If you go back on the web forums, bits and pieces of the Stories functionality in Signal were cropping up on the GitHub back in March. This has been in the works for over six months, seems like. But it might be imminent. Four weeks ago, the release notes for a bug fix release included “more exciting changes on the horizon” and this past week, changed to include “plans for the future.” This seems like it might be, if not imminent, at least close enough to allude to.
That’s going around, honestly. Another example is the breakfast and lunch place that’s been “coming this spring” for eight months now – it would be nice to have a spot walking distance from home and not bike or driving distance, but there’s no date certain associated with it. Then there’s Pixelfed, which might be a viable Instagram replacement but needs something to precipitate uptake. Then there’s the open-ended question of whether Twitter is going to have to go away depending on whether the courts hold Phony Stark to his waived due diligence for the purchase of a company that appears to be burning down in its own shit.
And then there’s work. Which, in the last couple of months, has turned a corner. I’m finally able to actually do the job instead of just talking about what we would do if we were allowed to do the job. And we’ve been rolling. And the result is…crickets. No recognition. No acknowledgement. Nothing to say our current work arrangement is permanent or even open-ended. We don’t exist to the powers that be, and there’s no guarantee that pushing back would even get us anything other than trouble.
It’s a difficult way to live. It was always possible to believe that we only had to somehow survive through 2020 and we’d have a chance. It was possible to get through to the new house and new car because there were deals signed and papers exchanged, even if the precise dates were nebulous at times. My sister is fond of saying that you can endure anything that comes with an end date. But the open ended promise of something that may never show up, let alone by a date certain – it’s like the experience as a kid of being told that maybe we can go to the mall today, and never actually going.
In a lot of ways, it feels like we’ve crossed a nodal point, at least as much as was ever promised. We have a Democrat in the White House, for the time being. We are mostly on the back side of the pandemic, at least enough to go to London or Pismo or Disneyland. We are moved into the new house, with the EV in the driveway. I’m still 100% remote for the foreseeable future, and I’d even be willing to take that down to 95% in exchange for permanence. I’ve made it to 50, enough to be very self-conscious of Being Fifty and trying to be honest about what in life is realistic at this point. For the first time in fifteen years or so, the dull moment might actually be possible – so long as you focus on the moment.
But there’s still a lot to “radically accept.” The biggest thing is, as William Gibson said, time moves in one direction and memory in another. The toughest thing was radically accepting that the college thing is dead and there is no point trying to remediate it, and giving up on things that no longer sparked joy in an attempt to reinvent that. There are things that have become less essential now that they are harder and more expensive to do – the default pub night is at home, even though there won’t be a way to combine a comfy seat and low light until late October at the earliest. The old options – the comfy leather chair at Trials on Sunday evening, or the live trad at O’Flaherty’s at the same time – are simply no longer available.
There is a thing I told myself years ago about the importance of stopping trying to be who you were and let yourself become who you are. The addendum I would throw on there now is not to try to force it too much. At fifty you have to accept some of the dictates of reality and ask why you would even want to live like you did at 30 any more. Or, to borrow a line from the franchise that has defined my life in so many ways, “the belonging you see is not behind you, but in front of you.”
And let’s be honest – half a life on from the beginning of my IT career, I have the things that seemed aspirational at the beginning. I’m a system administrator who never has to wear socks and can do all my work remotely. I took for granted that under such circumstances, my employer would value my work, but that might be too much to ask. But for as long as I can make it happen, I’m going to try to enjoy it and use it to make possible the rest of a life I want to have.
That’s a wrap on blog year 16. Next year, a third of my life in one place. That’s…something.