Reinventing myself

I’m thinking about what I am going to do on January 1, 2013. I have given my notice at work, announcing that December 31, 2012 will be my last day at Domain7. A mixture of panic and excitement are fueling some crazy ideas about what I might possibly do with what previously seemed like such a scarce commodity: time. How do I make the best use of that time?

Time is Opportunity

In the film, The Little Black Book, the heroine recalls the words of her mother:

Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity

The Port Mann Bridge has just recently been completed, opening a gateway, or at least a path of less resistance, to Vancouver from where I live in Abbotsford.

Joyent made a decision to cut off its nose despite its face in a public relations debacle over the summer, where Jason Hoffman referred to the original investors who made Joyent possible as an operational cancer. I am one of those cancerous cells of which he spoke. Dean Allen has come back to save the lifers from exile from Joyent by coming out of seclusion and reviving TextDrive.

On September 5, 2012, Twitter announced version 1.1 of their API, and with the new API, Twitter is dropping support for their RSS feeds. I have dropped support for Twitter. I did that a while ago, actually. But more because I didn’t have anything interesting to add to the conversation. And as much as I enjoyed discovering new and interesting bits of information, I found it to be a major time sink. Not that I won’t use Twitter, but that it won’t be featured prominently as a feed on my site.

Google has announced that they are no longer offering free Google Apps accounts for businesses. This feels like a missed opportunity in some ways, as I am hoping to use Google’s tools in my business, but it also leads me to believe that I may be better off owning my own data. It takes more work to manage my own data, but it’s also a lot more fun to figure out how to create interesting tools to help me in my workflow.

Facebook is just using me for my data and to add value to their own network, so I don’t really feel like giving them very much. In a world of social media, I am admittedly out of place, given my antisocial behaviour. I have never been that enthralled by the popularity contests.

So, while I talk about a new bridge and what amounts to burning bridges in a world saturated with social media, it’s not so much about burning those connections, but focusing on the connections that I can realistically manage and maintain and building real human relationships by working with real people.

Life as an Editing Process

I am adicted to Netflix, because film is about people and their stories. I love stories, because they are about people like us, people looking for an identity, for a place to belong. The documentary film, Life in a Day, was sponsored by YouTube, collecting events from a single day and editing thousands of hours into a snapshot of life on earth. The editing is what, in large part, makes the documentary so engaging.

As I think through how to make the most of my time and of this opportunity that I have to reinvent myself, I feel like the success of the process will be influenced by how well I can edit myself. Taking a picture or filming a scene requires attention and focus. The editing process focuses the attention even further still on the moments that are important in telling the story.

The decisions about what I leave out are just as important as those about what I keep in. In many ways, I have forgotten what I once regarded as most important. I need reminders to maintain my focus. In that way, I can spend most of the rest of my time on this earth doing what I am here to do, for as long as I have moments of time to focus on.

To say that I am reinventing myself is to display a great amount of arrogance, to assume a greater power over my situation, my environment, myself and my destiny than I might actually have. I do have to acknowledge that I don’t have control over the process of becoming. In this moment of time, I exist in a specific context, a place and time, with a shared history and a common future with other human beings. I don’t know to what I extent my actions affect other people, but I know that they do. It may be the first thing that children understand as they are birthed into the world. Actions provoke responses. A newborn’s cry invites a parent’s comforting touch.

What I do have control over is my actions and responses. In reinventing myself, I must acknowledge that this is merely an editing process. But it is a process that happens in the moment rather than after the fact. What will I decide to do, and what will I decide not to do, to be or not to be? That is the question.