Experiment: Run Lots of Experiments (I'm starting an Etsy store!)
The close of 2018 proved to be fairly enlightening to me. I won’t go into too much detail, but the broad strokes are these:
Client work can (and did for me) slow down significantly toward the end of the year. Holidays, development and product release cycles, these sorts of things may render a freelance product developer to be short of work.
Definitely have a Work Is Slow This Month Fund. Very grateful that I had mine.
I hate the feeling of my bank accounts dwindling, and as a result I get a little bit frantic. I tend not to think very clearly and a lot of my energy and focus can go up in smoke if I’m not careful.
So yeah, December was a bit slow for me and I tried my best to take a breath and remember that I could still go the entire month before being forced to live under a bridge (in fact, the likelihood of that is almost nil, given my privileged circumstances, but tell that to my amygdala and see if it listens). I did manage to calm my brain enough to discover something that feels important. I need to spend more time in the workshop making things. I suspect I’ll dive deeper into this another time, but I’ve always tended to try and convince myself that I should be doing more white-collar engineering/design work (in my head and on the computer). After all, that kind of work pays well and isn’t dangerous or physically demanding. But as I’ve learned from this 80,000 Hours article, easy and high-paying jobs do not necessarily make for fulfilling work. I have some soul-searching to do, but long story short: I think I’ll be happier spending more time in the workshop.
I discovered this after spending several days designing and making a simple side table that I posted for sale on Etsy. This is all part of sort of experiment that I’m running on myself, which is to run lots of experiments. Let me explain. I recently read GRIT by Angela Duckworth. She (amongst other self-improvement types I’ve read) explains that “finding your passion” is not simply discovered in some dark corner of your psyche, nor it does not strike you in a sudden realization. Rather, it’s cultivated through experimentation and experience. She recommends running many mini-experiments in the beginning to discover paths that seem interesting to you, then eventually following those paths deeper. That’s what I am doing with this Etsy store. I want to see if anything sticks in this area. Likewise, this blog is an experiment. As is making some Youtube videos. And organizing a meetup group amongst friends in similar life circumstances. Basically, right now is a time for testing, and my hope is that I’ll discover some things that mean a lot to me, and perhaps more importantly, things that mean a lot to others.
I’m not much one for New Year’s resolutions, however it’s hard not to reflect a bit and make some tweaks to daily life around this time. I suppose you can consider this as some kind of “let’s start the new year on the right foot” post. So here’s to a fruitful 2019!