One of the reasons I started this blog was because I needed an intellectual outlet. Working at Costco was mind numbing in the truest sense: a half-trained monkey could have done my job. Sure, interacting with customers and asking questions about electronics took some engagement, but I quickly developed a patter, a series of small sound bites I could string together to simulate a conversation without having to actually engage my brain. And don’t get me started on pushing carts or stocking merchandise. Grunt labor at its finest.
Needless to say, this was a huge shift from grad school, where I was spending almost my entire day thinking about something or other. Even at work, when it was slow in the computer lab, I could find interesting stuff to read online or chip away at the ever-looming pile of homework. Have you ever been riding a bike, pedaling hard in a high gear, when suddenly the chain slips off the sprocket? That feeling of there suddenly being no resistance? I went through a mental version of that.
Blogging helped me reengage those gears. It gave me something to mull over, to toss back and forth in my head while on the job (when I wasn’t just too tired to think). It gave me something to do. And it was great! I went from being fairly listless and bored most of the time to only being listless and bored every once in a while (I was still working at Costco, after all; there’s only so much better about things I could feel). And I’m pretty proud of myself for keeping up with it for as long as I have.
But now that I’ve changed jobs, my level of mental engagement has also changed. I’m suddenly having to mentally exert myself again, and now it’s more akin to having accidentally slipped into a higher gear while going up a hill (my bike is a little old and has a few quirks). I’m spending most of the day drafting, and the learning curve alone is leaving me pretty spent.
So what does that mean for this blog? I don’t know. I know that I don’t have as much mental time/space/energy/whatever to devote to things as I used to, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the posts get slightly more inconsequential and banal. I do still want to continue, though.
I guess it comes back to the question of who am I writing for. Am I writing for an audience? Then I have to worry about keeping things interesting, and writing things people want to read. Am I writing for myself? Then it shouldn’t matter what I write.
I tend to forget to do the latter, and all too often worry about doing the former. I’m not sure how to fix this (see previous comment about mental energy), or if it’s even a problem at all. In all honesty, I’d probably do well to remind myself about the name of this blog, as well as that thing about hatched chickens being able to do math.