Maker House, I've confirmed that frequent nomadic travel is indeed a way of life that I adore. I know exactly what goes in my backpack for a 1-week trip, I've gotten good at simultaneously removing my shoes, laptop, and jacket in the most efficient way possible while walking through a security line pulling out bins, I've had the satisfaction of watching sunrises and sunsets on opposite sides of a continent - on different continents, even! - within a 24 hour time period, and I've strolled (well, really, sprinted) through strange cities late at night with no curfew, no chaperone, and nobody dictating my agenda. Man, now this is the way to see the world. Someday I'll take a few months (hopefully a full year) off and get that round-the-world plane ticket and just do that. Will probably be writing up a lot of it as I go along. This will probably happen after grad school, which means I need to (1) get my PhD and then (2) be able to afford to do it. I can wait. Maybe that'll be my graduation present to myself.
I still love manic random worksprints, and I think I always will. Sometimes they go until 5am. Sometimes they go longer. Sometimes I don't sleep for a few days in a row and then collapse on the ride back (see: FUDCon Toronto) - I love those moments, though. It's a great feeling that you get after a long, hard job well done, to which you've put every ounce of your remaining energy and ability. To be tapped to your limits and really pushed and used, with nothing in the way of that... it's one of the best highs I know. And the crash after a good run is such a sweet sleep. To be tired and worn-out and alive (not burnt-out, but satisfyingly exhausted) is an art, but when you nail that balance... mmm.
Teaching, music jamming, dancing, cooking in a busy kitchen and eating elbow-to-elbow with dozens of others at a crowded table - raucous, energy-spewing, hyperactive ways of being alive. The latter two are with my family - as much as I complain about them, they're awesome, and I do appreciate those moments - there's nothing like a house overstuffed with 8 sisters and their 6 husbands and 14 kids, all singing ABBA at the top of their lungs, for a classic reunion moment. Those are great. And so are the quieter moments of being alone, which I also need for balance, and to recharge - quietly playing guitar on the porch, climbing trees, and walking through a city on a hot summer wolfing down street-vendor falafel from a styrofoam container, biking through sprinklers at dusk (yeah, I still do that now - the temptation is just too much).
Being able to gamble the entirety of your life on something risky and potentially stupid (yet still worth going for) is a blessing I don't take for granted, because I haven't always been able to do that. A big one for me is the long, hard haul towards changing engineering education for the better. (open source!) Then there's the somewhat more stupid and reckless stuff, like motorcycling and kitesurfing and fighting in martial arts tournaments (okay, the last one is less stupid/reckless; yay safety precautions!) and parkour and whatnot. Maybe a crazy startup someday. Who knows? (I'll note that yes, most of these things involve physical exertion that demands a fitness level higher than my current one - still waiting for my parents to give me my 529 and IRA like we discussed, and then I'm starting the "be healthy" project in earnest.)
I love that my future actually looks like this now. Or that it can. (I still need to apply to grad school.) I may get Maker House yet.
Another lovely feature of the future: lazy late-morning or early-afternoon naps, like the one I'm about to take after lunch today. Throwing laundry in the basement, off for a few errands, then food-time, and then... nap. Mmm. The satisfaction of getting good work done through the faint haze of residual tiredness from last night's dancing is rather delicious.
And tonight I get to do it all again.