The morning after each podcast release, I give the episode listen for quality and correctness. During my drive this morning, I cringed as I heard myself say, "minority technology podcaster" when talking about how I think of myself with regards to a broader point in the episode.
A bit over ten months ago I said I needed to take a break. That was a year after I left my job at a think tank. I left that job due to burnout. After a year, I was still feeling burned out, specifically on technology and policy. The very subjects at the heart of this project. Writing and speaking about these subjects is demanding. It is rewarding, too, or I would not have spent a decade on them. But demanding, oh so demanding. Which is why I started The Command Line in the first place, to give myself the opportunity to dig into these topics far more deeply than I had been doing up to that point.
The time has passed to admit that I am burned out on reading and writing about technology and technology policy.
(I first shared this essay in a recent podcast.)
An online acquaintance, Reg, made my day a while back by posting this tweet:
h/t @cmdln (srsly, just hearing him say that makes me smile)
I was glad to see that I am still having a positive impact. When I started to think about it some more, though, I wondered just how much lately I had been living up to my saying. Especially when it comes to this site and podcast, I didn't feel like I was doing a good job. Up until recently, for the better part of a year, posts and episodes had been few and far between.
I remember my first Dragon*Con. It was 2006 and I hadn't been to a science fiction convention since college, about a decade prior. I had been podcasting just a little over a year but still felt like more of a listener than a contributor. Many of the people I listened to mentioned Dragon*Con in their shows, especially the just formed podcasting track. I decided to go both to try out science fiction conventions again and learn more about how to podcast. In one of the panels I attended, when one of the panelists asked who was podcasting or wanted to, I remember standing, face flushed. When the mic came to me, I made some self deprecating joke about being a technology podcasting cockroach. You know, being among the first and odds among the last to podcast too.
I have mentioned a few times how hard the last year and a half have been, personally and professionally. From the portion of that hardship that I feel was self inflicted, I have been trying to learn, grow and improve. One lesson I have been dwelling on is how showing vulnerability may actually be a strength. I am only now starting to feel my mental well being coming back. By not finding healthy ways to reveal my vulnerability, I think I did as much to delay my recovery as anything I went through that caused me pain in the first place.
A problem being mysteriously fixed through no clear action of my own bugs me. A problem this weekend with my mixer is just such a case. After upgrading to the latest version of my operating system, a flavor of Linux that I prefer called Kubuntu, I could not get the software driver I had been using with my mixer working. I could get close but not to the point where my audio workstation would see my mixer. Of course I discovered this right when I sat down to record. Last night, last thing, when there wasn't time or will left for extensive research and troubleshooting left in the weekend. When else would I discover a problem resulting from upgrading my OS? Not when it would be more convenient to investigate and fix.
Chris Miller turned me on to The Jefferson Hour. A few episodes back, they got to talking about Walden. What struck me was the discussion of one of Thoreau's main points, apparently, about leading a deliberate life. This makes sense, he is most often quoted for his thought on the mass of men leading lives of quiet desperation. I am only a chapter or so in but have already encountered the quote. The context is his pondering of how so many of us go through life driven by perceived obligation--that we have a certain job, possess certain things, make certain choices.