I got back to Puerto Rico two days ago after what felt like a much longer than six-week trip to Europe. Feels great to be back.
I got a little surprise upon returning to my apartment: my internet and water were not working, which seemed like not that big of a deal until I realized I couldn’t shower or use my toilet. My much looked forward to Sunday of cooking and food prep was replaced by eating out in Old San Juan where I am shacked up until the water is fixed. If I was living back in California it would be catastrophic, but here in PR things like this and electricity going out aren’t anything to be upset about. I think living with lowered expectations about infrastructure really allows me to appreciate it when it is actually working.
Besides having to delay settling in as my apartment is being restored to full functionality, everything is great. People at the gym, coffee shops, and grocery stores all seemed happy that I’m back. What I love about San Juan is that there is an overall sense of community, not just limited to the gym or social group I seek out. I haven’t lived here that long but I already know the guys who bodyboard at the beach, the people who hang out on the streets during the day, and the workers at the restaurants I pass by. I’m not trading numbers or hanging out with them, but we all greet each other warmly in a way that makes a city of a few hundred thousand feel like a small town. Perhaps more accurately an idyllic small town that I’ve seen on TV… I grew up in a small town and I didn’t know who my neighbors were, let alone exchanging hellos with strangers.
My sister asked me yesterday “does your life always feel like a vacation, or does it feel like taking a vacation from a vacation?” (Thank you Katie for the blog prompt). A few periods a year I have intense workloads, and I feel like I’m working as hard as anyone. The rest of the year though — I alternate between feeling like I’m close to accomplishing a proper day of work, and not even coming close. Taking a relaxing vacation when it’s not needed is like having a glass of vintage champagne after you’re drunk on well vodka: you accept it knowing you can’t appreciate it, and it’s probably doing more harm than good. I sadly know this from trying it too many times. I pretty much am on a vacation permanently while I nomad like this, and there are vacations within vacations, but I feel more normal now plugging away on my computer on a sunny day somewhere new and missing out some if my life has become too hedonistic.
My life certainly didn’t feel like a vacation when I was interviewing at Twitter/Google last winter getting roasted on the whiteboard by PhD’s asking me computer science algorithms and data structures questions that I tried to bullshit my way through (almost successfully — but not quite). Fortunately I finally stopped trying to convince large companies that I could come in and help create new products/projects that could be great for them, and put a fraction of that energy into my own personal things that have been rewarding.
Since I began spending my time nomading/working on crypto algorithms/writing, I have this feeling that I should be doing more. Whenever I feel really guilty about this I start thinking about where I was 6 months and a year ago, and realize how many big (and usually positive) changes I’ve made. A lot of my friends I think would similarly benefit from taking stock of the changes they’ve made in the past year. So many of us feel like we’re treading water, and take for granted how long it takes to truly feel solid in a new endeavor. I started in the crypto world more seriously a year ago, and if I think back to 6 months ago when I was doing this for a living in hindsight I had no clue… I was doing things that were working, but only because it was easy at the time. Ironically now that it has gotten much more competitive and difficult I am doing even better than before. It takes time, and a lot of it is daydreaming and brainstorming, not just ass in chair writing code. When it comes to my writing ficition though — that’s a different story. A bit less daydreaming about the act of writing, and more doing it.
Lots of things to catch up on this week getting settled back into Puerto Rico. I’m looking at cars, finalizing my residency here, and furnishing my place (hopefully I can move back in soon) with a few more luxury items (a blender!) now that I’m on a 1-year + lease.
Leaving you with a pic from Fotografiska, a really cool modern art museum in Stockholm: