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 I would like to do someday, when I'm not physically out of shape or lack basic camping skills (though Andrew did teach me how to build a fire, and I can pitch a tent). I also 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.

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 for that right now.

There are things I am actively pursuing - for instance, I should hear back on my grad school application in a few weeks. I've looked forward to 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 because I tend to prioritize other people learning over myself, so I 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 suppose what I'm trying to say is that there are things I'd like to do - again, the list of concrete options rather than a set of unfulfilled dreams that pile up - and then when I decide I want to do them, I do them. If at any given moment I'm doing the best thing I could be doing, I'll look back and be happy with that. All the plans and options I put out there, the preparations I make and the things I learn - what they do is open up more possibilities for "the best thing I could be doing at any given moment." I'm opening the possibility of going to school, I'm not yet opening the possibility of getting a motorcycle, that sort of thing.

Right now I have a clear floor (finally unpacked!) and a pot of champorado (sticky rice with chocolate - it's a Filipino thing) bubbling on the stove for breakfast. I'll write this, take a shower and practice rolling my R's. (And I might actually be getting it - after 20 minutes of trying yesterday, I produced my first extremely weak flutter. I'm trying to expand my ability for self-teaching pronunciation of non-English sounds via kinesthetic feedback, because I can't hear and imitate new sounds like most people do.) After a nice breakfast and reading, I'll head to the office and start work for the day - today's agenda is largely about catching up with Max and starting in on finances. I like taking calm mornings before starting work. It seems like a good thing to do, calibrating yourself for the day.

I did hit the library yesterday, and have books. Last night's reading was David Foster Wallace's commencement speech at Kenyon in 2005 (the book format is better). This morning it's a dialogue between Dalai Lama and Paul Ekman (scientist who researches emotions and microexpressions - I read some of his work in college). Today I'll bring a book to the office to lend Max (Time Management for System Administrators) and hit the post office, since I didn't do that yesterday. There's also a German Language Meetup Group in Raleigh that meets right by the office, so I'll use that as my "stop work for the day!" off-timer. There's a Chinese table on Thursdays that some colleagues go to and an ASL meetup on the weekends, too - I'm not actually studying any of these languages right now, but what I'm trying to get over is my fear of stumbling through communications in something that isn't English. My big mental blocker for language learning is "oh, but I have to study more, I'm not good enough to talk with people yet," so by forbidding myself to study more for a while and thrusting myself into conversational situations, I actually suspect I'll learn more.

Remarkable! It's a life outside of work.