February 10th, 2017

Glyph Lefkowitz: Make Time For Hope

Programing, Python, by admin.

Pandora hastened to replace the lid! but, alas! the whole contents of the jar
had escaped, one thing only excepted, which lay at the bottom, and that was
HOPE. So we see at this day, whatever evils are abroad, hope never entirely
leaves us; and while we have THAT, no amount of other ills can make us
completely wretched.

It’s been a rough couple of weeks, and it
seems likely to continue to be so
for quite some time. There are many real and terrible consequences of the
mistake that America made in November, and ignoring them will not make them go
away. We’ll all need to find a way to do our part.

It’s not just
you —
it’s legit hard to focus on work right now.
This is especially true if, as many people in my community are, you are trying
to motivate yourself to work on extracurricular, after-work projects that you
used to find exciting, and instead find it hard to get out of bed in the
morning.

I have no particular position of authority to advise you what to do about this
situation, but I need to give a little pep talk to myself to get out of bed
in the morning these days, so I figure I’d share my strategy with you. This is
as much in the hope that I’ll follow it more closely myself as it is that it
will be of use to you.

With that, here are some ideas.

It’s not over.

The feeling that nothing else is important any more, that everything must now
be a life-or-death political struggle, is exhausting. Again, I don’t want to
minimize the very real problems that are coming or the need to do something
about them, but, life will go on. Remind yourself of that. If you were doing
something important before, it’s still important. The rest of the world isn’t
going away.

Make as much time for self-care as you need.

You’re not going to be of much use to anyone if you’re just a sobbing wreck all
the time. Do whatever you can do to take care of yourself and don’t feel
guilty about it
. We’ll all do what we can, when we can.1

You need
to
put on your own oxygen mask first.

Make time, every day, for hope.

“You can stand anything for 10 seconds. Then you just start on a new 10 seconds.”

Every day, set aside some time — maybe 10 minutes, maybe an hour, maybe half
the day, however much you can manage — where you’re going to just pretend
everything is going to be OK
.2

Once you’ve managed to securely fasten this self-deception in place, take the
time to do the things you think are important. Of course, for my audience,
“work on your cool open source code” is a safe bet for something you might want
to do, but don’t make the mistake of always grimly setting your jaw and nose to
the extracurricular grindstone; that would just be trading one set of
world-weariness for another.

After convincing yourself
that
everything’s fine,
spend time with your friends and family, make art, or heck, just enjoy a good
movie. Don’t let the flavor of life turn to ash on your tongue.

Good night and good luck.

Thanks for reading. It’s going to be a long four years3; I wish you the
best of luck living your life in the meanwhile.


  1. I should note that self-care includes just doing your work to
    financially support yourself
    . If you have a job that you don’t feel is
    meaningful but you need the wages to survive, that’s meaningful. It’s
    OK. Let yourself do it. Do a good job. Don’t get fired. 

  2. I know that there are people who are in desperate situations who can’t do
    this; if you’re an immigrant
    in
    illegal ICE
    or CBP detention, I’m (hopefully obviously) not talking to you. But,
    luckily, this is not yet the majority of the population. Most of us can,
    at least some of the time, afford to ignore the ongoing disaster. 

  3. Realistically, probably more like 20 months, once the Rs in congress
    realize that he’s completely destroyed their party’s credibility and get
    around to impeaching him for one of his numerous crimes. 

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