I'm honestly fairly surprised at myself for how accurately I'm sticking with the original schedule that I drew up back in early February, even amidst changes that have been far larger than I could have possibly imagined. I don't think I've ever been able to stick to a "new year's resolution" type thing for this long ever before. So hooray!
This past month has brought a remarkably large amount of change. Besides the obvious disruption caused by the coronavirus crisis, the fact that I have now been working from home for the last three weeks seems to have had a significant effect. I feel like I've almost gone through the grieving process, or some thing akin to it. Suddenly watching American public health and the global economy crash seemed like it was really just wearing on my soul for a few weeks in mid March. It became so incredibly difficult to focus on even my regular work, never mind my additional hobbies. I think for a few days, I did nothing but stare at a Onshape document for a few hours, boil some wontons, and then sleep more. There was no structure, there was no joy.
But that's the process of growth, right? That in your lowest points, you get to recalibrate yourself and discover something new again, something that had been hidden by the regular rhythms. As things around me became more and more isolated - the cancellation of UChicago's visit weekend, the inability to invite friends over to celebrate my birthday, the inevitable shelter-in-place order that finally passed two days ago - I felt myself becoming more and more free. Truly, I am so incredibly blessed and lucky to have a job that allows me to work remotely, to be able to practice my hobbies, and to really enjoy this springtime. Never before have I been able to just take walks around the neighborhood with such leisure, just observing the emergence of spring.
Halfway through the month, I guess I started wanting to do something vaguely productive with my days again besides work. Back in February, I had already begun a first draft of this website, created mostly with Wordpress, that ol' familiar platform. However, with the extra time on my hands, I decided to at least give a html version a try. After all, if it didn't work out, it would be easy to just scrap it and reinstall Wordpress.
Somehow, the more I worked on it, the more invested I became into making a reasonably decent website. It was like discovering coding for the first time again - there were so many possibilities, so many cool examples of things I could adapt into something that I could call my own. I got lost down rabbit holes of color pallets, dug through my old blogs, and somehow wrote thousands of words on the entire process.
Working on the website design was so pleasing because I had clear todo lists and a very tangible measure of progress. I could see, live on the internet, every single step forwards that I took. Because I was starting from absolutely nothing (well, technically I copied a bunch of base html source code from Felix...), every single improvement seemed to double the previous total functionality. As the process chugged along, I was reminded of my love for this type of design, and the hours that I had poured into small customizations of my high school blogs. I'm typically not a very creative or artistic person, but I do love writing, and making a simple, useful tool with my words was a perfect way to spend this month.
But now, we enter April - Spring, proper - and the second quarter of the year. The past month has truly accentuated how nothing can be considered to be stable, and that growth will only come from within.