Keep your chin up

Wherein our author talks about unsuccessfully blogging and rekindling excitement in dark times.

So I had quite a bit of gusto last year, reworking this blog, getting ambitious with posts and such. And then I wrote several posts in the intervening months that either trailed off before finishing, or I decided against posting on such personal matters. And suddenly the blog was stagnant again. And my personal horrors were high.

We all know what happened between late summer 2016 and today, and I don’t want to recount the emotional trauma we’ve all been dealt by 45, his vile conspirers and the army of sycophants surrounding him. Needless to exposit, reasonable people who pay any attention to the news are all drained and frustrated. In such an environment, one spends more time in a horror-wonder than deciding to blog about the importance of good user experience and accessibility. We want to stay alive and keep our world from crashing down.

And somehow I know the act of self-expression, the art of our professions and passions need to carry on. If we can’t be who we are in when storm clouds surround and the hail beats down, then we will surely drown. Endless retweeting feels necessary, but feels unsatisfying. Even if blogging will be intentionally redacted of the endless political rants I store in my head, I must flex the creative muscle or lose my ambition.

I spent a week prepping for an internal 30-minute talk. It was the last vestige of a former boss, and in my dreary state I was just longing for the process to be over. But a funny thing happened as I was building the slide deck: I was starting to enjoy the writing again. It was faint, but I felt it under the enormous pressure I was putting on myself. I delivered the talk to a small crowd of wonderfully tolerant folks in R&D and for an hour or so afterward, I felt exhausted but somehow charged at once. I went home in a better mood and, I shit you not, actually breathing1 and feeling physically better than I normally do after a day of work. I’m not certain the charge was from speaking (I was fighting a hacking cough and losing my voice the whole time) or from the overwhelming positive reaction to my relatively basic exposition on User Experience as a set of disciplines, but I know one thing. I am hungry to feel that excited and satisfied again.

Can you find that thing that makes you excited? Can you keep your chin up?

  1. I take two types of inhaler and am always in a state of hayfever here in pollen capitol Austin, TX.