At the beginning of 2015 I wrote a post (Celebrate Birthdays and Holidays (If You Can)) sharing how hard it sometimes is for me to embrace and enjoy holidays. I described myself at a low point on my birthday a few years back but ended at a moment of triumph after several weeks of travel and positive experiences, after two years in a row of spending New Year’s Eve with important, wonderful people.
I left the parenthetical on that post for an occasion such as this, where I have swerved into the same damn rut I was in before. I’m alone on NYE and feel awful.
It’s more than FOMO. It’s a disappointment in myself that I’m back to square one, that I’m still fighting (and losing) these battles. It’s so frustrating I let a year full of changes and accomplishments go out with a whimper, and not a bang.
The “# impressions” or “# views” meters next to tweets or Facebook posts can be a little intoxicating. It’s easy to get caught up in chasing that value, making it rise. It’s always right there, if you manage a Facebook page or use tools like Hootsuite. As if it’s all that matters in our digital world based on eyeball glances.
When I encounter a problem that doesn’t really have a concrete solution when searching online, it gets frustrating. I still haven’t found a perfect fix for this issue, but I am able to get by for now.
I upgraded to Windows 10 a few months ago and didn’t have many issues. The games I wanted to play worked just fine, as did everything else. Then recently I tried to play Far Cry 3, and it simply wouldn’t run when I double-clicked it from Steam. (More specifically, my Steam avatar would become green-bordered for a few seconds, indicating I was playing a game, then return to blue.)
I came across this image on Facebook this evening. The framing of this scenario tees it up for a understatement joke, like a wholly pitiful expletive, but I ended up taking the question very seriously, pondering the speech that a person might give at this sight, at this realization. Here’s what I came up with:
We may very well be the last humans alive. Our species may be finished like so many others on that precious blue marble. But how fitting that the last of us spend our final moments on the frontier of progress in science. That humanity’s purpose, if we had one, of the pursuit of knowledge allowed for this both literal and figurative perspective. We send this message over radio waves into the blackness of space, our voices slowly fading into the aether of cacophonous silence. We were here.
What would you say?
This morning (afternoon over there!) I watched Kate Donovan’s presentation “Recruitment and Retention on Hard Mode” at Effective Altruism Global in Oxford. Her thesis was that diverse movements work better, and she shared many practical techniques to attract and keep people while avoiding common pitfalls that could do the opposite. It was great!
One anecdote she shared that really grabbed me was her reference to “Elevatorgate”. She doesn’t go into needless detail, and I won’t either, but this was an incident within the atheism, skepticism, and secular movements that became an ongoing albatross around their necks.