In October of 2013, I was sitting in what was ostensibly a history class, but was really a philosophy class, looking for an alternative to reddit. I found a link for hubski.com, and like a lot of folks, lurked for a few days before making an account.
OftenBen of 2013 would have a lot of questions for OftenBen of 2016. I'm going to do my best to remember some of the big ones, and answer them.
2013: So, how did the whole college thing turn out? You're aware that Anthropology don't pay right?
2016: Jesus you're kind of an asshole sometimes aren't you. It turned out. You'll figure out a degree program that works for you. Keep in mind, the letters on the paper aren't the important part. It's having the piece of paper. You're going to argue with a few professors, if you argue less you can probably get a higher GPA if you want to. But some of them are pretty fun.
2013: Yeah... Where do you work? What are you actually doing?
2016: You got a job at the CVC. That one really awesome doctor needed someone to run a project, and you fit the bill. Actually, it's kind of strange how well suited you are to the work. There isn't a whole lot in your experience that really comes close to describing it yet, but the insurance stuff helps, the volunteer work with the HCMA helps. Believe it or not you actually will begin to get over your fear of needles, if only a tiny bit. You get to work with patients, you get to work with data, you get to give good news to families, parents, kids, and the NIH. You get to be part of a great team. You get to help make a difference.
2013: That's great! So, you live in Ann Arbor, what's your apartment like?
2016: First off, no roommate. Sometimes it sucks, most of the time it's SUPER nice. Always being able to get near-perfect alone time is really good for you. But you're comfortable, you got a great price, and your commute is short. The apartment is pretty big for your needs, your bed is comfy, it all seems to fit your needs pretty well. Do yourself a favor though, go with the ground or first floor apartment. Second floor works, but it's by no means ideal. The good thing though, is that you're capable of living on your own just fine. It takes a bit of work, but you can stop worrying about it. Every single one of these details you're worrying about will get worked out. Well, most of them.
2013: Sounds good, sounds good. To the elephant in the room I guess then, did you ever figure this depression shit out?
2016: That's a hard one. It's a roller coaster. There are highs, there are serious lows. And the transition is usually pretty abrupt. You get significantly better at taking care of yourself though. You do take the 'crippling' out of 'crippling depression' which is a plus. It will become more intense at times, but less ever-present, and it won't stop you from doing things. Your counselor is a good one, stick with him, and you'll meet another good one when you move. The biggest change you need to make is get it out of your head that one day you're just going to wake up and this won't be a problem. I know you think you're different in this regard. But here's the kicker, you didn't THINK your way into this, you will not THINK your way out. Depression is a mood disorder, not a cognitive disorder. Read Desiderata, read it again. I know you say you don't have time to read for fun during school, but pick up some Eckhart Tolle and similar. Don't put it off until you graduate, it can do you some good immediately. The big message though, is that you will be okay. Try to start to take some of the pressure off. Laugh a little more if possible.
2013: Well, that's.. really nice to hear. Great. You said singing was a good idea?
2016: Dude. It works out great. These are some of your best friends, singing only gets more fun the more you do it. It turns out you're pretty good at stuffy classical stuff. Sure, you missed out on Europe. BUT. You get to go to New York TWICE and not only New York but Carnegie Hall not once but TWICE. Okay to be completely fair, there is a fair bit of drama of associated with each trip though for different reasons. But what is life without excitement, right? Also, in the long run, you find choir rehearsal fun. It's relaxing and challenging all at the same time. You're starting to realize it now, you have amazing teachers the whole way. Pretty much every director you work with at that level, including most of the undergrads, has something really valuable they can teach you about music.
2013: THAT'S NUTS SERIOUSLY. Well, good job I guess. Damn. Anything else?
2016: Yeah it's a lot of fun. Just, enjoy yourself more, seriously. All those possibilities that you fretted about for post-grad life don't come true, and your hard work (Even though it feels pointless sometimes) pays off.
I've appreciated having Hubski as a Third Space. I really value the various discussions I've had, both online and at various meetups. I've had nuance added to my understandings of philosophy, neuroscience and innumerable other topics. I really look forward to the next 1000 days of good content and good discourse. Thanks everybody.