Yesterday I encountered some frustration at work. I’m not going to lie, it was all selfish stuff that I was frustrated about. So today I turned that around and really dived right into being myself again: positive, ambitious, and energetic. No wet blanket could stop the fire today. Tapping into that energy meant I made things happen.
Somebody stop me!
— Drake, Back to Back
There’s a project I’m working on and it requires the analysis of data in a report, and the calculations occurring behind it. I think people might be surprised if I told them I haven’t studied math since I was 16 years old. Numbers and arithmetic aren’t my strong suit. I’m a linguistic type: language, reading, and writing are stronger. I can write a paper no problem, but ask me to do algebra and I’ll need to work at it for a while. I never let that stop me though, and I don’t make excuses. I help solve the problem. It just takes a little longer for me to get my head around it. Once I get it, I can explain it and sell it.
Sometimes it feels like we’re stumbling around in the dark, then the light comes on.
— paraphrased from Spotlight (a movie everyone should watch)
So here’s to staying true to yourself and making no excuses! Good vibes only!
Today we started with a light jog, and skated over invisible black ice on the sidewalk. I noticed something about the composition of the sidewalk, and where the ice was. So when a company (or maybe the city?) recently replaced sections of it, mainly due to tree roots, they failed to design their solution for all conditions. Heads up, this is about to get nerdy.
When the project ran, someone made a decision to use flat concrete instead of aggregate, so instead of a rocky textured sidewalk, it would be flat and smooth. To avoid slip risk, the top layer appears to be lightly scored. Although ice and snow are rare, they do occur. What would it have cost to use a similar product to the original? What were the trade offs? Does concrete hold up better against tree roots over time? It’s an architectural problem: concrete does not match the rest of the sidewalk.
I don’t really want technical answers about the sidewalk’s composition, but the project missed a use case: me jogging at five am, when there’s ice. I’m not saying they had to solve for that specific situation, but if ice and snow are possible then does it justify the additional cost? Is the benefit to the jogger worth it? Or was the decision to use concrete made in full awareness of the potential risk, and accepted as a trade off? The value proposition of using concrete must have outweighed the cost to go with original materials. Maybe concrete is the new industry standard surface, maybe the city mandates it for all sidewalk repair.
So now we are left with the architectural debt of that decision. We have to live with the trade off. To replace it again is too expensive, and to replace everything around it with concrete is too expensive. So we have to live with it.
It’s not bad as neither one of us fell over, but it cut the run into a pattern of jogging and walking gingerly over the ice.
Today felt blank. The weather was pure and clear. At work I felt sensitive. I did have a realization about my work, and how I’m the guy who can realize my manager’s vision. I had my business analyst hat on. I took an idea, a proof of concept, and turned it into a viable operational solution within an hour or two.
Big work-related news just dropped, and it’s late. Goodnight!
This morning I woke up at 4am to start the day. Kt, Max and I went on a mile run/walk. It felt good to tap into an exercise state of mind. I realized something late last night and finally admitted it out loud to the bedroom ceiling. By the end of last year I was very tense, anxious and stressed. Whatever strategies I was using to manange it were not working. It had become a kind of black hole, where the things in life that normally help end up falling in and making the stress worse. I couldn’t see it at the time, but I’m feeling a lot better now. These early starts and the routine Kt and I are establishing — for good this time — is going to help keep my head down and focused.
It’s the beginning of my fourth year in the United States of America. I still have so much to do and so much to see. I don’t have resolutions, I have objectives. They’re printed out and on the wall beside the bed. So every morning when I get up I am constantly reminded of the direction of my life this year.
Last year my key phrase was ride the lightning. This year it’s GOOD VIBES ONLY.
At work we put a new system in production this week. It’s been rewarding to see it go live smoothly.
I also had my first fitness oriented competition team class today at Jiu Jitsu. It was tough, a run followed by circuit training. It was rewarding though. I’ve missed being pushed like that. It’s a great team to train with. At the end of the chest-tightening and stitch-inducing run, I sprinted with one of the coaches to the finish.
My parents have been organizing our trip to Australia and New Zealand this week. I surprised them with a video call yesterday which I know made their day, and mine too.
I’m making a point to be disciplined. With food, training, money, writing my parents once a week, and getting to & leaving work on time. Being romantic. Honking at drivers who deserve it. Asking ‘how are you?’ to people in customer service when they ask how I am. The simple things that make your day a little brighter. There’s enough darkness in the world already.