The past month has seen the two big projects that I've been working on since last summer dwindle. One is effectively over, but still has a bit of work that's left to finish, and the other is in a lull as deadlines have been pushed back. I can work ahead somewhat, but it's obviously a lower workload.
The past month I've been struggling with feelings of inferiority because of my lower workload. If I'm busy all week, I rarely question whether the work I'm doing is fulfilling or not; I mostly hit the gas and keep going and going. As soon as I have the space in my calendar and the room in my head to ruminate, I will ruminate. On a rational level I can accept that after months of busting my ass of, it's good to have it a bit easier again. It's normal for there to be room to deload and take stock. But that doesn't stop my inner calvinist demon from making me feel inadequate because I'm not working the most I could at this particular moment.
The dumbest part is that it's not even a useful feeling. I shouldn't be near-overworking, it's not when I am at my best. I do my best work when I am not in a hurry and have a lot of free time, because then I can do what's most important instead of whatever's next in my calendar. I do my best work when I have the room to dive down interesting rabbit holes or can spend an afternoon digging into a problem.
I'm also much happier with the calendar that I have this week than the one I had two months ago. For the first time since... last summer? have I felt the energy to pursue side projects again. There's almost nothing that makes me happier than to dive into a new obsession and scratch my itch, so to speak. I still want to do something with generative design, so I spent the better part of my Saturday wrestling with Autodesk.
The past three days I've been obsessing over the Walstad method of keeping aquariums. My SO has had a tiny 20L (5 gal) aquarium stored in a box, which I was at first hesitant to use because it's so small. Most aquariums are either fake-sad nature, or expensive hyperregulated pump-galores, and I do not want to subject livestock to either. But I found this wholesome corner of YouTube where a one dude is getting millions of views documenting his effectively all-natural micro tank, a wonderful little ecosystem that he keeps in balance with some care, but almost no maintenance.
So now I'm reading the source book on the Walstad method, which is a chemist explaining how to maintain the chemical balance in one's tank to sustain an ecosystem. It's be a while since high school chemistry, but the basic rules and ideas are not that hard. Excited to go to the pet store soon and buy some stuff, see if I can grow some plants myself. In true Millennial fashion we already keep a few dozen plants alive in the house, so this fits right in with that.