The initiation game

Today, I am feeling overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by laziness, overwhelmed by air conditioning, overwhelmed by how many diets people have written about (I happen to be in the section of the library that has about 300 books on weight-loss), and mostly overwhelmed by all the things I have not started. Starting is hard.

Even the fundamental rules of physics know that starting is the most taxing part of any process. It’s harder to start moving something than to keep moving it (thanks, friction), the most energy in an enzymatic reaction is spent in the beginning just to get over that hump of activation energy (don’t worry if that one makes no sense, I just spent way too much of my life learning about this shit, so obviously I have to find some use for it. So yeah, don’t be fooled when I say “hump”…it’s not exciting), a neuron won’t fire unless there’s enough of a “potential” to start it (again, the real science isn’t important. Just note that I came up with three examples, so my obligation to provide evidence is fulfilled), etc, etc.

Higher up life forms also seem to have inherited the same restrictions to starting. As a consequence, we go about our lives being like “man, I wish I had started this already,” because starting is so damn hard. We hem, we haw, we procrastinate, we put it off. “There’s just not enough energy to go around starting anything,” we say.

Even harder than starting something is starting multiple things. And that, unfortunately is where I fit in in this universe of starting. As someone seeking a job in computer science, it’s important I have a great LinkedIn profile, a complete portfolio of projects, my own spectacular website, and a nice base of people with whom I’ve networked. I, being way behind the times, have none of those. And so I need to start on all of them.

Even harder than starting multiple things is seriously starting those things. Like, yeah, I technically started a LinkedIn profile once, but I’m pretty sure the only person I connected with was my dad. Yeah, I’ve started a portfolio, but the only things it has are websites looking like a three year old threw up ideas on the screen and a buggy chess game that has a user interface more primitive than something you’d find on Windows95. Yeah, I guess I have my own website, but it’s this one, which tells you about how much I like to complain and reinforces my lack of focus on a single topic. Yeah, I’ve networked, but those relationships have been reduced to a bunch of squashed and faded business cards at the bottom of my purse. So now it’s time to turn these old abandoned barns of projects into fully functional stables (note to self: start working on better analogies).

Since I figured I’m pretty dumb for not having started all these things sooner, I consulted a few of the “for dummies” books. They confirmed what I already knew—I need to start the damn things! The more I read, the more nervous and overwhelmed I became. What do you do when you’re even overwhelmed by the “dummy” version of your life?


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