Post created: 2021-01-20
I went to sleep in an extremely bad mood on Monday, apologizing to someone for not being in the mood to talk.
I woke up and their first message asked if I was feeling better. I wasn't, actually, until I read that. Then well, maybe I'm still spending time on something I'd rather not be spending time on, but that's something to be grateful for.
Saw this little dinosaur on Twitter afterwards and they came to mind.
I think follow-through as a concept is underrated.
My first exposure to the idea of follow-through was probably in martial arts as a kid. I never got very far, but one takeaway was that if you wanted to punch through something, you don't stop at the surface. Aim to reach through, push through, follow through. That's the difference between tapping a board and breaking it in half.
In a way, though, life is like that too. To me, the difference between effective support and disingenuous support is in the follow-through. For most, promises are cheap to make and cheaper still to break, and we're all probably guilty of some version of the internet "HERE ARE ALL THE SUICIDE HOTLINES! I'M HELPING!" drive-by. There's nothing inherently wrong with pawning off problems to future you or to trained professionals, but often that would be the extent of it.
So, to what extent am I willing to follow-through on help originally extended?
If I tried sufficiently hard, I could probably change one life. I believe in education's ability to move people upwards in life. I can point to specific people and specific ways in which this has been true for me.
But there is a certain sense of futility and of time ill-spent. Not that there are better ways to use time, but that there are no good ways of using time, though ultimately it is something that is all give and no take.
I generally don't want that much out of life. In 2010, I wanted exactly one thing. Over the past couple of years, I have since grown to want another thing. Two things for which I would trade the world -- both free, and yet both unattainable in an implausible sense.
So I suppose there is no harm in continuing to wander around like a little lost sheep for now. Maybe some day I'll want something that I can actually have.
More frivolously, I have had altogether too many food cravings in the past week. At least those "wants" are easily satisfied.
I've felt a mental flipflop coming for the past couple of days. I'm pretty irritable right now, and I'm having more difficulty sleeping. Probably started on Wednesday. And will either be further inflamed or be acquiesced later today.
Sometimes I think my mental state is very balanced, in a less ideal sense -- ask nothing of it and it'll ask nothing back, ask too much and it'll need to vent afterwards. Which is normal in the abstract, and abnormal in my execution.
Well, no Sibyl yet exists. But perhaps it is better to preemptively stab the picture after all.
30, or 2030? Perhaps both.
To want nothing and to want for nothing.
So similar, and yet so different.
Update: I am pretty tilted.
I owe everything that I have in life to lucky breaks and successes in education.
I can concretely credit two educators who have made a huge impact on my life, and an additional two to whom I feel close.
I can point to a definite moment in high school where I went from an average student to a relatively strong one.
All of this is because of the support that they have given me, freely, beyond their job scope and in their spare time.
But now that I am volunteering...
I'm not so unreasonable as to expect other people to live my lifestyle.
The fewer people who get sick or cry over grades, the better.
But this feels different. From my perspective, I'm not sure if the student is even trying.
Perhaps they are, for their culture, but it does not translate to mine.
Moreover, for all the stinkeye I give effective altruism as a concept, literally anyone working at something like Target will outearn me and other entire populations of people, simply because they were born in a different country.
Hell, there's the 445 discord. Everyone there is at least somewhat motivated to learn.
How can I justify spending my time on one person if they are not making comparable effort?
Can I change their life? I don't know, but I can probably change their grades.
But if I help only people who are active about it, then my reach and impact just goes that much further.
I think, when it comes down to it, I expect a reasonable amount of effort in exchange for my donated time.
And I think this is not being met.
So, unless I change my mind, it looks like my Wednesday evenings will become free once more.