Hello, Again

…well, how was that for a cliffhanger? It wasn’t exactly a riveting story, I agree.

It’s been a year and a half, plus or minus, since I left my story hanging here. I had to ask out of curiosity – Google tells me that I haven’t posted or given any sort of update in exactly 619 days. Yikes! that’s not a small number! And I feel this sense of regret, even just typing it in. Those two years were wasted. I didn’t learn anything new, I didn’t make any worldly contributions, heck, did I even figure out what I’m going to do with the rest of my life? Of course, it’s not true, I didn’t waste the last two years of my life – I just didn’t write it down here.

No peeking! There’s very little to give away here – wow we use <brand name> connectors in our wires! But this is one cool thing I’ve worked on at Formlabs

As my very-out-of-date LinkedIn says, I’ve been with Formlabs for the past year and 9 months. And it’s been a real roller-coaster, as much as a single event occurring over a significant period of time can be. I joined the Fuse project in the fall of ’17, and became a full-time engineer on the project in the spring of that year. Fuse, you might ask, the one that looks like it’s a finished on your website? Well, it’s getting close! I sadly can’t spill the beans here on what specifically I’ve been working on – but it’s been a huge learning experience. I’ve learned some new skills, reinforced others, and likely let some skills slip though the cracks 😞.

a miniature printed Saab, transported from Boston to Death Valley, CA in a real Saab.

The things we build are pretty rewarding and, dare I say, the day to day tasks are actually fun to complete?! However, there is a downside – work is draining. Being emotionally invested in the 9-5 does not leave a lot of emotion for things outside of it. Despite that, I have managed to explore a little – I visited the West coast for the 2nd time in my life and fended off bears in Washington state, learned how to use a medium-format camera, and drove 6,500 miles across the country in a car that definitely should not have survived such a trip.

A set of planters that I built for Formlabs’ roof-deck – one of the few projects I’ve successfully brought to a close since this phase of my life began

Yes, of course vacations and hobbies are great – but my greatest source of enjoyment in school was creating things, teaching myself how our world works by just doing it, even if it didn’t work very well in the end. I still have the time and the interest to work on passion projects on the side, but I’ve found myself well-entrenched in a cycle of inspiration, prioritization, and stagnation, which sounds very official when you find three words that all end in the same suffix 😁. But it’s pretty succinct:

  • Come up with a concept for a project, or be inspired by somebody else
  • go through the napkin sketch phase, then decide that I must fully define the project before starting on it
  • get bogged down and overwhelmed by all of the factors that go into the project’s definition
  • put it aside because “work” work gets in the way
  • lose the motivation, close the Google Doc and wait for the next idea to come around

This is what was happening when I wrote the last post on here, and it’s happened quite a few times since them. I’m starting to acknowledge that not only is this an impossible means to complete a goal, it’s also just not a great way to live. I’ve been coping with a lot of guilt from the graveyard of potential creations I’m leaving behind, and letting it just build and build is not sustainable. Hence, I’ve decided that I need to swing things a bit back to the way they were, those 619 days ago.

I’m not sure I have the energy these days to dive head first into a technical project like I used to , or to un-bury zombie concepts from a year ago and attempt to Frankenstein them into a finished product. But maybe I can start small, and work my way back up? Well, either way, I’m going to try…and you get to watch!

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