Secretly (okay, not so secretly), I'd like to be a ninja. Hari sent me a link to ROOTS school and I must admit that this is the sort of thing (one of the sorts of things, rather) I dream of doing someday. I know I'm in no shape to do it now; I'm physically out of shape, lack basic camping skills (though Andrew did teach me how to build a fire, and I can pitch a tent), have no awareness or context or ability to navigate places that aren't cities, generally don't know how to deal with nature, and have a schedule and lifestyle that don't deal well with me being off the grid for more than 12 hours at a time (in other words, my work is online and I am a workaholic).

Another thing I'd love to do - with similar "my life is really hard to interrupt right now" constraints that mean I'm not actively pursuing it right now - is cooking. Italian cooking and Indian cooking specifically. Learning it properly, thoroughly, and pretty dang hardcore for an extended period of time - a month, at least. A year, better. And I would like to build a house with my own hands, and go on an extended bike trip. Motorcycle. All these things. Kitesurf, wingsuit, martial arts... I've said this before. If I want to do these things, I know I need to start working on them at
some point. They are on my "would be nice to do, but I won't work towards
it now" category. Plenty of other dreams to go for first. And I can only
save (financially) for so much at a time, and school is my #1 priority
right now.

That having been said, I am working on a bunch of things. Sometimes too many. Grad school is a big one right now. Grad school and being clear to study technical things and things about education - I am too often distracted from furthering my own (increasingly rusty) "how to make stuff" skills by... random things that come up. I actually want to be forced to sit down and learn about database schemas or VLSI or electronics manufacturing, and to make things, and to write elegant papers. It will be hard and I will complain and I will have to force myself to stick with it many times, but I want that. I want to learn how to do that. I want my brain to be shaped in that way.

I'm rambling right now - somewhat disconnectedly and incoherently, because I'm tired - but to some extent, it's okay if I never get to do any of this stuff. Not because I'm giving up on them before I even really start, but because I'll be happy with my life if I look back and have no regrets - if at any given moment I'm doing the best thing I could be doing, and the thing I want most to do, at that moment. I can't cram everything in there. I try not to worry too much about that (though I still do). I don't know how long I'll be around and able to appreciate these things, so I'll do what I can while I can, and what I get to I get to, and what I don't get to, I don't. I try for some crazy stuff, but I'm also ok with it not working out, so it's really, really hard to disappoint me. Makes for a pretty good life.

Wow, my brain is really fried. I'd better do some work and get a little sleep before my talk tomorrow with Karsten. Early wake-up for practice. Maybe bacon waffles will be consumed for motivation. I still get nervous (that may be an understatement) before presenting, so I'm going to be greatly relieved after my first talk tomorrow... after which I get to practice and freak out about the second one. Whee!

I'm looking forward to the brutal "Boston to Raleigh in 24 hours" roadtrip I'll be doing a week from now. It will be relaxing solitude. Immediately before my flight to China. Mmmmmmmm wanderlust and work. The two combined... are rather lovely.