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ThatFanficGuy  ·  262 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Questions for the New Year - or any time.

> 1. What are you curious about (for 2023)?

I'm curious to explore myself. Living (potentially permanently) in a place that's different from Russia in attitudes, as well as having a good salary, gives me plenty of space to run around and look at things. Mental health, physical health, wanderlust, romance and sexuality... Probably a dozen things that don't readily come to mind, too.

I'm also curious about whether I can actually do more, or whether that's a power fantasy born out of getting through life with ADHD. I've come to realize my limits that much more carefully, but there's also a set of unsatisfied ambitions itching to be fulfilled. Writing, research, publishing, code, design, modding for games – I wonder how much of it was hampered by ADHD, by the environment I was a part of for the longest time, and by my own lack of rigor when it comes to work and creativity.

> 2. What are you worried about (for 2023)?

My responsibilities for the new job – or rather, what happens if I fail at it. It's a long way to fall if I do: without a work contract to keep me grounded in Belgium (or elsewhere), I'll most certainly be deported to Russia. Apart from it being a likely death sentence, even if I somehow avoid the mobilization, it still means returning to the same miserable mental place I've been dreaming about leaving.

I don't think I'll fail, in as much as I know I'm perfectly capable of picking up the tab of a front-end developer on an app with actual clientele, but it's still a worry I can't shake off. My boss has been nothing but accomodating, I have plenty of funds to play around with, and other worries I have are addressable... but my brain is a twisted mechanism, and there's probably nothing I can about it by placate it to some extent.

> Are you open to being more known in 2023 (to your choice of human)?

I've grown to be steadily more open about myself, in ways that would've seemed dangerous or uncomfortable just a few years ago.

I don't think this extends to my choice of human. After seeing how little people at large jive with me, I've put dating etc. on hold indefinitely. So far, searching for someone to connect with has led me to little else but disappointment, in a way that's hard to convey and easy to dismiss.

Odds are, for me, being more known by anyone isn't an option in 2023, so I'm putting the idea on ice. Something spectacular must happen to change this.

> Do you have any resentments that you can let go of in 2023?

If I may be so bold as to phrase it as "by 2023", then I certainly have. Having lived through months of fear under mobilization in Russia has led to shedding a lot of the previous grudges: by contrast, they don't matter all that much. This includes my parents, from whom my feelings are yet raw and unprocessed. I used to worry about what they'd think of me doing what I did after the war'd started; now, I don't think about them that much. A lot of the same goes to all the different people with whom I tried – and failed – to connect before September 2022.

> Do you have a philosophy of [your occupation, whatever it is]? Are you considering re-evaluating any of it in 2023?

My philosophy of things has always been about the real, the natural, and the inoffensive. In writing, it means telling the story as it would happen, not as you'd like it to happen. In dev, this means "Do what your users would do, rather than design an elaborate schema that ends up not working anyway (they never do)". In design, it means not assaulting one's senses, and keeping things mild, even if it may not look stark or outstanding. (This last one comes from me having heightened senses and being sensitive to everything. Mental fatigue is a thing.)

As far as reconsidering any of it... I don't think I am. I think I'm on the right course, generally, and it would take details of implementation to shift, rather than a more general design attitude.

> 6. Do you remember discovering that you were valuable and worthwhile?

No. I'm not even sure "valuable and worthwhile" is even a thing. You carry on, regardless of what happens, and change lanes and speed when you must. I'm struggling to see where the notion of the "value of self" comes in there. You carry on, or you dive head-first off the tallest drop you can find; it's that simple.

> 7. What success are you still proud of?

I made a magazine about my favorite city in the world, and some people liked it well enough to subscribe. I'm having a blast working on the research and the writing.

I think my biggest success here was in letting go of time constraints and letting myself work on the next issue whenever I feel like it, instead of crunching hard every two weeks at a time. The content is rarer, but the quality is a lot higher, with more in-depth research, more interesting visuals, and me being able to learn more about New York overall.

In other words, my success is in making it work for me and making it a valuable proposition for somebody else, too.

> 9. What idea or attitude did you once believe that you later discovered was false?

I'm about 1% as cool as I thought I was.

Tough pill to swallow, but it took me some interesting places. Oddly enough, it made me less angry overall.

> 10. When you realize that everything is made up – all religions, nations, ideas, philosophies - made up by people trying to understand how to live in the world – what then do you believe? What belief system do you follow, or do you make up your own?

See point 6.

I had an existential crisis a couple of years ago. I'd lay in bed for days on end, not knowing what to do with myself, given that nothing really matters anymore. I could write something... but for what? None of it would matter in the end. YouTube kept me entertained enough to last through the day, and then I'd wake up again and have the same thoughts go through my head.

What got me out of it was a very simple notion: "I want to live". Not just survive day to day, but to explore the world, to create things, make meaningful connections with people, and learn – oh, so much learning. That turned out to be enough of a guiding light for me: even if nothing else matters in a cosmic sense, I still want to get out there and do things because that brings me joy and satisfaction.

Also, something something Kant something something expanding humanity in whatever shape one finds most fitting for them something something.

> 11. What questions do you have about yourself that you’d like answered in 2023?

I think it's "What do you think of me?".

I struggle to get feedback from people. Did I upset you? Did I make you feel uncomfortable? Did I make you shine on the inside? I've gotten pretty good at reasoning about the context so that I could derive a potential reaction: this makes me able to "read" people, though it feels like a blind person "reading" a book: much too narrow, much too focused, zero context about the typography and other visuals.

This is a hundred times worse online, where black-on-white gets interpreted ten thousand times in ten thousand different ways, and everyone's eager to make their own assumptions when they're angry, upset, anxious, or agitated. What you get is a sensation, filtered through 12 different media, diluted in the process to become barely fit for consumption by your empathy engine.

This may work well enough for most of the bell curve, it really doesn't work well for me. I try desperately to make it work in a world where I most obviously don't fit in; even the people who think me an interesting fellow (certainly a euphemist, at this point) seek to avoid my company. There are two ways out of this conundrum: care deeply, or not care at all.

I'm leaning towards the former. I wonder if I'm even able to lean towards the latter.

> 12. How would you like to be more effective in 2023?

Medication, or whatever's the closest thing to it. If I can do more than two hours of work maybe per day, that would be fucking great, yes please and thank you very much.